America knows an inappropriate traveling paper salesman named Todd Packer and a loudmouthed sportscaster in a tall cowboy hat named Champ Kind. But only few have gone inside the true, brilliantly bizarre mind of David Koechner.
On Friday night, Koechner will open his mental vault for Chicago when he takes the stage at Park West to conclude his 10-city "Together Again" comedy tour, featuring opener Matt Dwyer and musician Andy Paley to create an experience Koechner calls "full-scale entertainment."
"It's tough to describe our tour," he added. "Stand-up, impressions, characters, audience interaction, musical bits ... I just feel my way through it, be inventive and make sure it's never the same show. I find that spark between myself and the audience and find ways to go down a different pathway no one expected."
More than anything, Koechner misses Chicago and his countless 2 a.m. hangouts with fellow comedians at Old Town Ale House across the street from The Second City.
"Ah, I miss everything," he interjected. "It's my favorite place in the country ... my favorite town I like to say. It's just got that feel. New York as a city is unique and special but Chicago is the greatest.
Koechner also can be seen throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon. "I'll probably throw a knuckleball and make it really hard on whoever is catching it," he said.
Q: Which of your roles are you least like in real life?
A: Champ Kind and Todd Packer. I'm not like those guys even a little bit.
Q: I liked you as the manager of a Shenanigans in "Waiting."
A: I'm actually more like that character because I've worked in tons of restaurants, so that was actually drawing from real experience.
Q: Do you ever use Champ Kind catchphrases in the bedroom?
A: That would make my wife so sad.
Q: No I just meant, like, when you're setting an alarm or whatever.
A: My son Sergeant told me to say "whammy" 'cause his friend was over the other day. They do and don't understand what that is about."
Q: What's more insulting to your brand of comedy: Intense hecklers at a stand-up show or negative YouTube comments on your videos?
A: If there is positivity, I'll read it but I don't care about haters. They're sad and lonely. What's the purpose of putting crappy stuff out? You can be quiet or you can leave. I don't engage. You're ruining the experience for everyone around you.
Q: OK, well, I've compiled a few user comments underneath some of your "Always Open" videos. Let's respond to them.
Q: "Wearing a hat inside a restaurant is rude!"
A: Oh wow. This is the modern world. I don't stand on ceremony. Why is it rude? That's all you can come up with?
Q: "The worst part of this video ... is the ad we HAVE to watch before it."
A: I'd agree.
Q: "The only reason I'm watching this is because of Amy Poehler."
A: That makes it very watchable. I agree. I also don't even care about your opinion.
Q: "You should get killed if you thumb these videos down."
A: I think there are a lot more important things to focus on instead of whether a video is good or bad. It's not a life-or-death situation.
Q: "Why does everyone sound drunk on these?"
A: I dunno. Sounds to me that person must be drunk.
>>David Koechner "Together Again" comedy tour
7:30 p.m. Friday at Park West (322 W. Armitage Ave. 773.929.5959)
Tickets: $25, parkwestchicago.com
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