Q&A: Comedian T.J. Miller set to bring laughs, absurdism to UA
Outspoken, absurd and hilarious star of Deadpool as well as HBO’s "Silicon Valley" and "Meticulously Ridiculous," T.J. Miller will be performing a one-night comedy event on Thursday, Nov. 30 at Centennial Hall. The Daily Wildcat spoke with Miller for a brief talk about the show, Tucson and why he loves the UA so much more than ASU.
Daily Wildcat: Why come to the UA?
T.J. Miller: My girlfriend ended up being a Wildcat! My high-school sweetheart.
But also, it’s a great school, and it’s fun too, you know everyone always there is like, ‘We’re the biggest party school, we were voted biggest party school, you know there’s no school that parties more than us,’ and it’s kind of true. I don’t know what the official rankings are, but … you kind of know when you play Arizona in general. You just kind of know it’s going to be a good time, people are down to have a good time there.
DW: Is this show part of a stand-up tour?
TJM: Yeah, I’m touring sort of my upcoming hour special which is called The New Nonsense, and I’m just developing that right now. So what you’ll see is comedy, like 90 percent of the material is new, but it’s also a lot of like riffing and improvising, interacting with the crowd.
You’re the first for me who has asked, that’s great, that’s a breaking story. (yelling) GOT THE SCOOP! THE WILDCATS GOT THE SCOOP!
DW: What is so engaging about stand-up comedy?
TJM: Because a big thing that I’ve been all about lately is like rip your attention away from the screen. The screens aren’t telling us anything great. And also, when you’re ‘Netflix and chilling’ really you should just be chilling. Like, go to a live show, and then go chill afterward. Because everybody is sort of glued to their screens and it’s nice to do something a little bit different which is, you know live experience.
You’ve got a lot of options, but you come and you spend your time with me, and I’m traveling to you guys to spend my time with you. It’s just a nice concept right now, with everything that’s going on.
I left Silicon Valley, in part to do stand-up, but certainly to kind of move on from having given four years of this sort of same show – same character and it’s all streaming. I think that I’ve offered up enough of that, and that there’s a lot more to do with stand-up comedy and as a comic. That’s a big part of what I find engaging about stand-up, opposed to television or film or voice-over or advertising or podcasting, all the other things.
DW: Why do you like performing for colleges?
TJM: I like doing colleges; a lot of comedians don’t like doing colleges anymore, because they feel like the kids are too "p.c.," or they don’t know what to be offended by and what they’re allowed to laugh at.
I think generally, just some comedians are like, 'college students are a little out of touch.' I find that not to be the case, and also I really like improvising and interacting with the crowd, and at colleges the audiences are always down to do that. I find it to be fun, and also I’m an absurdist, I’m not doing political material, or ‘doesn’t it suck when you go to work’ or ‘I’m married and I have two kids,’ there isn’t any of that. I find people either relate to me on their sensibility and sense of humor, or not. But it’s sort of one or the other. It doesn’t have anything to do with age or demographic.
DW: I saw you performed for NAU, and now UA. Is there a reason you love UA so much more than the Sun Devils?
TJM: The Sun Devils, first of all, you’ve got a cooler mascot name. Everybody knows that, okay. I think it’s that, and also, you know I have a special affinity for it. I visited a couple times with my high school girlfriend. She loved the school and I always had a good time there. I think the Wildcats, kind of, they're more fun. I know it’s cliché but it’s kind of like a more fun party school.
And that’s my attitude. The show is all about fun, about not taking yourself so seriously, about partying and kind of trying to make it through your day, nowadays, and then just a lot of silliness. I feel like I’m positive the Wildcats are going to be down for that.
DW: What can we expect from the show?
TJM: It’s a mix of absurdism, observational comedy and car horn noises. And then there’s going to be a lot of riffing and crowd work. I like to ask students about the school. So you’re going to come, you’re going to participate, and you’re definitely going to see a show that I will not perform ever again.
I want everything to be looser, more in-and-of the moment, more spontaneous and more about that audience and that night. That’s why I’m asking you to rip your attention away from the screen, because I’m going to offer you something that you’re not going to be able to see in my, you know, next HBO special, or whatever.
To see Miller perform his new comedy show at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., get your tickets here.
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