Whether it was “Talk Soup,” “Queer as Folk,” “Dude, Where's My Car?” or “Lab Rats” that first had you laughing along with Hal Sparks, the outspoken comedian is one who instantly wins audiences with his quick wit and honest approach. But don’t let Hal’s humorous side fool you, he also speaks Chinese, knows Kung Fu and can play some mean heavy metal.
AXS recently caught up with Sparks at “Extraordinary: Stan Lee,” a special tribute celebrating the comic book legend, and got to talk about what an event like this means to Sparks personally. “Everybody that meets Stan Lee, if you ever have the opportunity, has a history with him that they can’t articulate. It’s not possible,” Hal said. “You usually enter the Stan Lee universe when you’re a child and it shapes how you think in a very good way. He kind of brings out the heroic thoughts in everyone. You dream of being a hero at first because of Stan Lee.”
“The main thing,” he added, “the thing that people don’t notice, is that there’s an extended ripple effect of him bringing that out in people that has probably made more doctors and fireman and police officers and soldiers.”
This is an area that Sparks himself actually has some expertise in. The actor/host/musician/activist got to add badass hero to his list of accomplishments the very-first time he stepped up to save someone’s life. “I’ve done CPR three times,” Hal shared. “Part of the reason why I know CPR, and I wanted to know CPR, and why when situations came up I was the one who acted at the time, is because when I was a kid, my idea of how you should be in the world, was informed by what Stan Lee projects in the world - that you should be the hero. If those moments are presented to you, you have a responsibility to act.”
So how did Stan Lee help shape the real-life hero as a comedian? “I guess he taught me how to not take any guff,” Hal answered. “You know, being a comedian is an entirely different world. You need two things as a comedian: arrogance and stupidity. Those are your two best friends. You need to think the world is all about you and you have to be so stupid you think that the odds, even though they’re against you, don’t matter. There’s something like kind of a self-aggrandizement that’s necessary. So, probably to your point,” he continued, “wanting to be a super hero when you’re a kid. Standing with your fists on your hips, with your arms akimbo, it has a lot to do with the feeling of, ‘yeah, I got this.’ The more you think that as child, the more stand-up doesn’t scare you.”
That’s good advice for anyone looking to be a comedian, or a super hero.