Hader, it should be noted, is serially humble, unchanged in his self-effacing demeanor from the first time we talked by phone, six years earlier. And since leaving his Emmy-winning run on “Saturday Night Live,” the Oklahoma-born Hader has stayed in demand as he continually gravitates toward fellow artists he holds in high esteem.
That lofty company includes the storytelling masters at Pixar Studios — yet another place where, to hear Hader tell it, he claims he had to genuflect to get a gig. So how did the gifted comic actor really manage to impress the animators at Emeryville so eminently that he has the rare pleasure of voicing both Pixar films this year: “Inside Out” (in theaters this Friday) and “The Good Dinosaur” (due out in December)?
“It was that thing where, I stalked them,” Hader says with a wry wrinkle, about connecting with such people as “Inside Out” director Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”) and producer Jonas Rivera. “They didn’t come to me. I asked: ‘Can I go over and meet those guys?’
“I kind of just went on a tour of Pixar and met Pete and Jonas,” continues Hader, speaking by phone last week from a Beverly Hills hotel. “I said, ‘I think you guys are amazing.’ ”
The Pixar hosts revealed one thing they particularly hoped to tap from Hader: his firsthand experience from “Saturday Night Live.”
“They said: ‘We want to do this thing. We have this part of ‘Inside Out’ that has a dream production. This whole sequence has an element of live-TV,’ ” Hader recalls. “I was still on ‘SNL’ at the time.”
Hader ended up soaking up life at Pixar for a week. “I got to hang out … and help out in the story room,” he says. “And then they just said: ‘Why don’t you play one of these [characters]? We want you to play Fear.’ ”
He leapt at the chance. Hader, who characterizes himself as a “pretty anxious guy,” says the performance was an easy fit.
But Pixar also needed someone to play the character Joy. (The emotions Anger, Disgust and Sadness are also central to “Inside Out.”) The filmmakers had their eyes on another “SNL”-sprung star.
“They liked Amy [Poehler] and they didn’t have inroads,” Hader tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “They said: ‘Would you mind calling Amy? We don’t want to call her and have her think we’re some weirdo.’
“So I called Amy and said: ‘You’ll be getting a call from Jonas from Pixar. He’s a genius.’ I told her the gist of the story, told her that it’s an amazing film. And I told her: ‘You’re kind of the driving force of this story. You’re right for the part — you are Joy.’
“Amy is this beautiful, effervescent person.”
“Joy was the most difficult character to write,” Docter says. “We gave her a lot of, ‘Come on! Get busy, guys!’ lines. You kind of want to smack her at one point. We were upfront with Amy about that. And she was key.”
And of landing such top performers for his “Inside Out” voices, Docter says: “They have amazing comic talents. … [With them] the film’s humor is often in the way things are said.”