Comedian, Musician & Band Leader at The Late Late Show with James Corden
Listen to audio of our full interview here:
Do you have a favorite heirloom?
My festival passes are kind of heirlooms, they are an indication. It’s the only thing I collect so I guess its something that stays with me throughout time. They’re nice to go back and say 'Oh that occurred!' I have like 40 times the amount of those framed
How do you feel wearing suspenders and why do you like wearing them?
Suspenders are bullshit! No I love suspenders because they’re functional for me. I don’t like wearing belts.
I think if I were thin I would wear belts but even then I just like suspenders. They just have a cool feeling plus they’re functional too. I like being able to hang my pants up with the suspenders when I go to a hotel. I just put it on the coat hook. It’s like what firemen do, they just hang them up so they’re really functional. If you needed like an extra piece of material to hold onto something or to keep something up they also work really well in that situation especially with the fasteners that have the needle that goes through so you know it’s locked in. The worst thing is suspenders coming undone and POW! Hits someone in the face. I think suspenders is a cool feeling of security and not having to wear a belt and they’re a cool accessory and again I’ve had a relationship with suspenders for a long time. And the last Doctor Who wore suspenders, Matt Smith, he wore suspenders. Really important.
What does it feel like to be in flow?
Well, depends on the time of month it is, no....Well I’d say when I’m connected to what I’m doing and it feels like ideas are streaming in and I can utilize those ideas and they are coming together almost seemingly, it feels automatic in a way. Yeah it feels amazing, feels like I’m on something like you’re going through the radio dial and you get a lot of static but then you find this one moment and you dial in and you just leave it alone and that’s the place. It feels amazing, it feels like I’m discovering as much as the audience is discovering.
What would you do if you had
the whole day with nothing
on your schedule?
Sometimes I get those but because I don’t have those very often, I always try to cram in everything I can that I normally don’t get to do. Which oddly becomes kind of stressful and kind of wastes the day. I’m sure all of us can identify with that but I’d say like when there’s a moment where I don’t feel like I have to do that I don’t have to be anywhere, most of the time I kind of like relaxing. Maybe like walking over to a friend's house and a friend calls up and I just allow things to happen as they come in through the day I guess. Similar to what it’s like on stage. That’s a nice relaxing feeling because really I just want to be relaxed or run into a situation that’s really fun that I didn’t necessarily plan for. So I guess what I would do is leave the day as open as possible and hope that groovy things came in.
How does it feel to have suspenders custom made for you?
It feels unfair to other people that they don’t have that opportunity. They could but it’s cool to have something made that someone had you in mind for because it means more than just going in the store and getting something. Which can be nice but go into a store and get some hand crafted items and still feel connected. But obviously if someone's like 'Well we made it with you in mind', it's special and you feel more of a connection with it you know, and it’s nice. People comment a lot on the suspenders. A friend of mine made them no big deal.
Are there other areas of life that you feel like you creative flow spills into?
Yeah just like converstaions with people because essentially performing on stage, especially improvising, is very similar to a conversation and more specifically, or more obviously, when you're with other people performing together. I try to apply that sense of connection to chaos and creativity in everything that I do. If I’m going to the grocery store to get things I try to think of it as an advernture or an exercise in being super efficient. I’m getting these two things and I’m going to do it in the least amount of time possible and when I get up to the cash register I’m already going to have my right hand in my pocket ready to pull out the wallet. I’m going to have my thumb on my card so I can slip it out or I’m going to face all of the UPC bar codes to face the cashier; really it’s about efficiency. So I’m always trying to look for ways of doing things more efficiently or improve things when I’m on stage. It’s always problem solving. Oh the microphone stand fell on accident, I can either pick it up or make a bit out of it. The sound is glitching out and this is happening so the same way I problem solve when I’m on stage creatively or in the studio, I kind of do that in regular life too because I’m always seeking functionality and efficiency in order to create. It's kind of a game, even when I drive. I love driving in Manhattan in the crazy traffic because it’s like a game of being assertive, but being careful. It’s like I’m piloting a machine. How can I use all the features that the maching has in order to increase my situational awareness? How do I use all of the technology Do I know how everything works in the car? Do I know what that button does? Do I know what this function is for? Is this necessary? Is this not? So I do that alot.
Is there anyone's style that you emulate or are inspired by?
No, I guess it’s like I’ve always had an intuitive approach to style, it came of necessity. I liked suspenders and I wanted to do that again. I love researching stuff so I started reasearching suspenders and then I just like ran into a company that uses the same clips that you do and I was like 'Oh that’s so great, that’s so genius. What a simple thing and it makes so much sense.' And I was so excieted about that and that got me into doing that and then [Mary Jane Lane] came along and I was like 'Oh those’ll be cool but they’ve probably got those regular fasteners,' and I was like, No! It’s got the pin fasteners! So it’s like the ultimate!' Style is mostly just kind of a discovery thru function and then looking for high quality versions of the things that I’m looking for. I’ll have like a list of requirements for something and I’ll just find it and it ends up being more of a result of functionality that I’m looking for rather than seeing someone wearing something. Most of the time I like what that person's doing, I love their style but it kinda stops there. At this point I feel like I have my thing. Fuctionality and simplicty. It doesn’t take much to make to make something pop at that point. Sweaters & suspenders basically forever. I can wear that when I’m an old man and I wore it when I was a little kid so it’s good, it can stay with me for all of my life.
What is your favorite new discovery?
Well, I guess well yeah....I mean I this is gonna seem dumb.... When I go to California I rent cars. So the last time I was in California I rented the Mercedes E-Class, which is like a mid sized sedan in between the C and the S-Class. I'm more interested not so much that it’s a fancy car, more it’s the technical engineering and design. I want to know what the car is capable of and what they intended with the infotainment system. Like, How do you navigate the little LCD screen that’s in the middle between the instrument clusters? What does that do? What things can you show on that? What does the jog dial do? Finally I think I figured out the entire Mercedes system and now I can really cruise through that operating system. But anyways, one of the coolest discoveries; When you open up the glove compartment there’s a little dial on top, like the inside roof of the glove compartment, and you turn it and it opens up a hole that allows the air conditioning to flow into the glove box. So if you have a drink in there you can just close the glove box leave that port open and the air conditioning helps to cool down the glove compartment so you can keep your drink cool. It was like an accidentlal discovery cause I was like looking in the thing like, What is that ridge thing? Oh that rotates, Oh the air conditioning through.... sounds really stupid but I was like 'That’s so clever!' It was like a surprise, I was like 'Oh that’s soo cool I didn’t know it did that, good for you guys.' What a cool thing it’s probably not even in the instruction manual. Only Mercades geeks know about it.
Tell us about your style
I was impressed that Einstein had six of the same suits so he didn’t have to think about what he had to wear. It was like this grey tweed suit and he had six of them and he kept wearing the same one and he would get the first batch dry cleaned so there was always a replenishing supply. Once I started traveling a lot, I decided I want to have the minimal amount of equipment, but the most functional amount of equipment and I don’t want to check luggage. So I started looking at hiking clothing. You’ll see it on backpackers when they cruise through airports but they look a little bit too hikey for my taste. So I like finding more subtle hiking style pants that are really flexible. They're stretchy and quick to dry. I also switched to marino wool t-shirts because they dry really quickly, they don’t retain body order and they're moisture wicking. I also wear shoes that are water resistant and have good traction, but are comfortable and can be worn in formal situations or whatever. So everything I wear or use I try to think of it like super utilitarian and fuctional but also of the highest quality. That’s what I’m always looking for.
Three words that describe your style? Efficient, Eclectic & High Quality
© 2015 Mary Jane Lane - Photography by Nina Robinson