Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.
The actor: A comedian with one of those everyman faces, Brian Huskey has popped up in everything from Step Brothers to Sonic Drive-In commercials. Recently, he’s made appearances on The Grinder and Another Period, and his latest project is A Better You, an improvised film he co-wrote with Veep star and Upright Citizens Brigade member Matt Walsh. In it, Huskey plays Dr. Ron, a hypnotherapist and delusional self-help guru who’s seemingly unable to help himself.
A Better You is available now on VOD.
A Better You (2015)—co-writer, “Ron”
The A.V. Club: How many times have you worked with Matt Walsh? You had him as one of your UCB teachers, correct?
Brian Huskey: Correct. Matt was one of my UCB teachers, and I have known him for a staggering 15, 17 years or something like that. At a certain point, which I’m happy and proud of, I was doing ASSSSCAT with him and starting to just do random shows with him rather than watching him do stuff and learn from him.
I think the first professional capacity in which we worked together was Veep. And then just spending time together during that, we became better friends.
Veep was the project where we first worked together, but A Better You was the first time we had written something together and just really worked on a full project from start to finish together.
AVC: A Better You is still improvised though, right?
BH: It’s all improvised.
AVC: So you wrote an outline?
BH: That’s right. We wrote what would be a comprehensive outline for any good script writer. We’d get together over five or six months when we could and bang it out, and we just made sure that the storyline tracks, that emotionally we were staying with the guy, and making sure that the story was compelling enough, and then just came up with placeholder bits and jokes that we knew, like if we could get Andy Daly to come in and play a terrible neighbor, we think he’ll get some great takes on being passive-aggressive. So, for the most part, we’d say, “Here’s something we thought of. If you want to try this, throw that in there during your improv.” But we’d go and turn it over to the actors and just say, “Okay, well here’s where we’re starting, here’s where we’d like to end up, and here’s some of the information we’re giving up during the exchange. Everything else, we’ll just see what happens.” And as we were doing it, we’d say, “That’s good. Let’s use that,” then lay it with something else that would happen in addition so we had a wealth of material to choose from.
Veep (2012-present)—“Leon West”
AVC: Is Veep also improvised?
BH: To a degree. Veep’s naturalistic style indicates to everybody that it’s improvised, but the writing on that show is so amazing that you don’t go too far from the script. If anything, doing Veep you’ll do a take and do another take, and if they feel like they got what they want, then they’ll do what they call a “fun run” where you can just do the same thing and add stuff peppered throughout. In any kind of comedy capacity, people are, hopefully, bringing something in addition to what is written there, and I think comedy allows people to do that and make it their own and spice it up a little bit. The worst comedy, I think, says, “No, this is what it says, this is the line reading, this is how I heard it in my head. Do it.” That’s when it becomes like a multi-cam to me. Not to slam on multi-cams, but screw multi-cams.
Childrens Hospital (2008-present)—“Chet/Hobo Clown”
AVC: It seems like a lot of your roles have come from existing relationships you had, which is a good thing. For example, Childrens Hospital. You’ve worked with Rob Corddry quite a lot.
BH: Rob actually got me into comedy. We were roommates, and I was a photographer at the time, and he was working with this sketch group. He was like, “You’re funnier than my sketch group. Let’s try to do some stuff.” And we’d go to open mics and not do anything and chicken out, then he started doing UCB, and I was one session behind him. Once I found UCB, I was like, “Oh, this is what I’ve always wanted to do,” because it is; it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I just kept putting it off saying, “Oh, I’ll do this instead. I’ll play in a band, or I’ll do photography. I’ll make another very difficult career choice besides what I really want to do.”
AVC: Well, it’s a hard thing to do, to choose to make a living at something just based on being funny.
BH: Yeah, it really was. I had to go through a lot of journeys of the self. I first had to give myself permission to say, “I’ve been putting an enormous amount of creative energy into this other endeavor, and now I’m going to scrap that and go from zero with this other thing.” Then it took me a while to give myself permission to say, “I think I’m an actor now because I’ve been going on auditions.” Then once you get jobs, you feel like, “I’m fooling everyone because they don’t know that I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m going to keep faking it.” So, to answer your question, it took me a while to get to a place where I felt like, “This is what I do, this is what makes me happy, and it seems like I’m doing a good job at it.”
To go back to the original thing you were saying about working with people you know, that is, to me, the best-case scenario for any work situation. If you work with people you love or like or get along with in a creative capacity, you’re going to get better results. In comedy, I think there is a lot of vetting. If your reputation is good, people say, “He’s a cool guy and he’s funny, and if you bring him in, then he’ll do it.” You pass each other around or your reputation gets passed around, and there’s a lot of overlap between different comedy clutches and making their respective material. I think once improv, stand-up, sketch, and stuff start to all blur together, you drop this thing where you say, “Stand-ups only work with stand-ups and only hang out with stand-ups.” It’s just one big love fest.
AVC: And there are so many shows that are essentially variety hours. You have someone doing straight stand-up, and you might have a guy doing a character, and then a bluegrass band. A lot of that happens at places like Largo in L.A.
BH: Right. There’s a lot of overlap and there’s that thing where, potentially, when we’re all performers, if there’s a problem to be solved for a particular character or a particular bit, you hope to find the person who is going to solve that problem and execute it in a way that you saw it in your mind, but also take it to the next level. Like I said, if you give someone an exact line reading and you go, “No, this is exactly how it is,” that stops the creative growth of whatever you’re working on. I think from the point of where you’re writing a script to when you’re editing it, whatever you’re working on has to keep surprising you and become something more than what you expected. But I’m sure that there are control freaks who are like, “No, this is exactly what I want.”
Best Week Ever (2004)—“Panelist”
AVC: Was this one of your first big jobs?
BH: Yes. That was one of the first ones I did where I was surprised because I didn’t know how many people it was reaching. It’s kind of like my ignorance with Twitter sometimes. It’s like, “Oh, this isn’t just going to my 12 friends. This is going out to thousands of people potentially.” But, yeah, that was one of the first things I did with a wide berth. And I’m still surprised how much I get recognized from that, considering it was 10-plus years ago. That was a hardcore audience. A very hardcore audience.
Basically what you do is sit in front of a piece of colored paper and say things; it’s really not that hard.
AVC: Did you know what you’d talk about the day before or something? “Come with thoughts about Ricky Martin”?
BH: They would give you the topic, and you’d write your own bits. They’d also have things that they suggest that you’d say. I’m not a quick learner, and after a while I was like, “Oh! The writers want me to say their jokes!” For a bit it was like, “No, I’m not going to do that one. I’m going to do my own thing.” But eventually I was like, “Okay, that’s a funny joke. I’ll say your line.” It took me a little while.
AVC: There were some comedians who wouldn’t do it, or who were turned off by the show because they thought it was mean, or they felt like they were forced to say mean things.
BH: It’s true, but the choice is always yours. There was a lot of subject matter that I didn’t know about or didn’t care about. I’m not a big pop culture guy.
AVC: So why not go on Best Week Ever?
BH: “Why do we care? And next week we’ll forget about it? Okay, cool.”
There were a few things where if they started making fun of somebody physically or if it seemed like someone was having a hard time in the public eye, I was like, “I don’t really want to add to this. This is a culture of meanness that I don’t want to dump extra kerosene on.”
AVC: That’s something a lot of people wouldn’t have done.
BH: Yeah, it’s hard. But it’s also hard because you’re being put in a situation where you’re being paid and they’re sitting right there and if you say in the moment, “I don’t want to do this,” it’s awkward. Maybe in the end, I started to do that a little more and I think I got a little burnt out on it. I felt like the show got a little mean at the end. But, I don’t know. It was a long time ago.
The Onion News Network (2008-2011)—“Duncan Birch”
BH: Great, great, great show.
AVC: How did that come about? You were doing web videos for The Onion, and then that translated to the TV show?
BH: I was Duncan Birch! That is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, because The Onion is consistently one of the most brilliant comedy entities ever. When they started doing videos, we used to do these videos called “In The Know” that was sort of a Sunday morning politico roundup thing, and then they folded that into The Onion News Network as sort of a, “Let’s throw it to our panel of experts and see what they have to say about the matter.” But, yeah, always amazing. We would shoot probably 10 to 12 videos and it was great because you’d have your scripts right there in front of you, but they would let you improvise a little bit. And I think they did a really smart thing where they cast a lot of stage actors and not comedians. “Just come in here and add some gravitas to it, and take this subject matter very seriously.”
AVC: They also cast people like Brooke Alvarez, who you could actually believe as newscasters.
BH: It was brilliant. That’s the tone of The Onion. If you have the tone, you can say whatever. If you have that sort of very serious, earnest way of talking, you can talk about whatever the subject matter is. It can be the longest fart in history or something, but you treat it like hard-hitting news, and it’s pretty funny. And that goes back to Veep. They are terrible at their job and they are horrible people, but it is all under the umbrella of an existing system that they’re dismantling, so I think a lot of that stuff isn’t too far off from the stuff that the real people say to each other. As long as it has that element of truth, that makes it extra funny.
AVC: Is it true that The Onion News Network got you fired from a Sonic commercial?
BH: Yes. They called up Sonic and they said, “Fire him!”
No. One of the videos dealt with how they were extending the tour of duty for the soldiers in Iraq, and they did a pretty smart bit of satire where they said they were making the war more “handicapped accessible.” So the upshot was they were basically saying, “Hey, this is not fair. You’re using the soldiers until there’s nothing left,” but someone who had a veteran’s blog recognized me sent an email to Sonic and they were like, “Well, we don’t like to deal with controversy.”
AVC: You were a hot potato.
BH: Yeah, it was an unfortunate thing.
I was not prepared by how unprepared I was for it. You know what I mean? I was blindsided by it. I just didn’t know how to make sense of it. I was like, “Wait a minute. You know I’m a comedian and I’m going to do stuff and all I have to do is take this video down?” And they were just like, “No.” It maybe instilled a little bit of worry in them that I was going to do some more stuff that was going to get them in trouble. I was just a loose cannon and they couldn’t handle it.
AVC: That’s always weird, too. It’s like, “Haven’t you seen my other things? Did you object to those?”
BH: I know. It’s like, “if you’ve ever come to see an improv show that I did, you probably would have never hired me in the first place.” But I get it. They have a product they need to sell and they have the quadrants where they have to make sure they’re… accessible? I don’t know how you talk about quadrants. I was representing a certain character and I went outside of that character and it wasn’t good for them.
AVC: People overestimate how considerate corporations are, or how much stuff they’ll let their spokespeople get away with. Before the real meat of the Jared Fogle stuff came out, there were people on Twitter saying Subway would hang with him.
BH: I don’t know if you remember the Dell computer guy. He smoked pot, like, once and was dropped immediately.
I think going back to not being prepared, it hurt my feelings. Then it took me a while to realize that I had a strong relationship with the ad agency, not the company; the company just hired me. They decided, “Let’s just do another drawing and do some more commercial auditions and whoever is closest to the drawing will be our new person.” Because I really was like, “But guys! I’m part of the Sonic family! Guys, we’ve been doing this for three years!” So, baby grew up that day. Baby grew up.
This Is The End (2013)—“Headless Man”
Neighbors (2014)—“Bill Wazowkowski”
AVC: Horrible segue, but you’ve worked with Seth Rogen a couple of times. How did you get cast in those projects?
BH: I auditioned for Superbad and I was cast as the principal in that, which got whittled down to a blip of a scene because I was supposed to do this scene with the young Jonah Hill character where I was praying for his salvation, and [director] Greg Mottola said, “We can just improvise this” and the kid kept laughing through all my takes. So Greg Mottola kept saying, “If you don’t stop laughing, we can’t do this scene. We can’t use any of this.” It’s just a wide shot of these two guys, and [the kid] was like, “I know, but it’s so funny, though.” And it just ended up where Greg was like, “Yeah, I couldn’t cut it or do anything with it. It was just this kid laughing while you’re being funny.” So I was like, “Great.”
When I got This Is The End, I was like, “Oh, they probably remember me” and I showed up and Seth was like, “Hey, man! Nice to meet you!” I was like, “Well, we worked a few years ago…” But those guys are so great. So sweet and so great and I love their approach to work. They’re very inclusive and very improv friendly. They’re very grateful. I think they’re very grateful for what they get to do. To me, it creates a really nice environment of, “This is pretty great and we get to do some insane stuff.” So it was a very open environment, which is really cool.
I think Nick Stoller directed Neighbors and Neighbors 2 and he’s another spoke in that wheel of really encouraging open, “we have a roadmap of what this scene is, let’s see what else can come of it” approach to working. With Nick Stoller and Armando Iannucci, these kind of directors are great because they give you the kind of confidence you need to come in and do your job well. They’re like, “We trust you. There’s a reason we hired you, so just do what you need to do. If we have any thoughts on it, we’ll tell you.” And sometimes you get the feeling from the director that he’s like, “Okay, you’re going to come in and I’ll slowly give you the bits of the puzzle to figure out the scene.” I think going back to what I said earlier, between the controlling approach to comedy and the one where you are understanding that it keeps unfolding as you execute it, the latter is much better. Or it’s better for me. I think there are actors who are like, “Okay, what am I doing, how am I doing it, what’s the appeal? Tell me what to do, what are the exact lines from the script? Okay, I got it.” I am not that way. I would be a terrible bus driver. I’d want to be like, “Oh, let’s take this side road! Let’s see what happens when we go down this back alley.”
AVC “It’s faster to go this way.”
BH: Exactly. That might happen. And you never know. It may break down and you have an adventure.
Land Of The Lost (2009)—“Teacher”
AVC: Is Adam McKay included on that list of directors that let you play? You’ve worked with him a few times.
BH: Yes. Yes. He’s been another person that has been fantastically great and supportive to me. I think doing Step Brothers and Land Of The Lost, those were some early gigs that I got that boosted my confidence and showed me what I like so I had a comparison point of, “Oh, this is a really great working environment compared to some other situations where you go, ‘Eh, this is kind of a bummer.’” But I can’t say what the bummers are.
AVC: What was your role in Land Of The Lost? I haven’t seen it. Sorry.
BH: Huge loss.
I was a school teacher and we were on a class trip to go hear Will Ferrell talk about the Jurassic period when he was having one of his meltdowns. So the kids are just tearing him a new one, and I’m egging them on to tear him a new one.
AVC: So you played a principal in Superbad and a teacher in Land Of The Lost? Have you played a schoolteacher any other times? Are you typecast?
BH: Oh, yeah. I get typecast as doctors, principals, middle-management-type guys—which, when you look at me, you realize is completely against my physical characteristics. I should be an action hero. So I don’t understand what’s going on.
But, yes, there’s a movie called Premature where I play a principal. I’ve done some Disney stuff where I’ve been teachers and principals, but it seems me in a lab coat is the picture that’s leading Google images.
House M.D. (2011)—“Dr. Riggin”
AVC: Speaking of that, you played a doctor in two episodes of House. Was that something you auditioned for?
BH: No. That was an offer I got because the director had seen my work for a show I used to do on VH1 called Free Radio, and he was friends with the creator, Lance Krall, and he just thought I could do it.
Honestly, it was very terrifying for me because I think that was the very first TV drama thing I’d ever done, so to be thrown into a situation where it was just me and Hugh Laurie was skipping a few steps. I didn’t realize when you’re doing the rehearsal that you can’t sort of throw some bits in there because they’re like, “What are you doing? You’re not going to do that when we shoot, right?” And you’re like, “No, sorry.” Then it also turned into a very challenging thing for me because when we were shooting, they were like, “Yeah, this scene is kind of static. Let’s add some action. So you’re going to start over here entering data on the computer and then you’re going to pick up a clipboard and write on it, then go to another computer and add some more data and then you’re going to put the clipboard in this holder and pass by this safe and close it only to a third of an inch so we can see inside this space as you go past it. Now, you’re going to go over and pick up one of these rats and inoculate the rat while you explain what the serum does to Hugh Laurie.” As in any procedural, the onus is on the guest star to get out all of the difficult language and all the plot points and exposition, and I’m having to do all of this while I’m holding a live rat and doing all this stuff. Underneath the lab coat was a very sweaty mess.
AVC: The learning curve doesn’t seem very generous.
BH: No. Anyone who is that guy or who pops up as a guest star on a lot of stuff you should really have to appreciate how they have to come into an environment where everyone is a close-knit family and they’re always hanging out and understanding of each other’s quirks and stuff and you have to come in and nail the landing. The expectation is that you’re a hired gun, you come in, you do your job, and you’re done. That can be tough sometimes, because sometimes your mind is not exactly on nailing the landing. You’re losing your mind about the fact that you’re there with Hugh Laurie or that you’re on this show that you’ve probably always wanted to be on. We’re all human.
I will admit I am a little bit of a line fudger. I will change the line a bit to make it feel better in my mouth. That is something they’ll allow you to do on Veep unless it’s a particular joke where they’re like, “No, it just sounds better like this.” But with a lot of network shows, the script is law; you cannot change it all. And, sometimes, that’s a little tough for me.
The Newsroom (2012)—“Jake Watson”
AVC: Was that the case on The Newsroom? That’s another walk-and-talk.
BH: That one, they wanted me for the series, but I realized very quickly that there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of hard-hitting action thrown to the technical director in the control room.
AVC: Didn’t you show them your news reading experience?
BH: Yeah. I was like, “Look at my button pushing! Look at my hand! It can really show tension!” No, I quickly surmised that I was going to be a well-paid background extra, and just doing the shoot itself, I was getting sort of bummed out. You’re kind of benched; you’re near the action, but not doing anything. And the idea of doing that for three or four years, it would have led to some pretty serious alcoholism. So I decided not to.
NCIS (2013)—“Front Desk Clerk”
AVC: Did they ask you to be a full-time cast member on NCIS in 2013?
BH: Yeah. I was really surprised. “You know this guy who is in this one motel scene? We’re somehow going to make him a main character.”
That role is the one thing that my Aunt Jenna points to and refers to as the highlight of my acting career because it’s the one thing she can wrap her head around. Everything else she’s like, “Eh, I don’t know. I don’t understand this show.” But that one, she’s like, “You’re real good in that show! You were acting real weird!”
AVC: It’s amazing the shows that you can find in common when you need to.
BH: I’m glad I was finally like, “Well, I hit that quadrant; I hit that demographic.”
Tarzan (2013)—“Mr. Smith”
AVC: You did a voice in the Tarzan movie. What’s doing a voice like and how is that different?
BH: Well, to be more specific, it wasn’t just my voice; it was motion capture. It was my body in a body stocking with little white dots on it.
That was super fun. I got to go to Munich, Germany and work with this guy who has done gorilla work before. He’s like another Andy Serkis, and they grew up together as mimes, so it was fascinating to talk to him about their respective career trajectories.
That was a situation that I had never been in and had no reference for. Shooting motion capture, when you’re doing your takes, you do a close-up two shot and a wide shot because they can—with the digital cameras with the lenses they’re using—cut in and push in as much as they need to to create whatever shot from whatever angle they need. So it was interesting to know that every single time you’re doing it that you had do your best take. Then you have to do your best I’m-a-cartoon take, which is weird to kind of learn how to not be—I don’t know how to say it—not be sarcastic about it or not be over the top like “this is my idea of how a kid’s cartoon might look.”
You had to hit this weird tone that was big, but it wasn’t condescending that you were playing for 5-year-olds; you were really playing for 5-year-olds on up to 30-year-olds. So that was really interesting. I liked it; it was fun.
I didn’t eat much food in Germany.
AVC: Why not? Because you had to wear the suit?
BH: No, because everything they have there is covered in bread. And everything is gluten. It’s a very glutenous environment.
I just had to get in a gluten-free endorsement there.
Bob’s Burgers (2013-15)—“Regular Sized Rudy/Terry/Phil/Mr. Platt”
AVC: It must have been a relief to do episodes of Bob’s Burgers, then, since it’s not motion capture.
BH: Let me say this: great segue. Great segue from one to the other.
Huge relief, and it’s one of my favorite things ever to work on that show as well because I will add Loren Bouchard to the list from before. Whatever your choice is at the table read, they go with it because they’re really smart at getting people who know the tone of their show and—I don’t know, I guess I’m saying myself and everyone else involved on that show is a genius.
It’s just that environment where you feel comfortable enough to make an extreme choice or a small choice and they will tease it out as needed when you’re doing the recording. The first time I did it, I did this character named Regular Sized Rudy and I was so, so happy afterwards because I felt like I did a great job, but also I was proud that I stuck the landing on the first time out with that show.
I sensed when we were starting that I felt safe. It was like, “What are you going to do? Oh, cool. We love what you did.” I have done a couple of other animated series where they want a certain cadence or a certain inflection per line so it does kind of get into straight line reading, but I think that’s the reality of animated series. A lot of times, they have a particular animation style or approach for a scene in mind that they want the voice to match. And with Bob’s, they let us record and match the animation to the voices.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012-15)—“Johnny Tigers/Dr. Klinky Von Tankerman”
AVC: Have you always done voices? You’ve done quite a few on both the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show and podcast.
BH: I think so. It’s come up a lot in improv. You just are thrown into a scene and you’ll make a choice. I like morphing myself a little bit.
I’ve auditioned for animation stuff for a long time; that’s a tough field to crack into. I don’t think I have the strongest voice. I don’t have a theater-trained voice, or a radio voice, but I think I make good character choices. So in that regard, I’m pretty talented and it needs to be matched with the right kind of show.
I think the takeaway from this is that I need a very particular work environment. [Laughs.]
AVC: Luckily we’re in a time period where that stuff exists. Comedy Bang! Bang! can be a TV show, for example.
BH: It is the golden age of television across the board, I think. Plus, there are so many more nooks and crannies to fill with certain kinds of programming. I think the audience you might reach might be a little bit more curated.
AVC: That’s one way to put it.
BH: A little more “niche.” But if you like this, this, and this, then you’ll like this.
For example, I just did a pilot for myself for Adult Swim, and cutting it together, I can’t believe the stuff that we get to do. But they are a network that’s not really concerned with having a Big Bang Theory please-everybody-big-money-making behemoth. I’m sure they would love to have a behemoth, but that’s not their entry point into making stuff. They really are very artsy fartsy, “let’s make the coolest stuff we can because we can.” That’s pretty astounding that that exists in this day and age.
Late Night With Conan O’Brien (2006)—“White Collar Crime Prisoner / Group Leader / Spock”
AVC: Have you noticed that change yourself? You used to do stuff on Conan O’Brien’s show in the early 2000s, and he could do weird things, but he also had the pressure of the network behind him. Has that changed?
BH: I think it’s taste. Absolutely. I think the internet has made absurdist throw away comedy bits a little bit more of the norm. And my only sort of criticism of that is that it does add to the culture of disposable content. There’s not as much stuff that becomes a lasting, impacting character bit. But I think that speaks more to shows like Veep that say, “We are really going to investigate the minutiae of a world and get into the behavioral habits of these different characters.” You have that at one end, and the other is this insane mix of Jimmy Fallon throwaway bits and Adult Swim stuff and Comedy Bang! Bang! Much like the internet, there’s something for everybody on TV now.
AVC: Do you want to talk about your Adult Swim pilot or is that on the DL?
BH: I don’t know if it’s on the DL. I think they put out a little release about it. It’s called Mr. Neighbor’s House, and I wrote it with my buddies Jason Mantzoukas and Jesse Falcon, and Rob Corddry is an EP on it. The short pitch is that Mr. Neighbor is a kid’s show host that at some point lost his mind and this is the show that is going on in his mind.
AVC: Is it animated or live action?
BH: Live action with puppets and hopefully we’ll have some animated stuff.
AVC: And you’re the guy that has lost his mind?
BH: Yes. Right now I’m trying to work out the short summary. It has a sort of deeper storyline to it, but that’s like the quick pitch to it.
AVC: That’s the case with a lot of shows right now. With Review, for instance, it’s about more than just, “This guy reviews life experiences.”
BH: That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out; what’s that teaser phrase that makes people say, “Oh, that’ll be fun to watch” but then you find out there’s more going on to it? So maybe you start changing it to an “amazing” show and then you start using all these adjectives to beef it up a little bit. An astounding, paradigm-shifting comedy.
Another Period (2015-present)—“Victor Schmemmerhorn-Fish V”
AVC: With Another Period, for example, the buzz phrase when it started was, “It’s the Kardashians, but in the gilded age.” But when you started watching that show, it was more than that in a very weird, great way.
BH: That show is so fun, and it’s so amazing that you get to wear those clothes. When I did that table read, I was like, “These scripts are so funny” because it could be a show where the motor of the show runs out very quickly, but I think they did an amazing job of not going the predictable way of just being like, “Well, it’s Downton Abbey where we curse.” They really give themselves permission to go to these extremes with these horrible characters and really bend the genre to its breaking point where you wouldn’t expect things to get as insane and horrible as they do on that show, but it does and I think that’s greatly to its benefit.
It also allows them to make some serious script adjustments because everyone on the cast is working on other stuff and a few times there were some real scheduling conflicts. They can be like, “Oh, just take that storyline out, and we’ll just switch this one in here.” They discovered they needed a lot of fluidity in that way.
AVC: Your boyfriend on that show—David Wain—spends a good part of the show just sleeping or being in a bed. But he’s probably got million different things to do.
BH: That’s because he’s David Wain and right when we started shooting was when they said, “Okay, Wet Hot American Summer is going to become a TV series now” and he was like, “Okay guys, I’ve got to go.” So it was like, “Now David Wain will be put into a coma for most of the series.” We’re going to say, “Okay, you’re going to be asleep.”
AVC: And you’re back for season two?
AVC: How can you not be?
BH: How can I not be?
AVC: Do you know where your character is going to go?
BH: No idea. I had pitched that I think it would be funny if David and I adopted a baby to raise as a gay couple on the DL, but I doubt they’re going to use that. That’s my one pitch.
AVC: Now you have Moshe Kasher’s doctor character in the mix, too.
BH: I imagine there will be some drama when [David] wakes up. Unless they choose to leave him in a coma for the rest of the series.
AVC: I’m sure he would love that. That would be an easy job for him.
BH: Super easy.
AVC: And he’d still get scale or whatever people get paid.
BH: Oh, he’d still get the big Comedy Central money from that gig.