Mike Drucker is a writer and comedian living in New York City where he works as the co-head writer and co-executive producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Drucker has been a staff writer on such shows as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Adam Ruins Everything, The President Show, and Bill Nye Saves the World, where he was also head writer. His writing has also appeared in video games for Nintendo and Sony, as well as publications such as The Onion, McSweeney’s, and The New Yorker. He also has 8 Emmy nominations under his belt.
I was lucky enough to interview Mike and ask about what inspired him, why he chose writing, why he wrote a book based on the video game Silent Hill 2, and some weird questions, because… well, I like weird questions.
What inspired you to become a writer? Was there a specific book, maybe a tv show or movie?
I always liked the idea of doing something creative – but I initially thought I’d get into video games. But after learning I’m terrible at programming but good at writing, I realized that my skill set might be more useful elsewhere. I also grew up watching late night shows such as Conan, so I believe that had a huge influence on my love of joke writing. But, either way, I always wanted to tell stories.
What is your favourite video game?
It’s hard to say – but probably Mario 64, Alpha Centauri, and Silent Hill 2. Maybe throw in Hades in there, although it’s a bit too recent to know. Clearly, my tastes are “what did I like earlier in my life?”
If there was a machine that could transport you into any video game, which one would you choose and why?
Mario Kart – everyone seems to like each other, and getting hit by an exploding blue shell doesn’t hurt. And if I get hungry, some of the levels appear to be made of food.
You wrote a book about Silent Hill 2 and I have to ask: Why did you choose Silent Hill 2 to be the subject of your book?
Silent Hill 2 blew me away when I was in my senior year of high school. It felt like something completely different and it spoke to me on a very personal level. I never stopped thinking about it and never stopped playing and reading up on it. This was just a good chance to put all that 20 years of fandom in one book.
I was always on edge with James Sunderland in this game, meaning that I’ve found him rather boring, characterless even, and as the story progressed, he became more and more interesting. What do you think makes a good protagonist?
We either want a protagonist we can take the form of or a protagonist that surprises us – even sometimes with horror. Silent Hill 2 pulls off both by making James seem like a boring, generic everyman character and slowly revealing that he isn’t the avatar stand-in for us that we thought he is.
What do you think about the two Silent Hill movies?
I like them! They’re visually beautiful and I sometimes will put them on in the background. Are they great movies? I don’t know. Are they interesting to watch? Sure!
What is the biggest change you see in video games since Silent Hill 2?
While it certainly doesn’t apply to them all, a lot of video games have gotten more comfortable taking their time and setting the mood. I wouldn’t say this is due to Silent Hill 2, but it is another example of AAA games catching up to where Silent Hill 2 already was.
What other video games would you like to write about or are you planning on writing about any more?
I’d love to write about PaRappa the Rapper! And maybe also Mass Effect. And Tetris. Too many games.
And finally: Do you have any advice for people who would like to work on the same field as you are?
Start now. Put stuff out now. Make a TikTok if you want to perform. Write funny pieces for McSweeney’s and The New Yorker and other places. Unfortunately, it’s a lot of luck; I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for extreme luck. However, you need to be putting yourself out there for the luck to happen to you.
I don’t know about all of you out there but when he said that he might write a book about Mass Effect, I think my heart just skipped a beat, I’m not gonna lie.
Get the book: Silent Hill 2 by Mike Drucker – Boss Fight Books
Follow Mike Drucker on Twitter: @MikeDrucker
Any Silent Hill 2 fans out there? Have you read the book yet? Let’s talk about it in the comments!