The Aug. 16 episode of Childrens Hospital will definitely air on Aug. 16. That's what creator and star of the Adult Swim show Rob Corddry was willing to dish about Thursday's episode when he spoke with Hollywood.com. Well, almost all he was willing to dish.
"Here’s what I’ve been told I can say: I cannot say that Madonna is a guest star on our show, especially tonight. I cannot say that. I cannot say tonight’s episode is guest-starring, because I’m not able to say that legally. So I won’t. People are either going to be really excited or really disappointed. I can’t wait," he jokes. Corddry's short-form comedy series is, with or without the Madonna listed in Thursday's episode's official log line, clearly letting loose all over the late night comedy landscape. And fans are loving it. Perhaps it's because the series has lined up fantastic guest stars this season, like not-Madonna and actual Jon Hamm, who Corddry says is officially a comedy dude. "He’s also this really funny guy, who was cursed with this Adonis, manly thing," says Corddry. Oh yes, what a pesky "thing" that Hamm's got going for him. "He got Mad Men, and it’s great, but it’s great that he’s doing what he likes to do as well – not that he doesn’t like Mad Men," adds Corddry. But there's something more. Something beyond star power that makes Childrens work. Corddry attributes a great deal of that to the freedom offered at a place like Adult Swim. "Adult Swim is the only place on television for absurdity," says the actor, who says the network has a lock on an important demographic - the 18-30 set - which allows its shows to go a little more off the rails. (Keep in mind, this is a place that breeds series like Assy McGee and Delocated.) "The head of the network, Mike Lazzo, is very much like a punk rock president. He’s just like, 'Do what you love and we’ll support you,'" gushes Corddry. But what does Corddry want to do? He wants to reap the benefits of the end of 30 Rock. Yes, Lemonites, there are benefits - benefits like Corddry bringing his friend Jack McBrayer on for a new role. "We have a whole thing planned out for him. I think he’s going to play against type, a real hard ass ... He’s going to play the boss of the paramedic, Chet (Brian Huskey) ... They’re friends in real life," he says. Of course, they're no ink on paper, but how do you say "no" to a guy so committed to his character, he wears mounds of clown paint in every single scene? (You don't say "no," Mr. McBrayer.) "Staff Dance" airs at Midnight, Thursday, Aug. 16 on Adult Swim. And Madonna may or may not be in it, but there will definitely be plenty of reasons to laugh. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler. [Photo Credit: Adult Swim] More: Checking In at Childrens Hospital: Interview with Rob Corddry The Best TV You're Not Watching: 'Childrens Hospital' 'Childrens Hospital': Long-Awaited 'Party Down' Reunion is Pretty Brief
Is there such a thing as a successful remake anymore? After seeing Fright Night the answer is (surprisingly) a resounding “Yes.” Craig Gillespie’s shiny reimagining of the 1985 kitsch classic is very much its own movie but like any good spawn it doesn’t forget where it came from.
The film’s plot is not born of a novel concept. Las Vegas teenager Charlie (Anton Yelchin) is doing just fine. He managed to shake his nerd image he’s got a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots) and he even puts the de facto cool kids to shame on occasion. Life’s pretty great until he meets the neighbor: Jerry (Colin Farrell). People are disappearing and Charlie’s old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has a theory: Jerry’s a vampire. Armed with only the vampirical evidence doled out by Criss Angel reincarnate Peter Vincent (David Tennant) Charlie is forced to defend himself his mother (Toni Collette) and his girlfriend from the silver pointy clutches of Jerry the vampire’s endless blood-lust. And a suspenseful hilarious time ensues.
Fright Night is successful in large part because it keeps things simple. Charlie: good. Jerry: 16 shades of blood-curdling evil. Game set match. It’s scary and gory with a dash of humor – essentially a good old-fashioned senseless horror flick with a glossy big-budget cover. It’s cleverly self-aware and expends great effort to lend a sense of quality to something that promises to be nothing more than a bloody slasher flick. But the bottom line is that it works.
And the cast is big part of that. Farrell’s bloodsucker is the antidote our Twilight-riddled generation so desperately needs; this is what vampires are supposed to be. His twitchy growling yet somehow seductive vampire successfully strikes a precarious balance along the sexy-scary line and while the role doesn’t demand a great deal of Farrell's talent he’s fully committed to his psychotic relentlessly violent character and the result is deliciously despicable.
As for our band of plucky good guys Yelchin is perfectly adequate as our hero. He’s likeable he’s trustworthy and he holds his own amongst onscreen presences that threaten to drown him – Mintz-Plasse Farrell and Tennant are tough acts to outshine. Collette is generally wasted – anyone could play her part but she does what she can with the material she’s dealt. Poots really shines here; it’s almost surprising that she’s able to bring such much power to the typical girlfriend role but she manages to make her character more than just a love interest. But of course the one man who stands above the entire cast is Tennant who’s all but eliminated from the trailers for the film. The former Doctor Who star jumps into the mainstream as Peter Vincent Las Vegas performer and vampire expert extraordinaire and every minute he’s onscreen is comedy gold. His timing delivery stature and expressions are all pitch perfect. His performance alone is worth giving Fright Night two hours of your time.
Of course Gillespie makes some very stark choices with the film. The dark scenes are almost too dark; it takes a few scenes to adjust to the lighting much like being suddenly shut in a dark room. And while it’s probably not great for anyone’s ocular health it really heightens the element of fear. Then there’s the element of 3-D which is thoroughly used throughout. At first it borders on schlocky but when the vampy action gets going everything from blood to holy water to fire comes bursting out of the screen and lends an enjoyable but decidedly B-movie flair to the whole ordeal.
While the story wheels out of control leans heavily on ridiculously convenient solutions and generally has only two goals – fear and bloodshed – the film itself is so much fun that those elements don’t really matter. If you’re looking for something to stimulate your intellect run like hell from this movie but if you want two hours of unadulterated messy creepy fun look no further than Fright Night.
Rob Huebel is a man of many talents. Well, actually, I don't know if he could juggle chainsaws (I bet he could), but the talents he does possess are being incredibly funny and popping in on just about every show you and your friends like. Right now he's starring in the absurdly hilarious Childrens Hospital so we chatted with the funny man about writing for the show, making out with classic television stars, and dogs chasing squirrels. Hard hitting stuff, indeed.
I absolutely love Childrens Hospital. It’s one of my favorite things on television right now.
Thanks. It’s one of my favorite things too.
How do you prepare for an episode of Childrens Hospital when everything is so bizarre and weird and so completely different from one episode to the next?
I think the trick to that show is to really treat it like it’s a real, serious medical drama. Hopefully we don’t ever look like we’re being silly, or goofy, or doing wacky shit. What we really want to do is take really absurd things really seriously. Hopefully that’s what makes it funny. I think that’s the trick with things like that. You don’t have to do anything different than a real show. Even though you’re saying crazy, crazy shit… like the most ridiculous things, you just have to deliver it really dramatically and really seriously.
So, it’s kind of like Airplane! and Naked Gun in that way. I remember reading that’s the way Priscilla Presley got through it: to not even think of it as a comedy line.
Well, I would love to be compared to that. I’m not sure that we are exactly on par. I look up so much to those movies, Airplane!, and Naked Gun. I think that stuff is so funny. I grew up just loving all that stuff, and sort of idolizing Leslie Nielsen. So I’m not sure that we’re exactly on par with that, but that’s a really nice comparison for sure.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do for Childrens Hospital?
Well, we’ve had to do a lot. Last season I made out with Marion Ross from Happy Days. She was Mrs. C on Happy Days. You’re probably too young for that. She’s an older lady. I had to have a very graphic make out with her with my shirt off. And you know, our tongues were intertwined. That was interesting just because of our age difference. I’m walking my dog. My dog’s chasing a squirrel, here. There’s always a lot of crazy stuff. This season I get my foreskin reattached. That’s pretty crazy. There are a lot of porn stars on set this season. We shot an episode called “The Night Shift,” where we sort of reveal what happens at the hospital during the night. They completely change us over. It becomes this really dark place, and there are biker gangs in the emergency room. It’s like a really scary place at night. And there are a lot of porn stars there shooting. Henry Winkler’s character rented out the hospital to some porn crew so they could shoot a porno at Childrens Hospital at night.
That sounds awesome. How do you work in an environment like that where you’re surrounded by all these hilarious people and you’re basically goofing off, but at the same time you still have a job to do? I’m assuming you’re under deadlines. How do you strike that balance?
I wrote an episode this season, so I know a little about how it goes. The very first time you read this stuff, you shit your pants laughing. You love it, you can’t wait to do it. By the time you do it, you’ve reworked the script and reworked the script, and there’ve been a lot of meetings about it. When you’re actually in production, it’s like anything else. You have a certain amount of time in that you have to have this thing done. We try to shoot an episode in, basically, two days. There’s not a lot of time for screwing around, otherwise we wouldn’t have any type of show. We really have to work fast and you have to really focus up. Even though you’re saying and doing crazy things, you still have to do them in an organized way.
What really goes into writing an episode of Childrens Hospital?
What we do is, a group of us get together and sort of just pitch out ideas of things that we think would be funny for a specific cast member, or a funny thing for a lot of the cast to do. A thing that we did this season a lot was kind of take a break from the actual hospital thing and do something totally different. We’re really lucky that the show is only fifteen minutes long, so we can kind of do whatever we want. Most of the episodes are always dealing with hospital stuff. Crazy patients, crazy situations, just really absurd things in the hospital. But then we decided there should be a few episodes that are nothing like that. Completely different. We did one last year that was called "News Readers", sort of like 60 Minutes parody. There’s a guy that comes, and there’s a whole 60 Minutes piece on us. There’s one that’s like an old timey play. The whole episode is in black-and-white and it’s shot just like a play. Which is crazy, it’s completely bananas. If that’s the first episode of Childrens Hospital that you turn on to watch, you’re gunna be so fucking confused. But it’s really funny, and really cool. There’s another episode that’s all in the 70s. There’s another one where Jeff follows the ambulance driver, and we just follow this one character out of the hospital and see his whole life. It’s all about this sub-character, this ambulance driver Chet, played by Brian Huskey. And it’s really just following him around on his insane day. Picking up organs, delivering them, dealing with all the ambulance stuff. That was just sort of something that we thought would be kind of cool this year, to just break the form a little bit and get out of the hospital every now and then.
So you’re moving away from the medical, procedural tropes, to explore the universe a little?
Yeah. I think it’s just like, we know that we can always make fun of medical procedural dramas. That will always be our bread and butter. But we like to challenge ourselves every now and then to do something that’s totally different. To make it feel and look like a completely different show. Whether or not the audience goes for it remains to be seen. I think they will. At the end of the day, funny is funny. And all those episodes are really funny. Just because we’re not wearing scrubs, and we’re not under fluorescent lights in a hospital hallway, that doesn’t really matter.
What do you bring to the cast and writing to Childrens Hospital that no one else really does?
NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. And I’m trying so hard to hide that. The minute they sit down and have a budget meeting, and go, “Okay, we need to cut some costs. How much does everyone get paid? What? Huebel gets paid two million per episode? We gotta trim that shit.” I think that we all sort of bring our own attitudes to the show. We’re all sort of these sex-starved, insane and sort of vapid, stupid people that are really full of themselves, and probably horrible doctors. But I think we all do that in a different way. Malin is different from Ken, and Ken does it different from me. By the way, Ken does it the wrong way. I do it the right way. Whatever Ken is doing is wrong. I think we all just sort of do it in our own way. I tend to play super serious, or aggressively dumb, which is how I am in real life. Not too much of a stretch. On the writing side, we’ve all known each other for a long time, and we know these characters pretty well, so we know how to write for each other. I know how to write funny stuff for Corddry, I know how to write funny stuff for Megan. Once you have those funny characters, you know what they can’t do in that world, so it’s like trying to plug in funny situations for them.
What can you tell me about the upcoming Party Down episode?
Hold on just a second, my dog is going crazy on this squirrel. He’s gone up in these people’s yards who I don’t know. He’s terrorizing the squirrel. Wait! Wait, wait, wait! Sorry. German Shepherd. He hates squirrels.
Oh, the Party Down episode… I’ve been told by Rob Corddry’s law firm: Corddry, Corddry and Rosenstein, I am not allowed to talk about that episode. Corddry’s law firm are a bunch of leg-breakers. Literally. They’re so shady. They will fucking break your legs. They spray-painted the word “douchebag” on the front of my house to intimidate me.
I don’t want to get you in trouble.
Without giving it away, fans of Party Down will be very psyched to see that episode.
What can you tell me about The Descendants which is coming out later this year?
It was really an amazing experience. I got to go to Hawaii for three weeks and work with George Clooney, and one of my favorite directors, Alexander Payne. I have a very small part in the movie, but when you get the chance to go to Hawaii and hang out with those people—
You don’t really say no to that.
Yeah, you don’t turn it down. It was really great. Alexander Payne is one of those directors who is completely in charge and knows exactly what he wants, which is really fun. It’s fun when a director is very specific. He knows totally the tone that he’s going for. It makes it easier than if everyone’s just guessing and trying to figure it out. That’s no fun. It’s fun when the director knows what he wants. He’s that type of guy. George Clooney is exactly what you would expect. He’s annoyingly good looking, insanely funny and super smart. So you just feel really inferior around him all the time. You end up feeling really bad about yourself, but you walk away feeling really great about George Clooney.
You’ve appeared in pretty much every good comedy of the past few years. Is there everything you haven’t done yet that you really want to?
There’s a lot that I haven’t done. Thank you for saying that, but if you look hard, I’m the king of small parts on cool shows. And I’ll take that! I’m happy to do that, but I want to do bigger things and have bigger parts on those things. I’ve never been on a regular network show—I’ve been on a lot of network sitcoms like The Office.
You were just cast in Family Album, weren’t you?
Yeah. There still trying to figure out how that’s going to go. They shot that for the fall, and then they tried to retool it, and I think the plan is to maybe make it a midseason show. They’re still figuring that out. But that was great. The guy who directed that is Shawn Levy, who directed Night at the Museum and Date Night. His new movie is Real Steel. He’s amazing. Not to sound like I think every director is so great. He’s one of those guys where you’re like, “Yep! Whatever you want, dude. You tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” We were shooting this mark and I had to do this scene where I jump off of a motorboat into the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know where you live, but the Pacific Ocean in March is fucking freezing. But I was like, “Yep! Absolutely! No problem!” You wanna do a good job for these guys because you know they’re gunna make something cool. Sometimes when you shoot stuff, you never know how it’s gunna turn out. You don’t know the director. And you’re like, “I don’t know if this is going to be funny,” but you do it and hope for the best. But with Shawn, you know it’s going to be great. So that was really fun. It would be really cool if it became a show. It’s a totally different kind of thing. It was interesting going from Childrens Hospital to that, because that’s like a network sitcom. It’s like a family show, too, where you can’t say and do the crazy things you do on Adult Swim every night. But that said, my character is completely inappropriate. I’m like the uncle in the family, so I don’t have kids or responsibilities. I can just do and say whatever I want. So for me, that was really great and really fun.
Childrens Hospital airs Thursday nights at Midnight on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
Will Ferrell is back on-target in the dumb movie sweepstakes as Brennan Huff an over-grown overly sensitive son who has never bothered to move out of single mom’s (Mary Steenburgen) house even though he’s 40. When she meets falls in love with and marries an older doctor (Richard Jenkins) all before the opening credits are over Brennan must move into his new stepfather’s home where--you guessed it--39 year-old loser and would-be musician Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) has been living with Dad all these years as well. The new siblings who give stunted growth a whole new definition bunk together like 10-year olds with an instant rivalry that causes havoc in the household. Soon they find themselves birds of the same feather when fed-up dad announces he is selling the house and going on an around-the-world cruise with his new bride. The hapless pair are ordered to find decent jobs and a new place to live--a prospect neither relishes. After an earlier misstep this year with the inane Semi-Pro Ferrell is back in his comfort zone and finding new sparks opposite Reilly who despite the failure of his recent starring comedy Walk Hard continues to show natural comedic abilities. The two are fun to watch as they mine a lot of laughs playing imbecilic but lovable adolescent middle-aged men--Peter Pans who just never grew up. Still it’s the supporting cast that really shines. Jenkins--enjoying the best year of his career especially with his stellar turn in The Visitor is now complementing it with his riotous portrait of a put-upon dad dealing with a couple of morons who have overstayed their welcome by about 20 years. Steenburgen manages to invest the rather colorless mother role with dignity even earning a couple of laughs on her own. Adam Scott as Ferrell’s real-estate mogul brother is consistently fun particularly in leading a family sing-a-long while driving to bro’s house. Also of note Kathryn Hahn as his mousy but extremely kinky wife who tries to get down and dirty with Reilly.
Ferrell’s writing partner Adam McKay is not only co-scripting again but back behind the camera guiding Ferrell’s and Reilly’s on-screen nuttiness. Adam McKay an SNL veteran who was responsible for two of Ferrell’s biggest hits Anchorman and Talladega Nights knows from experience exactly how to take these over-the-top situations and wring every last laugh out of them. Movies like this are hit and miss so give McKay credit for hitting more than he misses. Each actor even the lesser-billed ones have their moments to shine and it’s a nice tribute to McKay’s laid back direction that none of them bellyflop. The premise of Step Brothers clearly presented some potentially rich comic possibilities and McKay and company uncover most of them. Certainly the film should strike a responsive chord with those faced with grown kids either coming back home to live or never leaving in the first place--if not quite to THESE extremes.
Set in 1976 an arrogant doofus--who loves booze partying and women--buys an underdog professional basketball team and basically runs it into the ground until he is inspired to take his rag-tag team all the way to the NBA. Sound familiar? Semi-Pro is pretty much a mixture of every other Will Ferrell movie. He plays Jackie Moon a one-hit wonder who buys the Flint Michigan Tropics off the proceeds of his hit song “Love Me Sexy.” and tries to coach them even playing on the team. But he ends up dragging them down to last place with his promotional antics. And when the wild and crazy ABA basketball league--known for its slam dunk contests--is about to merge with the all-powerful NBA the Tropics only have one shot to make the cut. Can they pull themselves together in time? This is an underdog sports movie after all. It’s really the same old Will Ferrell shtick in Semi-Pro. Sometimes it’s hilarious but unfortunately after Anchorman Kicking & Screaming Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory much of it is rehash. Tiresome rehash. Nevertheless Ferrell has surrounded himself with another eclectic crew mixing some old favorites with new faces: old Ferrell cronies include David Koechner as the ABA commissioner and Will Arnett as a Tropics sports announcer while the newbies include Andre Benjamin as Clarence “Coffee” Black the Tropics star player and Woody Harrelson as Ed Monix a veteran player Moon brings in to help the team. Think of Monix as Bull Durham’s Crash Davis who once played in the show but has been demoted to the B leagues. Oddly enough Harrelson actually brings some dignity to the otherwise silly proceedings. Veteran executive producer Kent Alterman who has overseen such diverse films as Balls of Fury and Little Children helms his first feature film with Semi-Pro--and that’s basically how the film comes off: semi-professional. Alterman probably figured he only had to point and shoot which is mostly the case and doesn’t do anything above and beyond. The real effort comes from the script written by comedy veteran Scot Armstrong (Old School Starsky & Hutch). The first half of the film is pure Will Ferrell non sequitur fodder--beginning with Moon singing his hit “Love Me Sexy” (lyrics also included is “Lick Me Sexy” and “Hump Me Sexy”) and the obligatory scene of Moon sitting around with his buddies saying “nutty things because they’re not true.” Then there’s the bear wrestling scene. Ferrell must have a thing for the big furry animals (remember the bear pit in Anchorman?) Unfortunately the outrageousness lessens in the second half of the film becoming your straight forward underdog movie. If Semi-Pro is a huge hit Ferrell won't stop making these movies; but if it falls flat maybe he'll think of ways to reinvent himself. One can only hope.