Interview With Comedians Jon Benjamin And Jon Glaser
I first came across the comedy duo of Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser in 2005, when I stumbled on their performance in a New York City East Village compilation that was released through Comedy Central Records called Invite Them Up. They portrayed two friends who claimed to be from San Diego, but possessed rich New Jersey accents and constantly repeated their catchphrase, “Fuggedaboutit!” They went on for 15 minutes in what seemed to be a semi-prepared yet highly improvised routine that had the small East Village crowd rapt with laughter.
What I did not realize is that I had been a fan of both comedians for quite some time; I was merely unaware as to who these two actually were.
Jon Benjamin’s credits as a voice-over actor read like a comedy nerds nirvana with steady appearances on cutting edge shows like, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Home Movies, Family Guy, and his upcoming turn as the lead on FOX’s new animated series Bob’s Burgers. Many fans first glimpse of him was just recently on Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Martin, where he served as both writer and producer, while also frequently appearing onscreen as the show’s main character actor. He recently signed a deal with Comedy Central and will have a new show called Jon Benjamin Has A Van that is set to debut in summer 2011.
Jon Glaser is a five-time Emmy nominee for his time as writer and performer on Late Nite with Conan O’Brien. He’s also done numerous voice over projects, ranging from appearances on Aqua Teen Hunger Force to his lead role as a bumbling private investigator in the short-lived [adult swim] cult favorite, Stroker and Hoop. His current project is one of the few live action programs on [adult swim] called Delocated, which is a sitcom about a man who’s starring in a reality show about being in the witness protection program. I had the opportunity to sit down with both Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser to discuss their humble beginnings on the Jenny McCarthy show and how they prepare themselves for a live performance.
What are you guys doing tonight?
Jon Benjamin: I’ve gotta get cracking on dinner, Glaser’s probably going to the Rolling Stones concert or some reunion? Somebody was telling me that the roadies from the Stones have a band that was playing the other night. Like the literal roadies that have been with the Stones for years, who are also now old and have their own band, and have been playing out as the roadies from the Rolling Stones.
Jon Glaser: I heard that they’re better than the Stones.
Benjamin: That’s the name of the band; it’s called The Roadies from the Stones.
Glaser: I’m not going to the Rolling Stones concert tonight. I’m just scooping the litter box.
What’s your cat’s name?
Glaser: Two Cats. I’m not going to put their names in print. Let’s not do that to them.
Benjamin : They’re not going to read it. What, are you going to show it to them and point out their names? “There’s your name in print.”
There’s one topic I’d like to cover and that’s Yiddish and the Jewish culture, I’m actually considering converting from Catholicism.
Benjamin: Don’t do it.
Don’t do it?
Benjamin: I think officially we could do it, Jon and I can do it.
Glaser: We can do it over the phone.
Benjamin: We’ve been sanctioned by Judaism to convert people. I can bring you to the chosen.
Right now I’m heavy goyum.
Benjamin: I didn’t know there was a heavy goyum. Is it like a cream goyum?
What can you tell me about the comedy show you guys used to co-host in NYC called Midnight Pajama Jam?
Benjamin: It’s kind of hard to explain.
Glaser: I feel like when you explain it, it’s like the worst show you’d never want to see. Essentially, it’s a fake talk show and the sidekicks are puppets. If I had a friend who said, “Hey come see our show, it’s like a fake talk show and the sidekicks are these two puppets.” I’d never go see that show.
Benjamin: The thing with Jon is, he’s not really a puppeteer, per say, although he’s become quite good.
Glaser: Pretty good.
Benjamin: He just sort of sits in a chair and holds the puppets up; it’s very deconstructed. I’m the host.
Did you guys have guests?
Benjamin: Mostly comedians that we know come out as guests. They won’t do their act or their routine, they’ll either do something that Jon and I have come up with or a character that they bring that we just sorta interview.
Do you guys go out and do stand up in NYC very often?
Glaser: Every now and then, it’s pretty infrequent. It’s pretty random. I don’t really go out and do stand up per say at clubs. I would just say every now and then on occasion.
Benjamin: I’ll do shows mostly in New York whenever they come up. But like Jon, I don’t do stand up really. There are only a few places where you can go up and perform not just straight stand up.
So when will fans be able to see The Fuggedabuddies again?
Benjamin: We’ll definitely do a Fuggedabuddies movie. “The Fuggedabuddies come home to San Diego.”
Glaser: I don’t think I’ve ever been to San Diego.
I heard someone dissed Stroker and Hoop at last years Comic-Con Q&A during the Adult Swim panel discussion?
Benjamin: The gauntlet has been thrown.
Glaser: That’s hilarious. It could’ve been a plant from Adult Swim just to generate excitement.
Benjamin: You never know with them, they’re very crafty.
You’ve both performed with Yo La Tengo during their annual Hanukkah eight night stand at Maxwell’s in New Jersey. How are those shows when it comes to mixing comedy and rock music?
Benjamin: Those are great. We played two shows this year. Yeah, it was last year at those Hanukkah shows that we did The Fuggedabuddies. I think it was just based on saying, “Fuggedaboutit” on the way there because we couldn’t get a parking space. We were in the car with our friend Dave, who sells t-shirts for Yo La Tengo, driving in from Manhattan and we were trying to find a space and because we were in Jersey we kept saying, “Fuggedaboutit. We’ll never get a parking space, fuggedaboutit.” Then we went and did it. We just did The Fuggedabuddies based on that.
When did you guys first meet up?
Benjamin: We met in Los Angeles, like most of the great duos, at the Jenny McCarthy show. She had a sketch comedy show we both wrote for.
Her show on MTV?
Glaser: Did you just look that up on your computer?
No, I actually remember that show.
Glaser: Oh really? Yeah it was on MTV, it was 1997.
Benjamin: You’d be surprised what we do. It gets very dark.
Glaser: It’s not all Conan and McGuirk.
What do you enjoy more, the writing or the performing?
Benjamin: I’ve always performed more than I’ve written.
Glaser: I like both. I’m up for either as long as it’s preferably a fun project.
The Fuggedabuddies do have a really unique and laid back cadence, what’s that attributed to?
Benjamin: I think the general rule that Jon and I have when we’re performing is we’re not prepared. Which is totally true, I’m not kidding. We don’t really prepare much. We do buy hats, and stuff like that. But as far as what we’re gonna say and what we’re gonna do there’s not a lot of preparation.
Glaser: We kind of go by the creed of, “Don’t prepare, Don’t care”.
Both of you come across with a fairly laconic stage presence.
Benjamin: Like Dane Cook. We gotta learn how to be more like Dane Cook.
Glaser: Gotta get on the Dane Train.
Benjamin: We’ll go to Dane school.
Glaser: Dane Cook-iveristy.
Did you know that Dane Cook is straight edge? His body is a temple.
Benjamin: Just look out the window and enjoy.
Do you have a message for the children?
Benjamin: Sleep tight.
Glaser: Don’t let the bed bugs bite.