‘Talk Soup’ comedian Hal Sparks brings political comedy to Shakespeare Theatre

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Hal Sparks at Shakespeare Theatre (Part 1)

You know him from “Talk Soup” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?” This Saturday, Hal Sparks cracks up Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. for the “Sexy liberal Save Democracy” tour.

“We started the Sexy liberal tour years ago for myself, John Fugelsang and Stephanie Miller,” Sparks told WTOP.” You can tell from the title which way we lean, but ultimately my basic root is … people pick their own leaders, not monarchy. I believe in the function of the Constitution, the importance of people picking their leaders — crazy notions like that!”

It’s a fun challenge keeping up with the daily news cycle.” The jokes are griddle cakes, writing them right up to showtime,” Sparks said.” Put yourself in the creative shoes of a person who may have thought, ‘I got my set, the Jan. 6 hearings are going on … then the Monday before the Tuesday show, they search and seize documents form Mar-a-Lago!”

Born in Ohio in 1969, Sparks grew up in Kentucky before moving to Chicago to join Second City. Before long, VH1 viewers saw him cracking jokes on “I Love the ’70s,” “I Love the ’80s” and “I Love the ’90s,” while also hosting the E! series “Talk Soup” (1999-2000).

“I went out before to Santa Monica, walked down 3rd St. Promenade and went, ‘This is the last time I’m gonna walk around and nobody’s gonna know who I am,'” Sparks said. “I shot four shows, came back the next Saturday to 3rd St. Promenade. As soon as I walked out of the parking garage, a guy hit me in the chest with his palm: ‘Hey! New ‘Talk Soup’ guy!'”

He should have protected himself with Bubble Wrap like his nerd leader Zoltan in “Dude, Where’s My Car?” (2000), co-starring Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott.

“When I did my own stunts on ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?,’ I did a Jackie Chan spin-around on the top of a glass counter and fell over the back of it, landing on my suit and they had to foley out the [popping] sound of me hitting the concrete,” Sparks said.” I still have two bubble-wrap suits right now. They’re in rotation. They don’t tend to dry-clean well.”

He showed his dramatic side on Showtime’s “Queer as Folk” (2000-2005). “Being able to walk into a dramatic series that had the impact it did, we were able to do the first HIV positive-negative relationship on American television, the first gay marriage, the first gay adoption … to have participated in that is one of the great joys of my life.”

Who knew the comedian had dramatic chops?” That’s why we’re doing this [comedy tour] at the Shakespeare Theatre — just in case I feel like busting out some ‘Twelfth Night.'”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Hal Sparks at Shakespeare Theatre (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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