Interview: Lake Bell & Rob Huebel Talk ‘Childrens Hospital’ and the “sweet money” of basic cable

The pair chat about the show and Lake taking on the directors chair


San Diego Comic-Con: Lake Bell and Rob Huebel, two of the stars of Adult Swim’s Children Hospital, made the press rounds at Comic-Con and they happily added a bit of nonsense fun to the day.

The pair talk about the show and Lake adding a new hyphenate to her resume: director. She took the reigns of 2 of this seasons episodes of Childrens Hospital and has her film debut, In a World, coming out next year.

You directed the premiere? Is that kind of a big transition for you?

Lake Bell: Kind of. I’m very, very honored to have come in because we were talking about how it’s difficult, obviously, to have this comedy family that we’re friends we all goof around in a way that is unmanageable sometimes. So I think my biggest fear was coming in to my peers and trying to… because I’ve directed other small things and I actually just finished my first feature, but this was before that. So this was my boot camp lesson with these crazy kids.

Rob Huebel: With these clowns. You’re not gonna tell us what to do! It’s hard to wrangle 9 people.

Lake Bell: I’m hard to wrangle sometimes. You know? Well, I think as what I was really pleasantly surprised about was that they… everyone was so supportive. Because at the end of the day, it is kind of a family. And I think everyone sort of understood that it is a difficult task and, you know, Ken Marino has also directed some episodes and there is a sense of like we understand. We have to move so quickly that, you know, but it’s about preparation for sure. I think… I had to do 2 episodes at a time.

Rob Huebel: She was very buttoned up and super prepared and very creative. And I think also being an actor when you go to direct, it gives you a whole other perspective. So I think actors that direct are often really great directors, because they know… it sounds so stupid and I hate interviews where people say this, but sometimes directors are so technical that they don’t really know how to talk to an actor especially about like comedy. Comedy is a whole other thing. So it’s helpful when you have the comedian or funny person who can communicate to you on a level that you get. Sometimes we’ll have directors you’re like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Lake Bell: Like, “Walk this way.”

Rob Huebel: Yeah, so it’s great when there’s an actor that can explain…

When a director says something like that to you, do you just shake your head and do whatever?

Rob Huebel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You just go, “Ok man.” And then you just do your own thing.

Lake Bell: Which then it gets… the days get longer and you have to do another take because they haven’t articulated.

How long did you have to do those 2 episodes?

Lake Bell: 4 days.

Rob Huebel: Every episode is 2 days.

Lake Bell: Yeah, and you shoot out of sequence. So because I had 2 episodes that were kind of like little mini movies, one’s like a Contagion-y…

Rob Huebel: Memento.

Lake Bell: Memento-Contagion movie. And then the other one’s like a Bourne SupremacyHanna movie. So it was like I had… there was like a lot of f—ing crazy s—. But yeah, and then you have only a few days to prep. And that was… that’s the scariest part of it.

Rob Huebel: The only thing that makes it a little bit less intense is that we shoot all in a hospital. So you’re like, you’re either on this floor or you’re on this floor. You know?

Lake Bell: At least we’re not like… yeah. If you have episodes where, you know, you’re out in the field and different locations that would be…

Rob Huebel: That would be impossible.

Lake Bell: To do for 2 days? No way.

What’s your feature?

Lake Bell: It’s called In a World.

Rob Huebel: In a World.

Lake Bell: Exactly. It’s about the voice-over industry.

Rob Huebel: It is about the voice-over industry.

Lake Bell: Yeah. It centers around a female… a two-bit female vocal coach who tries to sort of prod her way into the male dominated world that is voice-over.

Both of you are super busy with other kind of big budget productions. At least from a viewer point, you’re constantly in stuff. How do you all find time to get together for this kind of comparably little project?

Rob Huebel: The sweet money involved. The sweet basic cable of cash that they pour out of a truck into your yard.

Um, no. For us, we’ve all just been friends for a long time. And what they do, which is very smart, is they shoot it when nothing else is shooting which is over Christmas break. So we… every year we shoot, you know, from December the 15th till like January the 15th. So there’s… in LA there’s nothing else going on. So that’s when we shoot is like that month. And we don’t go home to see our families. We don’t celebrate the holidays.

Lake Bell: We’ve all converted to different religions to accommodate the schedule.

Rob Huebel: Yeah, but mainly it’s that we’re all, you know, we’ve been friends for a long time and it’s…

Lake Bell: We wanna be there.

Rob Huebel: Yeah, it’s just super fun. For me, it’s like the highlight of my year to shoot. Because you go and shoot movies or other TV shows and, you know, you don’t know the people, you don’t have a history with them, and we all sort of have been working together for a long time and have written together and directed together and stuff. So it’s more of just a fun, super fun experience.

Lake Bell: It makes sense that it’s on the holidays.

Rob Huebel: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

What of yourself do you bring to your character?

Lake Bell: They’re not really characters. Let’s be honest.

Rob Huebel: We are both doctors. We both went to medical school.

Lake Bell: No, you did not go to medical school.

Rob Huebel: I think I did.

Lake Bell: But you didn’t.

Rob Huebel: And I am licensed… I think? To administer surgery to sick people? I will do it. I will put it out there then if I’m not licensed that if you need surgery in the real world and you can’t get it done by anybody else, I will do it.

Lake Bell: That is not true.

Rob Huebel: Because I am not afraid.

Lake Bell: Dangerous.

Rob Huebel: I have seen cable television where they show surgeries.

Lake Bell: That’s not the same.

Rob Huebel: And I will try it for fun on you.

Lake Bell: We’re nothing like our characters.

Rob Huebel: Yeah, I don’t know if we’re really like our characters.

Lake Bell: Because our characters are sort of…

Rob Huebel: They’re idiots. Our characters are idiots.

Lake Bell: Yeah, I feel smarter than my character. My character doesn’t know…

Rob Huebel: Our characters are really dumb, and they have a lot of sex on the show. We don’t get to have real sex. I mean, we don’t…

Lake Bell: You’re revealing too much. I have a ton of sex. So I don’t know, that’s the only thing I have there.

Rob Huebel: Celebrity gossip. Celebrity gossip.

Lake Bell: Come on!

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