The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
April 18, 2023

Will Sasso Does Hilarious Impressions of Jesse Ventura, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart & More!

Will Sasso Does Hilarious Impressions of Jesse Ventura, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart & More!

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Will Sasso (@willsasso) is a comedian and actor and is known for his five seasons on Mad TV from 1997 to 2002. He joins Chris Van Vliet in Hollywood to talk about how he got started in comedy, growing up in British Columbia, Canada, who his comedic heroes were as a kid, what he had to do for his Mad TV audition, his AI podcast called "Dudesy", what show or movie he gets recognized for most, why John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is his favorite performance, the match he had with Bret Hart in WCW, taking a stunner from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in WWE and he does hilarious impressions of Jesse "The Body" Ventura, British Bulldog, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold and Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Check out Dudesy here:

On there being an AI version of Will Sasso in the future:

“I think we're already there. You know, and look, it doesn't mean no pleasure to say all this stuff, because I'm a humanist first and foremost. And I, you know, we've been doing this podcast for a year with an AI. Dude’s the AI, essentially curates the podcast, and what it does is it goes, you know, it's gone through, okay, we signed up to do this thing, this company has this proprietary AI, wants to research and develop further into the podcast space, and says, Hey, we're going to use these two guys, who the two of us have done a podcast together before, we both been in show business a long time, he's a writer, producer, I primarily act and stuff, right. And then also, we've been good friends for almost 20 years. And it's going to sort of see how we do it and move us forward in order to make the next episodes better and better. And the way that it's done that is it has full rein of all of our social media passwords to everything, search histories, purchase histories, more than the Feds or the CIA combined could have on us because f*ck it, we’re there.”

On moving to the USA from Canada:

“I feel bad particularly for people who are, young people who are trying to get into the business now. It's just getting harder and harder to get here. You don't need to get here because the internet is everywhere, so it's a whole whole new ballgame. But particularly, you know, in my sort of line of work young actors, they're like, you know, it's harder and harder to get a work visa and all that stuff. The stars kind of had to align, and you have to bust your ass and all that nice, nice stuff. But I'm very fortunate that I was able to even get down here, because when you're a kid, you know, I've been working since I was a little guy, a little young or younger, I was teenager, whatever. And that's how I say teenagers, young, younger guy. I say younger guy, because I looked like I was 40 since I was 15 years old, so it doesn't matter. Now I'm 48 and I look like I'm [old]. So for me it was that I was always dreaming of coming down here. And then to be able to, you know, again, the one visa their little job that you know, sort of under the table, you know, come down. I did a movie down here for like, you know, it wasn't supposed to. You know, I just went over and they, you know, they paid me and in cash literally.” 

On how to develop a character:

“Well, you know, look we have on Mad TV and on every sketch show, although something like you know, Monty Python and The Kids in the Hall. They had the great Gary Campbell and Brian Hart, they have writers. You know, we have writers at Mad TV. The writers were absolutely incredible, of course. And just it really was truly the inmates running the asylum between the writers and the actors. You know, we were all just just goofing around constantly and different people bring different stuff in. If someone's from, you know, Mike McDonald, you know, has a history with the Groundlings and had developed, you know, a popular character like Stewart that was really popular on Mad TV at the Groundlings and was doing it with Mindy Sterling. And then was like, I want to do it here on Mad TV and did it with Moe Collins, and there's a new spin on it for the show. And you've got other people involved and network and stuff. I don't know if he's ever talked about where that came from. But the story is hilarious. Anyway, it's based on real children, which is just so mean. But it's like when you go like oh man! But then it's on TV, and it's very ingestible you're like f*ck, this is so evil and funny. Which is the name of Mike Macdonad’s comedy special. And, you know, you're doing that, there are people that are coming from the Groundlings that are writers, that are coming from performing strictly from writing. And, you know, look, they're coming up with stuff too. They're going, writers, and being like, can you do this impersonation? You sit around, goof around and you do it. And other times actors, you know, as performers, were coming in, were writing, were going I want to do this, I want to do that. Some things happen completely by mistake, like I used to, I used to sit in the script coordinators office, I basically would never leave my first season. I never left, I didn't have any friends. So I you know, I just sort of moved to LA like a while before that, but still couldn't find any friends. But then it was, you know, the people that Mad TV were my pals, and then they all went home. So I stayed at Mad TV until the last writer would leave. And a lot of times I just sit there in the script coordinators office and just literally read scripts out of the recycling bin. And that's how I found like, there was a sketch, it was a Kenny Rogers sketch. And it was based on his restaurant, Kenny Rogers Roasters. And I was like, who, who wrote this? And they're like, oh, Blaine Capatch wrote that. He was a brilliant, brilliant performer and writer who was a writer on Mad TV and would sometimes perform. And Blaine's like the funniest guy in the world. And he wrote this down, I was like laughing, it went to the table read a year or two before I was [there], like at the beginning before I was there. And I was like, what? It just didn't make it. So I go into Blaine's office, I'm like, Hey, man, this is really funny. Yeah, I'll try it. So we pitched like, hey, Will wants to do it at the table read. Wow. And then it just sort of worked out. But it was the real like, you know, Hi, I'm Kenny Rogers, I love barbecue, Kenny Rogers Roasters. But then, um, but then I immediately get bored and I'm like [more enthusiastically] Hey, I'm Kenny Rogers!”

On Mad TV helping to develop a character:

“Good question, and yes. But a lot of times, the character is nowhere near done. And you're like, I think he sounds like this, I got this much of it, this wig is pretty cool, that'll carry it. What a slack ass way to approach it, well I got a funny wig, it'll be fine.”

On having a match with Bret Hart:

“Well, I don't know if you could call it a match. Bret Hart had a match, and I was there. But Bret Hart had a match with like a, you know, a 300 pound bag of flour. And yeah, it was crazy. Yeah, I didn't, I don't know anything. I go, I just run at it. And I felt my ribs go like pop, And I was like oohh, and I'm like, oh, that's that's an interesting pain. And so I'm like, Oh, this could be dangerous. Just doing anything could be dangerous in here. I don't know [how to wrestle]. You know, I only grew up watching it. Then he just grabs me and does a Russian Leg Sweep. I will say this for myself, I know how to land flat on my back. Okay, so that's at least part of it. And then he goes, Don't move until I move. You just just stay there. And I go what's gonna happen? I mean, look, you know, if he's going in there with whomever, one of them's going to call the match, I would imagine in all throughout Bret's career, he's calling the match. These guys, these incredible artists, get in there and call this shit or just by knowing what to do, it's unbelievable. Yeah, it's unbelievable. And as a wrestling fan, it's still my entire life later, I still I still don't get it, what they do, it's really, really remarkable. And it's a testament to how incredible Bret Hart is. Really is the best there is, best there was and best there ever will be. Because again, he took like a bag of potatoes and tossed me around and did all this stuff, and I didn't get hurt. And he's stomping me in the corner and I'm like the foot is coming in at 100 miles per hour and then it's stopping. It was insane. It was insane. And he, you know, I'm laying on the ground who picked me up, he shoved me out of the ring. He's like kicking me out of the ring. I'm happy to fall face flat with my arms at my side because I just love doing that stuff, you know, on Mad TV. So hopefully it was a nice combination of you know, this, you know, the greatest wrestler, one of the greatest performers ever in professional wrestling on the Mount Rushmore. And, you know, some fat dude from a late night show.”

On Robin Williams:

“He was always an incredible actor. He just happened to be the clown prince of the universe of like, the one of the funniest people to ever make anyone laugh, God rest his soul. But he Good Will Hunting, your move chief. Like it is, that scene by the lake. Yeah, I'll tell you what, I ask you about poetry, you'll quote a sonnet. But you don't know the first thing about life and falling in love with a woman and how she makes you feel and this whole thing? It's unbelievable. And it's all the more you know, now it's just all the more gripping because he's no longer with us in the way that he left. But dude, look. I believe that if Planes, Trains and Automobiles came out now John Candy would be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Best Actor? No problem.”

What is Will Sasso grateful for?

“My wife, my health and my stupid career.”