By Brett Tubbs
Tony Hale is best-recognized for his roles as “quirky, not-all-there” character. But, to simply identify Hale from his varying television and film work isn’t to know him.
The two-time Emmy award-winner and Regent University alumnus spoke to School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) students on Tuesday, September 6, where he shared insight into fame, life in Hollywood and living in the moment.
“I love talking about my many mistakes on my journey,” said Hale. “I want to be a resource to you guys.”
For Hale, admittedly, one of his largest mistakes he’s made on his journey so far was failing to practice the “discipline of contentment” in his everyday life. “All I ever wanted was a sitcom. And when I got it, it really freaked me out because it didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would,” said Hale. “I said, ‘I’ll have value when that happens.’ But if you’re not practicing contentment where you are, you won’t be content when you get what you want.”
Hale landed his first sitcom in 2003, playing the bumbling “man-child” role of “Buster” in FOX’s Arrested Development; after a stint of cater-waitering, and theater and commercial acting in New York City. He booked the gig just 10 days before he married his wife, and the two packed up their lives and headed to Los Angeles.
“He was a seven-year-old trapped in a 32-year-old’s body; he’s a disaster,” said Hale. “He has mom issues, dating issues. Bless his heart, he’s kind of a mess. And it scares me how naturally the role came to me.”
Since the show’s ending (and eventual resurgence on Netflix), Hale has had extensive work in television and films including Angry Birds, Stranger than Fiction, and the Heat.
Hale currently plays his award-winning role of “Gary,” a glorified purse-holder for the Vice President [Julia Louis Dreyfus] in the HBO series, VEEP.
“Another emasculated character,” said Hale. “Cue 20 years of therapy.”
And with his various roles come a certain level of recognition in public – a timid version of “fame” – he understands that being famous is vastly different from truly being known. And in his everyday life, Hale strives to be known.
“People think fame is ‘the ultimate being known,’ but it’s the opposite,” said Hale. “Being known by people who love you and being known by God, that’s all you need.”
He explained that in an industry full of a lot of unknowns and rejection, his belief in God is what keeps him going.
“My faith is everything to me,” said Hale. “Going to God in the midst of all of this uncertainty is everything.”
Learn more about Regent University’s School of Communication & the Arts.