Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


17 minutes with Hal Sparks

“Fuck Me!” exclaims actor/singer/comedian Hal Sparks, when discussing life’s challenges. For Sparks, it has been a very dynamic winding road. Most people know the name Hal Sparks from Talk Soup, Queer as Folk or several VH1 Commentary specials. He has emerged into the music world with his Rock band, Zero 1. In addition to TV and music, Sparks has lunged into numerous movie rolls, such as Dude Where’s My Car, and Spiderman 2. And if that wasn’t enough for our Wonder-man, Sparks has had a long-term engagement to stand-up. With all things said and done, these are just a few stepping stones in the long, promising road ahead.

What can we expect from you stand up performances?

To laugh. I’m not Tom Green, I don’t do shock for shock sake. I talk a lot about pop culture stuff, I’m an observational humorist. I break down the assumption of things that we take for granted.

How was it going from one extreme to another? Going from the Comedy, Dude Where’s My Car, to the drama series, Queer as Folk?

As far as performing them, it’s still a job you have to do. You know what your reaction is, and you know what you want to do.When you’re doing comedy, you have a direct response. With drama, it’s a lot more fluid. You just have to trust and let it happen. Ultimately, you still come at it with the same work ethic. Drama is messy. Emotionally, it’s difficult work to do. It will monkey with you if you’re not careful.

What made you want to join Queer as Folk?

[I came] in to try to help what I considered a civil rights struggle. From that, the only changes were that I think we made a difference.

What differences do you think you made?

I notice it in the interaction with the people I meet and the emails I receive. There are thousands of people [and] families that have changed due to the show. [It’s like] that ripple in a pond effect over time. You couldn’t ignore it, it was dead serious.

Did you think it would get the reaction that it did?

Yes, it had to, if anyone saw it.The only question was if people were going to see it. At that point, it was on Showtime, which was a struggling network. I knew that if people tuned in and watched it, it would change their minds forever.

Was there ever a point in your life that you wanted to do something besides entertain?

No, it just felt the most natural. [But] I grew up in Kentucky. It was never an option to be an entertainer. The characters played on [television] screen were kind of magical to me. I didn’t know they were people who actually got a job. I moved to Chicago and suddenly this world opened up to me, [that] these people do this for a paycheck. That was a huge awakening for me. I was like, “then that’s what I’m going to do!”

What was the most challenging thing you have done in your career thus far? That’s hard because every time you level up in this industry, there’s a challenge. Every time you want to do something new, it’s like your starting from scratch. The truth is, the hardest part was moving from Chicago to Los Angeles. I graduated high school and 16 days later I drove to LA. I was going to be an actor, comedian [and] entertainer- period. That’s how it was going to work, I was going to work and I got in my car and did it.

You’ve been in bands since high school. How did your band, Zero 1, come about?

I’ve been recording songs for years, some which I was really starting to like. My bass player, who is in the band now, did my make up on Talk Soup. He listened to [my music], and he said “Dude you need to play these live.” And I was like “You know, I can’t play and sing at the same time. I don’t know if I can manage this.” He was on a mission and talked me into it. He booked the rehearsal dates and found a drummer.

How long did it take to record the album?

It took us about seven months out of last year. I’m really proud of it. It’s going to be out on iTunes in a couple of weeks.

Would there be anything else that you would want to do?

It’s really now just what type of stuff. I really want to do Action/comedy films, because that’s what I grew up watching. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Beverly Hills Cops and Fletch. To me, that’s the pinnacle of the kind of work I want to do, and that’s what I love to watch. Once you get to the point where you can do that, it’s all about doing stuff that would make you proud and enjoy the process.

Seeing how you are living proof that it is possible to have more then one set career path and excel in all of them, do you have any last inspiring words to the struggling college student?

Learn everything you can about everything you can. They say the average American worker changes jobs 7 times in their lives. The trick now is to be an amazing generalist, be capable on all fronts and learn a lot. Whatever you learn in one area you can bring it to other jobs. Learn a Foreign language, learn a musical instrument. That will rewire your brain. Learn history so you don’t repeat it.

Sparks will be performing his stand-up comedy routine on Saturday, March 24th, at the Hard Rock Casino in Orlando.

For more information on Sparks and his upcoming music, check out http://www.myspace.com/zero1band

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