Pendleton is exactly the way you would hope him to be if you're a fan of his work. Imagine being some kind of potion vendor in a fantasy world and one day a famous powerful wizard sends you a message that says "I enjoy your potions!" Then imagine that wizard invites you into his tower of sorcery and for a couple of years you get to help him and his sorcerer friends cast powerful spells that you sort of imagined were possible but had never witnessed yourself. Add two of the cutest pug-dogs on earth to the creatures living in the tower and That's what it's like working with Pendleton Ward.
It was very fun. Amy is a joy to watch work. I learned a lot from seeing her on set. She is involved with every part of the shoot and she is extremely upbeat and charismatic at 5'oclock in the morning even if she didn't want to be because she knew it was important for everyone involved in the shoot.
Question: I've always wondered how you managed to get so many big name guest stars on Robot Chicken. Was it all purely professional negotiation, or was there a lot of getting friends to spend an afternoon doing you a solid?
Answer: A little of both. I asked a lot of favors in our first season, but as the show became popular, we got approached by performers who wanted to play with us. We always ask, and are thrilled when people say yes. I think it's lots of fun, so I always present it to performers that way.
Christopher Walken was great, and he always had funny things to say. He worked on a movie called MOUSE TRAP and explained how it's different working with an actor dog than an actor mouse. It was one of the best conversations I've ever been involved with.
I loved them. So much. I love Eric Andre. He is a lunatic too. One of the few legit ones. I missed his birthday and it is a major regret this year. He's a ton of fun. I called him before the show and said "I'm gonna do something really fucking crazy on the show. I'm not going to tell you what it is but I wanted to give you the heads up." He said "Okay cool, I'll go nuts too." I loved it. A lot. So I always welcome him in any situation to do whatever the fuck he wants. I've riffed against crazier things than he could ever bring to the table.
Hardwick is amazing. He is down to earth and cool and funny and has well coiffed hair. It's cool there. We sort of hang out and joke around and do makeup and then go on and try and get some laughs. It definitely does not feel like you are on tv. Which I like.
I started doing comedy in 2002 and I had a VHS tape of one of my first few sets. I took it to my RA, Open Mike Eagle. He watched it and said you sound like this dude, he played some Hedberg for me. I thought it was amazing.
Mitch played Zanies in Chicago in 2005. I was brand new and I went up to his green room and asked for a spot. (This was really obnoxious but I was hungry and ambitious.) The next night he let and 3-4 other Chicago comedians that he never met perform on a sold out show of his fans. That's unheard of. Comedians just don't do that type of shit. I won't do that shit now. I can be in the greatest mood ever and I won't let a stranger on my show. It went well and he let me open...
Eric is extremely creative and driven and when he's on camera he wants to make it a moment. He's incredibly prepared and he's a smart dude.
The best part of working with him is that I really don't have to do anything but be myself and react.
Best job ever. The excitement of starting a whole new show to replace my hero Letterman's, of doing it with one of my best friends hosting it, and working with hilarious young writers, it far outweighed how hard it was and how many people tore into it. Too many memories to list but Louis CK used to throw shit out the 30 Rock window a lot. He would throw money, and attach a note to it - stuff like "You fucking pathetic moron." So we got to watch people scurry to pick up dollar bills and the read the note. Even though they were ant-sized, their body language was enough to have us laughing for hours.
Well, I always felt especially bad that Charlie was disappointed by the show because he uprooted from LA and was definitely expected the show to be innovative and groundbreaking. Now, lots of people think it was, and if you check it out, there are plenty of sketches like Grandma the Clown, First Ladies as Dogs, Waiters Who Get Nauseated by Food, The Stupid Pranksters, and, yeah, the first Ace and Gary cartoon, and I'd say those and others were smart and original. We also had a legendary star performer who did amazing impressions and had beloved characters. So writing to the star's strengths, which included writing for his Regis, Perot etc. was always going to be an important ingredient. I ki...
Adam is the greatest guy I've ever worked with, kind, honest, never withholding affection or anger in the best way possible. But he's also as funny as anyone I know; he was easily one of the most inventive writers in my time at SNL (see: Herlihy Boy, his early Update appearances, his early Canteen Boys - not the Baldwin one). And yes, being around him is the best because he's not only funny but he makes you feel like you can do anything.
Being on Curb was the most fun I've ever had other than watching my twin boys clown around for me. It was like comedy fantasy camp. Larry David is another mega-hero for me. I auditioned and got cast as Yari, the vaguely foreign softball coach/mechanic. But I didn't know until I showed up for the shoot that they wanted me to do a speech to the team. So I asked Larry Charles, the director, if it's okay to curse. And he gave me the answer I wanted to hear. So I had about ten minutes to write a couple of things down that made me laugh. Then we shot it and Larry didn't know what was coming. I've heard he's an easy laugher but still, seeing him crack up felt like alley-ooping to Michael Jordan. I'...
Lots of fun working with Louis, man. Louis' a little nutty, so you never know what he's going to come up with. The fact he came up with POOTIE TANG alone... but he's a great director and a great writer.
Q: What was it like working with Jonathan Winters? I remember him being one of my father's favorite comedians and you were mine so we kind of bonded over Mork & Mindy in a slightly bizarre way.
A: It was a joy. I believe i said in the Academy Awards it was like dancing with Fred Astaire but it was even better than that, because being around him, he would perform for anybody. There was no audience too small. I think I once saw him do a cat for a beagle.
And I had the same experience watching the Tonight Show with my dad. Watching and laughing at Jonathan with my dad helped us become closer, very much so. My favorite Jonathan Winters one liner is "Have you ever undressed in front of a dog?"