If you saw Harland Williams the other night on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, you might not have recognized him.
Williams, an affable, lovable goof from Canada, usually has slick black hair and big sideburns framing his animated mug. That’s gone for now, thanks to another memorable supporting movie role in the upcoming Surf School, in which he’ll play a washed-up former surf champ. "They dyed my hair completely blond, my whole head," he said over the phone this week from Los Angeles. "Now two months later, and my roots are coming back. A lot of the girls are saying it’s hot. The guys are saying I’m the new Backstreet Boy. You forget because you can’t see it, but then all the people are talking about it. So now I’m going to get collagen lips and fake breasts."
That might’ve worked for Sorority Boys, one of Williams’ few misfires.
More often than not, though, he has stolen the show in scenes from There’s Something About Mary (as a hitchhiking serial killer with a plan for the ultimate ab workout tape), Dumb and Dumber (as a demented motorcycle cop who pulls the boys over), and Half Baked (as the jailed friend Kenny).
But he’s also a bit of a Renaissance Man, having published children’s books, sold his own paintings, homemade T-shirts and recorded music. "I think the key is not being afraid to try new things," he said. "I just enjoy putting my head on the chopping block."
He recently sold a film idea to DreamWorks that he’ll also direct. Which means for the first time in his life, the 38-year-old has an office. "I’ve had trailers, or a green room or a dressing room. But I’ve never had an office with a staple remover, a little plaque that says Mr. Williams, a little jar of Hershey Kisses," he said. "Right now it’s serious. I’m sure as time goes on, there’ll be Count Chocula boxes glued to the walls or Kentucky Fried Chicken hanging from the chandeliers." He’s not sure why his office is only a 20-second walk from DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg’s office. "Either he’s doing it to make sure he didn’t make a mistake, to watch me, or he’s really excited about this project."
(Note: Wlliams didn’t want to say what the project was then, but it looks as though it could be this upcoming animated feature, Route 66)
Williams also was excited about the coming weekend’s performances in Boston at the Comedy Connection, because he’d record them for his first-ever stand-up CD for Comedy Central Records.
"I’m really jazzed. The Boston crowds have always been great to me," he said. Williams also offered advice for would-be hecklers looking to get in on the recording. "If you’re going to throw something, throw something that makes noise so we can pick it up on the audio. Don’t throw a pie. Throw a bowling ball. We want to hear your abuse."