Yesterday I got to talk with the gracious, dulcet-toned Rob Huebel and learned about Adult Swim’s generous censorship department, the benefits of occasional anonymity, and why you probably don’t want to go to karoke with him.
Give me three words to describe Dr. Owen Maestro.
RH: Stupid, horny, and really stupid…oh wait, that’s four words.
That works. When you got involved, how much did you bring to the character and how much was set up before you got there?
RH: When we started the show, we were all old friends or a lot of us knew each other at least from the comedy world or performing live. Rob [Corddry] and I knew each other from New York and doing a lot of improv shows and stuff like that. The characters weren’t really set up, it was more like we knew what this world was, you know? We basically want to make fun of those super-serious hospital dramas so once you understand what that world is like, then you can fill out your character a little bit. It was really just open to whatever we wanted to bring to it.
You said you knew a lot of the guys and the cast is full of a lot a great improvers. Who’s so good you kind of want to punch them in the face?
RH: They’re all so good…the person I’m really jealous of is Megan Mullally. She’s just so funny and when you watch the show, everything she does is so funny. There’s really not a time where she shows up where she’s not doing or saying something that’s not retardedly funny. I just think she’s really smart about that. She’s great at stealing scenes and she’s so fun on set so I’m really jealous of her. The one person I’m not worried about is Ken Marino. I know that I can always smoke him. He is just…I can take that guy to college and school [him] all day long…I hope you’re writing all this down…
RH: Ken Marino doesn’t know shit about shit.
Should I bold that or italicize that statement?
RH: Underline that, bold that.
It seems like there’s a lot of off the cuff stuff and [in “Run Dr. Lola Spratt, Run”] you got up from a pilot seat with no pants on – are you surprised by the stuff Adult Swim lets you get away with?
RH: Yeah, that really surprised me. When we shot that thing that was kind of on the last day and that was the actual airplane cockpit that they shot the film AIRPLANE! in with Leslie Nielsen.
RH: Rob Corddry and some of the producers weren’t there because that was a second unit day on location. It was me and the director and it was the very last take and I said, “Oh, I have an idea – can I try one more thing?” And I didn’t tell anyone what I was going to do, I just took my pants and my underwear off and the guy sitting next to me, the co-pilot, I didn’t know him at all so I’m sure he was like “What the hell is going on.” [laughs] I really did that as a joke so when [Rob] and all the producers looked at the footage they’d just be shocked and they would laugh but they got the last laugh because they fucking put that in the fucking show. So that was a surprise to me – I turned on the tv the other night and there was my white ass. Evidently at midnight you can show anything, I didn’t know that. You can show bare ass, you can show I’m sure at least thee sides of the penis – not all of the penis but probably three sides of it. You can show breasts, you can show cattle giving birth probably…you can show all sorts of insane stuff at midnight.
Another thing I find really funny is how much blood there is around. What is it about buckets of fake blood that is so funny?
RH: Yeah, that’s a great question. There’s something really absurd about it. Obviously when you see blood in real life it’s terrible, it’s like, “Oh god, oh no, there’s been a car accident! This is awful!” But on TV, especially a hospital show, the more blood the better. When people are just eating lunch, they should be just bloody. If someone’s going to take a nap, when they lie down they should be bloody. If they’re standing there brushing their teeth, blood should come out of their teeth. To me, when you’re doing a hospital show, that demands you have blood and our blood budget this year was like $14 million I think so we just got all sorts of blood.
That’s a good amount
RH: It came in really really handy.
I have a Twitter question from @HeavyRaines17 – he asks “How are you so good at playing d-bags? From THE OFFICE to CHILDRENS HOSPITAL, so perfect.”
RH: [laughs] Well probably the real answer is, [mock serious tone] “What are you talking about? Do you think I was playing a douchebag? Oh no, there must be some sort of misunderstanding. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I think to me that it’s a really fun [thing] to play. Obviously I play a lot of douchebags and unfortunately now when they’re casting a douchbag I think my name is like first on the list, which is probably gonna end up hurting me in life [laughs], if I ever want to do something else. But at least it’s a fun way to pay the rent.
I think douchbags and assholes – and there’s a big difference between them which would probably take the rest of the interview to explain – but I love those types of guys because I love guys that are really obnoxious and completely oblivious to the rest of the world. I think that they’re just barreling through life and I run into those guys all the time – believe it or not, there’s a lot of douchebags in L.A. So I see all types [here] and it just always makes me laugh. I guess I just think making fun of those guys is funny.
And it’s amazing how many varieties there are. You’d think there was just one blanketed type but no, no.
RH: No, oh no no. There are MANY different types of douchebags.
Speaking of douchebags, you were in I LOVE YOU, MAN and that’s the thing that probably accelerated your career. You also have HUMAN GIANT and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT…what do you get recognized for most?
RH: It sort of depends. I LOVE YOU, MAN was really great for me, that was a really fun movie to do and the director, John Hamburg, is a really smart, funny guy. Yeah, that helped me a lot, that opened a lot of doors for me. It depends where I am. A lot of times I get recognized for CHILDRENS HOSPITAL but they think I’m Ken Marino and I tell them, first thing I say is “Fuck you, I am not Ken Marino. Ken Marino doesn’t know shit about shit.” And I tell them, “Write that down, underline it, italicize it.” And then they do that. So I get recognized for CHILDRENS HOSPITAL but then anytime you do a network show, you realize how powerful tv is. I’ve been on THE OFFICE a few times so people who are really into that show will stop me and recognize me from that. [I]t depends on where you are geographically. If I’m in a part of town where there’s a lot of hipster comedy nerds, then they recognize me from HUMAN GIANT or CHILDRENS HOSPITAL. If I’m in an airport going somewhere, then it’s a more mainstream thing like THE OFFICE or I LOVE YOU, MAN. We’re also assuming I get recognized a lot which is an unfair assumption. I don’t get recognized very much. To most people I’m just a really pale white guy who looks like a lot of other people. I don’t get recognized too much.
It helps if you ever have to make embarrassing Target purchases, to not be recognized.
RH: Exactly. Yeah, I can go into Target and buy all the toilet paper in the world. I can buy toilet paper, I can buy condoms, I can buy diarrhea medicine…um, I buy tampons, bulk, and none of these things are a problem for me because people don’t recognize me.
What else do you have coming up besides more CHILDRENS HOSPITAL?
RH: I just shot a pilot for FOX that might become a mid-season show. It’s called FAMILY ALBUM and the guy who directed that is this really awesome director Shawn Levy – [he] directed A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, DATE NIGHT, and REAL STEEL, his new movie. He directed this pilot and we’re waiting to see if it gets picked up. It’s with Mike O’MAlley from GLEE and Rachel Harris [THE HANGOVER, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID]. It’s a family comedy but it’s super funny and my guy, I’m actually the uncle so I can be totally inappropriate and I have no responsibilities and I say and do the wrong things all the time so it was right in my wheelhouse. And then I shot a movie a while ago that’s coming out this December called THE DESCENDANTS with George Clooney. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him – George Clooney is his name. It’s C-l-o-o….
I had a small part in the movie but Alexander Payne [is the director] and he’s my favorite director. Listen to this job: Three weeks in Hawaii working with the best actor and best director maybe alive right now so it was really fun. George Clooney is so ridiculously charming that you end up hating yourself. It’s like, “Oh, I thought I was funny and cool and smart. Nope. George Clooney is funny and cool and smart.” But that’ll be a really good movie. And then I just shot a movie called RAPTUREPALOOZA with Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson from THE OFFICE. Craig [plays] the Anti-Christ and Corddry and I work for him and it’s after the rapture happens. That was really fun, we shot that in Vancounver.
Very cool, I’m really looking forward to all three of those. Is U.S.S. ALABAMA still anywhere?
RH: No, that died. That was this really cool, hilarious pilot that [Thomas] Lennon from THE STATE and [Robert] Ben Garant [RENO 911!] did.
Yeah, I heard about it last year and was hoping that it would go through…
RH: They shot the pilot for FX. It was this really cool STAR TREK, sci-fi world…but FX fucked up. They really fucked up. [laughs]
How dare they. [laughs]
RH: FX does a great job, they have a lot of great shows. This was really funny, I’m not sure what happened to it. It didn’t happen. It did not go.
So, last question. This is a very important, very serious question. What is your go-to karaoke song?
RH: My go-to karaoke song…hmmm. I usually like to close it out with some Van Halen. I usually like to [go with] “Panama” by Van Halen and really bring the house down. What I do is get up on stage, put in “Panama”, and then I literally take a lighter and light the building on fire and burn the house down, literally burn it down. I’m into a ton of legal trouble because of this. There are warrants out for me in a lot of different states but fuck it. It’s really fun and it’s entertaining for most people.
Good to know. I’ll make sure I’ll watch out if I’m ever at a karaoke joint with you.
RH: Yeah, yeah. If you ever see me go up onstage for karaoke, get the fuck out.
Check Out All New Episodes Of CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Thursdays At Midnight ET/PT on Adult Swim