With host Andy Greenwald wrangling nine panelists representing five shows, chaos reigned at today’s Comedy Central panel at PaleyFest.
It was like a writer’s room after too many Skittles and an overdose of Red Bull and Mountain Dew (all cited by one panelist during a description of the creative process). If Attention Deficit Disorder was a panel, this would be it. Oooh, shiny, look over there! Hey, did anybody ever actually watch Crossballs: The Debate Show? Oops, sorry, forgot I was writing this. . .
Today’s assembled misfits included Abbi Jacobson of Broad City; Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key and Peele, Kroll Show’s Nick Kroll; Review’s Andrew Daly and Workaholics stars Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck. Nonstop banter. Improv on steroids. No focus whatsoever.
However, Greenwald did manage to coax answers to at least a few questions out of just about everybody. One was whether Comedy Central ever gives script notes — and if so, what are they?
Panelists praised their network for being hands-off — for the most part. Holm said Comedy Central became slightly more involved in Season 3 of Workaholics but who cares? “We’ll crack the jokes we want!” he said to audience cheers. And hard to tell whether fellow cast member Anderson was joking when he recalled a note about the guys wanting to attend a Rihanna concert: “I don’t know, seems kinda like, gay to go to a Rihanna concert.” Anderson added with mock-seriousness that obviously the note-giver did not “understand the force that is Rihanna.”
Jacobson said Comedy Central was a bit mystified by an improvised moment from one Broad City episode that had not been in a script, in which co-star and EP Ilana Glazer (her words) “jerks off a tree.” It was just a baffled “what’s going on” kind of note, Jacobson said. Daly, who stars and co-created the mockumentary series Review, joked that the network was not open to any more pancake-eating extravaganzas after his infamous episode “Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes.” Key said that sometimes the duo’s retro entertainment references on Key and Peele caused the network to scratch its collective head: “Is Star Wars a thing that people care about? Ironically, it’s not.”
Kroll said one scene was nixed for the Kroll Show pilot because it was too expensive: “Cake Train.” He described it as “people running out to a moving train where a chef is throwing cakes at them, (which are) exploding on them, and eating them. “ But in season 2, however, the network was “unbelievably hands off” and they did “Cake Train.” (It’s the final season of Kroll Show. In the Q&A, Kroll said the show was not coming back because it had reached a “natural conclusion”).
The Q&A ended with a question about comedy influences on the participants: Newachek: Daniel Stern, Holm: Rick Moranis, Anderson: Jim Carrey, DeVine: Chris Farley, Jacobson: Gilda Radner, Key: Peter Sellers and Richard Pryor, Peele: Phil Hartman and Martin Lawrence, and Daly: Martin Short and Charles Grodin.
As part of a running Obama-bashing, Kroll said: “I would say Obama because his presidency has been a joke.” More seriously, he admitted to being inspired by Mel Brooks.