Joss Whedon: Heroes And Inspirations

This feature was originally published in SFX #219

“I tried to resist this, but professorial shout-outs are a weakness,” Joss Whedon admits about having the SFX Heroes And Inspirations feature bait dangled in front of him.

After biting hook, line and sinker, the Avengers helmer and Buffy creator thought things over for the better part of a week, digging deep to select the influences that give him creative spark.

“I tried to think about people that I haven’t already talked about constantly, because everyone already knows about Charles Dickens and Stan Lee and some of those fellows who were also huge influences on me,” Whedon tells SFX. “So I’ve tried to come up with people who you might not be aware of. I do have a few.”

From comedians to choreographers, and from directors to Duck-scribes, yes, there are a few…

Robert Klein

“He was a standup comedian, and I had two of his albums – Child Of The ’50s and Mind Over Matter – that I just listened to constantly when I was a kid. Back then, I used to listen to a ton of comedy albums; everybody did. Those Robert Klein albums were sitting at our farm and I just spun them over and over and over and over and over. His were the most observational, with narratives about his life and the world. Bill Cosby and Steve Martin would pick up on that and later do very funky kind of stuff that was their own style, but Klein was a trailblazer, this very classically-styled comedian, sort of a raconteur, an observationalist. When I think about how to build comedy, he’s the guy I still go back to and study. He’s the guy who taught me you could build comedy out of narrative, and even the story of your own life.”