Bill Hader: The Next Comedy Star?

This year isn't Bill Hader's big year. I'd like to say that it is, but not yet. He's not there. He is, however, standing so close to the edge of being there that it's not even funny. You're no doubt looking at that picture over to the side of this article thinking, "Yeah, I know that guy. He's the Saturday Night Live kid that was in that movie."

Actually he's been in a lot of movies of late. And he's been perfect in every single one of them: Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Hot Rod, Knocked Up -- odds are you've seen him around. I can't help but look at him and think of him as SNL's new Phil Hartman, a brilliant meat and potatoes comic just as comfortable in the role of a zany, outlandish character as he is playing the straight man to someone else's brand of hilarity. And much like Hartman he always seems just inches away from exploding onto the scene as an A-lister.

This weekend he will once again show you just how good he can be as the manager of an amusement park in the brilliant coming-of-age comedy


. Playing opposite Kristen Wiig, he gives another great supporting role as a committed (and kind of awful) manager who gets to provide a considerable amount of comic relief to a story that often gets very emotional. Reminiscent of the John Hughes comedies of the '80s, this new film is both touching and, at times, hilarious -- most often the latter due to the capable hands of the 30-year-old Hader.

But watching this forced me to ask: When is it going to be Hader's turn? When will he finally get that vehicle he needs to explode into the mainstream along with all of the other rising Apatow stable players? Will there ever be such a role? Sadly, not this year. This year he's got a voice gig in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and another supporting role in Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian. The latter will once again put him on the "where do I know that guy from" radar of John Q. Popcorn, but it isn't going to push him over. But what could he have lined up for 2010? If you're like me, you're crossing your fingers that he finds himself a solid vehicle for his talents that puts him where he belongs: in something that really showcases his talents for a solid hour and a half rather than fifteen to twenty minutes.