Viewers who've been watching the second season of Nick Swardson's Comedy Central sketch comedy series "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time" might have noticed the subject matter is getting even more over the top — or "aggressive," as he puts it.
"I just wanted to make this season as aggressive as possible and not leave anything on the table, just put everything out there," he says.
The first two episodes featured a teen who mistakes a bowel movement for a baby, an infomercial product that aids in autoeroticism, and zombie sex. Another skit in tonight's episode (featuring guest star Michael Rosenbaum) suggests the season will continue in the same vein.
Swardson talked to TheWrap about his favorite sketches — including a fan-favorite he says Comedy Central killed — "Bucky Larson," his summer movie that took a drubbing from critics and the box office, and his future movie plans. He also revealed a beast of an upcoming guest.
Have there been any sketches or characters you've done so far that you'd want to spin-off into a show? I'm asking because I want to see a "Wheelchair Cat" show.
(Laughing) I would love to do a 'Wheelchair Cat' show. Yeah, I mean, I really wanted to do a Gay Robot show. But in terms of this season, yeah, there are characters that are really fun to play. Like, I like playing that "Baby Not from Booty" character.
Will we see her again this season?
No, unfortunately, you will not.
What about Gay Robot? Will he pop up?
Gay Robot will not be coming back this season … Gay Robot, I had written a four-part mystery. And the network killed it, and then I got really upset. And they said they wanted me to write something else, and I said, 'No, I'm doing that, or I'm not doing it.' So …
So you had to scrap it altogether, then?
Yeah, I mean, I think they assumed I was going to write something (else), and I just didn't.
Why did they kill it? I mean, they've seen it before, obviously. What was the issue?
I don't know, I mean, I thought it was, it was really funny, I was really surprised. The mystery was called "Gay Robot and the Curse of the Haunted Jockstrap." I wrote it and I put a lot of work into it …
And did you even get to film any of it?
No, they killed the script.
Is it something you might do for Funny or Die or something?
Gay Robot is not an easy thing to do. It takes like three people to maneuver him, it takes a guy in the suit. So it's a little tricky.
Do you own the suit?
No, it's a quarter‑million‑dollar suit.
Doing a sketch comedy series seems like a lot more work than stand up, or doing a movie, or even doing a regular TV comedy … true?
It's the most work possible. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's really, really hard, because you know, not only are you just trying to put together a great show, but you have the pressure of also trying to top every other sketch show that's ever been made. You know what I mean? Like, so many people always compare you to other shows. And sketch is so sacred. I mean, people really love "Saturday Night Live." People love "The Kids in the Hall." People love Dave Chappelle. You know what I mean? So, it's like, you just get a lot of … I don't know, you can get grief.
You've added stand-up performances and more interaction with the audience in season two. Why?
I think it kind of counterbalanced the aggressiveness of the sketches. Gives that light element, I think, makes it more accessible, you know what I mean? It's not just insanity thrown in people's faces. I think people were kind of, the first season, I think people were just kind of confused, they didn't know what to expect. And when there wasn't that accessibility of, like, you know, me coming out, me saying, 'Hey, here's my show,' and it was just insanity right out of the gate.
It's a good addition, especially the storytelling. Is that something you might expand on, for a podcast maybe?
I love doing stand up and I love telling stories. But I don't know if the world needs more podcasts. I get asked maybe five times a week to do a comedian's podcast. Everyone and their family has one, so, yeah, I don't know. Maybe down the line. Maybe when I'm completely tapped out of creativity.
"Baby Not From Booty" is another good one. Did you write the lyrics?
I wrote some of the lyrics. My friend Morgan created it, but I wrote some, I chipped in on some of the lyrics, yeah. That one's pretty out there. That one, I couldn't believe we even did. I was like, "Are we really doing this?" It was very out there. But, yeah, that was fun. I mean, sketches, you know, when a sketch goes off, it's such a great feeling.
What's up on the movie horizon for you?
I'm developing a couple of scripts. I have two scripts over at Happy Madison, and then I have another one that I just sold the pitch to, and then I'm talking to Sony about setting it up there. So I'm going to write that screenplay over the fall. And then I just booked this animated movie that I'm really excited about, from the guys who do "Robot Chicken." They're doing this amazing stop‑motion, rated-R movie, and we're doing my deal right now for me to be the lead in it.
You had your first leading role this summer with "Bucky Larson" … was it a good experience?
It was pretty intense, it was definitely intense. It was a lot of pressure. But it was fun, I was up for it. I had spent so much time in supporting roles, and I was definitely ready to take the lead. And I love the movie. It was different. And it was a character that people were either going to buy, or they weren't, do you know what I mean? But I think people will really find it on DVD, and it'll have a whole another life.
Were you bummed at all about the reviews, the initial reviews of the movie?
I mean, nobody was surprised. I actually told my friend, I go, "I bet you anything that it gets a zero on Rotten Tomatoes." And he was like, "No way." And I go, "I'm telling you, I bet you will get a zero," and we did.
I mean, we didn't screen it for the critics. You know, so the critics that went to see it … they're not going to like that movie. There's no way. And they don't really like anything that we put out anyway … And that didn't really bother us, and the reviews, that was predictable. I just think the critics have a job to do, and that's fine.
I think the movie business has been tough in the last couple of months, too. I mean, no one's like, exploding, do you know what I mean? It's been brutal. Look at that movie with Steve Martin, and Jack (Black), and Owen (Wilson). It opened really soft, do you know what I mean? Those are three huge movie stars. So it's tricky. But, you know, such is life. At the end of the day, you just have to be proud of what you did, and people will find it, hopefully later on down the line.
We talked about Gay Robot, what about a Gay Robot movie? That was rumored to be in the works at one point.
Yes, we've always talked about it. We were beating out a treatment years ago. I don't know where it is now, but yes, we had looked into it a long time ago. I would do it, if it were the right thing, for sure.
"Smallville" star Michael Rosenbaum is guest starring on tonights show. What do you have him doing?
Oh, he's amazing, so great. He has one of my favorite sketches, one that I wrote. It's basically a punching bag for guys who are in the closet. So it's basically guys who go to the gym, and they're hitting the bag, but they're obviously hiding a secret that they're gay. And so (Michael's character) invents a bag you can punch at home, but you can also fuck the bag. So it has a hole in it so you can punch the bag, and get your feelings out, and then fuck it and feel better.
Any other cool guest stars coming up this season?
Yes, I don't want to give anybody away, though.
Can you tell me one of them?
We have a really, really good one coming up. I'm really excited.
Just a hint?
All right, it's Ron Perlman.
Oh, that's great! Not someone you associate so much with comedy, especially since "Sons of Anarchy."
No. And we were so excited to get him.
"Nick Swardson's Pretend Time" airs tonight at 10:30/9:30c p.m. on Comedy Central.