Seth Green and Matt Senreich started producing their Emmy-nominated stop-motion sketch series in 2005. Additionally, many thanks to the lovely Miss Sarah Schneider for conducting this interview with me.
Robot Chicken is famous for its pop culture parodies. Do you feel that being on Adult Swim or working with action figures lets you get away with more risque material?
Seth: Absolutely, both of those things. Adult Swim gives you a lot of creative leeway because of the time slot and the targeted demo. And [the toys] are so relatable, it's something you physically held in your hand as a kid and that makes what it's doing inherently funny. There is no sexualization of a toy unless you apply it.
The show also taps into some pretty dark territory. Having a guy get jerked off through a video game stands out.
Matt: I would like to point out that that is a puppet of our co-head writer Doug Goldstein. Maybe it's a true story, maybe it's not.
The production process is so intense, too. You have to be pretty specific about what you want the animators to do.
Seth: It's really long and you don't have the opportunity for retakes. You start making concrete decisions very early on and then you have to live with them for the next 11 months.
What criteria determine whether or not a sketch gets green-lit?
Seth: A lot of the time our sketches are things that can't be done live. It can't be something that would be on MadTV or SNL. It has to be something that isn't a physical possibility.
Matt: This is such an elitist way to look at it, but between the two of us and our head writers, Tom [Root] and Doug [Goldstein], three out of four of us have to like it. There are so many sketches on the show that we individually hate. But three out of the four of us liked it.
So it's not just a rule of thumb, it's a firm democratic process.
Seth: The writers hate it.
Matt: Hate it!
Seth: But the four of us came up with this show back in the day and we feel like it's the best way to preserve it.
What do you look for in your writers?
Seth: You get to know who can do what. Who can come in, who has the right tone for this sketch or that sketch. When we put the Star Wars special together we were really specific about who we brought on because we needed people who had both a wide basic knowledge of Star Wars and also a real skill in the type of storytelling we were going for.
Robot Chicken is also famous for booking an insane variety of guest stars has anybody ever said "no"?
Seth: Oh, we get "no's" all the time. [When we booked Don Knotts], it was in the first season when I still had to explain what Adult Swim was and what this program was and how it was going to work. He liked the idea and we made it a super-comfortable environment for him.