David Koechner is best known as Champ Kind, the cowboy-hat wearing sportscaster in the Anchorman movies. He has plied that same brash persona in several films and television shows, including Thank You for Smoking and The Office. But the 51-year-old has a wide-ranging résumé that has everything on it from Hannah Montana to Justified. His latest role sees him as the sensible best friend of a man, played by pal Brent Butt, posing as a private investigator in No Clue. The Missouri native spoke to The Globe about why he didn't pursue politics, studying under a comedy sketch legend, and whether there will be an Anchorman 3 to continue the misadventures of Ron Burgundy.
How did you and Brent Butt first meet?
I think we met at Montreal in 1996. I've shot a lot in Canada so I'll see him every once in a while. One of my best friends wrote on Corner Gas. Our paths have crossed many times. I guess I could say I'm a fan of the Butt.
This is the first feature film Butt has written, and he's starring in it, which for a lot of people would be significant pressure. What was he like on set?
He's about as even-mannered as you can imagine. He doesn't get too excited one way or another. But he's always laughing.
And when he called you to be in his movie, did you say yes right away?
Of course. I was flattered.
Were you always going to be a comedian? Did you have a backup plan?
I was a political science major and I had my head set on going into politics. And then I got to that third year of my courses – the first couple of years are philosophy and studying theory – and the third year was more practical. I was not interested. I was like, "I don't want to be a senator's aide." I visited a friend at Second City in Chicago and a light went off. I quit school and moved to Chicago.
At Second City you studied under Del Close, who trained many comedians, including Bill Murray, and has a legendary reputation in the world of sketch comedy. What was he like?
My greatest takeaway from Del is that comedy is important. It's as important as any other of the arts. You have a duty to play comedy in a certain way. It must be truthful, it should be smart. I always liken it to training with live rounds. This guy had so much gravitas, you really wanted to please him.
You've been in many different projects. How do you decide what to work on?
I have five kids and I need to work. There's a lot of stuff I'm very proud of on my résumé. And then there are probably a few things I could point to and say, "Yup, I needed a job." Everyone thinks that if you do one movie in Hollywood you're set for life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What are you going to do next?
I have No Clue coming up, then there's another called Cheap Thrills. And then there's a David Cross movie called Hits. And I'm currently developing a television show with NBC, so I'm pretty busy.
Do you think there will be an Anchorman 3?
I heard that [director Adam] McKay said there will not be a No. 3. He said that Ron's done.
This interview has been edited and condensed.