You probably recognize Rob Corddry from his days as a correspondent on "The Daily Show" along with his recent appearances in movies such as Blades of Glory, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and W.
Corddry is now the writer/director/star in the new WB online series, "Childrens' Hospital." The show revolves around a flippant medical staff working in a children's hospital, filled with injured children and their upset parents. The series spoofs the oh-so-dramatic medical genre and includes a cast with the likes of Ed Helms (The Office), David Wain (Stella), Ken Marino (The State), Rob Huebel (Human Giant), Jason Sudeikis (SNL), and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace).
I recently got a few minutes to talk to Rob about how he got the idea for "Childrens' Hospital," the differences between an online series and regular TV, and what sucked about hanging around with Jon Stewart.
How did the idea for Childrens' Hospital come about? You're the creator, right?
I am. I am the auteur, as they say. Not unlike Francis Ford Coppola or Chris Elliott. I was at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles, waiting for my wife and daughter who were in the treatment room. My daughter had popped a ligament out of place and it's a really easy procedure and it took like thirty seconds but as I was waiting in the waiting room, this horrible thing happened.
The doors burst open, and in came this total TV hospital-like show where, you know, five nurses and doctors were around this gurney, pushing it really fast. There were LifeFlight helicopter pilots bringing up the rear, there were IV bags, and people yelling the word "stat" a lot. There was practically theme music going on in the background. I was like "Oh man, this is awesome wait a minute, this is a children's hospital." So that I found it funny or interesting for a second was completely inappropriate.
And then it kind of just went from there?
It all totally fell into place in that one second and was basically written within 15 minutes. The only thing that I got rid of was Maura Tierney. I wanted Maura Tierney as a character to play herself ten years after "ER" but she's an actual doctor now and everyone just tells her to shut the f*ck up.
This show has a bunch of well-known people in it. Were they all looking for something like this or did you just start calling your famous friends until you had a full cast?
[laughing] Yeah, everybody was totally clamoring to get on a Rob Corddry internet vehicle. No, exactly that. I called my friends not so much my famous friends as much as my funniest friends, you know what I mean?
And luckily some of them couldn't do it so I can use them in season two, so I haven't even brought out the big guns yet. I sort of go around in my life collecting funny people to exploit later. And these are all people I've really, really enjoyed working with. Like Nick Offerman is by no means a household name. People might recognize his face from things but he's one of my favorite performances in the series so I wanted to cast him as much as the Megan Mullally's of the group.
What do you think are the advantages of having a show online, as opposed to a conventional TV series?
You can do what you want, mostly.
You get to swear a lot.
You get to swear a lot. [laughing] The TV execs run the online content as well, and I think they feel as much freedom as we do, so they don't have to be dicks about it. They're like, "Hey we kind of have a problem with this 9/11 joke," and I can say, "Well, I don't care." And they'll be like, "Well you know what, me neither. Have fun." And that's sort of what happened. There's just so much freedom on both sides of the table.
Was there anything they wouldn't let you do that you wanted to?
No, not a thing. That 9/11 thing is actually true. They said, "We think this 9/11 joke is a little harsh." And my point was that 9/11 the humor of this joke is that it was just a pity argument in the face of the most non-pity thing that could happen in our lifetime.
But when I looked back at the script for this scene, I actually had a shot of fire reflecting in the officers' eyes. And I thought, "Well that might be a little harsh. That might not be so funny." So I took that out. But, creatively, it was such a singular experience.
When most people think of a hospital genre spoof, they usually think of "Scrubs" or something. What's better about this show?
Well, I think we're able to get away with a lot more. I think in "Scrubs," there was never any attention in paying tribute to the genre. The acting style I think "Scrubs" is very funny the acting style and the style of writing never actually sounded like one of those hospital shows. So I never considered "Scrubs" a parody of a hospital show and I still don't think it is, I think "Scrubs" is just a comedy set in a hospital.
Plus you guys have the score in the background to really push it along too.
Yeah, we've got a great composer, Matt Novak. Those people completely astound me, especially Matt. I can say, "I want this scene to go this way," and two minutes later it will. It's insane.
Yeah, it seems pretty innovative. You just ask yourself why it took so long for someone to create a show that has doctors having sex in front of terminally ill children.
[laughing] Yeah. Why not, World? Why not?
Well, wrapping up, you left The Daily Show a couple of years ago. What's the worst thing about working with Jon Stewart?
Um he frowns on binge drinking? That's about it.
The first 10 webisodes of Childrens' Hospital debut on Dec. 8th. Check out the trailer here.