There is no more terrible fate for a comedian than to be taken seriously.
I play a lot of those parts, and it’s a chicken-and-egg thing. I don’t know whether you get scary because you play those parts or did you get those parts because you were scary? But I do believe that there’s a very close connection to what’s scary and what’s funny. So I think if you have the ability to do one, you might have the ability to do the other.
I have a theory, that there is a terrific link between what is funny and what is scary. I think there is a very close connection between what frightens people and what makes them laugh. Laughter is a kind of nervousness. Animals don’t laugh. Smiling is, anthropologists agree, directly linked to the baring of the teeth.
It’s a natural aspect of the marketplace. It’s always been that way in storytelling. The guy who was good at playing the lover plays the lover, the funny guy gets the comic role. Movies are so expensive, when they put them together they want to have a couple of solid blocks in what they’re building. I accept that. In theater, though, I tend to look for other things, I think I tend to be best in comedy.
It’s funny when you’ve got to sit down and write something that’s funny you think “Oh God…” That terrible need to be funny all the time. And when you’ve got to do something serious “Now hang on, wouldn’t it be funny if we did this…” I remember my history master at high school used to send back my essays saying “Adams please, more facts and less jokes.”