'Cars 2,' this summer's Pixar entry, hits theaters today. (See our review here.) Moviefone was lucky enough to talk with the animated sequel's star, Larry the Cable Guy, who plays trusty ol' pickup Mater.
We got to ask him about meeting real-life cable guys named Larry, what comedians he loves and the appeal of performing in kids movies. Enjoy!
Moviefone: In the movie, Mater goes to a fancy party and he makes some faux pas. Did you relate to that coming up in Hollywood?
Larry the Cable Guy: Oh man, I've been to a lot of parties for Comedy Central and, look, when you do anything out here they always have a wrap party. So I have been to parties and that's [how] I voiced Mater at that thing -- I took from my experience at all those. I feel really out of place at those things. I'm not a party guy and I'm not a Hollywood guy either.
Is there an incident that sticks out?
Peeing in a planter. Is that wrong?
The message at the end of the movie is neutral on alternative fuel. What did you think of that?
I didn't think anything of it really. [Director] John [Lasseter]'s not the kind of guy -- and I know this because I hang out with John -- he's not the kind of guy to put the message first and write the movie behind the message. John's the kind of guy to write a good movie and look for a villain for the movie and what's a good villain in a film about cars? Fuel. It's gonna come from some kind of fuel. If I thought it was an agenda movie, I would have said, 'John, I don't want to do an agenda movie.' It's just a fun movie that just so happens in this day and age to be relevant. When John started this movie, gas was not through the roof. Only in the last six months, last year I guess, has it gone through the roof. It's just a coincidence that gas is the way gas is and this movie has a gas theme. I don't think they did it to be an agenda movie. I think it just so happens to be relevant right now.
Have you ever hashed out what it means that this is an entire universe just made up of cars? Where are the people?
I've never really thought about that. That's a fun conversation to have at a bar when you're drunk one night. [Laughs] It's a good conversation piece but I've never thought about it. It's a cool movie and a world of cars and I watch it and think it's awesome.
Did you ever work on cars?
Nope. I'm a huge NASCAR fan, but I'm not a gearhead. I've never been into fixing cars. It's not because I don't like it. I would love to know more. It's just my dad never taught me that stuff because my dad wasn't a mechanic. I love it, though. I love driving cars and hearing about NASCAR. I like all that stuff.
What's your favorite Pixar movie?
'The Incredibles.' I'll tell you why. If you're asking people my age, it's kind of like people my age would love that movie. It's about mid-life crises. My wife and I always laugh because of crazy Nelson in the beginning of that movie. Remember he's trying to get the microphone? It was so hilarious. It was just one of those scenes where you're like, This is so funny.
Have you ever had to call an actual cable guy and been sheepish about it?
[Laughs] No, no. Never. One time the cable guy came to my ex-girlfriend's house in Orlando and I opened the door and was like, 'Are you Larry? The cable guy?' And he was like, 'Oh boy. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that shit.' Evidently he hears it all the time. That's what they get for not being at the house on time.
Whose stand-up are you really enjoying right now? Not a friend but just as a fellow comedian.
Well, usually anyone that I see is my friend. I like a lot of stuff. I don't really get to see a lot of other comedians because I work with the same people all the time. The guy I really like is Nick DiPaulo. I love Nick DiPaulo, but again, he's a buddy of mine. But I liked him for a long time. I liked him before he was a buddy of mine. We met way back in the '90s. I like Nick. I like his view on life.
Have you gone on any comedy podcasts?
I've done so many interviews. Some of them might have been podcasts.
Have you heard of the WTF podcast with Marc Maron?
Marc Maron? I can't remember where I worked with him. It might have been Montreal. He's a really nice guy. I enjoy him. I don't know what we did together, but I remember we had a conversation and he was nice. I'd heard he's got a podcast.
It can get very real.
With Carlos Mencia, he asked him why he steals jokes.
Really? Wow. [Laughs] I hope Mencia said, 'Because I do 'em better than anybody.'
Would you go on it?
I don't know. Yes. Look, I'll do whatever. If he wants me to do it and it won't take a lot of time out my day when I need to be at home with the kids then sure.
What's great about doing a kids movie? Is it having your kids see it?
Doing a kid's movie is fun when you have kids. You don't want to do kids movies if you don't have kids. When you have kids, things change in your life. Do you have kids?
Well, see you have no idea what I'm talking about. Something changes. I don't know what it is but things change in your life. The way you think, the way you do things. It's no longer about you. It's about somebody else. It's cool that I'm doing kid's movies now because it's something my kids can go and watch me in and enjoy. I never used to care about that. I never could have cared less about that but now I'll think, 'Should I do this joke? Nah.' I can't do that joke because my kids might hear it. And then people go, "Well, yeah thanks a lot. You know, I have kids." But you know what? I didn't have kids. If you do not have kids, you don't know what you're talking about. It's only after you have kids that things start to change and you start to look at things like that. I love doing kid's movies. Plus, they'll be around forever and ever, long after I'm dead, gone. My kids will still have those memories and CDs and DVDs. They can show their kids, my grandkids. It's something that we'll always have. It's different than the 1700s, 1800s. They would die and so forth and so on, nobody was ever on tape, no video, no voice was ever recorded. But they'll always have my voice and that's kind of a cool thing.
Do your kids see you as Mater? Do they make the connection?
Yeah, when we're driving into L.A. and the billboards are up, they say, 'There's Daddy! There's Daddy!' Whenever they see Mater, they call him 'Daddy' which is cool because they're the only kids in the world who can go to school and hold up Mater and say, 'That's my dad.' It's cool. I like doing stuff for kids and I obviously love doing jokes for adults as well. It gives me a pretty big, wide range of things to do.
Are you happy with your work on the 'Cars' movies?
Oh yeah, by far. You have a lot of huge celebrities that would love to do a Pixar movie and they've never done one. Not only have I done one but I've done two, and I'm the main character in one of them, so it's just awesome. And not only that, but it's the largest-selling as far as merchandise -- it's the largest-selling cartoon ever. It's unbelievable. It's just unbelievable, so I'm very thankful.