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Monday, 26 March 2012 15:41

TJ Miller Battles Hecklers, Comes to Grand Rapids This Month

Written by  Josh deLacy

A heckler in Atlanta once punched TJ Miller in the face. During another stand-up show in Myrtle Beach, a woman slapped her watch and shouted, "You got 15 minutes to say something funny!"

But despite these occasional abuses from his audiences, TJ Miller is devoted to comedy. When he isn't performing stand-up in L.A.'s comedy clubs, he is touring or filming or producing some other form of humor.

"I think having a strong work ethic is the easiest way for a mildly talented guy like myself to become successful," Miller said. "I also just like doing comedy -- it's so fun. And it's so interesting."

And Miller has plenty of experience with comedy. A high school drama class introduced him to stand-up. He then joined the sketch comedy and improv group, receSs, at George Washington University, where he "mostly did comedy and partied."

After finishing his undergrad, he studied classical acting at Oxford's British American Drama Academy and circus arts -- yes, circus arts -- at Friches theatre Urbain in Paris.

"I've always tried, even if I've been unsuccessful, to just be open to any medium of comedy as performance," Miller said. "I'd love to be at least a little bit good at everything."

If his past work is any indication, he's well on his way to achieving that dream. He has roles in She's Out of My League, Cloverfield, How to Train Your Dragon and Get Him to the Greek, to name a few. He released the satirical The Extended Play E.P. last September, a 41-track album featuring Miller as a deliberately awful and hilarious rapper. He also wrote and produced several short films, including "Successful Alcoholics."

"Comedy can be so many different kinds of things," Miller said.

Some of his work, such as "Successful Alcoholics," he described as "comedy with a little bit of substance to it."

The short presents a humorous -- yet dark and poignant -- view of alcoholism and loyalty.

"You can talk about serious stuff -- you do, [but using comedy to do so] takes you on more of a ride, because I think sometimes it's a gentler way to talk to somebody.

"I just like comedy," Miller added. "I like making really silly faces. I think that's my favorite-silly faces. Crossing my eyes, sticking my tongue out."

Miller is currently working on the film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World with Steve Carell and Keira Knightly and co-starring in the R-rated stop-motion Hell and Back with Nick Swardson. He is also hosting and producing eight episodes of "Mash Up" for Comedy Central and was cast as a lead in Fox's upcoming comedy pilot, "Little Brother."

 

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