In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.
Rob Huebel is everywhere right now—at least, if you’re into premium cable and streaming services. His latest comedy special, Crash Test, which he hosted with Paul Scheer, recently made its Comedy Central debut after debuting on Vimeo last year. He’s also featured in the new seasons of both Transparent and Childrens Hospital, the Adult Swim show that’s back tonight, January 29, at 11 p.m. He even pops up in Keanu, the new movie from Key And Peele that’s set to hit theaters later this spring. In the meantime, Huebel was able to take a bit of a respite between jobs and answer this year’s new 11 Questions as he drove, swearing and swerving, through the streets of Los Angeles.
Rob Huebel: Wow. Mind explosion.
The A.V. Club: We’re kicking this year off in a very meta way.
RH: Now I’m worried about this, because if I tell you that, are you going to ask me, and then I have to answer that? That’s just more work for me.
AVC: I’ll probably ask if you give it to me. But you could just say, “I wish someone would ask me about my new special” or whatever it is you’re promoting.
RH: The question that I wish an interviewer would ask me is, “What’s the dumbest fucking interview question that people always ask you?” Because there are—yourself not included—there are a lot of people that are kind of just getting through their day, so you get a lot of the same questions. No one ever stops to ask, “Hey, what’s the dumbest fucking question that people ask you all the time?”
AVC: And what do you always get asked?
RH: People always say, “When did you know you were funny?” They don’t mean that in a bad way—this already makes me sound like such a jerk. They don’t mean that in a bad way, but someone talking about comedy is not funny at all. That’s a very nice, generic-sounding question: “When did you know you were funny?” But it pre-supposes that I think I’m really hilarious. So that’s kind of a loaded question.
I’ve already dug myself a huge hole.
2. If you could ride a giant version of an animal to work every day, what animal would it be? (Note: It doesn’t have to be a real animal.)
RH: Of course it would be a tiger. A white tiger with laser beams for eyes. That would be awesome. A giant fucking white tiger with a saddle who could shoot laser beams out of his eyes.
AVC: That’d be pretty baller in L.A.
RH: Yeah. I mean, it’d be pretty baller anywhere, I think.
RH: I’ve seen Jaws, like, 800 times. And I love it.
I’ve seen it 800 times because they used to play it on TV all the time, I feel like, but it’s also one of those movies that, whenever it’s on, it’s so well-constructed that I can’t turn it off. Whenever I fall into it, I just have to watch it. I love it so much. I feel so bad about the shark. There is no reason—no reason—to kill that shark! Those monsters—spoiler alert—explode the shark at the end of the movie. For no reason. That always gets me.
AVC: At least you like the movie. A lot of people just get stuck watching movies they dislike over and over.
RH: Oh, yeah, that’s a weird way to torture yourself. Just watch a movie, over and over, that you hate. That’s really funny—that’s probably exactly what hell is like.
RH: Well, I mean, this comes up a lot, but for a long time, I didn’t believe in Bigfoot.
I just thought, “No, that would be impossible. You know, we would have found Bigfoot by now. We would’ve found some skeletons, we would’ve found some sort of proof of Bigfoot.” So, I didn’t believe for a long time, but obviously this is the year we find Bigfoot. And obviously all scientists agree that there’s definitely Bigfoot.
There’s no reason to debate it. It’s like debating climate change. There’s no reason to debate climate change anymore. There’s no reason to debate whether there’s Bigfoot. Clearly, the yeti exists.
AVC: What do you think it is? Is it an apeman, or is it an apebear, or?
RH: I don’t think it is—I know it is! It’s exactly that. It’s an apeman, man.
We just haven’t found him because the world is big. And the woods are deep. The more TV shows that we can get where people go out looking for Bigfoot, the better our chances are. So let’s get more of those shows going.
AVC: You could host your own. What’s stopping you?
RH: Listen. You’re joking, but I would host a show where I take famous people out into the woods every week to find Bigfoot. I would do that. And you know what? We would find him in like a week.
AVC: You just have to put that famous people power behind it, and then shit’ll get done.
RH: Bigfoot loves celebrities. You just have to bring celebrities that Bigfoot loves. It would probably be just gorgeous women.
RH: I read one time that I am permanently banned from Yankee Stadium and that I could never ever go back. This article mentioned, supposedly, that I did something in the early 2000s at Yankee Stadium, and I got arrested, and supposedly, allegedly, I went to jail for something that I did. And then I had to go to court for about a year, and then I was on probation supposedly for about a year. I was looking at about a year in jail, possibly—for what I allegedly did. And, at the end of the day, the charges supposedly were dropped, and the court decided that I was never allowed back in Yankee Stadium. I read that about myself one time and I thought that was pretty fascinating.
AVC: Have you ever been to Yankee Stadium?
RH: Yes, all of that is true. I am permanently banned from Yankee Stadium because I got arrested there.
One of the first TV shows that I did was this prank show for VH1 way back when I lived in New York. And we did this prank where we took a Michael Jackson impersonator and I played his publisher. So the idea was for me to kind of bullshit the authorities so that Michael Jackson could throw out the first pitch before the baseball game. And I was just really good at my job and I bullshitted all the right people, so we got all the way to the dugout with some hidden cameras and with this fake Michael Jackson. And we were just about to go onto the field to throw out the first pitch and, at the last second, they separated us and they started grilling us and asking us all these questions. Someone in our group folded under questioning and we all got arrested and went to jail.
What I didn’t tell you is that it was two weeks after September 11. So that was the main problem. It was a huge security breach, and we made a lot of cops look really dumb, and it was right after September 11. The people that produced the show thought it would be really funny and I didn’t think about it because I was a young dumb comedian. So I got arrested and went to jail in the Bronx, and now I can never go back to Yankee Stadium. End of story!
AVC: Do you think they can really enforce that? Do they keep your picture by the door? How do they know?
RH: They have a picture of me and Osama Bin Laden right by the door. But his face is Xed out.
No, I don’t think they can enforce it. In fact, I’ve already been back to Yankee Stadium, so I know that they can’t enforce it. They can’t keep me out. Most monuments are not something you’re going to keep me out of. And I go to a lot of monuments.
RH: A parking ticket. I got a parking ticket one time in L.A. and I was furious about it. I was trying to prove a point to the guy who gave it to me and I put it in my mouth and chewed it up. And the guy just kept watching me, like, “Yeah?” He didn’t think I was going to finish the job. So then I swallowed it. The good news is that—a lot of people don’t know this—paper is not a big deal if you eat it. You can eat paper all day long. You could eat the phone book. I mean, you’d be full, but you could eat the phone book. So that was the weirdest thing: a parking ticket.
AVC: Did you have to pay it all the same?
RH: Yep. I still had to pay it. I just had to go online and see how much I owed, so the joke was on me.
RH: This is really embarrassing. The first concert I ever went to was the Bee Gees. I don’t know if you remember the Bee Gees. My mom took me. I was little. But my mom was a big disco fan, and—my mom took me to the Bee Gees. Looking back now, it’s pretty embarrassing if your first concert was with your mom.
AVC: But you were little.
RH: Yeah, I was little. I was 18, 19…
RH: That’s a great question, because, certainly, I’ve gotten to go to a lot of places that I never would have been able to go and been able to meet a lot of people. And every now and then you’ll be doing something and you’re like, “I can’t believe I get to do this.”
One of the coolest things was that, in 2007, I got to go to Iraq with Rob Riggle, Paul Scheer, and Horatio Sanz. We went over there to do some comedy shows with the U.S.O.
I had heard that, “Oh, the U.S.O. will make it very cushy and you’ll be staying in nice hotels and you’ll go to army bases and stuff, but it’s not going to be that dangerous. You’ll be in the suburbs of Iraq.” The cool thing is that we actually got to go places—I think because of Riggle. Riggle is a Marine. They were like, “Fuck it, man, let’s show these guys this war.” So we got to go to the front lines of the war.
We had to travel by Blackhawk helicopter everywhere we went. We never drove anywhere. We took fucking Blackhawks everywhere armed with two machine gunners out the doors. And they even let us fire the machine guns—we were in the middle of nowhere where there was no human life or anything, there’s just dirt. So we could fire the machine guns.
We went to all these little forward operating bases all over Iraq. Little bases, just protected with a small sort of concrete wall that they put around the place. They were pretty small outposts in the desert. And they were taking on fire all the time, and attacks. So we went up there and we did a bunch of comedy shows and got to hang out with all these young soldiers and it really blew my mind.
It was also 121 degrees. It was the hottest thing I’ve ever felt. You look at your skin and it’s like at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and it’s like that Nazi guy: “Ahhhh!” It’s like that. Everyone’s kind of walking around like that all the time. But to get to go to that part of the world and see what was going on at that point in history and meet all of those soldiers, it really blew me away.
RH: I’ve had and probably still have a lot of bad haircuts. My mom just sent me some pictures—I don’t know why she did this—but she sent me some pictures of me when I was probably like 12. I grew up in the D.C. area and I used to wear a Redskins jersey just walking around. I just had kind of a bowl haircut for a long time and no sense of style or personal hygiene. But the main thing was the haircut. You know, when you see a haircut of yourself from around 12 or 13, it’s rough. I also had really bad acne. Where I had to take this medicine—serious medicine—with warning on the label, like, “Do NOT take this if you are pregnant.” Thank God I wasn’t pregnant at the time. But yeah, I just had bad haircuts, bad acne, and bad clothes for a long time. And probably still right now.
AVC: It’s funny that your mom sent you those. Like, “Thanks, Mom, for reminding me of this horrible appearance I once had.”
RH: Yeah, she’ll mail me that stuff almost as like a “fuck you,” you know? With no note attached to it. I’ll just get an envelope full of pictures. You know the awkward class photo when you’re sitting there for your school picture and you’re 14 or something and you’ve got braces, and you don’t know how to smile, and you’ve got a hard-on. She’ll just send me that out of the blue with no note attached to it, no explanation. It’s just like, “Fuck you! This is what I used deal with.” I don’t think she really means that, because my mom isn’t really like that, but it feels like that.
AVC: For me, the worst part that is that I think, “What the fuck was I wearing?” I think about how much effort I put into it. It’s like, “I spent dozens of hours thinking about and working on this look, and this is what I came up with?”
RH: Absolutely! It wasn’t like you didn’t have time to think about it and you just ran out the door and grabbed anything. There was actually some serious time in front of the mirror, checking yourself out, checking out your shirt, checking out your pants—
AVC: “I look good in this Redskins jersey.”
RH: Combing that hair. Really putting some thought and effort behind it and it’s astounding how terrible I used to make myself look. Still to this day I don’t really know how to dress myself.
RH: I mean, I’ve stolen a lot. Let me think about the best thing I’ve stolen. Stolen a lot of hearts. Hey-o! Just kidding. Has anyone ever answered like that? Because that person would be a piece of shit.
AVC: No, you’re the first person to answer these questions this year, so there you go.
RH: I’ll tell you something I almost stole one time.
I didn’t drink at all in school, so when I went to college, I went nuts. I was trying to catch up on all the partying I missed out on. I was really good in high school, so in college I was going to be really bad. My freshman year of college, I went to some party in the day time—this was back in the ’80s. Kids, we used to have parties in the day time back then. I went to some party in the day time and got very much over served—it was not my fault, someone over served me.
On my way home, there was a U.S. Mail delivery Jeep. I opened the door and the keys were inside, and I was like, “I’m going to do this. It’s going to be so funny.” I was just about to steal the Jeep, and then I was like, “No, that seems like something I could really get in trouble for.” So I closed the door, and my friend called me a pussy or something and he got in and moved the Jeep around the corner, like 100 yards. The mailman came out and caught him and it was a felony. That’s a federal vehicle.
So this kid in college was charged with a felony. And thank goodness I decided not to steal that mail Jeep. Let that be a lesson to all you kids in college. If you’re going to steal a car, don’t steal a mail vehicle. They don’t mess around. I mean, have fun, steal all the cars you want, but don’t steal a U.S. Mail vehicle.
RH: This just happened like a month ago. I’ll put it this way—I don’t normally get very star struck. I have a thing that I do when I meet famous people where I try to play it really cool. Sometimes I pretend like I don’t know them. Like just for example—this is not the person—but I was at this party about a month ago, and James Bond was there. Daniel Craig, but I think he goes by James Bond.
Anyway, my wife is in love with him. He was in a tuxedo looking all James Bondish, trying to impress everyone with his fucking James Bond tuxedo. And my wife, she couldn’t even talk. So we happened to be chatting with someone that I know who he knew, and he came over and kind of interrupted our conversation with this other person. And just started talking to my friend, and I just re-interrupted him and was like, “Hey, man, I’m Rob” and put my hand out. I wanted to sort of force him to say, “I’m Daniel Craig.” So that’s sort of my M.O. when I meet famous people. I was also kind of pissed off because my wife is in love with Daniel Craig and I was really jealous. And I will say that he is charming and handsome and looked fucking sweet in a tuxedo. But, you know, he’s not going to steal my wife from me. So I had to kind of blow him off a little bit.
All that is to say that I don’t normally get very star struck. However, I was just at a table read for a movie. It was an animated movie where they have all the actors come in and sit around a big table and read the whole script out loud so you can see what’s working, what’s not working. And this is an animated movie that Paul McCartney is doing and he’s producing it. So I got to meet Paul McCartney.
There’s no way to play it cool when you meet Paul McCartney. You just start sweating, you trip over your words. Everyone kind of reverts back to being a 10-year-old girl. You can’t help it. He’s one of the only people on planet Earth that everyone knows who he is. Everyone.
And so everyone else at the table read was freaking out. But his move, which is so cool, is that he puts everyone at ease by just being really low-key and super likeable and just like he’s nobody. He goes, “Oh, hey, what’s up, man? What’s going on?” He chit-chats with you, he makes eye contact with you, he seems really interested in what you’re saying. He really puts everyone else at ease and makes them feel good so they’re not nervous, which I think is really cool.
AVC: That’s a good move, because then you don’t think about how he’s making a billion dollars a day or that he’s a fucking Beatle.
RH: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen him in concert, but the guy puts on a three hour plus concert where he starts playing the early, early Beatles, and then goes through the hit Beatles, then goes through the ’70s, tripped-out Beatles, and then Wings, and you see how this one dude has written so many amazing songs that have changed music and inspired humanity, and it makes you feel terrible about yourself. I mean, what have I done? My life is a waste!
RH: What is your phone number?
AVC: That’s a good one. A challenging one, but a good one.
RH: Yeah, because they’re going to have to answer it, and it’s going to be someone that we all know, and then their phone number is going to be out there, and then we’re all going to call them and fuck with them.
They’ve got to answer it, I asked it. They’ve got to answer it.