We previewed Rob Corddry's new web series Childrens' Hospital on TheFeed on Monday, and told you all about the show, which is currently running on www.thewb.com, with 10 episodes that make up Season One. Now, as promised, we have an exclusive interview with Mr. Corddry about the show, how it was made, and what's coming next, both at the hospital and on the big screen. Read on, Feed reader!
I’m on the phone with Rob Corddry, of Children’s hospital fame:
I am Rob Corddry
So Rob, tell us how this whole thing came to pass.
I was in Los Angeles Children’s Hospital waiting for my daughter and wife to come out of an exam room cause we had a pulled a ligament out of place in her arm. So we were waiting for her and so through the emergency room double doors came a gurney being pushed by like five doctors and seven nurses all with IV’s in their hands and yelling things like, ya know, "Stat!" and "CG" and all that s**t, "code whatever." And there was a LifeFlight helicopter bringing up the rear, like it was a classic ER moment. And I thought, "wow, this is awesome." And then I realized I’m in a children’s hospital, and those IV bags are tiny for a reason. And I had the most inappropriate reaction to the most horrifying thing ever, and it sort of fell into place.
So was it just something you thought,"hey, we’ll shoot a couple of these things and see what happens?", or did you have a gameplan from the beginning?
No, I kind of formulated the game plan with my producer, John Stern. You know I really didn’t know what it was going to be, and he said, "well, we can sell it easy as an internet series." And I kind of thought the whole time, like, that’s the appropriate medium for something like this in terms of what we can get away with. You know, basically we were gonna shoot as many episodes as Warner Brothers or whoever bought it would give us money for.
It looks like you’re working with people you’ve worked with all across your career who’ve worked with each other, so was it just a question of making a couple phone calls and seeing who could make it?
Yeah, kind of. You know, very few people said no, which was great, and a lot of those people really messed with their schedules, their already hectic schedules, to be able to do this with me and for me. I’m so eternally grateful, so many people got so little sleep for six days.
I’ve watched the first four episodes, and it looks like everyone’s having a really good time.
It was a blast to shoot! I hope so. I mean you know come Day 6 at 2 and 3 in the morning I don’t think it was so fun. You know the kissing scene at the end of the very first episode was actually Erinn Hayes’ last shot in the 6 days and it was about 3 in the morning and she had to get home to Pasadena and get some sleep before she had to be at work in Burbank at like 6 o’clock in the morning to shoot Worst Week. So a lot of people did that for me.
You sort of have a lot of comedic heavy hitters involved in the cast. People from The State, people from The Daily Show and Colbert Report, was there a lot of improvisation that went on, or was it pretty much written the way that it airs?
No, there’s tons of improv, you know I definitely encouraged it. I would write a bit knowing if I wanted it to be word for word or not, you know? Like I would write a bit and think, “This is funny the way it is. It’s the rhythm of the sentence that’s funny.” or I would write a bit saying, “This isn’t that funny but I know Nick Kroll will be able to spin it into something that is.” So it all depends on the moment.
Take us through the plot of the piece.
Well, mostly this season is about love, and you know how one doctor sort of stirs the pot. Where one coworker can affect the love lives of everyone around her and it’s about you know people breaking up and getting back together and boning each other in front of cancer patients. Pre-teen cancer patients. Also, you have a sort of side story of my character’s search for the elusive power of laughter.
Now, speaking of your character, I noticed that that character’s credited to Cutter Spindell?
Yes, Cutter Spindell, fantastic actor.
I spent some time looking up his IMDB, but he didn’t have a whole lot. Can you tell us about his career?
Well, Cutter kind of made his bones before IMDB was the go to point of reference for people’s resumes. He of course came to prominence in the early 70’s with the show Run Policeman Run.
Was that a Quinn Martin production, by any chance?
Yes it was, so you know it?
And then of course he had a very unsuccessful spinoff, but now some consider one of the best shows of its genre, Policeman Vs. Fireman.
Yeah I’ve heard but never seen.
Yeah, well see what happened was he lost all his hair, shave his mustache and people didn’t know who he was anymore, so he kind of used that to his advantage. You know he left the business in the 80s to become a windsurfing champion in Hawaii and now he’s back trying to make his mark.
So this is sort of a career rebirth for him.
It is, yeah, absolutely
You must feel nice about being able to provide that, he’s obviously a hero.
He is. The whole show to me was just giving Cutter Spindell a vehicle. We also let him write and direct Episode 6...and he definitely took liberties with the origins of and sort of dimension that that children’s hospital exists in.
I’m sure that’ll be sort of a prism that you’ll wanna view the whole thing through.
Well, yeah he played Orderly # 2 in St. Elsewhere back in the 80s so I think his vision of Children’s Hospital was influenced by that classic.
Speaking of St. Elsewhere and the like, you have nailed many different hospital dramas here. Are you a fan or did you have to do research? You take specific kind of shots… Megan Mullally’s character is definitely ER.
Yup, I know nothing about Laura Inness’ character but my first impression was, first of all that’s lame.
Literally lame, and you know, 2, if you’re going do it, do it. Like why just go one crutch? You know that’s such a TV friendly version of a disabled person so I decided to make that character not only horrifically disabled muscularly and neurologically but also the hottest doctor in the hospital...everybody wants to bone her, and they do.
And then obviously there’s the Grey’s Anatomy stuff at the beginning and end of every episode.
That’s more of a tribute to the way shows have to be formatted these days, cause no one’s attention span can handle a week-to-week show anymore so people have to remind even ardent fans what happened 7 days ago. And we sort of course play with that not unlike Arrested Development did with the “next week on…” They did it just as a joke, I wanted to sort of create this mythology that the show has been on… like the first episode of Season 1 starts with a 'Previously On...', which means there must have been a few seasons before this so we’re catching Children’s Hospital at probably I imagine its 6th season.
So it’s past its phenomenon point…
Yeah, like George Clooney just left, and this is the first season without him and no one knows what’s going to happen.
A lot of strong character acting but no stars is what you’re saying
So, Season 1 is the finite 10 episodes and it begins airing on TheWB.com on Monday. And will there be a Season 2 and when can we look forward to seeing that?
Well, a lot happens in Episode 10, In fact, there’s a very very special guest that shows up in Episode 10. I hesitate to say A-List star, but ok I just said it. And a lot happens and also my character or Cutter Spindell’s character Blake Downs… there’s rumors that he might be getting a spinoff. He goes into private practice, and that will of course fail and he will come back to Children’s Hospital in the middle of next season...so I don’t know, I just told someone a couple of minutes ago if this goes well on Monday and on Tuesday Warner Bros. wants me to do Season 2 I’ll start writing on Wednesday. I’ve definitely got ideas on what’s going to happen next year.
Well, I just read this article on how hospitals are really suffering in this economic downturn. No one is electing to have procedures done. So most of the money that hospitals are making now is being done in the emergency room. So I kind of thought it would be a cool opening shot to just see an empty hospital with like dust, and cobwebs, and like a sleeping Mexican with a sombrero in a corner. And then as you’re slowly moving down the hallway to some inspipid voice over, you start to hear some action in the background and it gets louder and louder until you burst through the ER doors and it’s just chaos in there. So it might be more of an ER, like this was definitely taking the piss out of Grey’s Anatomy more than any other hospital show and I think maybe next season will be ER. There will be a whole new group of doctors as well, including our present cast, we’ll get to see that section or ward of doctors...and of course there will be an explosion.
Of course, aren’t there always?
I guarantee you there will be an explosion and I’m not talking any digital bulls**t either.
So, outside of Children’s Hospital what have you been up to these days?
I’ve been shooting mostly very very independent movies for the last couple months. I think I’ve got three movies coming out in the next year/year and a half or so, and yeah there all pretty cool, one of them is an action movie, so I get to like shoot guns and kill people...I kill Brandon T Jackson with a paper shredder
Face first, yeah.
So look for me sawing Brandon T Jackson’s nose off!
There you have it. Rob Corddry on the record about Childrens' Hospital, blowing stuff up, the amazing career of Cutter Spindell, and what he's up to next.
Later in the week, we will haveinsipid The Feed's exclusive interview with female star of Childrens' Hospital, Lake Bell. Until then, you should go to www.thewb.com and check out the show. It's really very, very funny.