A talk with one Theodore Clay Homer
By Megan Jo Wilson
Theodore “Ted” Homer, 28, sits in the corner of Arabica with a creamy iced coffee and a hardcover copy of The Doors of Perception. His cell phone and a pair of white-framed sunglasses sit close by. As usual, he is cleaned and preened, looking gorgeously metro-sexual in a tight yellow shirt and red-white-and-blue head-sweatband.
“I think everybody in here wants me,” he whispers loudly – loud enough for everyone in the coffee shop to hear. I look around. I’m the only woman present.
The type of guy people call “a character,” Ted is actually a collection of characters. He’s a masterful impersonator and comedic actor, but hanging out with him can be downright awkward.
I once pressed Teddy, during a drunken conversation, to use his real voice. “There is no real Teddy,” he said.
Perhaps that’s a good thing. One Teddy got a call back for Blue Man Group auditions in New York. Another landed him the lead in the locally produced movie “Twelve Steps Outside,” and others help fuel his online sketch-comedy group, The Dores.
Then there’s the Teddy who calls himself Spade. Spade plays drums in the indie-rock band Agian Trobot.
“I think everyone in here thinks I’m gay,” he says – again, a little too loudly.
I order an iced tea and decide we’ll perch at the table outside for our chat.
The Bollard: How do you take your coffee?
Homer: Every single way, depending on my mood.
What are your three worst character traits?
I’m irresponsible, I’m flippant with people, and I don’t like to drink, which makes going out with friends kind of difficult, because I think drinking turns even the most noble men into scoundrels.
What annoys you?
I would say self-righteous pedestrians. This one woman — wasn’t even standing on a cross walk — she was standing on the corner where cars were turning quickly and she was flipping every one of them off because none of them would stop for her.
Tell me about The Dores.
Chris (Keister), Tom (Baldwin) and I have had a nice chemistry since high school (in Skowhegan). If the three of us were together in any kind of social environment, we were the heart of the funny part of the party for some reason.
When we all moved to Portland, we became inspired to make sketches, but we didn’t really have any ideas about how to do it. Then Stella (a show on Comedy Central) came out with these brilliant sketches. And they were putting them together with home videos and a Web site.
What’s the creative process like with you guys?
Sometimes I’ll have an idea and I’ll call (Tom) right away and leave a message like, “I just saw this skinny guy cross the street in green high-tops…” and then we have a kernel. Sometimes that will be the only joke in the skit and the whole thing will be like a minute long.
It depends. There’s never been an instance where all three of us were on the same page, actually.
What matters more, that you guys laugh or that the viewers laugh?
Well, for me, I think it’s important that I laugh and that the people laugh, at the same volume. That’s really important. Chris, on the other hand, thinks that anything that he does — whether or not people get it — is art, is funny. And Tom has a hard time getting his jokes across, but he has a really good sense of humor.
What’s your dream job?
To be acting on any television show, even if it’s a lame TV show. And then to do movies after I’m 50.
What’s the worst job you ever had?
Summer camp dishwasher, when I was 18. The owner said me and my friends were ‘shady characters’ with no work ethic. And we were just having a lot of fun. I’m not getting choked up or anything here (pretending to get choked up). We were just having fun (choked up). We were not shady characters.
What is your favorite spot in Portland?
Outside the OPT (Old Port Tavern) on a Friday night, at like 1:26 a.m.
When people are drumming and fighting?
What’s your least favorite spot in Portland?
The Rite Aid on the East End.
Tell me about Spade.
Spade is my alter ego. I created him about four years ago. He’s a 36-year-old, washed-up, failed musician. He’s a really good drummer, but he never made it big like he wanted to.
He’s from England, right?
Yes, he’s from Ipswitch England — spelled like it sounds. And his mother was a nun.
I created him because I don’t like playing music sometimes as myself, especially when my fellow bandmates are taking it so seriously. I like to have fun with it. It makes it more enjoyable, and I play better as a result.
Did you bandmates appreciate that?
There were times when the show was a big deal and they would say, “Teddy, please don’t be Spade tonight.” Because I yell stuff, like I’ll call Galen (Richmond, singer/guitarist) “Faglen,” and I pretend to be really drunk.
I haven’t seen much of Agian Trobot lately. Are you guys still playing?
We are, but our guitarist (Barry Sawicki) lives in Florida, so it’s only whenever he comes up here. We only get together like once a year and play.
Who do you pay attention to in the Portland music scene?
I like Seekonk a lot. They’re nice to listen to and great live. The Awesome is fun. Probably anything that Galen Richmond is in, I can’t stand — just the self-absorbed, woe-is-me, predictable, rocky lyrics.
What do you listen to when you’re depressed?
I listen to a mixed CD I made called Easy 70s listening. It has “West End Girls,” “Send Me an Angel,” and some of the Cure, obviously. Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That.”
No can do…
(singing) I can’t go for that, nooo I… no can do.