|512-Go!»||Mess with Texas (March 16-17, 2007)|
BJ Porter and Scott Aukerman are The Fun Bunch. Together they’ve helped write the sketch comedy cult favorite Mr. Show and produced Comedy Death-Ray, one of the country’s best live comedy shows, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. The Fun Bunch will be in Austin to perform during both days of the Mess with Texas party, a two-day live comedy and music mini-festival (March 16–17). Here they discuss their work on Shark Tale 2 and make a very important announcement.
That Other Paper What are some films that the two of you have worked together on?
Scott Aukerman We have worked together as George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 9 through 18. We also have a film hopefully coming out next year called Kanan Rhodes: Unkillable Servant of Justice, starring Rainn Wilson.
BJ Porter Scott and I are also re-writing the script for You, Me, and Dupree which no one is paying us to do and it was released last year. We just thought it could have been funnier. But not by much!
TOP When you write a film that ends up not being made, what happens to the script?
Scott It is photocopied, immediately burned to ashes, then the copies are buried and the ashes are shot into space. The jokes inside are translated into musical notes and used to compose incidental music for the TV show Medium.
BJ I’m not sure what happens to the scripts, but when a project is killed, I like to go around bragging that “our movie just got redlighted.”
TOP Have the two of you worked on any feature films on your own?
BJ I started writing an unofficial sequel to the sports movie Miracle, which was about the 1980 US men’s Olympic hockey team. Mine is about the 1992 men’s basketball team. “Do you believe in inevitabilities!?” Oh, I shouldn’t have ruined the last line in the movie for you.
TOP Will the two of you be performing separately or as The Fun Bunch at the Mess with Texas party?
Scott You couldn’t keep us apart. I mean, others might be able to, but not you, pussy.
TOP BJ, according to your IMBD, your face appeared in the opening credits because your expression of “despair was so powerful and moving”. What were you thinking of to put you in that mental headspace to make such a face?
BJ Stop playing games with me. If you’re accusing me of writing my own IMDB information, just come out and say it. Personally I think Scott wrote that description as a dig. As far as what I was thinking about, I imagined my own personal hell. Which, for me, is having to watch all of my old commercial auditions on a continuous loop.
TOP How did Shark Tale 2 come to be?
Scott Mr. and Mrs. Shark Tale “made love,” and nine months later had a sequel. It was immediately stricken with SIDS, and never got the chance to be seen.
BJ Shark Tale was pitched to Dreamworks as: Finding Nemo meets The Sopranos meets “an apathetic public.” The sequel was killed when research revealed to the studio that a lot of the money made on the original was from repeat viewings. Not from people who liked the movie so much they returned to see it again, but rather by families who forgot that they had already seen the movie, and came back by accident.
TOP What was the plot of Shark Tale 2? Was there a subplot?
Scott The plot was about an underwater casino heist. The subplot was we are still waiting to be paid for it.
BJ I’m not entirely certain I could tell you what the plot of the first Shark Tale was. And with all the screenings we were forced to attend, I have unfortunately seen the movie more than I’ve seen any other movie in my life. That’s right – move over, Princess Diaries!
TOP What’s something that you’d like to see anthropomorphized and given its own feature length film?
BJ I’d have to say the DVD packaging of other computer-animated movies. When the movie-rental store closes, the boxes all come to life, jump off the shelves and have adventures. “Hey Finding Nemo, I think Ice Age 2 is in REAL trouble!” Oh, I shouldn’t have ruined the last line of the movie for you.
Scott I seriously sat around trying to plot a movie starring lamps for about a day and a half. Then a light switch went of in my head (pun INtended) and I realized there are better ways to make a living. So we wrote Shark Tale 2.
TOP Do you have plans to release a Fun Bunch DVD?
BJ We will definitely be compiling our “greatest hits” at some point. All we need is anything at all that could be even remotely considered a “hit.” And then, five or six more of them to compile.
TOP What’s the situation between Comedy Death-Ray and Netflix?
Scott Netflix made a deal with us then never called us back. I am still holding them to it and will anxiously wait by the mailbox until our DVDs come out.
TOP How about packaging CDR as short content for cell phones?
Scott Flirted with it for a while, but couldn’t come to an agreement. Never say never.
BJ I don’t even know how to download new ringtones to my cell phone!!! I mention this in the hopes that someone will teach me how to download a ringtone into my cell phone. Seriously, it’ll just take a few minutes.
TOP Scott, how is the Onion movie coming along?
Scott Do people still use the term “dead standstill?”
TOP What do you think of the state of comedy today, both on television and in film?
BJ I was worried about it recently, until I saw Wild Hogs. Now I know comedy is safe – as long as it is left in the care of John Travolta. There’s always going to be bad stuff. But Borat was funny. The Office, 30 Rock and The Sarah Silverman Program are funny. There’s lots of great comics out there: Paul F.Tompkins, Andy Kindler, Jimmy Pardo, and Todd Glass among them. I don’t notice myself laughing any less than I used to.
TOP Are there any trends that you’d like to comment on?
Scott I hear nineties baby-doll dresses are very popular! Look for them in Urban Outfitters soon.
TOP Do you think that bad comedians know that they’re bad?
BJ True story: I once asked a popular comic who may or may not have been Dane Cook if he knew his comedy material was bad. I was surprised when he told me, (after a laugh that I can only describe as “diabolical”) that he secretly hated young girls, and wanted to get them all back, along with all the stupid guys that they dated (apparently he was NOT popular with the ladies before he became a famous MySpace page), by convincing them to laugh at the world’s worst comedy routines.
After he publicly announces in a few years that all of his material either sucked or was stolen from Louis CK, it would bring shame to his “fans” for the next decade. I told him I thought that was the dumbest, most convoluted revenge plot I’d ever heard of, and he took out a sack filled with twenty thousand dollars in cash and beat me half to death with it. I was lucky to escape with my life. Or was I?
TOP Do you think that outsiderdom and alienation are essential components of being funny? How about in your own experience?
BJ Are you trying to make us look like assholes right now?
TOP Do you have any plans to enter the “broadband television” arena?
Scott Look for an important announcement very soon.
BJ ANNOUNCEMENT! We will be entering the “broadband television” arena very soon!
TOP What are some projects that you’re currently involved in or contemplating that you can discuss?
BJ I think we can mention that some great comics have recorded sets for an album of our Comedy Death-Ray show, our weekly comedy show at the UCB Theatre in LA. Comedy Central Records will be putting that out in the near future, and when they do, I beg your readers to PLEASE illegally download it soon after that.
TOP What do you like to do after a performance?
BJ It depends where the crowd, that invariably carries us out of the theater on their shoulders, finally sets us down. If they take us to a bar, we drink. If they carry us to a hotel, we have an orgy. If they take us to a grocery store, we have a pot-luck event/orgy.
Scott I don’t know what BJ likes to do, but I like to stroke his cock.
BJ This interview is OVER!! [Throws own laptop across the room]
More Mess with Texas coverage
Read more interviews with comics appearing at this year’s Mess with Texas party.
- Zach Galifianakis: Bible full of typos
- Jon Benjamin: Almost a rabbi
- Michael Showalter: The state of comedy
- David Cross: An eye for a tooth and a tooth for an eye
- Andrew W.K.: Good genes and pure fun
- Jonah Ray: Human giant from Hawaii
- Brian Posehn: Save the rocking for the stage
- Hard ’n’ Phirm: The Phirman Principle of Comedy
- More coming soon!