Everyone knows Will Ferrel, and Steve Carrel has built himself some serious star power. Paul Rudd is a romantic lead now. But, who is that other guy?
His name is David Koechner. He plays Champ Kind, the cowboy sports announcer and you probably didn't know his name. You've seen him in all kinds of movies. Everything from the US version of The Office to Piranha 3DD. He was on Saturday Night Live for a brief period, but I am going to take a wild guess and say, few people will remember him.
And if you think we are being condescending, Koechner calls himself "that guy" all the time. He acknowledges his journeyman career without any hint of self-consciousness or guile.
It’s interesting that even after saying Champ Kind they weren’t quite sure. You certainly can say “Koechner,” and you’ll get a dull-eyed look. With “Anchorman,” I guess, if it’s not Will Ferrell or one of the other two ... who cares? Do you know what I mean? Do I get it? Maybe? Recognized? Yeah, it's happening more and more. Obviously with all of the promotion for this picture ...
That seems about right for a humble guy from Tipton, Missouri. A die hard Kansas City Chiefs fan. A family guy with 5 kids.
Koechner craved attention as a kid. He was one of six kids born to Margaret Ann and Cecil. Three boys and three girls. The family business is building turkey coops. Koechner's brother went into the family business. They remain close. Koechner's parents were married for 52 years.
At 15, he worked at his uncle's gas station and cafe, at the intersection of Highway 50 and 5, the only stop light in Tipton. The nearest movie theater was 30 miles away. TV was what you got through the air, the 3 broadcast networks. No cable or satellite. The young Koechner made his own entertainment.
His first real taste of stardom: the lead in a high school production of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park.
Solid German, Irish mid-western stock. Almost cliche. You want to know the guy, this video that he made for his beloved Chiefs is as good a bio as you can get.
He studied Political Science at Benedictine College and the University of Missouri. But he wanted to be noticed. After studying at Chicago's ImprovOlympic, under famed improvisation instructor Del Close, Koechner joined The Second City comedy troupe in Chicago, graduating in 1994.
He also made friends with Adam McKay, who will go on to carve out a career as a director, including the Anchorman series. He will share a common background with the likes of Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, and Jason Sudeikis, all of them often returning to Missouri to show their support for their beloved Chiefs or to support local charities and events.
Then there was that year at SNL in 1995, During his time at SNL, he befriended guest-writer David 'Gruber' Allen, and fellow cast-mate Will Ferrell.
After SNL, he ended up on another iconic show, joining the 1996–97 sketch cast of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, when the show was freer and looser.
And then, starting in the late 90s, Koechner started to appear in films. He was in Wag the Dog, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. That's range for you. He never looks back.
He met his wife, Leigh, December, 1996, at Kansas City International Airport. Her brother Pat was an SNL fan. They got talking on the plane. He went to a New Year's Eve party with her and they were married in 1998. They were committed to building a family. His wife used to drive through Tipton on her way to summer camp, and stop off at that intersection for ice cream.
He has 5 kids! He has to provide for them, and that he does because he is always working.
He is back in Anchorman 2, opening next Friday. The promotions for the movie are overwhelming. Ron Burgundy has appeared in ads for Dodge and taken over ESPN. Champ Kind has had his moments, too.
Beyond that, there is the interesting Cheap Thrills, which will probably not get much exposure, but already has a small cult following. And he is working on My Asshole Neighbor with Will Sasso, another guy who needs more recognition. That should be really interesting.
Stars get the attention. The other guys make or break comedies. Chaplin had Eric Campbell. The Marx Brothers had the inimitable Margaret Dumont. Adam Sandler has a stable of other guys. A lot of guys in Hollywood have Koechner. In a town known for its nastiness, he is a good guy.
He is due a breakout role. It's going to happen. It won't be a comedy though. Check out Cheap Thrills. There's more to this guy than the funny.