When actor/comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz first met, it was over a slice of pizza in New York. They made each other laugh, decided to work together, and a partnership was formed. Years later, the two have performed their two man long-form improv show damn near everywhere, including Carnegie Hall, and have, as of today, released three one-hour specials on Netflix under their Middleditch & Schwartz moniker. The specials are wild and free-ranging, with the two performing a long, narrative scene inspired in part by a discussion with an audience member that leads off each episode. The pair switch back and forth between roles, and create a world of characters onstage, something that’s both inspiring and exhausting to watch. It’s improv at its highest form, and it’s further evidence that Middleditch and Schwartz deserve every bit of praise they’ve received to date.
The A.V. Club sat down with Middleditch and Schwartz via Zoom to talk about the pair’s working style, team name, and whether they think Comedy Bang! Bang! counts as long-form improv.