Interview with Zoolander 2’s Kyle Mooney

PHOTO by: Dave Allocca/StarPix

The Internet was caught off guard last year when the first teaser trailer dropped announcing that after well over a decade, Zoolander was finally getting a sequel. As time went on there were more and more reasons to be excited as a Zoolander fan. Not only were we getting Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell back to reprise their roles as Derek Zoolander, Hansel, and Mugatu, respectively, we were also getting some fresh new faces and comedy superstars to join the cast like Kristen Wiig, Fred Armesin, and current SNL mainstay Kyle Mooney. We had the tremendous honor of interviewing Kyle Mooney and got to talk a little about comedy, SNL, friendship, and how surreal it was for him to join the cast of one of his favorite comedy franchises.

I have to start by saying that I am personally a huge fan of Kyle’s work on SNL and in Zoolander 2. With his more new age or alternative style of comedy, I wanted to ask him about how he classifies his comedic style and whether or not it is difficult to get some of his material on Saturday Night Live.

“Myself and my friends who I work with, we’ve always operated under the guise of like make stuff that would make us laugh and make our friends laugh. Without really taking into consideration what is alternative or what is mainstream. There’s still certainty like some of our stuff like on the TV show won’t play for studio audiences because it is different, so there is a struggle sometimes for sure.”

During interviews I had watched leading up to my chance to talk to Kyle, I noticed that even in the seriousness of some questions or situations, he is still constantly making jokes, whether they are for the people watching or just for himself, I cannot tell. There is so much more to his comedy than your average person might expect from just the small glimpses you get on SNL. Out of curiosity, I wanted to know whether he has always known that he was going to be a comedian from a young age.

“I don’t know… I guess kids in school and elementary school thought I was funny, but I didn’t know that I’d ever pursue comedy per se. I actually wanted to work in music. I was in a hip hop group in high school and interestingly when I got into college, my dad’s house burned down and all of my records were in it and all of my equipment. But it just so happened that same week were the auditions for the school’s improv group and I auditioned for it and then I kind of met some of the dudes I still work with today like Beck Bennett.

Many people don’t know that Kyle and fellow SNL player Beck have been working together, making videos online long before hitting studio 8H in New York. As kids we all believe that we are going to be pro athletes or get famous in a band, and for many of us, we all want to imagine that our friends will be right there with us. Unfortunately many fall short of these dreams, and many of the ones who actually make it RARELY end up able to say they made it to the top of the mountain with their friends. I asked Kyle if he can talk a little bit about living the dream of “making it” and being able to have his friends with him.

“It’s the best. It certainly makes what could be and still is an incredibly intimidating job and make it more comfortable, or easier in a way you know you kinda have this team already in place that kind of aligns with you in terms of sensibility and stuff like that. It’s the best. It was myself, Nick Ruthuford, Beck Bennett and then my friend, Dave Carry, directs videos on the show. We all kind of were making comedy together in and around college, basically. We always wanted to make stuff together so it just worked out and all those dudes still make me laugh and I still enjoy working with them.”

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I had heard before that long before this opportunity to join the cast of Zoolander 2, Kyle was a fan of the original movie. In Zoolander 2 he plays a character named Don Atari. In my opinion this character was perfect for Kyle’s comedic disposition. I asked him how he landed the role. Did he seek it out? Did it come about through SNL?

“As far as I know, Ben was aware of my work and we met in New York and I read the script. We talked about the role and I was basically like, ‘Maybe I can just make a tape of me taking a stab at Don Atari.’ That’s what I did and we met again not too long after I was offered the role.” He continued about his excitement joining the cast of a film franchise he loved. “With Zoolander I was super fortunate. In my freshman year of college, we watched the first movie, the special features over and over again. It’s one of those things I wouldn’t have even wished for almost, because it doesn’t even seem super realistic to be working with Ferrell, Ben, Owen, Kristen and everybody.”

As my interview time with Kyle was unfortunately coming to an end, I just wanted to give Kyle time to reflect on his experience filming Zoolander 2. I asked if there were any awesome story’s he had about his time in Rome that he had not gotten to tell yet.

“The highlights were being in Rome; I had never been to Italy before. It was like my first movie really on location and far away. So the cool thing is that like all the actors, when not working we’re kind of like either hanging out with each other. It was kind of fun to make friends with people I would have normally, ya know? Billy Zane and I would spend the day together, Andy Dick and I went to the Vatican together. It was really rad, the whole experience was really cool. Ben was so encouraging. Even before we shot the movie, we shot some Internet stuff in Rome and then afterward, we put together this Instagram for Don Atari.”

While reviews for the movie Zoolander 2 itself are up for debate, I personally felt it was worth the price of admission for the seemingly endless amount of amazing guest cameos and callbacks to the original movie, which will always be a classic and change the way many of us will forever hear Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax‘. Kyle Mooney was a definite highlight of the new film as Don Atari and I genuinely hope to see him continue making the successful transition of his unique style of comedy to the big screen.

Zoolander 2 is now available on Digital Download. The Blu-ray is available on May 24th.

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Cory Vincent
Cory Vincent 434 posts

Forged in the crucible of awkwardness and self loathing, Cory somehow manages to get himself out of bed each day and make it a priority to spend life killing Beef and going H.A.M.