Bill Hader is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in comedy, thanks to post-SNL star turns in Trainwreck, and IFC’s Documentary Now! But there was a time, before Stefon made him a household name, when he was a just another kid finding his way in life. Unlike some of his peers, it took him years to discover his talent for comedy. In the meantime, he worked a long slog of bizarre jobs that had him crossing paths with everyone from a washed up Frog Brother to a perverted Terminator. Thankfully, he isn’t shy about sharing those stories. Before you catch this week’s brand new episode of Documentary Now!, check out a few of the strange jobs Bill took on his way to stardom.
1. Movie Theater Usher Who Spoiled the Ending of Titanic
Hader worked as an usher at a theater while attending Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. As he revealed in a recent interview, he would often get fed up with the obnoxious moviegoers. One time, a group of sorority girls were blocking the exit and being really rude, so he tore up their tickets and told them, “The boat sinks, Leo dies, the old lady — that’s Kate Winslet — she has a jewel and she throws in the water at the end, so that’s where that goes!'” Hader said his stoner boss had no choice but to fire him for ruining the end of Titanic.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Assistant on Collateral Damage
Hader served as the former Governator’s personal assistant in a Mexican jungle while shooting the action flop Collateral Damage. As he told author Mike Sacks in the book Poking a Dead Frog, he mostly remembers fighting to get Schwarzenegger to set on time. At the time, Arnold was obsessed with learning chess, and preferred to stay in his trailer and play with an instructor for hours on end. Frustrated, Hader started slipping the chess teacher notes that said “Lose!” in order to get Arnie to set. It worked for a bit, until Arnold asked to read one of the slips of paper, and then just muttered, “we play another game.”
3. Crew Member on the First Season of The Surreal Life
Hader worked in post-production on the depressing debut season of The Surreal Life, and still has regrets about it. During the wrap party for the show, a nervous Corey Feldman offered him $2,000 to bring a cut of the show to his house before it was turned in to the network, so he and his lawyers could review it. Tipsy, Hader responded, “Corey, you don’t have $2,000.” Everyone laughed, but Hader quickly realized what a jerk he’d been.
4. Chauffeur for the “Sweep the Leg” Guy from The Karate Kid
Hader told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast that one of the first jobs he had in LA was driving around Martin Kove, aka the leader of the Cobra Kai dojo in The Karate Kid, while he was filming some lousy B-movie. Apparently, Kove got Hader lost on purpose so he could actually read the script before getting to set. Hader got in hot water with his boss for showing up late with the “star,” and so on the way home, Kove tried to make it up to Bill by offering to buy him a McDonald’s milkshake and cookie. So Hader stopped at a McDonald’s, but when Kove came out of the restaurant, he treated poor Bill like Daniel-san and ate the cookie and drank the milkshake right in front of him and told him to just drive. Hader described it as a “weird mind f*ck,” and his first “welcome to Hollywood” moment.
5. Coffee Guy for Porn Stars
Hader worked for a time on a call-in sex show for the Playboy channel called Night Calls. Two porn star hosts would field calls from home viewers, who would share their fantasies that would be enacted by other porn stars. You know, good ol’ fashioned entertainment. Hader’s friend who got him the gig warned him that while the show sounded awesome, working there was a “total bummer.” Hader’s job was mainly bringing the porn stars coffee and magazines, and getting them ready to act out the fantasies. He quit after two or three shows, in an effort to avoid disappointing his parents.