4 June 1981, Denver, Colorado, USA
Todd Joseph Miller
A comedian. Improvisation, Sketch and Stand-up comedy are his forte.Todd Joseph Miller was born in Denver, Colorado, to Leslie, a clinical psychologist, and Kent Miller, an attorney. He went to East High School, and college in Washington, D.C. There, he performed with the group receSs for 4 years, being the only person in his class out of 100 to au...
A comedian. Improvisation, Sketch and Stand-up comedy are his forte.Todd Joseph Miller was born in Denver, Colorado, to Leslie, a clinical psychologist, and Kent Miller, an attorney. He went to East High School, and college in Washington, D.C. There, he performed with the group receSs for 4 years, being the only person in his class out of 100 to audition and be accepted into the group. He remained the sole member of receSs until his junior year, when he was joined by Michael "Tuck The Ruckus" Tokaruk, an acclaimed comedian and equestrian, who taught T.J. how to ride a horse, a pastime he calls "droll." He met his future wife, Kate Gorney, when they performed in "A Chorus Line" in university production of the musical. She played The Ballerina (being an accomplished ballerina herself) and he played Richie, the African American character. He credits the casting to East High School, which was a primarily black and Latino high school, and also that no black people auditioned for the part.During his Time in the nation's capital, he studied classical acting at B.A.D.A in Oxford, England and circus arts at Frichess Theatre Urbain. He was outstanding in the field of Stilt Walking, but was never able to execute any trick, at all, on Trapeze. He is an accomplished Clown and Juggler, having mastered 5 ball juggling, over fifty 3-ball tricks, clubs, torches, knives, and his specialty (which garnered him a Magician Membership to The Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA) Cigar Boxes.After graduating with honors (a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Persuasion Theory and Social Influence) he moved to Chicago where he began performing with independent improvisation teams such as the group Chuckle Sandwich, the i.o. house team Bullet Lounge, The sketch group Heavy Weight (with Mark Raterman, Nick Vatterott & Brady Novak). He toured with Second City for almost 2 years (though he was never a company member of the MainStage), and during that time he missed over 15 flights to various cities the company toured to. During his time in Chicago, he performed Standup every night for almost 4 years, never taking a night off even on Holidays. He became a regular at Chicago's famed alternative room The Lincoln Lodge, and only performed at Chicago's Zanies Comedy Club 3 times in 4 years, apparently because they had an aversion to his absurdist style.Miller's first appearance on television was on The Standard Deviants, a PBS show aimed at providing educational DVDs and programming for schools. He played a knight and a dinosaur detective.Proficient in every medium of comedy (he considers even 'acting' simply another medium of comedy) he is also a Voice Over Artist, having worked for Old Style, Mucinex, Cars.com among other brands as well as in feature films & animated television shows.In 2011 he produced a 42 track E.P. entitled "The Extended Play E.P." with Comedy Central Records, a Folk/Pop/Hip Hop concept album, which he describes as satirical; aimed at celebrities that cross over into other mediums they have no business being in simply because of their brand name (he also considers himself "a proponent of the semicolon, "it is underused and feared for no particular reason"). He then remixed this album with Illegal Art, a legitimate music label, enlisting the roster of artists on the label (including the godfather of sampling, "Steinski") the same year. According to him, this was to prove that the album, when given to actual musicians, became superior to the original, in addition to satirizing artists that remix one song and sell it to listeners multiple times.He considers his greatest performance to be his portrayal of Ranger Jones, in Yogi Bear 3D, which filmed in New Zealand and wrapped shortly before his seizure that led to the discovery of an AVM (which he alleges confirmed rather than initiated his Absurdist Philosophy). He has stated multiple times that it was the pinnacle of his artistic career, and that "it's in some ways comforting to have reached the pinnacle of his career so early on" and that is has been all downhill since that point.Aside from being a major proponent of Denver, his hometown, he has done extensive charity work and continues to visit East High School, where he did his first stand-up performance in drama class. He credits his teacher, Melody Duggan, for much of his success and thanked her specifically in his speech when he won a Critic's Choice Award for best supporting actor in a comedy series (For HBO's Silicon Valley).He frequently cites his compulsive and almost pathologically driven work ethic as an altruistic effort to distract people from the tragedy that permeates everyday life, and believed that comedy would be more of a contribution than psychology, since instead of affecting only at most a few hundred people dramatically, he can affect millions of people in small increments.He has publicly stated he believes "Comedians are the new philosophers" and that academic philosophers are no longer relevant. However, he is a student of philosophy and subscribes to the ethical philosophy of John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism), which states that one should make the most amount happiness for the most amount of people, which he cites as one of the reasons he made the his decision to be a comedian. His stand-up (as of 2015) is aimed at "discussing Time and the release of the death anxiety." By the age of 33 he had read all of Nietzsche's works, and considers himself an Absurdist with philosophical roots in Nihilism.He resides in Los Angeles, where he struggles to make meaning in an uncertain world.
I consider myself to be one of if not THE foremost talking bear comedian(s) in The United States. There is a guy in Canada, but he sucks.
I consider myself to be one of if not THE foremost talking bear comedian(s) in The United States. There is a guy in Canada, but he sucks.
I have perfectly symmetrical ankles.
I have perfectly symmetrical ankles.
(2011, on Cloverfield) I didn't even know I was auditioning for Cloverfield. It was the first time I'd ever really been to Hollywood. I was ...
(2011, on Cloverfield) I didn't even know I was auditioning for Cloverfield. It was the first time I'd ever really been to Hollywood. I was doing the pilot for Carpoolers, an ABC sitcom that I was on that got canceled after 13 episodes. They said somebody wanted to see me, they'd seen me in Aspen. The casting director of Paramount, she introduced me to this younger casting director. We had this meeting, and she said, "I have this role that I think you'd be perfect for. We don't have real sides, I'll send you fake sides." And I didn't understand what that meant. So she sent me sides, and it seemed like a terrible romantic teen comedy, like a Love Story thing. It was really awful. And I read for the wrong role in the beginning, I read for the serious part, and I was terrible. They just gave me the wrong sides. Then they asked me to read this other part that was a bit funnier. I said, "Okay, yeah, I can do that." So I did that, and it went really well, and I got a callback and did it in front of J.J. Abrams. I didn't know who that was, because I didn't watch Lost. I just remember going in thinking, "I don't know what this is, and I don't care that much how the audition goes." I got pretty crazy, and I was up on the table. I really acted ridiculous. It worked, and they cast me first. I was the first person cast in that film. And then of course I get the script, and then I find out that it's a monster movie, and I'll be filming most of it, which I did not know either. That's the other weird thing, to get a huge, $20 million movie, and then you go, "Oh, and I'm filming it, also?" It's weird. Weird first experience.
[2011, on Carpoolers] That was such a weird thing. I got that out of Chicago. I'd just signed with these managers, not just just, but I had ...
[2011, on Carpoolers] That was such a weird thing. I got that out of Chicago. I'd just signed with these managers, not just just, but I had been working with them for a while, and I got this audition, and they said, "We think you'd be great for this role, it's a great part." My managers represented Bruce McCulloch, and on the way to the audition, I was in the car on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, and I remember very clearly where I had this moment where-I'd auditioned for a bunch of pilots outside of Chicago, and I was like, "I'm sick of trying to do what I think people will like. Sick of trying to do what I think will get a booking. I'm just going to do what I think is ridiculous." So I wore only underwear and a shirt toddler style in the audition, and I brought a fake bookcase and set it behind me (because both things were in the script), and did a very bizarre take on the character, and they liked it. I flew out to do the network test and then I got the part. While filming the pilot I only ate sushi; breakfast lunch and dinner, and I drove the funniest rental car they could rent me, a Chevy HHR (Heritage High Roof) Retro-styled station wagon. I think I got mercury poisoning. From the sushi. Not the HHR.
[2011, on getting into acting] I acted in high school, and studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford for one summer. I minored...
[2011, on getting into acting] I acted in high school, and studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford for one summer. I minored in theater, and I was always acting growing up, but really, I was just more interested in the comedy of it all. So for me, it's always comedy-- acting is just one medium of comedy.
[2011, on Extract] It was an underrated film. Mike Judge usually receives underwhelming acclaim for his movies when they come out, it takes ...
[2011, on Extract] It was an underrated film. Mike Judge usually receives underwhelming acclaim for his movies when they come out, it takes a while for people to catch up. That was one where I loved the script; I just really thought it was incredible. It was one of the best scripts I read in Hollywood. That was one of the only films I really pursued. That and Yogi Bear, I pursued ironically, I did that whole thing as a joke, from that weird audition with the bear all the way through. But Extract, I really wanted. There was only one part I could be, and I don't look at all like the character description. And Mike Judge is an animator, so he has very clear pictures of what he wants in his mind. So I auditioned, I was funny, and he really likes me, but he kept saying, "No, no, he doesn't look right." So I said I would do anything. Finally, I found a way to email him. I said, "I'll change my appearance, whatever you need." He said, "Okay, would you shave the side of your head and dye your hair black, straighten it, make it long, and we'll put in all these fake piercings and tattoos?" And I said "Okay." And every morning, it took three or four hours to get everything ready. Hours in the trailer sitting next to Gene Simmons as he got his weird hair treatments.
[2011, on Unstoppable] I don't know how that happened. Ethan Suplee and I would always turn to each other on the set and be like, "What are ...
[2011, on Unstoppable] I don't know how that happened. Ethan Suplee and I would always turn to each other on the set and be like, "What are we doing here again? How is this possible? Why are we in this action film with Denzel Washington?" He did two other movies with Denzel Washington. But they asked me to audition for it, and I said, "Well, what is it?" And they said, "It's this train movie." I was like, "What? I don't think I would be good in that." They were like, "No, they sort of want the two first guys to be funny." I said, "I don't see how this could be funny, because the sides are like 'Dewey, take D-nine down to track 14. Six-four. It's a three-one-seven.'" It's all railroad jargon, there's no way to make that hilarious. And so I went in, I did it, it was fine, and they asked me to do a callback. I came in, and Tony Scott is in the room. I was like, "I love [The Taking Of] Pelham 123," because I'm such a huge fan of his. I love his movies. I went in, I was kind of joking with him, and I did this audition. It wasn't really funny, but he was laughing the whole time. I think it was because I look funny to him. I think the idea of me and Ethan Suplee working on a railroad for whatever reason makes him laugh. So he gave me the part. It was pretty funny, not the part as much as being in a Denzel Washington action film about an unstoppable train.
[2011, on Gulliver's Travels] That was one where I didn't know what was going on, and I felt like-I don't know. I did a pilot [Waiting To Di...
[2011, on Gulliver's Travels] That was one where I didn't know what was going on, and I felt like-I don't know. I did a pilot [Waiting To Die], and it didn't go. I found that out in the morning, I was on set of Get Him To The Greek in the afternoon, devastated. Then I get a call from WME "Oh, it's good because now you can do Gulliver's Travels." I was like, "What? What is that? Did I audition for that?" They were like, "You auditioned for it months and months ago. They really liked you." I remember that audition, they did not like me. I did very poorly in the regular audition, then the director said, "Why don't you just improvise one? Just do an improvised scene." And I did that, and he loved that. So that was another one where it ended up behooving me to work free-form. Most things I get hired on, I get hired because I improvise something funny, or they just think I look weird...So they flew me out to London, and every day I worked with Jack Black. And he's incredible. He's one of those guys in Hollywood where everybody says "he's so great, he's so great" and you think "okay sure, he's going to be such a terrible weirdo." And then he isn't. He's the greatest.
[2011, on Our Idiot Brother] Yeah, that was weird. Chris Pratt couldn't do it, I guess. He got something else. They had cast him in that rol...
[2011, on Our Idiot Brother] Yeah, that was weird. Chris Pratt couldn't do it, I guess. He got something else. They had cast him in that role, then he couldn't do it so they offered me the role. I never auditioned for it, which was a first. They said, "You know, we think you'd be good in this, would you like to do it?" And I said, "Uh, yeah. Sure. Of course." Because I couldn't believe the cast. The cast was so amazing, the script was great, and they ended up letting me improvise a lot as well. And they wrote new scenes for us after it got distribution at Sundance, the candle scene for one. I really enjoyed that part. That's another one where people enjoyed the film, seemed to enjoy my part in it, but when I was doing it, just like in Extract, I didn't think anything I was doing was that funny. Sometimes things need to be so understated on film that I don't even see them as funny, which isn't my favorite style, comedically. When I watch film comedy, I like people that are a little bit more alive on the screen, and wound up. I like volatility and unpredictability and other long words like those.
[2011, on Get Him To The Greek] That is another one I improvised. I brought in actual beer. I brought in malt liquor and dressed like a gang...
[2011, on Get Him To The Greek] That is another one I improvised. I brought in actual beer. I brought in malt liquor and dressed like a gangster, because that was the original scene. And they thought that was pretty funny. Then they asked us to improvise a scene where I was the concierge, and I did it, and it was pretty hilarious. They were into it, and they cast me on it. I think I'm on screen for less than a minute or something. It's my favorite role in the movie; I wouldn't have taken any other role...That was a fun one. Those guys are cool. [Director] Nick Stoller is great. A very laid-back set. Russell Brand is lovely, even though he's a weirdo.
[2011, on She's Out Of My League] That one, they passed on me. They said they didn't like my audition, originally. They were going to go a d...
[2011, on She's Out Of My League] That one, they passed on me. They said they didn't like my audition, originally. They were going to go a different direction. Then Cloverfield came out, and I was well-reviewed, they came back, "We'd like you to do the movie." That was my first taste in Hollywood that people go with the hype. They go where the direction, the momentum is going...I actually was considering not taking the role because, I don't know, it was pretty broad, the script. But everyone said it will change in the execution. Another good lesson. People love that movie, they seem to like me in it. So I'm really pleased. I'm always so amazed by which performances work really, really well and which ones don't. But I think it's just mostly, She's Out Of My League, so many people saw that movie on DVD and on the plane, and I like to say it's the perfect hangover movie - a very solid comedy you can drift through without thinking. Millions of people saw and loved that movie. That's the reason I'm somewhat famous and have so much trouble at TSA.
T.J. Miller's FILMOGRAPHY
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