Bill Hader on the Real-Life Arrest That Later Inspired His ‘Superbad’ Cop Character

With the premiere of the final season of 'Barry' just days away, Bill Hader looks back on a real-life arrest that later inspired his 'Superbad' character.

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Bill Hader will soon be seen in the fourth and final season of Barry, no doubt one of the most creatively accomplished series in recent memory. But first, he’s looking back on a fateful arrest that later served as the inspiration for his character in Superbad.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, Hader was asked (around the 10:40 mark in the video above) if he’s ever been arrested. As Barry fans will note, this question makes sense given how Season 3 of the acclaimed HBO series closed out.

“Yes, oh yes,” Hader told Kimmel before diving into the full story. Per Hader, his father years ago told him and his friends about a prank he pulled when he was younger involving a pair of trash cans and some undetectable wire. In short, Hader’s father once took two trash cans and put a fishing wire between them on either side of the street, thus causing the cans to slam into the sides of cars as they passed through the area.

Understandably, Hader and his friends, despite his father’s advice, immediately tried to replicate this prank in Tulsa.

“My friends and I ran out, we got two trash cans,” Hader said. “But [my father] meant, like, a residential street. We put it across a thoroughfare, a four-lane street. And instead of a fishing line, we had this giant piece of rope that went across. We’re like, ‘Oh, this isn’t working. That’s weird.’ So we’re like, ‘Oh, as a car goes by, we’ll pull the trash cans, one guy on the other side. And then the rope will come up and a car will go through it. It’ll be hilarious!’”

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On the evening in question, a car did indeed come up, at which point Hader and his friends put their plan in motion.

“A car goes through; it’s a cop car,” Hader said. “The rope is too long so the trash cans go behind the car and they bang into each other. … It scared the shit out of this cop.”

From there, Hader’s friends ran away. Hader, meanwhile, decided to try to play it cool by leaning against his car while smoking a cigarette.

“[The cop] drives up with the trash cans and he gets out, like, freaked out,” Hader said. “I’m like, ‘Is something wrong, sir? What’s going on? I heard something down there.’ He was like, ‘Fuck you!’”

In addition to being arrested, Hader said the cop made him pick up beer cans as a punishment. But it was a key facet of the cop’s appearance that later returned in cinematic form in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s 2007 comedy Superbad.

“There were Natty Light cans,” Hader recalled of his surroundings at the time. “He was like ‘What, are y’all on a budget?’ But I’ll tell you, that guy had glasses and everything and that is the guy that I based my character in Superbad on.”

See more up top. Barry is back this Sunday on HBO with a two-episode premiere.

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