Interview: Malin Akerman, Lake Bell and Erinn Hayes talk Children’s Hospital

The three talk improv, their characters dying and coming back to life and more!

Here’s the last of the Children’s Hospital interviews I did at this year’s Comic-Con.

I talked with Malin Akerman, Lake Bell and Erinn Hayes and I kept this my last because it was incredibly hard to transcribe! The back and forth banter was quick, funny and writing it down just didn’t capture the spontaneity of the interview.

I’d listen to the audio portion if you want to get the full feel of the interview. There was a lot of things I couldn’t include here because most of it would look ridiculous in print.

From talking about having each other’s children, their outrage at Rob Corddry for not inviting them to go to Brazil to film a 10-second-scene and having their characters die and come back to life, the conversation was definitely a highlight.

Children’s Hospital airs on Adult Swim at midnight on Thursdays. 

For the full interview, click onto the audio link above or download from iTunes.

Children’s Hospital is not the kind of show where you go, “What is my arc?”

Lake Bell: None, there’s no logic.

Is that a challenge as an actor or is it more freeing?

Erinn Hayes: It was awesome.  All you have to do is show up and be like, “what am I going to do today?”  You don’t have to think about it or like do a whole lot of prep other than, like, what’s going to make this the funniest for this particular episode. 

Is there a lot of improv?

Malin Akerman: Yeah.

Erinn Hayes: Yes and no.

Lake Bell: I would say no, not at all comparatively.

Malin Akerman: Really?

Erinn Hayes: Well, I mean, it’s very tightly scripted show.

Lake Bell: Yeah, all the like, funny bits, I mean they are definitely written in the script but yes, there is playfulness in it.

Malin Akerman: Yeah, but I think we do a lot of what is written and then I think… There’s a lot of stuff on the day.  But it is all written very well.

Lake Bell: Yeah, on the day. Indeed, indeed.

Erinn Hayes: I think people have this idea that, you know, we kind of go in with a loose idea of what the scene is going to be but it’s not like there…. there are lines to learn and they write very funny lines.  We do them and then throw in some other stuff when we get to that.

Lake Bell: But it’s not like an improvised show.

Erinn Hayes: We really nailed that question, huh?  We win guys, we win.

You guys are all busy. How do they even start to schedule when you’re going to shoot the show?

Erinn Hayes: It’s really hard because I have a doctor’s appointment in November but I feel like I can move it.

Malin Akerman: We’re trying to fit her in our schedule. 

Lake Bell: I think it’s just been, like, luck.

Malin Akerman: We’ve been lucky that everyone’s been available and also doing it around Christmas and New Year’s is really smart.

Erinn Hayes: Yeah, we only filmed like for a month and a week.  Our whole shooting schedule for the whole season is about, like, five weeks, five or six weeks.  We film an episode in two days so if you film it around the holidays usually other shows are on hiatus.

Mailn Akerman: Like some people would be in certain episodes and not in others because you have to go work. Which is great.

Lake Bell: And characters are interchangeable.

Erinn Hayes: Yeah, very honestly, like that’s the thing about the continuity thing is that you get a script and you’re like, “Oh my God, that’s so fun” and then you get the revised script you’re like, “Oh, that’s not me anymore.” They just changed over all the lines now and it’s like Rob Huebel doing it and they didn’t change any words.

Lake Bell: W1hat’s cool about it is that the ladies and the men are also interchangeable.  

Erinn Hayes: And then there was also something that was like somebody got pulled out of an episode and then Rob Corddry was going to do it and then he was like, “that’s not good,” it was then it was me. It went from three different people and none of the lines changed.

How would you guys compare shooting this to do anything else? How fast is it?

Malin Akerman: It’s super fast. I like it though. I think also it’s nice because we’ve all found a rhythm together so it makes it easier to come in and shoot quickly.

Erinn Hayes: Although, I have to say it, between the first and second seasons, it felt so different.  Because the first season was the webisodes. I mean, I was there for only two days and I was in almost every episode. We were just like running around the hospital.

Lake Bell: So much running, so much running. I lost a lot of weight. It was great cardio.

Erinn Hayes: It was great for the metabolism. And so then, the second season we came back with Adult Swim and we actually had like, are we really taking our time with this episode? Two days for a whole episode?

Now you guys are on Adult Swim but are you ever surprised at what you get away with?

Lake Bell: Yeah, I mean I think at first when it was a web series obviously, you know, you can do whatever you want and then it was interesting to see that that didn’t’ shift that much.

Erinn Hayes: Yeah, but I bet if it started out as a show on a network, we would not, I think, had not been able… it’s different I think when you start out and you make something work and they go, “oh it’s working.” I don’t know what I’m trying to say, honestly.  Let’s all take a nap.

Lake Bell: No, but I think that Adult Swim does give you the allowance to be pretty irreverent.  I mean that’s kind of their brand so, you know, it doesn’t surprise me that Adult Swim would allow that.

Lake and Erinn, both of your characters were killed off and then brought back.

Erinn Hayes: I faked my own death.

Lake, you were off for a while and brought back. Was that planned?

Lake Bell: Yes.  I had to go do, and speaking of when things are scheduling issues, that was a perfect example. I do a show How To Make It In America and a initially there was a conflict and they had to figure out how to do that. 

Now, being funny ladies, do you like it when you get to do something more dramatic? And do you seek that out just for a change?

Lake Bell:  I really do.

Malin Akerman: I love it.  I definitely, definitely seek it out and definitely have to fight for those roles that are more dramatic just because a lot of stuff that people see is comedy. But I think independent films are great for that too. That’s where people take chances on you.

Erinn Hayes: Could you get me one of those?

Malin Akerman: Yeah, sure.  I’ll write you one right now. [laughter]

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