Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

In anticipation of the pop culture nuclear winter to come, actor/writer/comic/former Daily Show correspondent Rob Corddry has begun stockpiling episodes of his new web series Children's Hospital, and lining them like cans of government-issue creamed corn on the shelves of the fallout bunker known as TheWB.com. The first ten episodes of the Grey's Anatomy parody premiered yesterday, and more than delivered on all the taboo-buggering promise of the trailer. Against his handlers' frantic protests, Rob agreed to chat with Defamer, answering all our probing questions about his Daily Show legacy, what it's like being directed by Oliver Stone, and who in the Grey's cast he thinks is a total cunt.

The full interview is after the jump!

DEFAMER: We’d just like to start with the question on most of our readers’ minds: Why didn’t you burn the tapes?

ROB CORDDRY: Uhhh…I’m one of your readers, and that’s not a question on my mind.

Sorry. We just saw Frost/Nixon over the weekend, and it kind of rubbed off on us. So there were no tapes?

You’re a little Frost/Nixon obsessed right now?

Yeah.

This is exactly what Frost wanted. Don’t give in to it.

Guess we’ll throw out the Cambodia questions, too. Alright. Well. So…Your show! Children’s Hospital. It’s really funny.

Hey—thank you! I really appreciate that!

Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

In the first ten seconds a character says, “We have to slice off your son’s cock.”

Uhhh—yes. That’s an appetizer, if you will.

Then you introduce a crippled Megan Mullally, and another character says he’d like to “bang her in her clumsy vagina.”

Um. Yeah. That’s Ed Helms. He wouldn’t say “fuck.”

Then there’s an AIDS joke, and a running gag about 9/11.

Um…yes. What was the—oh, yes. I believe there was an AIDS joke. We also refer to retarded children even before that. And I’d just like to say to your readers, “You’re welcome.”

We guess our question here is, “What happened to your balls on the way to the internet, Corddry?”

[Laughs] Well, they’re alive and well. I’ve been building up a lot of anger at sick kids that I felt like I had to get out.

Where did that start?

C’mon, don’t you think the sick kids had it coming?

They do tend to get more attention than they really deserve.

THANK you. They take themselves so fucking seriously.

With the bald heads, and the Making the Wishes…

Oh my God. “I hurt…Give me more medicine.” Please. This show was born of my love for St. Elsewhere and hatred for Grey’s Anatomy. Not hatred, so much as a deep—I have a respect for that show. I shouldn’t say I hate it. I really don’t. I watch it with my wife. She’s a huge fan. And I will half watch it while I’m working on the computer, and I’ll look up, and Katherine Heigl is banging a ghost. Or there’s a kid encased in cement for the love of a girl. There’s not enough sharks for these people to jump. It’s insane what they get away with. And I love how the backstage on that show is even crazier than the show itself.

The latest is that T.R. Knight wasn’t showing up to work because he hated the scripts, and he’s leaving the show.

[Laughs] I love it. I LOVE it! Like—I don’t really enjoy the show, but I really enjoy the show within the show.

Far more entertaining option, as far as we’re concerned.

Homophobes, and may I say horrible cunts?

You just did!

But I’m not going to say who.

Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

You don’t need to—we all know you’re talking about Patrick Dempsey. Come to think of it—you say “cunts” in Children’s Hospital, too. And you explore the backstage drama on that set.

Yes, and how it may exist in another dimension entirely.

Do we want to give away what that dimension is?

We should say that if you really need to know right now, skip to Episode 6. [Massive Spoiler: The entire CH universe exists in a Puerto Rican midget's farts.]

Were you at the SAG town hall meeting last night?

No—what happened?

It’s not looking good.

Oh man. Well, I just sold a show to HBO, and I’m looking forward to my affiliation with AFTRA. It’s a typical case of the asylum being run by the inmates. Neither union is exactly the pipefitters, you know what I mean? AFTRA made a deal in panic, and SAG—I don’t even know what they’re doing. They’re not negotiating their way into a horrible situation for everybody—studios and actors and the public included. I hope AFTRA can handle this. I don’t know who’s running their office, but I think they still have TRS-80s.

Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

What was your experience like working with Oliver Stone on W, in which you played White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer?

He was pretty wild. You know, everybody’s heard the stories, and he lives up to them in a certain respect. But also, he’s a consummate professional and an—can I use the word “icon?”

Go right ahead.

Alright, I just did it. I dropped the I-bomb.

If you can use “cunt,” you can use “icon.”

You know what’s funny is the last day of shooting, when you wrap, the first AD says, “That’s a wrap on Richard Dreyfuss,” and everybody claps. And I just happened to wrap on the same day that almost everybody did—Scott Glenn, Dreyfuss, Toby Jones. There was just raucous applause for everybody, and Oliver Stone was walking around hugging us. And he got to me and gave me a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and he whispered something in my ear. But the applause for everyone was so loud, I couldn’t hear it. So it’s like my Lost in Translation moment, and I will never know. And in that moment you can’t go, like, “I’m sorry Oliver Stone, director of Platoon. Come again?”

In your ultimate fantasy, what do you think he said?

My fantasies are usually pretty dark. I imagine he said something like, “You’re not fooling anybody.”

Going back to your HBO show for a second: It’s loosely based on the Robert Redford movie The Candidate, we hear?

Paul Redford is writing the pilot—he was a writer/producer at The West Wing. It’s a half-hour comedy, if HBO has us. They bought the pilot. It’s only loosely based on The Candidate. It’s presumptuous of me to call it that. It’s just about the most unlikely candidate to run for public office of all time. It’s about what the most unlikely person has to do when he actually hears the call to greatness. Will he heed it, or will he still bang prostitutes?

How much did the election inform it?

It completely changed it. At first it was a really cynical story about how we’re told growing up how anybody can become president. And the last eight years that’s been proven to pretty much be more terrifying than it is inspiring. So that was sort of our tagline before we even had a show: “Anybody can become President. Anyone.” But now we are burdened—burdened!—by hope and optimism. So the character has changed into one who feels the weight of other people’s hope, and is just a little too hungover to deal with it on most occasions.

Is he dumb, like in The Candidate?

No, not at all. If anything he’s a little too smart for his own good. You know that line in Broadcast News where Holly Hunter is always asked, “It must be great to always be the smartest person in the room.” And she says, totally deadpan, “No. It’s awful.”

Does it have a title yet?

The show is called, The Untitled Rob Corddry Project. We’re borrowing from Greek tragedy.

Evocative. Where were you on election night?

I went to my brother’s house (Studio 60’s Nate Corddry) for a party, and then my wife and I had a couple slices of pizza and went home and watched it from home, and went to bed. And woke up in the morning—and I don’t know what your experience was—but it must have been a horrible time to work at Defamer, because everyone was just so HAPPY. My waitress was just in the best mood. And people were hugging—and not just hugging because it had been a long time since they’d seen each other. They were hugging because they were happy! Which was so strange.

That was here in LA?

That was here in LA .

That is unusual.

I live in Silver Lake.

So do we!

Which was like, hipsters smiling. Hipsters smiling is like, you know, odd.

Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

Yeah, you'd just assume they were having a brain aneurysm or something. Were you happy?

Very happy. It’s been a long eight years. Very, very happy.

You came on to The Daily Show shortly after 9/11 , right?

Yeah, actually. February 2002.

And you were living in New York at the time.

That's right.

So you basically came along at probably the darkest time in recent U.S. history. And you were tasked with making people laugh throughout a surreally awful reality.

Yeah...

Rob Corddry: The Defamer Interview

That sort of occurred to us as we watched you in Children’s Hospital. You play a clown doctor who’s unsuccessful at healing people with laughter, but that’s all he knows.

That’s interesting. Wow. That’s not a connection I made, but, uh—very astute. People will be writing papers about that at junior colleges all over the country.

Now’s a pretty bleak time too.

Yeah. Yeah.

So what are your thought on the true healing power of laughter, if we can be sincere for a moment?

What?

To get sincere.

I’m sorry—missed that last word?

Sincere! We’re being sincere!

Oh—right. Sincere. Well, after 9/11 everyone said irony and satire and sarcasm were dead, but it turned out to be a bellwether time. It ushered in a new age of irony and satire and sarcasm. For us on The Daily Show, the war was very good to us. And George Bush has been very good for my career. Now I believe we’re in a time where it could go either way. There’s been a lot of ink spilled about how it’s going to be hard to make fun of Obama, but I think The Daily Show exists more to make fun of the media and their portrayal of people like Obama. I think SNL did a great job during the debates, in that great sketch about how the media was going so easy on Obama and hard on Clinton. There’s never a lack of hypocrisy in the media, and so I think The Daily Show will be OK in that respect.

Then again, the ‘90s were a great time for America, and yet kind of a bleak time for comedy, or at least satire. SNL had some good players on it, but mostly it was like Opera Guy, and Chris Farley with his shirt off. Which is really funny, but it isn’t satire. Ace Ventura was huge in the ‘90s. They didn’t do a lot of political stuff. So I think we could be in for another eight years of that. I think Liberals do satire very well, and Conservatives do sarcasm very well. It remains to be seen what age we are entering.

Where does Children’s Hospital fit into that spectrum?

Absolutely nowhere. It’s safely at the shortstop of comedy—the second base of comedy. It’s just feeling boobs.