Exclusive Interview: Seth Meyers & Mike Shoemaker on ‘The Awesomes’
The Television Critics Association was rabid for Seth Meyers to attend their press tour, as he is about to leave “Saturday Night Live” and take over “Late Night” after Jimmy Fallon ascends to “The Tonight Show.” Hulu brought Meyers and producer Mike Shoemaker to present the animated superhero comedy they created, “The Awesomes.” After the TCA session, we got some one on one time with Meyers and Shoemaker to break some exclusive news about their new show and their plans for “Late Night.”
CraveOnline: After years of being so topical on “SNL” were you looking for some humor that didn’t have to be based on what’s going on this week?
Seth Meyers: Yeah, absolutely and also, some of my favorite sketches I’ve written for “SNL” were ones that were not about what was going on in the news that given week. It was really fun. More importantly, the biggest difference from the kind of writing you do on “SNL” was to do some writing that actually told a story.
Mike Shoemaker: And was really character based, like believable character based that had arcs and sadness and all those things in it.
Well, how sincere of an underdog story is “The Awesomes?”
Meyers: It’s fairly sincere. It’s definitely the story of somebody trying to live up to their father which I think is a fairly universal story that people are dealing with. For us, there was the real sincerity of the disappointment somebody would have when something that they’ve dreamed of doing for a long time isn’t working out.
Where in that do you find the ridiculousness?
Meyers: You find the ridiculousness in the interpersonal dealings of the people on the team. For us, it was the reality of having worked places which are about large groups of people coming together, you have very different personality types and that was sort of what we wanted to explore, the different personalities that are coming together for one goal.
Shoemaker: And really talented people, getting them together and you find that when they’re together, the mix is difficult. That’s the kind of thing I’ve seen Seth handle and we wanted to get that in there.
Does Joyce have a bit of an Edna Mode/Edith Head influence? I only go there because of the superhero connection with The Incredibles.
Shoemaker: [Laughs] No. It’s based on Dratch basically, but it’s the idea of someone coming in who’s in charge who’s difficult really. That is in every business. It’s in show business.
Meyers: The bean counter.
Shoemaker: Who asks dumb questions and is kind of a pain, and nobody plays that better than Dratch.
Will Prock ever use his power of stopping time to see women naked?
Meyers: No, he’s far too noble for something like that.
You were very quick with that. Has that come up before?
Meyers: No, but I feel like of all the characters, he’s the one I feel like we could answer the fastest of whether he would or wouldn’t do something.
Was The Feminine Mystique a little intellectual humor you slipped in there?
Meyers: It was more of an intellectual reference. We did like the idea that he’s been fighting crime for so long that he hasn’t even had time to read that book.
Shoemaker: This is a good place to use dated references, to have 70-year-old characters and you can give them references that people don’t get now is one of the joys.
What would happen if the aliens with tits for eyes met the Thompsons from “South Park?”
Meyers: That’s a very good question. It would either be love at first sight or one of those real oil and water situations, but hopefully one day we’ll get a chance to see it.
I love Frantic. He’s awesome.
Meyers: He’s great and Taran Killam who voices him is perfect because he’s got a real verbal acuity of being able to say a lot of things really fast and that is the key to Frantic. And also it’s fun to write a superhero who’s fame hungry, who is fully in it to be on television.
Shoemaker: Taran, it’s shocking how he can just spit those things out in one or two reads.
Meyers: In a voice, in a character voice as well.
Does he have to be sped up at all?
Meyers: No, we never sped him up.
In the seventh episode, are the birds actually saying “chirp?”
Meyers: They are saying “chirp,” yeah. That was very important for us that they actually said “chirp.”
Will the profanity be unbleeped for DVD releases?
Meyers: It will be bleeped for Hulu.
Shoemaker: I didn’t know we were having DVD releases but if you want to clamor for them… We should totally release them on DVD.
What other heroes and supervillains will The Awesomes meet on a weekly basis?
Shoemaker: There’s one fun thing, a real comic book trope, that they go to a parallel universe and they meet the evil versions of themselves. That’s a lot of fun.
Meyers: In the alternate world, ‘90s slang is still cool. Audi 5000.
Do you have to watch everything on TV because you might spoof it, or you might have an “SNL” host who is on it?
Meyers: You try, but it’s really hard.
Shoemaker: It’s become impossible. You can’t even watch all your friends or your favorites.
Meyers: The other thing about spoofing it which we found on “SNL” is there are so few shows that everybody’s watching. Every now and then you can spoof something like “Louie” and “Homeland” that everybody’s watching, but there are other things that are just impossible to make an observation about because you realize not enough of the audience is watching.
Shoemaker: It’s like “American Idol” or “The Voice” and nothing else.