In case you hadn’t noticed, Comedy Central’s been running one helluva funny new series on Wednesday nights after South Park (go ahead and set up your DVR’s now; we’ll wait here). And not only is Workaholics the best new show that Comedy Central’s put on the air in years: it’s also been a bit of a hit in the ratings, enough so that the network renewed the series for a second season just last week. We’ve been big fans of the show since its April debut, and so we were thrilled to get the chance to talk to Workaholics‘ Adam Devine over the weekend. Read on for the first of three Workaholics interviews, my gentle Examiner readers…
Now that we’ve seen the entire first season, we can make it official: Workaholics is the best new scripted show that Comedy Central’s put on the air in years, and it is absolutely deserving of your ratings-vote. If you’re a fan of South Park, we strongly suggest that you get on the Workaholics bandwagon now: the show’s just been picked up for a second season, and some of the episodes that have yet to air this season are even funnier than those you might have already seen.
Comedy Central was nice enough to set up a series of interviews between Comedy Examiner HQ and the Workaholics cast. First, we talked with Blake Anderson (the one with the Weird Al Yankovic haircut), and you can check that out right here. Last week, it was Adam Devine (the guy who’s not the tallest guy, if that makes sense). Here’s how that conversation went. Finally, I spoke with Anders “Ders” Holm. Here’s what he had to say:
icedjamb.com: Hey, Anders. Scott Wampler, with icedjamb.com.
Anders Holm: What’s up, buddy?
EX: You ready to do this?
AH: Let’s do it!
EX: Great. Now, Comedy Central wanted me to interview you guys separately, so I’ve already spoken with Blake and Adam. Thing is, by this point, I’ve pretty much asked every possible Workaholics-related question that I had, so…in all honesty, I’ve got nothin‘ for ya. We’re just gonna have to talk and see what happens. This is even more unprofessional than my usual interviewing style, which involves preparing almost zero questions.
EX: So…how are you doin’?
AH: Uh…good? I just got out of laser-eye surgery.
EX: Can you even see right now?
AH: I can see, but I’ve got these weird, protective lenses over my eyes.
EX: Do you usually wear glasses or contacts? You don’t on the show.
AH: Well, I got ’em lasered, like, seven or eight years ago. And this year, I noticed that they weren’t as sharp as they used to be. So, I went in for a little enhancement.
EX: So, even if you go in for laser-eye surgery to correct your eyes, it might wear off?!
AH: I’m, like, the exception to the rule. I’ve known people that’ve had ’em for longer than me, and they’re fine. Worst case scenario, I’ve got a giant tumor in my head.
EX: Well, some might even consider that a plus.
AH: And the world was supposed to be over in a couple days, anyway, so…
EX: How have you find the experience of working on the show? You guys went from crappy jobs to making videos online to working for Comedy Central. You hit the jackpot.
AH: It’s been pretty crazy. Back when (we heard we were pitching the show), I was working as a production assistant on Real Time With Bill Maher.
EX: No sh-t! That’s cool.
AH: Yeah! And they’re the coolest crew, production staff ever. They were really supportive of what I was trying to do, too. Like, if I needed a night off or a weekend to go pitch Comedy Central or film something, they were totally cool with it. They’d be like, “Yeah! Go! Take your time. It probably won’t happen for you, but…”
AH: Y’know, ’cause every PA’s like that, where they’ve got something in the works. But luckily, mine worked out, and it went from zero to sixty in, like…I was getting groceries for someone one day, and then I had a show the next.
EX: Did you find out during your initial meeting that you were getting the show, or were there a few weeks where you didn’t know?
AH: We had a meeting where they really liked us– I mean, apparently. And they said, “Why don’t you put together a pitch for a pilot set in an office environment?” So we went off, did that, came back, pitched it to a few more people. The crowd started getting bigger and bigger, and on the third meeting there were, like, 12 people across the room for us. After that meeting, we were like, “If we don’t hear anything in a couple weeks, it definitely won’t happen.” But they called the next day and they were like, “Here’s what we’re gonna do: we’re gonna have you do a spec-pilot, and we’re gonna give you some money to film, like, a ten-minute thing, like a presentation”. And we were like, “For that money, we’ll give you the whole deal.”
EX: So, you ended up shooting an entire pilot?
AH: Yeah! We’d been shooting on nothing for our web videos, so when they gave us…y’know, that was no money to them, but to us it was like, “Oh, we can do 22 minutes for sure”. Plus, it’s like, nobody’s ever seen what we can do in 22 minutes, so we wanted to show ’em that we could kick off a whole episode, wrap it up in the end, and make it where you’d want to see another one.
EX: Did that pilot air?
AH: No, but it’s very similar. Like, if you were to watch it, you’d say it was the same thing. Maybe I’m wearing a green shirt in one and a blue shirt in another, but otherwise, it’s almost exactly the same. And then, of course, because we improv a bit, there were some jokes that were a little different, stuff we came up with on the day.
EX: How much would you estimate that you go off script during shooting?
AH: Ehhh, maybe 40%. We like to have a strong script, and we’re proud of the jokes that we bring to it. When we have a table read– with all the executives in the room– we don’t wanna be like, “Yeah, we’ll just come up with something on the day” even if they know we can.
EX: That’s putting a lot of pressure on yourself, too.
AH: Yeah! So, when we get on set, we’ll give ’em a few takes as it’s written, and then a few takes that are a little bit different. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll put our heads together and say, “What are we trying to do here? Why isn’t it funny?” And then, usually, it’ll work.
EX: Have people been coming up to you on the street, recognizing you from the show?
AH: Yeah, but I don’t really look like I do on the show. Like, I don’t shave my face. Or the coiffed hair. But Blake gets spotted from the Hubble telescope, and Adam gets recognized. But I was at the grocery store the other day and some guy in the parking lot was like, “Hey, dude– like the show!” And I was like, “OK, great, just don’t kill me. It’s kind of dark out here.”
EX: I like how you started that off by saying “I don’t shave my face”, as though saying “I don’t shave” would have led me to believe that you don’t shave your shoulders, or your knuckles…
AH: Well, you should see my shoulders.
EX: I’m open to just about anything.
AH: I look like a baby. I have to shave every day. That’s probably the worst part of the show.
EX: And you’ve gotta do some amount of makeup, right?
AH: Oh, yeah. I make sure they give me an extra jawline definition, ’cause ladies like that and so the dudes will respect me.
EX: And maybe a little eyeliner.
AH: I believe it’s called “guyliner” these days.
EX: Well, sure, you wanna be manly about it.
AH: I don’t claim the phrase. But it’s showbiz! You got to, right?
EX: Sure. And maybe if you really push it, you can get Robert Smith on the show.
AH: (Laughs) Yeah. We did a Juggalos episode, though, and we got to put on some clown makeup.
EX: That was one of my favorites. Comedy Central sent me the entire first season last month, and after watching ’em, the Juggalos episode and the “Office campout” episodes were my two favorites. Especially the campout one. That’s the one I’ll show to people if they’ve never seen an episode before.
AH: That’s our slick doggy. He’s a good-looking dog. He’s the one we show people to get ’em excited. And it’s pretty stylized, which you don’t often see in comedies. Except for “Community”: they’re doing some cool stuff over there.
EX: What other comedies do you watch?
AH: I watch so much TV it’s sad. I watch “Happy Endings”, “30 Rock”, “Parks and Rec”, “The Office”, “Eagleheart”, “Children’s Hospital”. “Modern Family” I guess I’m still kinda watching. Even though I’m like, “OK, I get it: the dad’s crazy”…
EX: I’ve kinda gone back and forth on that one.
AH: Y’know, I never loved it, but I love “Community”. What they’re doing’s really inventive. It’s more about the storytelling and jokes than the characters, I think, but it’s pretty great.
EX: It’s a good time for comedy on television. A lot of stuff that’s a lot smarter than what was on, say, five years ago. Maybe I’m prejudiced because I wasn’t watching a lot of TV years ago, but…
AH: Well, I look at it like, “The Office” and “Arrested Development” were kinda the dawning of the…and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. That might be the funniest show ever, besides “Cheers”.
EX: Yeah, but I can’t watch anything with a laughtrack.
AH: I know, but for me, I think it’s a nostalgia thing. I watched that when I was young, and even though I didn’t get all the jokes, I thought it was funny. What’s really funny is that the characters (on 80’s sitcoms) call each other stuff like “knucklehead” and “bump on a log”, and now it’s like “bitch tits” and “douchebag” and–
EX: –and “tight butthole”.
AH: Which we do on the show a fair amount.
EX: Exactly! I overheard someone saying it out and about recently, and I’d never heard the phrase before the show came along, so I assume that it’s the first catchphrase to come out of “Workaholics”.
AH: “Tight butthole”?
AH: You actually heard someone saying it?
EX: Yes! While I was, like, out and about.
EX: When you guys write an episode, do you know who wrote which jokes, or is it a blur?
AH: Yeah, you remember. When we do scripts, we’ll all sit in the room and write the story together, and we’ll script it out– dialogue, action– and then we’ll clean it up before bringing it back for a last-night punch-up. I can kinda remember which ones are mine, but I’m also doing a lot of the actual scripting.
EX: Have you ever had a situation where one of ya’ll will come up with an idea for a storyline, and the other guys don’t dig it, or do you guys agree most of the time?
AH: No, of course. Sometimes you’re like, “I got this really cool idea about rollerblading”, and everyone else is like, “Is that even possible?” I wouldn’t say they “shoot ideas down”, but they…well, you kinda know it when you smell a good idea.
EX: Can you think of any situations where you came up with an idea and the others weren’t too…like, an idea that was discouraged?
AH: Yeah, one recently was, what if there’s an election coming up, and our office is being used to raise money– the RNC and the DNC– and basically what happens is, half the office is Republican and half is Democrat, and they’re not willing to call on behalf of the other party. In fact, they don’t both want to exist in the office, so there’s like a mini-scale election to determine if the office would be Democrat or Republican. And you’ve have, like, Tea Party people and tree-hugger people on one side…but people weren’t sure that our audience would give a sh-t about it.
EX: I like that idea!
AH: Well, season seven.
EX: Have you had any writer’s block moments, or is it still coming pretty steadily?
AH: It’s pretty fresh, especially when you’re in a room with these guys. We’ve been doing stuff together for years. Someone can come in and be like, “I wanna do an episode where I get hooked and steroids”, and someone else will be like, “Cool, that sounds like it’ll have a lot of funny avenues that we can explore”. And the other person’s like, “And you could end the episode by doing…whatever.” There’s a cool shorthand where we can pick up the slack from each other and keep things tight. It’s pretty tight-butthole, if you will.
EX: I think that’s a great place to wrap this up.
Once again, thanks so much to Comedy Central for setting up this series of interviews. If you missed the first two parts, be sure to check out Blake’s interview HERE and Adam’s interview HERE, but before you do that, go to your DVR’s immediately and set up a season recording for Workaholics: it’s seriously the funniest scripted comedy that Comedy Central’s put on the air in years, and we’re very excited to see where the show goes in season two. As always, you can sound off in the comments section below if you’ve got anything you’d like to add to all this, and you can stay tuned for more Workaholics-related news as it becomes available.
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