Those that have seen Wet Hot American Summer need no intro to this interviewee, who both wrote and starred in the decade-old cult favorite. Michael Showalter is also a founding member of sketch groups Stella and The State, the latter of which is now amazingly available on DVD after much network nagging from persistent fans. You'd also recognize him from his recent comedy album Sandwiches & Cats as well as his very own original online series on this site.
Showalter, whose comedic style is as soft-spoken as it is dry, pairs up with sidekick Michael Ian Black in the new series Michael and Michael Have Issues
. I recently talked to him about his new show (which airs Wednesday), what he doesn't like about his job, and his cats.
You've been doing a lot of press for this new Comedy Central show. Is this the worst part of your job?
No. My least favorite parts are: 1. Scouting locations; 2. Having microphones put on my body; 3. Photo shoots (I guess that kind of counts as press.)
What is the worst question you have been asked so far?
"Who are you making this show for?"
At a risk of being a jerk, who are you making this show for?
I'm going to answer your question with a question: who aren't we making this show for?
Okay, next question. What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip. Hands down.
We interviewed Michael Ian Black last summer, and he mentioned working on the pilot for this show back then. How long does it take to go from pitching something to a network to actually getting it on the air?
We finished the pilot almost exactly one year ago. I think it's different for every project. Some take forever, some happen really fast.
Am I wrong to assume that Michael is a huge hassle to work with? Don't be afraid to use the word "prima donna" as many times as needed.
No, Mike's not a hassle to work with at all. But that's mostly because I do all the work. He only comes into work to pick up his mail.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep tabs on how many cats you own. If you had to pick one, would you choose cats or sandwiches?
Cats. I have three of them. Sally; Louise and Tim. If losing my cats meant never eating another sandwich then I'd never eat another sandwich. Luckily that's not my predicament at the moment.
I read this on the internet which means it is either half true or completely false: you have a book in the works?
I do. I'm writing a memoir about getting writer's block while writing a memoir. Mostly it's just dumb jokey stuff. It'll be done in early 2010.
Now that The State
has finally been released to DVD
, what do you think your cultish fans will focus their attention on?
Viva Variety DVD.
You're an Adjunct Professor at NYU. Is it strange for students to walk into class and take notes from the guy who wrote Wet Hot? I imagine it could be distracting.
Maybe at first but then it just becomes normal and they need me to be a good teacher.
Yes. I definitely want to. It's just that I'm running out of famous comedy friends to bother for an interview.
What about Elizabeth Banks? She's almost cuter than Paul Rudd and Andy Samberg.
Yes. Elizabeth Banks is a great idea. I'll Tweet her now and ask her to do it! She's definitely cuter than Rudd. That Samberg is pretty darn cute though.