John C. Reilly and Tim Heidecker are sitting in a garage in Glendale on Zoom when a gray-bearded Fred Armisen appears onscreen from his hotel room in Vancouver where he is currently under strict quarantine.
“How are you holding up, Fred?” Heidecker asks. When Armisen explains that he literally can’t leave his hotel for two weeks before filming begins on a new musical project for Apple TV +, Reilly asks, “Is that how the beard grew?”
“Yeah, that’s how my beard grew!” I forgot to bring a razor, ”the Armisen deadpans.
The three actors, who are on The last laugh podcast to talk about their great new Showtime series Moon base 8, instantly fall back into a familiar and hilarious rhythm, riffing extended pieces of audition for Saturday Night Live baby and performing for viewers who don’t always understand why something is funny.
The new show is a space comedy that plays out really well on the field in the Arizona desert, lending it a sort of low-stakes flippancy that makes it the perfect comedic distraction for big American stakes and the moment. ‘anxiety.
In this exclusive clip from episode two of Moon base 8, which airs next Sunday on Showtime, the aspiring astronauts are awakened in the middle of the night by unexplained noises and Robert “Cap” Caputo de Reilly must don his spacesuit and investigate.
At first glance, each man seems to exist in his own distinct comic universe – Reilly best known for his large teams led by Adam McKay with Will Ferrell, Armisen for original sketches on SNL and Portlandia, and Heidecker for the scandalous anti-comedy of Tim and Eric Awesome show, great job!
Moon base 8 This is the first time the three have been together on screen, but they have each collaborated in different ways, most notably in the Adult Swim series. Check it out! with Dr Steve Brule, who first came out of Tim and Eric 10 years ago.
Reilly argues he’s just an executive producer – not the titular star – of that cult favorite show, teasing that the beloved character could return after more than three years of absence. “We tried to contact him,” he says. “It’s very difficult. You have to send a fax to Denny, his best friend.
“Then he scans the fax and places it on a CD-R,” Heidecker adds. “But there is something brewing right now. There is always a free seat at the table for the doctor to provide more entertainment and information. “
Before that happens, however, Reilly is set to play Jerry Buss in a series directed by Adam McKay for HBO on the LA Lakers tentatively titled. Show time. “I know we caused a huge jam between the two companies,” he jokes. “I think they’re trying to find a solution, but that’s what the Lakers were called, Show time. “
“He’s one of the best characters I’ve ever played,” he adds. “An incredible American success. Unbelievable.”
Below is an excerpt from our conversation and you can listen to it all right now by subscribing to The last laugh on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Moon base 8 is a very good escape from the news and the world, which is interesting considering the premiere airs a few days after election day. So I was wondering if that was part of the hope, that it was going to be a respite for the people who are going to be even more consumed than us right now?
John C. Reilly: Well, depending on who you want to win the election, it will either be a great way to celebrate the new age you are in, or it will be a way to have some humor in your life when you are horribly depressed.
Tim Heidecker: The original date was going to be the week before the election and I threw up a red flag. I was like, no one is going to think of anything else that week. And now might not be the best time to launch a new comedy show the week before the election. So yeah, I mean, we hope it can be like at least a little distraction even after the election. I feel like it’s going to be a very stressful time for a while. So we hope, because the series is not very connected to the news and it’s funny, that it will be a kind of relief, a release, a tonic.
Well I have to tell you that when I saw the ad for this show come out I was like, it sounds too good to be true. The three of you work together and the premise – it really holds up, it’s so funny. So how did this happen? How did the three of you end up working together on the show?
Reilly: Well, we knew each other. Tim and I worked together. Fred and I have worked a lot together. And then Tim and Fred did an episode of Portlandia together. And while Tim was up there in Portland, he wrote to me, “Fred is so much fun! The three of us should be doing something together. I mean the text string is still going on to this day. We’re still messing around on this text channel every day. This text string was therefore the development process for the writing of the show. We have started to exchange images of these simulated space programs. Once we decided on the actual storyline we wanted to try and do for the show, we just started to share it, share ideas, make each other laugh, make jokes, come up with character ideas and all. was built like that. And then we have [director] Jonathan Krisel got involved and it brought us to an even bigger place.
Fred Armisen: I think we really wanted to work together. It’s almost like we’re waiting to work together. We wanted some sort of official excuse to do something.
Heidecker: And we wanted to work together in the right way where we could basically just go into our own little corner and do exactly what we wanted to do, do it our way. And that’s what we were able to do.
Where does the concept come from to define everything on this simulated lunar base?
Reilly: Each of us has these different inspirational moments where we were like, yeah, that and we all just kept adding to the soup. But I had this idea in mind for years to do – I actually wanted to make a horror movie set on an Antarctic base, based on this new one. National Geographic story i read about these basics and how weird it gets when they spend all these days in the dark together. And they kind of referenced it obliquely in the article, as interesting relationships develop in the 80 days of darkness. And you see a picture of them like unloading crates of beer. And I thought that would be a really interesting thing. So that was one of the few things I had in mind. I threw it at these guys and it became, with their additions, this simulated space mission.
Heidecker: I think there is a classic slapstick comedy connection as well. You know, the Three Stooges go to the moon. It felt a little classic and really easy to understand those motivations and play with the idea of space and what the classic idea of what an astronaut was in our mind and play with that.
There’s also something really resonating about it in this weird quarantine period where everyone is inside and locked up with people. It’s sort of reproduced on the show, I guess inadvertently because it was in the works before, right?
Reilly: It was before the pandemic, that’s for sure. Also, when we did the show, you know, all we were talking about was going to Mars. This was how all sexy people did. So we deliberately picked the moon because it seemed like kind of a low stakes and a little mundane in a way. And then that’s another thing that our current situation has caught up with, because now there are four countries that are trying to redo lunar missions. So it’s funny how reality caught up with this nonsense that we did.
And then on top of that you also have a quarantine episode where there is disease in the base.
Armisen: I don’t even know how it happened. It was just something that went down in history and it worked. We had no idea it would sound that way.
Reilly: Yeah, that kind of idea pops up. When you say like, well, these three people are stuck together in this place. They share the air, they share everything. And then one of the first things you think about is, well, what if someone gets sick? Then they are all sick. So it was a natural thing to think about, but you’re right, it sounds this crazy way now.
So you mentioned that you have all worked together in various ways in the past. John, I’m really curious about your career path of maybe doing more drama in the beginning and getting more and more into acting. I know you said you don’t really approach them any differently, but when was the first time you felt given the opportunity to be really funny on screen?
Reilly: It’s an angle that really drives Paul Thomas Anderson crazy, because it’s like someone has seen Boogie Nights?
You are very funny in this.
Reilly: There is a lot of comedy in there. Everything is based on reality. He’s a silly character in this movie. But yeah, that’s why I’m saying I don’t really see them as different, because I feel like I’ve been doing this same kind of work from the start. Plans change and if the circumstances are absurd then you are in for a comedy. If they’re more serious, you’re in for a drama, but in terms of what I’m doing it’s pretty much the same. Although of course, Nights of Talladega That was when it was really – this one was just pure comedy and it introduced me to this kind of over-the-top, over-the-top, rubbish comedy. That’s when people were like, Whoa! And a much larger audience appreciated my work as an actor.
Next week on The last laugh Podcast: Stand-up comedian and “Arrested Development” star David Cross.
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