If you change the channel onto Cartoon Network after 10 at night, you’ll find yourself in a strange world filled with absurd, slightly grotesque but still hilarious comedy that you didn’t even know could be aired. For years, Adult Swim has been known for churning out the strangest and what has to be the funniest shows that you can find during the night. Further, it’s the random type of humor that pops up in shows like Children’s Hospital and The Heart, She Holler that really strikes fans. It’s as if a conclave of sick and twisted comedic minds got together to create this block of shows, and so many of us love it–and like any addicted television viewer, we want more. What will we see next season out of these two strange and wonderful shows? That’s what we went to find out at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
First let’s talk about Children’s Hospital, a show that’s poking fun at Grey’s Anatomy along with every other soap opera imaginable. If you go and mix that together with some absurd humor and you’ve got a very intriguing half hour worth of comedy. At the end of the latest season we found the group a little lost and suddenly transferring themselves over to Japan to continue their weird path through medicine. We got the chance to speak with producer Jonathan Stern along with actors Rob Huebel and Erinn Hayes to give us a little more insight on the craziness that will ensue this season.
It has long been featured on the show that former police partner Detective Briggs is pressuring you to return to the force. What is it about being a doctor that keeps Owen in that line of work?
Rob Huebel: Wow, that’s a great question. That’s a real story-like, character based question. Well I think that being a cop is way too dangerous. You can get shot with bullets and I think I found out that I like taking bullets out of people instead of putting bullets into people. But it’s hard because every time Detective Chance Briggs comes around, it’s really tempting to get back on the force with him. He’s such a great cop, he’s very persuasive.
The characters in Japan is definitely an interesting new spin on the setting.
Rob Huebel: We’re in Japan! We shot the whole show in Japan… no. It looks a lot like Japan. Yea, we had to get out of the hospital. We had to mix it up. There was a mix-up and we had to get out of there. We couldn’t be in that hospital anymore, so we went to Japan.
Who’s going to be your guest stars on this season of Childrens Hospital?
Rob Huebel: Oh Key and Peele. Weird Al.
Erinn Hayes: In one episode I make out with Weird Al.
Does Weird Al have his accordion when you’re making out with him?
Erinn Hayes: I didn’t see him have it but I heard the sound as we started kissing.
Jonathan Stern: Nick Offerman comes back as Owen’s former police partner, Detective Chance Briggs.
Rob Huebel: There’s Jon Hamm.
Jonathan Stern: Right, as Arthur, founder of the hospital.
Rob Huebel: Jack MacBrayer, Judith Freelander. Urkel!? Come on. It’s a lot of people. Bill Murray’s brother Bryan Doyle Murray. It’s true! So that’s that.
You got to narrate season 3. Do you enjoy doing double duty as a star and as a voice on the show?
Erinn Hayes: What you’ll notice is that we quickly got rid of the narration. We did it heavily in the first and second season. I did it for a couple of episodes and then we dropped it.
Rob Huebel: This season is the first season we have zero narration. How come a guy never gets to narrate? I would have liked it
Erinn Hayes: Because it’s gross!
Jonathan Stern: Your character narrating would have been like “Oh look at that chick. Oh look at that nurse! Oh yea!”
Erinn Hayes: We did drop that thinking narration, but it was fun while it lasted. I’m glad I got to hold the torch for awhile.
Jonathan Stern: But in a larger sense, that shows how the show has moved beyond a Grey’s Anatomy parody to something that parodies maybe another specific show that doesn’t have a narration.
Then we make our way into The Heart, She Holler, a silly, disgusting little show created Vernon Chatman, the same mind who created Wonder Showzen. After a two year hiatus his latest show is heading back on the air. Writer John Lee and actor Patton Oswalt talk about their second trip back to The Holler in the silly show.
Is there such a thing as something being too nightmarish for you guys?
Patton Oswalt: Too nightmarish? I would genuinely like to see something that made you guys go “Yea, let’s cut that. We’re not seeing that.” I can’t think of a single… you actually invented new taboos. You literally…
John Lee: This season we have something that precedence-setting from the network standards. It’s a sexual act that’s never been on-air before but they can’t even explain, so therefore they can’t take it away. But we tend to find the weird thing that we want to do and just find the puzzle that gets it to where it makes sense so that you can do it, instead of just showing something offensive. It’s finding those weird little steps, next thing you know something disgusting is happening where you’re like “Well that makes sense.”
Patton Oswalt: That’s what makes your stuff extra creepy. It all is logical.
John Lee: Of course you’re pulling guts out of your chest. No doy.
Most shows on Adult Swim give the impression that there is very little studio hands coming in and telling you what to do. Is that true or not?
John Lee: Yeah. They’re great. It’s kind of amazing. For this show in particular, and even when we did Xavier: Renegade Angel, we just did a drawing or we sent a poem this time and they just send us a bag of money. So then we just make the show totally free. They pay attention, I think it’s just more so they’re just trying to understand. We win the fight because we write these very cryptic scripts that nobody can understand, and that helps to our advantage where they’re like ‘Fine, just go.’
Patton, it seems like a lot of your fellow comedian friends in the 90s now have shows on Adult Swim. Is that something that you would be interested in doing, your own show?
Patton Oswalt: I came up with an idea that I really, really like, absolutely. I’m a huge Adult Swim fan and that has put me at a disadvantage because I don’t want to be the C- thing on that network. All the stuff on that network is from the people who have been thunderstruck. Something took them over and right now that just hasn’t happened to me in terms of a TV show, so I’m just going to wait. I’ll wait until something really eats me.
What would you say, going into season 2, the biggest difference with the show is?
Patton Oswalt: Well you definitely went deeper into the Hoss’s character in terms of how deep does his plan go, and you put up… what’s kind of fun is that you keep putting up these obstacles in the real world but there’s no way he could have had any plan in place to take care of this. I think this season especially, all the main characters are way more aware of how God awful their situation is, and they’re a little more focused on trying to escape it.
John Lee: And that’s the theme of this season, a little bit more of trying to get the hell out of The Holler.
Patton Oswalt: It seems that The Holler is inescapable.
The Heart, She Holler airs on Adult Swim this September while Children’s Hospital airs this week.