Comedian H. Jon Benjamin, voice actor star of the animated bangers Archer and Bob's Burgers, has a new live-action show, Jon Benjamin Has A Van. It premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m on ComedyCentral.
This feature appears in Complex's June/July 2011 issue.
I came to performing very late—it was never an objective to be a comedian. I’m not sure I had any agenda; for about six months I wanted to be a rabbi. I also wanted to be an astronaut. They’re both ridiculous professions... But if you could send a rabbi to the moon, now we’re talking. Somehow I’ve developed a certain amount of pride in my work. I get some positive feedback. You seem to like me.
A lot of people who aren’t typically funny are the funniest people to me. Hardship might help. Most people I know who are funny are obviously fucked up... But I don’t think hardship necessarily produces humor. I know people who have had hard lives, some of whom are really not funny. In my case, I don’t even know what “problems” mean. It’s a completely foreign concept to me. And I’m apparently funny, so there you go.
I enjoyed not taking jobs for a long time. When you look back, you’re like, “Oh my god, I could have made so much money that I wouldn’t have to rent now!” It’s my personality. I like being scarce... But it’s not some sort of a scheme to keep myself exclusive, like numbering my lithographs. Even with this show, I have a hard time committing to something for a long time. Thankfully there are people who pick up the slack.
Everyone who works on Archer looks like their characters—across the board—except me. I’m not attractive enough for animation. As if I didn’t feel bad enough about myself. I have eyes. I can see myself—every day. I really am starting to feel it. I feel less and less attractive every day. It’s rough... But I’m trying to get through it, and putting a picture of myself on a van is the only way I know how.