Workaholics

Comedy Central’s hit, Workaholics, started its 4th season in January 2014. It stars real life friends Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine and Anders Holm. The actors fittingly play buddy co-workers on the show. We spoke to the trio, as well as the co-creator (Kyle Newacheck) about the off the wall program.

Can we go back to the beginning? How did all of this start?

Anders Holm: We were doing something called The Dude’s House; it was essentially Workaholics in the house Blake, Adam and Kyle actually lived in. It was about roommates dealing with roommate shit. We then got the opportunity to do the same show, but in an office.

Adam DeVine: We were making Internet videos for a long time before we got the show. We started in 2006, right when YouTube popped up on the scene. We were amazed that you could upload something and watch it immediately. We made like 80 videos over the course of a couple of years. Some executives at Comedy Central saw us online and asked us to pitch them a show.

Kyle Newacheck: We were creating Internet videos for what seemed like forever because we were broke and not making any money off it. Comedy Central saw our stuff and had us make a pilot for like $50,000. It was a really low budget pilot. Comedy Central only wanted 10 minutes of material and we gave them a full show. Comedy Central saw that we knew what we were doing.

How would you describe Workaholics to someone who has never seen it before?

Blake Anderson: It is one of the dumbest shows on television—but dumb in a good way. It’s a good show to sit back and laugh at—you can enjoy it while drunk or high. You could analyze the shit out of it—if you work hard enough you can probably find a story there to follow.

Did the involvement of Comedy Central scare you guys at all? Was it intimidating in any way to go from the Internet to such a larger platform?

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Anders Holm

AH: No. Not for us. I don’t know how to make this not sound arrogant, but we have been doing this for a long time now. We already knew what we thought was funny and we were going to put that on the air regardless. We weren’t going to cater to what Comedy Central wanted. Looking back now, that was insanely naïve. But, we built a brand with each other and when we got to Comedy Central we fought for what we thought was funny.

KN: The people from Comedy Central really like the show. They understand we are trying to push boundaries. They are into it. It makes it fun. We also kept as many people as we could from the Internet stuff. If people are on the same page and have the same goals it always works out.

Did any artists or projects inspire you guys?

AD: We are big Beastie Boy fans—and liked their three-person dynamic. The Lonely Island guys were big for us—they were the first guys we saw doing Internet videos and getting stuff from it. Always Sunny in Philadelphia—we were fans of that show and liked how they were friends first and then started the show. We all grew up watching the same movies and TV shows.

All of you guys are credited as writers and producers on the program. Can you describe your creative process behind the scenes for us?

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Blake Anderson

BA: I think it’s pretty standard. We sit in a writers’ room for three months and the first few weeks are just about us throwing around ideas. It’s a pretty organic experience. It helps that we are the writers and the actors on the show.

Did the show, or your process for creating it, change at all when it went from the Internet to television?

AH: From web series to TV show it became very different. The hook is it’s the three dumbest people to ever be on television. The TV show is broader and wider in scope.

AD: The only thing that really changed in terms of our process is that we have grown ass men working for us now. We have dads on our set moving stuff around for us.

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Kyle Newacheck

KN: The biggest change was going to a production that has like ten trucks and a lot of older people on the crew. The amount of people we have to manage now is the biggest change I think.

BA: We have learned so much. We got thrown into this not knowing anything. It feels like we are old pros now.

Do you guys ever fight amongst yourselves over anything involving the show?

AD: There are debates, but it never gets too crazy. We are such good friends and have such similar tastes. There are never any huge battles. We have gotten really good at talking to each other and being diplomatic. You don’t want to be an asshole, but sometimes some ideas are dumb. I have dumb ideas all the time. For the most part we all think the same things are funny.

AH: Of course we have disagreements because comedy is arbitrary. What is funnier?

How much attention do you pay to the fans of the show and what they want or ask for?

AH: At the end of the day it’s our show. We don’t want to hate our lives by making a show for other people. We are going to make it for ourselves and hopefully people like it. You can’t make everybody happy. We just make what we think is funny and hope it sticks.

BA: Fans know that we are really involved in the process. They think we are these characters and to some extent we are. We aren’t as dumb as our characters or else we would all be dead now. When you are out with your parents and people are screaming ‘tight butthole’ at you it does get a little weird.

KN: The fans’ reaction is great. Our fan base has been growing and it’s cool to watch how much they appreciate our work. Fans now understand it is not a reality show. That’s an awesome thing for me. It was frustrating when people thought it was a reality show and thought we were high all the time. We are artists and we are craftsman.

Did you guys ever anticipate this level of success? Are you amazed that Workaholics has become this popular and beloved?

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Adam DeVine

AD: We took it very seriously. We thought a lot about the production and wanted it to look better than other people’s videos. We really wanted careers in this business. We wanted to be comedy people.

BA: We didn’t set out to fail. We were out to make the best product we could. We wanted to make something we were proud of. I didn’t plan my life around Workaholics—but it has turned out great for us.

KN: I’ve always tried my best on every project we have ever worked on. It’s nice to know a lot of people are watching and being affected by it. It makes me try harder.

If you had to give advice to anyone who wanted to follow in your guys’ footsteps, what would it be?

KN: Lil Wayne says ‘I gotta do for me’—and that is true. You have to do what makes you happy; that is the most important thing. Do things you have never seen before. If you are doing something that is already on TV nobody will notice it. If you do something original, that people have never seen before, you have a much better chance of making it. Just keep at it. I have been in LA for twelve years and seven of those years were about fighting to stay working. I saw a lot of people give up. You have to find a way to keep going. We just kept making things. It was always—‘what is the next thing we are going make.’

Do any of you ever think about the day you guys decide to end the show? Do you think the end of Workaholics will alter the bond you guys currently share?

AH: These are my homies for life. We know what we do together is pretty cool. As we get older we will probably do separate projects and meet new people. This is home base and I don’t think any of us will have a problem doing new projects together in the future.

What has been the best part of all of this for you guys?

AH: I think it’s cool that I can work with my friends everyday. It’s different than having a job where you become friends. A lot of people have jobs and then are like—‘Zach who works three cubicles over is now my best friend.’ That’s cool and that is essentially our show. But, these are my guys and I believed in them before all of this. They believed in me before all of this. Now we are doing this and it’s crazy. We are lucky to do it. We don’t hate each other yet. We will end a season and take a few weeks a part. When we get back together we are very excited and are like—‘what have you been up to?’ It’s good we still have that.

BA: The fact that it started off as something I was just doing with my friends. Now I can go to work with my friends everyday and do what I wanted to do with my life. I work at a job that I love and not a lot of people can say they are stoked about going to work everyday. That is the best part—going to work with my friends everyday. I get to work on something that is really fulfilling.

 

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