A Brief Interview With Joe Pera About Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’
What does the mild-mannered comedian think about being compared with the Evan Peters version of the serial killer?
Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer, sex offender, and cannibal. He’s also the subject of the new Netflix series Dahmer, starring actor Evan Peters in the titular role. Joe Pera is a mild-mannered comedian and star of the beloved but canceled Joe Pera Talks With You. In a way, he is also the subject of the new Netflix series Dahmer, starring actor Evan Peters in the titular role.
“Why does evan peters jeffrey dahmer sound like joe pera,” a viewer wrote on Twitter this past weekend, following the show’s Sept. 21 release. This person joined a chorus of others. “Evan Peters playing Jeffrey Dahmer sounds like Joe Pera when he talks 😩😩,” “Watching Dahmer on Netflix rn and I gotta say.....Evan Peters is just doing a Joe Pera impression. And its really good too,” “Watching the DAHMER series, and yeah, the actor playing him really does sound and act like Joe Pera lmfao,” “Watching Dahmer and he talks like Joe Pera and it’s somehow making it more disturbing,” “I can’t tell if I’m scared of Joe Pera now or if I want Jeffrey Dahmer to read me a bedtime story. #DahmerNetflix #joepera,” “Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer sounds like fucking Joe Pera.”
And it really is uncanny. If you’re unfamiliar with the work of either Joe Pera or with the Evan Peters version of Dahmer, here are two clips — you can judge for yourself:
Why Evan Peters chose the voice of the Buffalo, New York-born Pera, best known for discussing the merits of breakfast and how to pick out your Christmas tree, to portray the Milwaukee-born murderer Dahmer is yet to be known. Gawker has reached out to his representation for comment and will update if we hear back. Until then, we spoke with Joe Pera — who, it must be noted, also happens to look a bit like Jeffrey Dahmer — about how he feels knowing so many people are watching Dahmer and seeing not Dahmer, but him.
Gawker: Thank you so much for talking with me about this.
Joe Pera: I just want to start off by saying — I never murdered anyone. I got into trouble for stealing some cars when I was younger, but no one ever got hurt.
Gawker: Stealing cars?
Gawker: Okay, good to know. So — there is obviously interview footage of the real Jeffrey Dahmer, and you can hear a bit of similarity between his voice and the voice Evan Peters uses in the show, but a lot of people have noticed Peters sounds much more like you. Do you think he sounds like you?
JP: I don’t wanna watch it. The past week I’ve been getting a lot of texts and emails from old friends that I haven’t heard from in years, and I’m excited to open them because I think they’re gonna say something like, “I heard you’re on tour this fall, wanna get beers when you’re in Ithaca?” Or something like that. Then I open them and they’re just like, “The actor on Dahmer sounds like you.”
Gawker: That’s disappointing.
JP: Yeah, it kinda hurts and it makes me not want to watch.
Gawker: It’s not a fun show anyway.
JP: That’s what someone told me. It kind of revels in the horror a little bit too much. Have you watched it?
Gawker: I watched a couple minutes. I’m not sure why I thought I would like it, but my main takeaway, like a lot of other people’s, was that it sounded like Evan Peters studied you to play Jeffrey Dahmer.
JP: I guess when you talk slow with a Midwest accent…
Gawker: You’re from Buffalo, right? Or did you grow up in the Midwest?
JP: Yeah, I’m from Buffalo. I guess people say the Buffalo accent is like Midwest mixed with Canadian. So I could see that. The Wisconsin accent is a little different, so if he’s doing the Buffalo accent, that’s missing the mark.
Gawker: You filmed a lot of Joe Pera Talks With You in Milwaukee, where Dahmer was from. I was curious if you brought much of a Milwaukee accent to the fictional Joe Pera Talks With You version of Joe Pera.
JP: We filmed a lot of it between Milwaukee and Marquette, where the show is set. Those two accents are pretty different. Marquette, in Michigan, is closer to what you hear in the upper Midwest, like a Minnesota accent. Milwaukee is a little bit of a mix between … it’s somewhere between that and the Chicago accent. They’re not gonna like that I compared them to Illinois.
Gawker: Even if you were going for more of a Marquette accent, I think the way you speak is pretty unique. Would you agree with that, or do you know of other people who sound like you?
JP: I mean, sure, if you go to Buffalo or the upper Midwest there are people who sound like that. I have a couple friends in Canada I met while fishing growing up, and they sounded like that. But I don’t know. Maybe [Evan Peters] decided to watch my show to counterbalance the heaviness of playing Jeffrey Dahmer, and something stuck.
Gawker: It wouldn’t surprise me if he did.
JP: Maybe the Netflix algorithm was scooping up anything that was being talked about … You know, serial killers, and then, “what else can we throw into this?” Oh yeah, can you try to do it like this show that got some attention recently for being canceled? Yeah, do that.
Gawker: If Netflix asked, would you have played Dahmer?
JP: No, I don’t think so. I don’t know what’s to be learned from Jeffrey Dahmer in 2022. I think the money should be given to people who want to build a world with a little imagination, and not just make the same Jeffrey Dahmer story over and over again.
Gawker: It’s not my favorite thing to watch.
JP: No. It seems like it strikes a chord, though. I don’t know what that says about the people eager to watch it. If Netflix reads this — they don’t have to do another serial killer show. I have another idea. You know the women who used to appear in the Big Buck Hunter game?
Gawker: Yeah, the sexy women.
JP: Yes. They’re all older now, and I’ve reached out to them, and I’ve got them signed on to do a film interpretation of Hamlet. If Netflix reads this, I hope they know that we could do it at a fraction of the price of Dahmer.
Gawker: Oh, that sounds much better. I’ll include that pitch, in case they’re reading.
JP: Thank you, I appreciate that. And I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to speak on this, so I don’t have to respond to all those texts from friends. And no pressure, but I’m doing a tour, so if anybody wanted to come check out what a decent version of somebody with that accent sounds like …
Joe Pera’s “Fall Everywhere Else” tour, a follow-up to his “Summer in the Midwest and Rustbelt” tour, is currently underway. Check here to see if the decent version of somebody with the Jeffrey Dahmer accent is coming to your city.