The “here” is a Toronto press junket for Monster’s University, a prequel to the Oscar winning Monster’s Inc.
In both he voices Mike Wazowski, a green eyeball creature whose goal in life is to scare kids. I ask if his grandchildren have seen either film. “The little guy’s seen everything,” he jokes, “I’m a night light.”
The three older kids were introduced to the movie in a scary way.
“The girls and I were walking in a mall and some of these paparazzi — I have to say it — creeps, jumped out and started taking pictures of us. Really freaked them out. ‘Why are they doing that!” So I had to explain to them what I did. That I was internationally famous…” (pauses for the laugh).
“So I showed them Monster’s Inc. I couldn’t show them the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally. ‘Why is she making that noise?’ Then I became Grandpa Mike. I had to be Mike Wazowski for about a year. They’d call the house, ‘Is Mike there?’ ‘OK, I’ll get him. Hold on.’ (Pauses.) ‘Hi!’ (he says in Wazowski’s distinctive high-pitched voice.) ‘Are you looking for me?’
“Now they see me around. There were billboards when I did the Oscars so now they are kind of used to it.
“It’s confusing to me! It was, ‘Who’s that guy?’ They watch the same things over and over and over and over again. And over again. And over again. We were watching Dora the Explorer exploring the same thing and then I was looking at the guide and I saw that City Slickers was on. I took the remote. ‘Let’s see what else is on. There I am!’ She actually just said, ‘How?’
“Now it’s like bragging rights at school, but we’re trying to play it down. We live in a town where a lot of the kid’s parents are performers. We read book at their school every two weeks, and there are a lot of famous parents.”
When I ask if they and their friends will ever realize how cool it is that the “internationally famous” Billy Crystal read to them he laughs, “I think OK, but Will Ferrell read the day before.”