Nope, it doesn't sound like the slacker stoners who live, play and avoid work together are growing up at all.
“If it was up to my fiancée, I’m sure he’d grow up a little bit, but then the checks would stop,” Holm said. “So I’ve got to remain a buffoon or else I don’t think the show will go much longer.”
You can call his character a buffoon, but don’t call the show a “gross-out comedy.” Created by Holm, Devine, Anderson and Kyle Newacheck, the fourth member of their troupe Mail Order Comedy, as a web series. “Workaholics” caught the attention of Comedy Central, who brought it to TV in April for a successful first season.
Holm prefers to call the series “game-changing,” and gave me a deadpan ribbing for my using the term “gross-out.”
Now that you guys are famous and you get this hit show and a second season, have you become high maintenance?
I’ve always been a little high maintenance. I’m like upper middle class maintenance. I don’t know if I were to be too high maintenance, but let’s just say I appreciate a coconut water a little bit more these days.
Season 1 you filmed in the house where you all lived. Same thing for Season 2?
I never actually lived at that house because it was gross and had rats. And I was in a relationship with a lady, or I still am. Those guys have since moved out as well. Kyle has moved a little closer to the beach so he can surf nonstop. And Adam and Blake are renting a house together in the Hills, just a total coke mansion. ... I’m not talking about the people who inhabit it, but it’s just a total like ’70s coke lair.
There’s definitely been like outdoor sex has at this house.
But not those guys having it?
I wouldn’t know.
Because you don’t live there, right?
I don’t live there. What can I say?
Have any of you guys become prima donnas after the success?
Not really. We all got new cars like the same weekend, which was pretty funny. But that’s about it.
What did you get?
I got the new Volvo S60.
You stuck with the Volvo?
Yeah. I got a Volvo on the show. I had one in real life. I just got the newer version because I’m keeping it real Swedish.
What can we expect in Season 2?
Season 2 you can expect more full-frontal; just a lot more homo eroticism. What else? Oh, there’s kind of like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thing that’s gonna go down. … Oh, Karl has a wedding, so that’s going to be the finale of the season. …
We give up drinking for a week and all hell breaks loose, and we’re like at each other’s throats, and like get into some physical altercations. And then we have to meet with the HR guy and go through a pretty rigorous alcoholics substance abuse program type thing. The guy who plays our HR rep is Mitch Hurwitz of “Arrested Development” fame, the creator of “Arrested Development.” He says he’s at the end of the show and we were looking for somebody to play this part and he reached out to us, and we were like. “Uh yeah, we’d love to have you.”
He’s like perhaps the funniest dude on Planet Earth. Just like nonstop smarter-than-you jokes. You’re just like, “OK, wow, so you’re playing at that level and I’m down here. It’s nice down here but God, how is it up there? It must be nice.”
That’s pretty cool that people are coming to you guys.
Yeah, it was amazing. What I keep forgetting is that the show airs, you know? You remember when you go to a bar and there’s like 30 20-year-old dudes who are like, “I’m going to buy you a shot!” And you’re like, “I just had seven with all those dudes, but that’s cool.” But then you forget that your peers, for lack of a better word, watch it and judge it. So you get some cool people who write comedy that are like, “Hey, I really like the show.” Or someone will call you and go just talked with so and so and they’re so into the show. It’s like, “Oh, shouldn’t they be out doing something way cooler than watching our show?”
It’s fun to hear people who you look up to like what you’re doing. Because I don’t think of it as anything except for a job, you know? I bury myself in it so I’m like, “Oh, it’s work.” … I forget people see it because I’m so absorbed by it. It’s just like a cool bonus. So I can’t imagine being like a janitor and someone being, “Oh my God, like I went to that school that you clean. That was pretty clean.” And you’re like, “Oh thanks, I appreciate that.”
Have you found it’s a lot different than when you guys were existing only on the Web, either your approach to the work or the reaction to the work?
No. Obviously our audience has, you know, probably doubled. [Laughs.] Our audience has expanded by like 400 times. And there’s Twitter now, which is like instant verification of how bad or how good your material is, which is always good…
I would say that the reactions or the way we approach the work is pretty much the same. We do what we think is funny. Now we have somebody giving us notes, being the network, but they’re usually good notes and they don’t have many. It’s not one of those horror stories that you always hear about where there’s some like jaded TV creator, or like TV show creator that’s always bitching about the networks and how horrible they are and they’re just killing the show. It’s not that really at all.
Things can get raunchy on the show. Has Comedy Central ever asked you not to do something?
Only in Season 1, we had an episode where the guys wanted to do a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. ... Blake’s character is like, “What if we came up with a flame-retardant American flag?” You can never burn an American flag. And we’re like, “Oh, that’s really cool.” So throughout the episode we’re just burning American flags because we’re trying [to test it]. It’s like research and development. And we burned like 70 flags. Comedy Central wasn’t too keen on that.
Ah, you have to get that in. That’s smart and funny.
Hey, Season 3, it’s going in. Yeah, we’re going to argue that one in. That was it though. And I kind of understand where they’re coming from.
How does a kid from Evanston end up making gross-out comedy?
Do you call it gross-out comedy?
Yeah, it can be gross.
Oh my God. It’s not that gross to us. I think that’s the thing, is that it’s like when you’re grandpa sees your iPad, he’s like, “I don’t understand this.” And it’s like, “Well, you’re just behind the times.” I think we are ahead of the times, so it may come across as gross, but in 10 years it’s not going to be that gross. It’s going to seem pretty dated, I think. What’s not to like?
I’m not saying that I don’t like it.
[Totally deadpan] No, of course. You know how everyone says that every story has been done, it’s just they’re getting done different ways? Well, as TV and music and all that stuff, as like restrictions are lifted and you can finally say “bitch,” or do this story that you couldn’t have done 10 years ago, I think it’s just kind of like the flood gates have been opened.
And like you watch a show like “Curb [Your Enthusiasm]” where he gets pubic hair in his throat, you’re like is that gross? You’re like, “Well, it’s pretty [bleeping] gross.” But it just hasn’t been done before. I’m sure it would have been done 10 years ago if somebody let them.
I think we’re just doing stuff that would have been done 10 years ago. It’s just stuff that guys joke about all the time, but you can finally see it on TV now, you know?
“Gross out,” you can paint me with that brush, if it helps you.
[Laughs.] I’m so sorry that I said that. I’ll just call it “awesome” from now on.
Oh, so now it’s awesome.
Awesome and, what do you want to call it?
Just amazing, game-changing.
Game-changing, there you go.
It’s just new, just fresh. Anyway.
Speaking of game-changing, fresh, awesome humor, will we see more fully-torqued Ders this season?
Well, shit, you don’t see it. [Laughs.] What’s probably is going to air is the second episode. There is some full-on torsion that I don’t think has ever been done on television before. So, you know, “Mad Men” does its thing—we’re breaking ground over here in a different way.
That was one of my favorite episodes.
Yeah, that was an insane episode.
“Office Campout” was probably my favorite episode of Season 1.
Yeah, that was just a tight dog.
I was wondering if you had one.
Oh man. Probably “Checkpoint Gnarly” with B-Rad in the building. I liked that episode a lot. It moves. It’s got the heart that I like to bring to the show. It had B-Rad just crushing it as a guest star, so that was cool. Yeah, so I think that was my favorite episode. …
Fully-torqued, poop-dollar, bitch tits, tight butthole—you have all these catch phrases. Any new ones this season?
Oh yeah. What’s funny is we never set out to make like catch phrases or whatever. I know catch phrases get a bad rap by … like real comics and all that shit, but whatever. I mean who cares? They’re not really catch phrases as they are like funny things we just say to each other. If they catch on around here at the office, then like they just end up in scripts. We never want to use them as like filler; you know what I mean? No when in doubt, say tight butthole.
Are we going to see any wizard rapping this season?
No, you don’t, but the album is still available on iTunes for $9.99. [Laughs.] No, but that’s another thing. It’s like we did the wizard rapping, like we don’t want to use that as a crutch So we don’t go back to that. Although the as soon as we’re done with Season 2. I mean we’ve got some other stuff like a promotional tour. We’re doing a bunch of colleges for like a couple of weeks, and then we’re like trying to turn out a movie. But as soon as we’re done with all that stuff we’re going to try and put out another album.
So your point is that you don’t want to repeat things and have a shtick, right?
Yeah, especially with rapping. How many times can you do that before it gets old—maybe once? But who knows, we’ll see.
You mentioned this earlier, and I wanted to come back. The thing that I love about the show is how you guys really do give it a lot of heart, even though there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on.
Well, we try. We’re similar to some other shows on TV but we had to set ourselves apart. So we think adding a little heart to a [bleeping] “gross-out comedy” might be something different.
I already apologized for that, Anders.
[Deadpan again] The headline is going to be like “Gross-out comedy is back.” “We talked with a dumb idiot named Anders who couldn’t spell until his girlfriend started doing his homework.”