The Tick season 2 trailer

How has working on this show changed how you relate to big-budget superhero films?

More than I thought it would. I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp when we were in the middle of filming. I was on the verge of a panic attack the entire movie. Not because of what was happening in the story, but because I had a practical understanding of how difficult it must’ve been to make. Every time there was any size shift, I would think about how difficult the costumes…or eyelines must have been to work around. It becomes a little overwhelming.

What I think is unique about us, which I relish, is we’re the only superhero thing that isn’t tied into any bigger universe. There are no other shows. There are no other cartoons. There are no other movies we are shaking hands with. The Tick universe is just the Tick universe. Each version of it, the comic book, the cartoon, the Warburton show, and this one have their own continuities.

I can’t imagine the stress of having to deal with those other concerns, not just how you’re making your own project good, but how you’re making it fit in with all the other projects. When I watch that sort of stuff, I can’t even believe it. When it works, it feels like a miracle to me.

But in terms of watching practically any superhero movie or TV show, I spend too much time thinking about how long things took to shoot or how uncomfortable certain positions are on the costume.

One of your recent credits is Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, where you play Jared Kushner. When you saw this opportunity come forward, did you think, “I want to dive into the mess of the real world?”

I fought very hard for that part. I really wanted to do it, which maybe seems demented. But I felt it would be cathartic to comment on these people who are driving me crazy on a day-to-day basis.

Rather than a lot of animated shows that [cast] the voiceover community first, they were going out to the comedy community. So there were emails…[talking about] the 30 characters they’re looking to cast this season. They had the drawings for them and the breakdowns of what their take on the characters were, what they imagine their voices to be like. You could put your own tape together, using a transcript of a real speech they made.

So I stayed up all night and worked on eight or nine characters, because I so badly wanted to be part of the show. I want to do voiceover in general. It’s a hard thing to break into, and this seemed perfect. I spent 12 hours working on about 10 different characters. Kushner was the one I wanted the most.

And I originally didn’t get the part. Months later, they rethought it and asked if I was still interested. So I went in and met with them. They had started animating and writing, so I jumped into it pretty late. They had done the first two episodes and had to reconceive Jared.

I was watching the episodes that were mostly finished and trying to show them what I thought I could do with it. You’re trying to sneak in between narrow goalposts. But it’s been fun to develop the character, because it feels like a very organic process. Every time I come in, they’ll go, “You know, we really liked that thing last time, we didn’t think about that being a thing with Jared. So now we wrote some more stuff that’s like this.” It does feel therapeutic, because I feel so angry about this administration all the time.

How do you balance your career with the comments you make on the podcast about current films or filmmakers? I imagine somebody has encouraged you to…not say those things.

I get a little freaked out any time I go into a meeting. But it’s been weird, because when I started doing the show, I felt like I was transitioning out of acting. I was feeling discouraged, and I was starting to question if I wanted to do something else.

David and I started doing the show, which at that time was just about Star Wars. It was a ridiculous podcast about pretending Phantom Menace was the only Star Wars movie that existed. Later, we started talking about the other prequels…all within this comedic conceit of playing willfully ignorant to the Star Wars saga.

We wanted to keep doing the show [after discussing Star Wars] in this broader idea of…directors and their filmographies. Four weeks into recording, I got cast on The Tick, which was very unexpected. Over the course of 3 years, my understanding of the industry has changed and the way people view me has changed.

I have no delusions about being hyper-famous, but certain statements sound different when they’re made by someone who is on billboards. I don’t want to sound like someone throwing bricks inside a glass house or that I’m trying to take down other people competitively.

So it’s a tough thing. To reconcile this show that organically came out of David and I being friends who talk about these things and making those conversations into a podcast, with people taking what I say more seriously now. [What] I always try to keep in mind is: we’re not a bad movie podcast and we praise a lot of things. Some of our listeners think we overpraise things or praise too many things. But any time I criticize a piece of work on the show, I have [likely] praised another work by that same person.

I don’t think we’re falling in with the consensus of shitting on the things everyone shits on and praising the things everyone else praises. But I will see sometimes that people refer to me as a critic or they’ll quote things I say on the podcast as the opinion of this film critic, which always freaks me out because I try as hard as possible to make it clear that I don’t think of myself as a critic.

I think of myself as a big movie fan, someone who takes it very seriously, maybe has a critical perspective on things. But I’m an actor and comedian first, and anything I say about anyone else’s work is with the understanding of how difficult it is to do any of this stuff.

Well, you’re a connoisseur of context.

Right, I’m a connoisseur of context. That’s a shorter answer.

Of the various blank-check filmmakers you’ve discussed on the show, who would you want to work with and why?

It’s different people for different reasons. What excites me is getting to do something different than I’ve done before. Playing Arthur on The Tick was such an insane pipe dream that I never thought would happen, it crossed off every bucket list item I had as an actor. To want anything more in my career feels selfish.

The things that excite me are a different type of character or a director with a different type of process or a different genre. I mean, would I kill to be in one of the Avatar movies? Yes, because I would love to do motion capture and I would love to see how James Cameron runs his set because you hear so many stories about that. I mean, that feels creatively the most interesting to me.

The other obvious answer for me…we’re covering Tim Burton now and he is the first filmmaker I ever became obsessed with. He’s a Rosetta Stone for a lot of what I’m interested in.

What is your favorite blank-check TV show?

David and I, when we started the show, we didn’t know if it was always going to be about directors. We thought we would cover other things. So there was a period where we were thinking we would do a miniseries on John From Cincinnati, which feels like the most blank-check thing that’s ever happened on TV, at least up until that time. I’d say Twin Peaks: The Return also falls into that category more successfully, as something where the network wants to work with the creator so badly that they let [David Lynch] do whatever he wanted.

I’m trying to think of ones that I really like… Get a Life, the Chris Elliott/Adam Resnick show. That always jumps out to me. It’s something I saw when I was young and my mind was blown. Like, “How did this end up on TV?” That felt like a show where they got no notes, which is impossible. The whole challenge of making TV is making it through the notes process. But that show had an E.T. parody where the alien wouldn’t stop barfing and it ends with them barbecuing the alien and eating it. That’s the show that I still am perplexed made it onto network TV for 20 or 30 episodes.

Last question. You, like me, are a theme-park fan; you mentioned Avatar. I know you’ve visited Disney’s World of Pandora. If there could be a Tick attraction, what would it be and which theme park would it reside in?

We’d have to be at Epcot. When you see AEGIS this season, it feels very Epcot to me. There’s a lot of testing we have to go through. I think there’d be some Tick testing ride with all of the machinery.

For Comic-Con in 2017, they built a replica…of several sets from our show. The bodega, Arthur’s apartment, and the warehouse where Miss Lint was working in the pilot. They had a scavenger hunt, where you had to locate objects and people could win Tick swag. I had to record a video that was what people watch when they were waiting to go into the attraction, like my equivalent of the pre-ride video at a theme park.

It was such a big nerd dream…to do “Oh, thank God you made it here. Look, Tick and I are in a lot of trouble and you’re the only ones who can help us.” That kind of performance style, which as a theme-park fan, I had spent so many years studying. It was so much fun that I already feel like I’ve gotten to do the theme-park attraction. But it would be fun to do this Tick-and-Arthur roller-coaster through AEGIS that was half-bureaucracy and half-insane physical challenges.

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: