Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer made up part of MTV’s, Human Giant. Now, they’re both working on Adult Swim’s, Childrens Hospital.
Rob plays ‘Dr. Owen Maestro’, a hot-shot surgeon who is never wrong… but is often right. Paul, who is also starring in FX’s show The League, was brought in as a writer also appears appear on the show.
These two are hilarious and it was great to see them riff off each other in person. I talked to them in a round-table interview at Comic-Con where they talked about the show, Rob’s impending death and a whole lot more.
For the full interview, click onto the audio link above or download from iTunes.
We’ve been asking a lot of people about the transition from the web series to the TV series. How much has the humor changed?
Paul: Well, it’s interesting because I wasn’t involved in the web series but I was a fan of the web series. And then Rob called me up to work on writing in the second season as well as being in it. And I think the cool thing about Adult Swim and the way the show is like, they say, we love the web shows, do more of that, push it even more. And now there’s 11 minutes. I feel like if you watched the web shows, they’re really funny, but they’re almost two scenes back to back, two really funny scenes. So, now when you watch the TV show you’re getting to see a full- almost like a compacted sitcom. You see a full half hour show, it’s fast and furious and really funny.
Rob walks up.
And it’s really great too because Rob… he’s going to pass away and this is his last show. This is his farewell round.
Rob: What did you just say? Whatever he just said is not accurate.
Paul: I was saying that this is your final performance because you’re going to be dying.
Rob: So, what are we talking about?
Paul: We’re talking about Children’s Hospital and they were just asking how- what’s the difference between the content in the web shows versus the content in the TV shows.
Rob: That comes up a lot. That comes up a lot. Well…
Paul: I gave a pretty good answer.
Rob: What did you say?
Paul: I said that the web shows are only like 2 little scenes that were really funny and the actual show is the same sensibility and humor but now you get to see a lot more, a much more well-rounded show.
Rob: Why would it be two scenes? What do you mean?
Paul: The web shows, are like… ‘cause it’s only five minutes.
Rob: Cause they’re short.
Paul: Yeah, yeah.
Rob: Yeah, they’re short. But I think you mean like content wise, like what can we get away with on TV versus the web? Because, Adult Swim is basically like the internet of television. They’ve sort of allowed themselves to be like, just go for it. Whatever you can get away with.
I’m trying to think of stuff that… they’ve never shot anything down or we never got scripts kicked back to us and like ‘you can’t do that.’
Paul: I think Adult Swim is a network that really prides itself in the fact it airing late at night, their shows are what they are. Especially now as they move into more live action they’re like, you know what let’s keep our audience. They like it, so let’s do it. They’re not like ABC or anything like that.
Rob: It’s very alternative programming which is a great niche for us. It’s pretty fun when they let you run wild and give you money to do it. Unfortunately, so many kids die.
Paul: So many children die.
Rob: I think we were told not to mention that. But I mean literally a lot of kids die. A lot of kids.
Do you guys have some kind of secret when it comes to getting away with stuff? Because I feel like you’ve kind of pushed some boundaries with Human Giant too, so maybe you guys are holding the secret to “how can we put this on television.”
Paul: I think that what we’ve always done really is we don’t write to be like, “Oh they’re never going to air this.” We just write what we think is funny and we fight for it when it’s there. I think a lot of people that I’ve worked with in the past are like, “Oh we can’t do that, they’re never going to let us do that.” And when you start from that place you are going to dilute yourself.
Rob: Yeah, we always try to just never say no to anything in the beginning. Let’s not shoot ourselves down, let’s just keep doing what makes us laugh and we’ll deal with the repercussions later. But Adult Swim literally did not give us notes on the stuff, they were great. Human Giant we had to fight for a lot of stuff.
Paul: But the second season they stood out of our way.
Rob: The first season we had to fight hard, the second season they were like, do what you want.
So how would you characterize this particular group of doctors? Are they quacks, are they butchers, or visionaries?
Rob: None of those things, but that would be funny though. Butchers.
I think that they are all archetypes stolen from Grey’s Anatomy or ER or something like that and they’re all just wound up in their own stuff. I mean we pay very little attention to the children. Just because we don’t like having kids around. So none of the stories have kids in them. Occasionally you’ll see a kid in the background walking by but usually it’s about our love lives and our dumb problems and stuff like that.
Paul: I would say you guys are better doctors than the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy.
Rob: I would say better looking.
Paul: Oh and the cool thing that Adult Swim is doing too is that they actually rented out a hospital and every patient that comes in is going to be operated on by a member of the cast. (laughter)