Jason Sudeikis is famous for being an a**hole. The Saturday Night Live cast member might be best known as half of the "Two A-Holes" sketch, along with partner Kristen Wiig. Jason also played a jerk when LeBron James hosted SNL. As a surly crewman desperate to show off his hoop skills, Jason tried to intimidate LeBron with the line, "I'm a lefty from Kansas!" In his new movie Rocker, opening August 20th, Sudeikis plays, duh, an a**hole. He's a slimy record company exec who hits on Christina Applegate and tries to ruin Rainn Wilson's musical career.
In real life, Jason is not an a**hole. He is, however, a lefty from Kansas. Sudeikis grew up a Jayhawks fan in suburban Kansas City, playing point guard at Shawnee Mission West High School. He even played two years of JuCo hoops before realizing that his future was on stage, not the court. After a few unseemly questions about Christina Applegate's wardrobe, we got to what really matters: KU's awesome championship run in 2008.
ESPNMAG: The night Kansas played North Carolina in the Final Four, you had a show, right?
Jason Sudeikis: I did.
MAG: Did you already know that KU had beat the Tarheels?
JS: Oh yeah. I was getting updates all the time. But I didn't get to see a single bit of that game. I didn't get to see a single bit of the championship game, either.
MAG: Really? Mario Chalmers hit this big shot at the end of regulation.
JS: (Laughs) That night, I was filming an exterior scene for 30 Rock, an episode from last season. At that point, I had given up all hope of being the guy running around, trying not to hear the score, then going home to watch the game. I knew I was going to get text messages from everybody. There was no way to avoid it. I decided to be in the moment. So, my wife was texting me score updates. A friend, a writer on the show, his wife let me know when it went into overtime.
MAG: That must have been something. Kind of agony.
JS: But even if I had been that guy…with his hands over his ears…and everyone on the set knew not to tell me the score, it still would have been blown. When I was on my way home, at about 85th and West End,some guy comes roaring down the Westside Highway. His horns are blaring and he's yelling "JAAAAYYYHAWKS!" So, you know, I never would have made it.
MAG: As a Kansas boy who lives in New York City, have you had experiences with New York maybe not being such a nice place?
JS: Well, I do believe that quote "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" I mean, my job is tough as hell. The city is tough as hell, you know? Here's an example. Last Sunday, I bought a bike. Locked it up. Three hours later, the seat's stolen. Gone. Three hours. Like, it's a mean son-of-a-bitch, New York, but it's also so powerful. Imagine what it'd be like living inside a president. It's this very impressive person, this impressive town. It's a force to be reckoned with.
MAG: When did you get the sense that you could make it here? Even a little bit.
JS: Probably when Kay, my wife, moved from LA. I was living in midtown and we moved to the West Village. You walk outside the door and there are, like, 17 amazing restaurants that I could literally hit with a baseball. But Midtown is… just, it's much more crowded and complicated. Once I walked out of my house into to the Puerto Rican Day parade. It was usually a five-minute walk to work, but that day it took me a half-hour to get to 30 Rock.
MAG: Is the writers room on SNL is just like they show it on 30 Rock, everybody acting crazy?
JS: I think we have way more fun. We laugh more.
MAG: So it's really all that goofing around, throwing the football and all that stuff?
JS: Oh yeah, it's madness. We still have this Jazzy that was Horatio Sans'. Everybody likes tooling around on that.
MAG: When did you know you would make it on the show?
JS: I auditioned to get the writing job. I auditioned for "Weekend Update". Then I auditioned again. They gave me the writing job, but didn't hire me as a actor. So I felt, to use the sports term here, like I got red-shirted.
MAG: For like 35, 37 shows, right? And that changed when? You got a call from Lorne Michaels?
JS: Yeah. I took a shower before I called him back because I wanted to be awake. I had this old-school answering machine. I'm sleeping. My friend Katie, who is one of his assistants, calls and said "Hey, Sudeikis, give me a call." I'm like, "Zzzzzzzz." Then she says "…I have Lorne Michaels for you." It was like pop up, take a shower. I called my wife and left a message that I'd call her back in ten minutes and didn't know what the news would be. I didn't know what he was going to say. I thought maybe he would say "We're done working with you."
MAG: So what are your goals now? You got this movie Rocker coming out. You've already made another film. What's the plan? You get starring roles, move to Hollywood and develop a massive coke habit? Your hairstylist will have a hairstylist? That kind of thing?
JS: Yup, the whole True Hollywood Story.
MAG: But, seriously, what are your goals?
JS: You know, really, just to keep having fun, to keep working with people I really respect. I know it sounds corny, but that's the genuine goal.