David Koechner, 'Piranha 3DD' Star, On The Time He Refused To Do An 'SNL' Sketch


David Koechner sure is a straight shooter. Folksy-speak aside (which sometimes happens when I speak to a fellow Missouri native, as Koechner is), being a straight shooter -- as Koechner explains -- may have cost him a second season on "Saturday Night Live." Put it this way: It takes some balls to say "no" to a sketch during your rookie season.

Koechner stars in this weekend's new release/gore fest, "Piranha 3DD." Normally, this is where I would give you some sort of character name or description, but all you need to know about "Piranha 3DD" is really in the title. Ahead, a frank and candid Koechner explains why his first season of "SNL" (which was also the first season of his "Anchorman" co-star, Will Ferrell) was also his only season, and reveals that we may be seeing a lot more of Koechner's "Office" alter ego, Todd F. Packer, next season.

(We also discussed an upcoming movie that you may have heard of called "Anchorman 2," which you can read here.)

I love that you're from Tipton, Missouri.
Thank you. Are you from Missouri?

Originally, yes. And lived in a town called Eldon during elementary school.
No way! Holy shit, we used to play Eldon in football and baseball.

The Mustangs.
The Mustangs! That's so funny.

So, when you get the script for "Piranha 3DD," before you read it, are you thinking, I bet my character gets eaten by a piranha?
[Laughs] You hope so! You get a script like that and you hope that you die "well."

I have to admit, I didn't see that ending coming, as far as the fate of your character is concerned.
Surprise! There were several ideas and that's the one they finally settled on.

What were the other options?
One option was that I was holding the naked woman on my shoulders, because she jumped on my shoulders to get away from the piranha. But, her genitals were facing my face. So, we decided that maybe we should change that.

I can see why that would be a topic of discussion.
Yeah, it might have been a little much.

But there really aren't many lines drawn in this movie.
No! It's pretty raw. It comes right at you. For a genre film, the genre lovers will love it.

Your wardrobe in this movie is fascinating.
Oh, the wardrobe. It was ugly and I loved it. That was gorgeous and awful -- that was one of my favorite things.

Did you take some of that home?
Yeah, every piece.

Your career is interesting because most people know you for comedy, but you've carved a niche as the "dick" in horror movies.
Yeah, exactly. And that's fun for me. I love bouncing between different genres. And comedy, obviously, is something I enjoy doing the most and I've had the most success with. But I'm open to all jobs and all genres.

When you were offered your first horror movie, were you at all hesitant?
No, I was not hesitant. I have a wife and five children, so, if there's work, chances are daddy's going to go do it.

I'd like to see you in more things.
Well, thank you. I never sweat about work. I just assume work's coming.

And that's worked out so far?
I've been pretty fortunate. Blessed. You know, I think I'm going to be doing a lot more of "The Office," which is great because I get to be in town and home with my family. So, I would love to be on a sitcom steadily. That way, you know, you work at home and that's always a great thing.

Last we saw Todd Packer, he was in dire straits.
Yeah, they keep trying to dangle that character this way and that way. It's a nice puppet play, isn't it?

Since Steve Carell left, "The Office" seems to still be trying to find its voice.
That's what people are saying. You know, every series goes through its transitions. And people, it sounds like, have decided that it was a transition year last year. And, obviously, it was for a lot of different reasons. But they're bringing it back, whether or not it's the last season, I don't know. I hope to be on it a lot more. It's been mentioned that that's going to happen. We'll see. It's not 100 percent, but, my understanding is that I'm back for some more.

During your season on "SNL," I was at Mizzou and we were all quite happy that you were on the show.
Aw. "A Missouri boy!"

What happened? Why didn't you come back for a second season?
I said "no" to a couple of things on the show, which they don't like. And it was the first year that there was late night competition. My first year was the first year that "MADtv" came on the scene and Howard Stern was doing a late night show. So, ratings dipped a little bit. And there was a whole new cast. It was the first time in probably 20 years that the West Coast had an ability to strong arm Lorne. And Lorne had no interest in letting me go -- he wanted to keep me. But there was a guy named Don Ohlmeyer out on NBC West Coast who wasn't a fan of mine and he wanted me off.

He didn't like Norm Macdonald either.
Yeah, same with Norm. And guess what? He lost his job, too.

Will Ferrell and yourself started at the same time. That could have been a nice run, because we've obviously seen what you two have done together since with "Anchorman."
You're so right. But, you know what, life has a funny way of working out. I met my wife six months after being off of the show, so, that's the way it was supposed to be.

I have to ask, what exactly did you say "no" to?
Well, they wanted one of my characters to do a talk show. And I was of the opinion that that's what was wrong with the show. "We've got too many talk shows! We need to do more scenes!" [Laughs] They didn't give a shit about what I wanted. Like, "Here boy, do what we tell you!"

That's really bold.
Or was it really stupid?

I'm going to refrain on answering that.
[Laughing] But, you know what, you won't suffer from an opinion from me. I'll give you one. So, that's fine with me. I don't like people who don't have opinions. You can't trust them, right? You always know where you stand with me. I'll let you know. Nothing trumps honesty, as far as I'm concerned.

Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.


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