Interview: 'Workaholics' Stars Anders Holm and Blake Anderson

 (L) Blake Anderson, (R) Anders Holm

Workaholics stars (L) Blake Anderson, (R) Anders Holm

Workaholics is the brainchild of friends/roommates/partners in comedy Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Adam Devine, and Kyle Newacheck. The show has its roots in the web series 5th Year, created by the quartet which finally caught the attention of a Comedy Central exec. Entering its second season on Comedy Central, the show centers on three buddies/roommates (Holm, Anderson, and Devine) working a dead end telemarketing gig for beer money after recently graduating from college. The world could be wide open for these guys, but instead they spend their time working on wizard raps, getting into feuds with the local high school students, befriending a sexual predator, and attending their first Gathering of the Juggaloes.* It would be easy to accuse the show of dude-bro humor, but the guys seem to spend more time taking apart the party hard lifestyle and getting their TV personas into the biggest, stupidest messes they can, making it one of the funniest new shows on right now.

Holm and Anderson recently spoke to MTV Geek by phone about working on the second season (Devine was off shooting a film). Holm plays the tightly-wound, only incrementally more mature Anders while Anderson plays Blake the peacemaker, the paradoxically most easygoing and neurotic member of the crew.

MTV Geek: So, for someone who’s never seen the show before, what would you tell them the show was about?

Brad Anderson: Hm. I would say it’s a coming-of-age story about three friends living together, working together, fresh out of college, just trying to live every day of their lives like it’s an adventure—not being bored at work and entertaining themselves.

Anders Holm: Yeah.

Geek: I understand you guys are actually best friends in real life. What’s it like to hang out with your best friends, make each other laugh, and get paid for it?

Holm: Uh, it’s quite the luxury. Pretty unreal. And we’ve all had horrible jobs in the past, so we would go from our jobs to hang out with each other at night and write sketch ideas and whatnot. Now, just clock in at 10 or whatever and look at each others’ mugs every day and try and make each other laugh.

Anderson: Yeah, and I think it helps because we see each other so much, it’s a good thing we like each other, otherwise who knows? There might have already been a murder.

Geek: Do you feel like your humor has had to change going from the shorts to a full 22-minute show?

Holm: I think they’ve still got the same flavor. We’ve just kind of been put in a specific world as opposed to our sketches which were all over the place, doing whatever we thought was funny. Now it’s like we have a world, these are the rules for the world, now how can we do what we do?

Anderson: Yeah, definitely. And Comedy Central has been really cool about letting us do the ideas we want to do, so there’s not a lot of stuff like “Hey, can we do this,” and they’re like “No way.” We’ve got the rapping lizards in there, and Adam is bodybuilding in an episode, so it’s cool like that.

Geek: Has the network been pretty easy on you in terms of Standards and Practices?

Holm: Yeah! They’ve been good, they’ve been very well-behaved. They haven’t given us flack on too many things. They just say we can’t show d***s, which is a bummer.

Workaholics Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c
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Geek: How often do you want to show d***s? Like how often is that coming up?

Holm: How often do I personally want to show them? I want to show ‘em all day long. But we only have 21 minutes, 30 seconds, so.

Anderson: We actually pitched the entire show to be a bottomless show—the first bottomless show, ever—but I don’t know, it just wasn’t working out.

Geek: How did you guys actually get together all those years ago and start making shorts?

Anderson: Kyle and I, Kyle—the dude who plays Carl on the show—we grew up together in Northern California and moved out to Orange County together to go to community college where met Adam. And Adam went out to L.A. where he met Anders at Second City, and then we kind of just started making internet videos together from there.

So it was… fate, I guess.

Geek: What was the original plan with the videos? Were you just doing them to have a good time, were you looking to pitch them, or what?

Holm: Everybody’s goal was to make money doing stuff we loved like we’re doing today—[a] “make-a-living” kind of thing. That’s generally why people move to L.A.. But yeah, we were just making videos that we thought were funny, and if we got any hits or any kind of attention that was cool. We were just hoping to someday get a movie or a TV show like Workaholics.

Anderson: I think all four of us have always had really creative minds, I guess. So if we didn’t have some sort of outlet like putting stuff on the internet—I don’t know. I just think it’s in us to be creative people and make projects. It’s just cool that YouTube even started to exist so that we could put it out there.

Geek: A current that runs through the show is that it’s about these guys working these crappy jobs just so they can have enough money to party, and it’s all happening in the context of this pretty crappy economy, and a lot of guys your age getting out of college and those are the best prospects right now. Honestly, I don’t even have much more of a question here beyond wondering if you guys have thought about that at all.

Holm: Yeah, I mean that was us. I mean, besides the fact that we had this, whether you want to call it a dream or ambition, to make it in Hollywood or whatever you want to call it. We had some pretty sorry jobs. I was doing telemarketing out here in L.A., Blake was delivering sandwiches and pizzas, Kyle was teaching and Adam was working the Improv at the door before started doing standup and supporting himself that way. So it was like we were those dudes coming out of college without the dot-com boom. At least, all my older brothers had that.

So, it’s kind of the post dot-com era where it’s like, everyone’s downsizing, the economy sucks, what are you gonna do about it? Might as well have a good time instead of crying about it.

Anderson: Absolutely. And the weird thing is being broke in America really isn’t the end of the world. I mean, everybody’s pretty broke as of now and you can find some of the best stuff at the thrift stores or you can have a whole day of walking around, eating samples at Costco. You just have to be more creative in what you choose to have fun with, it doesn’t take money to have fun. Sometimes it’s just hanging out with your friends and finding stuff to do.

Holm: Yeah.

Geek: That’s maybe the most optimistic assessment of the general bummer things are right now. Thanks for that.

Anderson: You got it.

Holm: I mean, that’s what got us through it. It’s like, knowing “Hey, this Saturday we’re going to shoot that video,” and have something. You know, that outlet. We were making something even though we don’t feel like we’re doing anything at our jobs.

Anderson: For sure. I think that maybe instead of normal thought processes, you know a lot of people live for the weekends to go to the clubs or whatever, but a lot of time we were like, we gotta wake up early and do this sketch, first things first. We didn’t have the money to go spend at the bar.

Geek: Do you feel like the show is finding its audience? Are you getting any kind of recognition from fans?

Holm: Yeah. I mean, our premiere this season compared to season one, I think it may have tripled. So it’s pretty cool that people are excited.

Anderson: Yeah, and I’ve even noticed [that] in the beginning, [in] season one, a lot of people recognized me because of my stupid hair. But even Adam and Anders now, it’s just cool to see people coming up to Ders out of nowhere. That’s just cool.

It’s just cool to recognition for stuff you’re doing. When you do that Internet stuff, not a lot of people will watch it. But now, we go into different cities together and people kind of geek out, and we go to bars and party with them. It’s just really cool, it’s a cool vibe. Everybody’s just excited about the show.

Geek: What else do you guys have coming up?

Holm: Before we got called in on this phone call, I was sitting here working with Blake on a movie that we’re writing.

Anderson: We’re definitely grinding on that Mail Order Comedy movie project. And we’ve got offers to audition for TV shows and stuff. So we’re trying to stay busy in the meantime as well.

Holm: Yeah, and Adam is down in Baton Rouge filming a movie called Pitch Perfect for Universal. It’s going to be pretty big coming out in the next few months or something.

So, we hustlin’.

Workaholics Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c
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*I don't know if I spelled that right and I refuse to look it up.

Workaholics airs Tuesday nights at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

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