Rob Corddry talks Childrens Hospital and new sitcom on FOX
Since emerging in 2002 as one of the breakout stars of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Rob Corddry has slowly managed to carve out a niche for himself as part of the new Hollywood vanguard of comedic actors taking over film and television. Starring roles in such films as Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and Hot Tub Time Machine, helped establish Corddry as a solid actor, but it’s his most recent turn as writer, producer and star of Adult Swim’s live action show, Childrens Hospital that has brought his game to the next level.
Set in a fictitious hospital named after a “Dr. Childrens” where the staff is composed of half-witted doctors and nurses, the show lampoons previous dramas like E.R. and Chicago Hope by supplying outlandish storylines and absurd resolutions for their sickly patients. Corddry plays Dr. Blake Downs, a member of the clown race who wears clown makeup and bloody scrubs 24/7, and believes in the healing power of laughter instead of actual medicine. His supporting cast is a virtual who’s who in Hollywood, with Emmy winner Megan Mullaly, Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, Rob Huebel and Ken "I wanna dip my balls in it" Marino all on staff.
With the first two seasons of Childrens Hospital having just been released on DVD, SanDiego.com recently had a chance to speak with Corddry while preparing for the season premiere of on June 2nd, and discovered what guest stars may be popping up this season, and if there’s a possibility fans can expect to see a spinoff in the works for next season.
First off congratulations, I saw that your show Little In Common just got picked up by FOX.
Rob Corddry: Well, it’s midseason right now, but, like the way I understand it, they’re just looking for slots and there’s going to be a little bit of retooling, whatever that means, who knows? I’ve learned not to expect anything. We shot the pilot, and that’s what we’re going to be doing some reshoots on. I believe they just want to change the ending or something. Again, that’s hearsay from what I’ve heard from 3 or 4 different people and that’s literally all I know.
How long did it take to shoot season 3 of Childrens Hospital?
RC: We shoot for a little over a month. We shot in December and January, and we’re just sort of buttoning up the edit right now. We’re starting to mix the sound and do the color correct, so our pictures locked and that’s where we are. We’re starting to think about writing the next season. We premiere on June 2nd; we’re going to start writing season 4 on June 3rd. We take our time writing and try to get it right and then we shoot in no time at all and really take our time in the edit. Those are the cheapest parts of production; you know what I mean; the writing and the editing. So we spend most of our time on that.
When Williams Street originally offered you the deal they gave the option for either 15 minute episodes or 30 minute episodes, and you went with the 15. Why?
RC: We’re mostly about jokes per minute. We have no continuity, no character development very little plot, although that’s changing as we get more comfortable. Mostly it’s mainly just about how many jokes we can cram into 11 minutes and 50 seconds, so that I don’t think to sustain itself past 11:50, I think it gets tiring. It would be a completely different show, you’d have to rely more on plot and character, and I don’t care about that shit with this show. Then the other thing is that this is something that we all really like to do for fun, and I don’t want it to be my full time job. That’s being completely honest with you, like I think it would just be less fun if this were a full-time thing.
Did you court Henry Winkler to appear in Childrens Hospital or did he just fall into your lap?
RC: Well you know what’s so funny is my manager, Peter Principato, manages his son, who’s this very talented director. His movie Ceremony if you haven’t caught it, please watch it, it’s amazing; the guy’s super talented. So Peter’s representing his son and Henry just kind of fell into his lap. He’s like, ‘Hey guess what? I think I represent Henry Winkler now. Do you want me to try and get him on your show?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ So then he set up a call and there wasn’t much wooing involved. He’s a super guy that likes to work and likes comedy.
Besides Sarah Silverman and Jon Hamm, are there any secret guest stars we can expect in this season?
RC: There’s no real top secret guest stars. There’s one little cameo that I’d like to keep a secret, but outside of those guys; Alicia Silverstone is in an episode, Bruce Davidson and there may or may not be a treat for fans of the show Party Down as well. Emphasis on “may.”
Could you ever see Childrens Hospital having one of those crossover shows where characters from different Adult Swim shows appear in Childrens Hospital and vice versa?
RC: I spoke to Seth Green about that sort of casually. We’d like to do a Robot Chicken/Childrens Hospital crossover, but apart from just saying, ‘Hey man, that’d be fun!’ we have no fucking idea what that would be. Those are 2 of the hardest shows to actually crossover.
Will there be a Childrens Hospital panel at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego?
RC: Oh yeah. I will make an excuse to go to Comic Con even if I don’t have a show. I will do everything in my power to get there. That’s the most fun you can have. We were there last year, we did a panel, and I was there a couple of years ago for something. My wife and I come down and we leave the kids at home with, somebody I hope, but who cares? Really in the long run Comic Con’s more important.
You have a background in improv and sketch from the Upright Citizens Brigade, but did you ever try doing stand-up comedy?
RC: Yeah I did one night of stand-up, like at an open mic night; me and my buddy just tried it out. We were good, we got laughs. I think it was a lot of cheap jokes; a lot of easy stuff, character stuff. I liked it but, you’ve got to be really passionate about that. It’d be a real insult to real stand-ups for me to do that kind of thing, because that’s a real, real craft and dare I say art form. I used to do college shows when I was on The Daily Show, as part of their lecture tour, which is pretty funny in itself. I would do like 5 minutes of fake stand-up for that, just really easy jokes. Stand-up, while being alone up there is definitely appealing in a certain way, I don’t think it’s my passion.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
RC: There is a Childrens Hospital spin-off in the works. It’s been green lit; I just can’t announce it yet. I can’t give you any more information than that.
Will we ever see a sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine?
RC: Where as I would love nothing more than to do that, I really think the chances are slim to none, bordering on none. Just because MGM is barely even a company anymore and while we’ve done well and it was a successful movie in the long run, it didn’t break any box office records.
Does Rob Corddry have a message for the children?
Rob Corddry: Yeah, go fuck yourselves! Grow up. We have nothing in common.
Seasons 1 & 2 of Childrens Hospital are currently available on DVD, and Season 3 premieres Thursday, June 2 on Adult Swim.