What else can we say that isn’t said in the title of this post, other than Tim and Eric appeared briefly in FADER 53 in a Newsprint about their friend David Liebe Hart (who also appears extensively in the interview before the whole thing descends into chaos) and you can find out whatever else you need to know about them here. Interview by Rikki Rozelle. (video via the excellent Golden Fiddle)
Rikki: So I was asking you guys about school…
Eric: Tim was doodling clowns in one of our films classes and I leaned over his shoulder and started doing voices for the clowns.
Tim: I was 19 and I never knew that animation was actually drawings and other people’s voices put together.
R: What did you think it was?
T: Just that…
E: We were never really into cartoons, but we happened to make that one – Tom Goes to The Mayor – as a total experiment, an accident.
T: Although, The Simpsons were pretty seminal for me at least. Like making me feel like I’m smart, and funny..But generally, I liked Popeye.
E. But a lot of people think because we’re on Adult Swim we’re like, toonsmen.
R: Temple isn’t known for its comic filmmakers. What were your original plans when you started school there?
T: It’s been kind of a journey, we’ve just been doing what’s available to us to do. The skills that we had coming out of college were, pretty much, not very great. We could only make these little small things, and low budget drama doesn’t look so great, you know?
E: When we came into college I was thinking, “at the end of these four years, I’m going to make 2001: A Space Odyssey- my version. You know, like I would have the skills and cameras to do that. In a couple years you realize that’s not possible. It’s gonna take 20 years to become a director. It’s really just, it kind of beats you down. And through that, Tim and I were like “let’s make some stuff out of what we have.”
R: So you both live [in LA] now?
T: Yeah, yeah, it’s been about 4 years now.
E: After college, Tim and I lived together as roommates for a while. And then Tim moved to NY. I moved in with my girlfriend.
T: I was on Broadway for a couple years. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
R: So you lived in NY.
T: Yeah, I did. I lived in NY for four years. After college, I worked in a restaurant. Worked as a prop master on a couple of movies, you know? Then I realized that this wasn’t going anywhere. Some friends of mine had moved to NY, and I had wanted to get back into some kind of creative world of either acting or writing, something inspiring. And NY seemed like a fun place to try and do that. Of course, as soon as you get there you have to find a job. So you can’t go audition or do anything else. So I got thrown into a temp job, an office job. So it was like four years of trying to get out of that. It was fun times but it was poor times, you know? And just like what am I doing? How much more of this can I take? But at the same time I would be talking with Eric. Eric worked from home and I was working at this desk. I never had anything to do. I was never busy. I was barely getting by at this job. Didn’t care about it at all. We would IM a lot and just kind of goof around. I don’t know what we would talk about. But we would conspire to do certain things. I would make prank calls at work. The web was just kind of coming up and we were talking about how we could do some weird expiremental..we were more involved in the artistic side of comedy I guess. Like doing experimental weird things like we’d done in our photo class or our film class. I don’t think we were seriously thinking about the UCB, or SNL…
E: We weren’t thinking about Web shorts and stuff, that just wasn’t there yet. For example, one of the first things we decided to do was this cat film festival. Which we made into a video. But it was really, we were going to do a film festival, and you could submit your cats. It would be a whole kind of art project. That’s the kind of thing you do when you just, you know, reach that point.
T: Very organically, we started making these things. On the weekend, for fun. Not really any idea what they were for. But once we started showing them to our friends and they were legitimately laughing at them, then we started to see a pattern. And I had all these other ideas. And Eric had all these ideas. And we started very slowly crafting this little universe of ours. I think at one point we made like six of them and we were like we should do something with these. We didn’t know what. But something.
R: So you guys did work for temp agencies?
E: Oh, totally. I worked for a company called Manpower. From the start, your first interview, one of the first things I did was they gave me a piece of paper with 100 lightbulbs on it, and one was broken. And it said circle the broken lightbulb. You know what I mean? The whole process was really inspirational.
T: I worked in NY as an asst. for this company that was called the entertainment software rating board. This was a whole office of people that didn’t really care about what they did. They were all kind of older New York people, with education backgrounds, and lawyers. And it really was just the most depressing place, everybody there was unhappy to be there. We would have these arbitrary staff meetings where I would hear all this business talk. You know, like procedural language. We used to count how many times the boss said “in terms of”. It would be like 35 times a meeting! And birthday cakes, any occasion it was like- gather in the conference room! You know the 9-5 clockwatchers.
E: I was doing commercial videography, and a lot of it was like- you need to shoot this business conference and cut in talking head interviews and add graphics. So I had all this shitty software that did this funny stuff that we wanted. We just took those guys out and put us in talking about the internet. We were just fascinated with those kind of shitty videos.
R: You can tell, they are spot on!
E: Haha, yeah, we were just talking about that the other day. I think we’ve nailed that. Now what? We have to go to the next kind of commercial that we love, and fuck that up even more.
R: It seems like you have created every kind of TV show out of your comedy…
T: We still have to do the sitcom, which I don’t think we’ve really done. I’m dying to do a spot-on family sitcom. Pretty much most of our ideas come from watching TV. Like oh my god, look at this clip, it’s the worst.
E: It’s the stuff that annoys us to the point that it’s funny.
R: Can you tell me about the ‘Ooh Mamma’ skit? It’s easily one of the weirdest things you’ve done, or anyone has done on [adult swim]. Where did it come from?
E: That was an example of an experiment gone good. On the DVD, you’ll see the sketch that we intended for that, which is Tim and I on these overhead projectors doing this little bit with little characters of us, and we’re in a shower and it’s… it just wasn’t working. And the mom was supposed to come down and look at us, and the joke was she was watching us with our pants down and fooling around. And that moment was gonna be like the joke. And it just wasn’t hitting us at that stage. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, you know? Tim had the idea of, why don’t we just goof around and get some footage?
T: We were kind of dressed like… For some reason, I guess we decided that we were going to play like we were teenagers or young kids in this sketch. Very subtly, but something about the outfits we were wearing were very kind of youngster looking. But it is funny, we work here as producers and directors and talent and writers… Sometimes, in the midst of production, it’s kind of a chore to be like, “we gotta go downstairs and shoot something.” Like, today. It has to be today. Sometimes we’re just not in the mood, you know? We’re not feeling it the energy or the creativity. I think that’s how we were feeling when we were doing the slide thing. Sometimes we don’t really “write” enough. We just kind of count on it being good, we get lazy. And that was a case where we got down there and said, “I can’t quite find what the joke is yet.”
E: I was like, “There’s so many people working on this.” I looked up and we had a crew of ten people shooting it. So we started goofing around and kind of smashing stuff out of frustration a little bit, just going nuts. So we finally said, you know, that’s a waste, and we gave it to one of our editors, Doug Lussenhop, who’s really good at taking stuff like that and making it into something. He just started looping it and adding some music and it just became what we call a “mood piece.” We have “comedy bits,” and then there’s “mood pieces” where you can’t really tell where it’s going to go. It could be scary or silly or whatever. A lot of people have commented that [‘Ooh Mamma’] is their favorite bit of the new season, just because it’s… you don’t really understand it and it takes a while to get into it, and once [snaps] you get the looping of it, it’s like “oh my god!” And then you’re out.
T: It was also kind of a line in the sand for a lot of people, I think. My parents, who generally seem to like the show – my dad’s a smart guy. They don’t like some of the grosser stuff, but he gets a lot of the jokes – but that one, he was just like, “no, I don’t like that.”
R: So [David Liebe Hart] still has a show?
E: Oh yeah. Yeah, he’s busy now.
T: It’s a weird scene over there.
E: Yeah, it’s so weird.
T: Everyone who works on [his show], like the director and the cameramen, are sort of from our side of the world, in a way. It’s just weird over there. He’s like annoying to everybody.
R: Your show is almost like an LA cable access show but a little more legit.
E: When we moved out here, I TiVO’ed hours of it for inspiration.
T: The original idea for our show before we even did TGTTM, was like Eric and I in our basement making a tv show, what would that be? I was always like trying to get people to understand that’s the simplicity it. Just us with microphones that you could see, it would be like just amateurs but with these well produced bits.
R: Where did you find James Quall?
T: David brought him to us.
E: Let’s get David on the phone.
R: His is stuff scripted on the show?
E: Usually he prepares for it.
T: We kind of mold it, push him in different directions. Then we put him in a lot of makeup. It’s terrible. We can’t resist.
[Eric gets David Liebe Hart on speakerphone…]
E: David? David?
E: Hi, David. It’s Eric and Tim.
D: Oh, hi. Thank you. I’m having problems with… The Rolling Stones magazine called me and wanted to interview me. I told them I can’t do anything without you all. They called me up several times.
E: Rolling Stones? That’s huge! Why didn’t you call us?
D: Well, I-I don’t have your direct phone number. I told Clark about it.
T: Clark’s a liar!
D: I told Clark about it! I told him to tell you about it. Clark said he was going to Europe and there was nothing he could do.
E: Hold on… David, we’re gonna patch in Rolling Stone. We’re gonna try and get this one figured out.
T (picks up receiver, in deep voice): Yeah hello, Rolling Stones.
T (in deep voice): Hello, Rolling Stones, this is Gary speaking. Who am I speaking with?
D (stammering): Yes, hello, well, I-I-I, I did get a call, a legitimate phone call from Rolling Stones.
T (in deep voice): This is the Rolling Stones.
D: Oh, well. This is the… Okay. They wanted to interview me and Tim and Eric and Richard Dunn. I told Clark to pass it on to–
T (in deep voice): I’m gonna put you on the phone with our chief editor, Jann S. Wenner. Hold on, I’m gonna conference him in.
E (in deep voice): Hello, this is Jann S. Wenner.
T: Jann, I’ve got David Liebe Hart on the phone. David?
D: I got a phone call from Rolling Stones magazine four different times, saying they wanted to interview me and Tim and Eric.
E: Hold on, let me check my call log here… Actually, I’m checking the call log here and it does NOT say that we had any calls out to “David Liebe Hart.” ie. Tim and Eric.
T: Jann, this is David Fricke. Jann, I wanna correct you on that. I DID make a phone call to David Liebe Hart.
E: Oh, ok, David, I’m very sorry about that. It’s just not in my call log…
T: The question that we were working on – Jann, you might recall this from last week’s staff meeting – is whether or not we were going to put David or the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the cover next week.
E: Right, and you know that we were all pushing for David Liebe Hart, but the Red Hot Chili peppers are a hot ticket, just a really hot band right now.
T: I understand that. But my point to YOU is – let’s get a commitment on the phone now, and in the next month we’ll get David Leibe Hart on the cover of Rolling Stones magazine.
E: I can have someone draft something up and we’ll fax it over today. We’re very excited about that. David, how does that sound to you?
D: That sounds great. They did call.
T: The only thing I’m going to suggest is – we have to creatively figure out a way to make sure Tim and Eric don’t know about this agreement. Because if they find out that David got on the cover of Rolling Stones without them on the cover they are going to be very upset and probably fire David.
D: I said to them, and I was honest, I said my boss Tim Heidecker and Eric told me not to do any interviews unless they..they..they uh know about them.
T: Well David, if we get you on the cover of Rolling Stones, you have to promise that you won’t tell Tim and Eric about this.
E: We will try to not get them a copy of the magazine for that month so they’ll never see it.
D: Well, I’ll get in trouble. I don’t want to get fired from Tim and Eric.
T: Well then the cover’s off the table.
D: Well, uh, I guess it is, cuz I can’t get fired. It took me a long time to get a job like this- and anyway I want to show to Gary Marshall that was really mean to me. He didn’t think I was gonna amount to nothing. I used to do warm ups for Leverne and Shirley and Happy Days. And he promised that he was going to let me be on those shows like my friend Robin Williams. And he didn’t follow through on it.
T: Well that settles it. Jann, if you’re ok with this we’ll have Robin Williams on the cover next week… instead.
D: Oh, well, no… You promised it to me first.
T: OK, we’ll put you back on with Tim and Eric.
E: OK, thank you David.
(Tim and Eric both hang up)
T: David, we’re actually here with someone from a magazine called the FADER.
E: Would you be able to tell Rikki a little bit about your experience working with us and if it was good or bad?
D: It was good.
T: That it?
E: Can you elaborate a little bit? Is it fun for you to do the show?
D: It’s very fun for me to do the show. The only thing I just wish they would use me more, and I wish I could be closer friends with them. Go to sports and do things with them.
E: Why don’t you tell Rikki what you want to do over at Tim’s?
D: At Tim’s? Well, I want to go over to his house. I’m always hearing what a wonderful house he has. How he has cotton candy at his house and how he has a nice dog at his house. And you can pass this on to Tim: he needs to get his pizza places built in a safe neighborhood. He has his pizza places built in an African American area, and I’ll tell you, I’m African American myself and I would NEVER have a pizza place built in South Central, where the gang members will tear it up!
T: I get it, I get it.
E: What about some of the closet stuff that we were talking about?
D: Well, I can’t talk about that on the interview, because of connections I have with the Christian Science Church. I can’t talk about that, that’s too personal. I can’t let the cat out of the bag, the skeleton out of the closet with that.
T: Aright, Dave, well good talking to you, we’ll talk to you soon.
D: Wait wait wait wait, before you go! People are requesting that we come out with an album. I’ve had six different record companies contact me. Even several of your interns wanted to go behind your back and record this stuff. And I told them this stuff is copyrighted.
T: Well, we’ll have to fire all the interns then. Thanks for letting us know.
D: Well, no no not all of them.
T: Well, just name the ones we need to fire.
D: I don’t want you to fire any of them. It’s just one of them has been bringing equipment over and wanting to record different songs.
T: Oh, is it Adam?
D: Uh, yeah, I told him he can’t do those.
T: Yeah, well we got a big problem with him.
D: I told him that we have to do songs that have never been on Tim and Eric. I told him he can do some love songs about my ex wife and my ex girlfriend, Sonia Root. Why don’t you think about getting Sonia Root on the show?
T: Alright, we gotta go Dave.
E: We’ll talk soon.
D: Wait wait before you go… when are you going to be back in the studio?
E: We’re actually on vacation, we’ll be back in a couple weeks.
D: Oh… ok… Back in two weeks? Well, I can’t figure out the computer you gave me you all gave me.
E: We’ll work on that when we get back in the office. I’m sorry David, we really gotta go. We’ll call you soon, bye bye.
[Eric hangs up]
T: We get one of those calls maybe once a week.
E: We bought him this computer for Christmas. We’ve become friends with David, he’s around a lot.We bought him this computer and it’s a nightmare. We gave it to him, and he was so happy. He’s like I want to write you a thank you note right now. So we open up a word document and he’s like *fakes pressing keys one at a time, ridiculously slowly* T…………….H…. And we’re like Oh my god! He is not going to be able to use this thing, what did we do?