We decided to do this interview with “Threedom” podcast hosts Scott Aukerman, Lauren Lapkus and Paul F. Tompkins in three parts because the number three is supposed to be so comedically satisfying. It’s said that we have three brains — the primate, mammalian and reptilian brains — and that one reason things are funniest the third time is because they need time to travel through all three brains. What a pleasant thought that is, passing now through your brains.
You know Lapkus (“Jurassic World,” “Crashing”), Tompkins (“There Will Be Blood,” “Mr. Show”) and Aukerman (“Mr. Show,” “Comedy Bang Bang”) not only from the projects in the parentheses next to their names, but also from podcasts like”With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus,” “Spontaneanation” and, again, “Comedy Bang Bang.” (The podcast predated the show.)
For this week’s Part Two of the interview, they tell us what makes them laugh.
TheWrap: What makes you laugh?
Paul F. Tompkins: Surprise. Having done comedy for as long as I’ve done it, anything that smacks of formula, which is to say, jokes, like really crafted jokes, I can respect that, but it doesn’t entertain me personally. A sitcom that’s say, more heavy on jokes than it is character comedy, that kind of leaves me cold.
“30 Rock” was one that I just couldn’t enjoy because it felt like the fun of it was rapid-fire jokes, and I didn’t like the joke element as much as I liked the character development of some other shows. With comedy, with standup, with anything when it’s more joke-oriented, it tends to lose me, because I know too much about the math that goes into it. When things are more personal and more story-oriented, that’s the stuff that catches me by surprise and that’s what I tend to enjoy more.
Lauren Lapkus: I mean it’s an obvious answer, but funny people. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who are so hilarious that you take it for granted almost, because everything they say is funny. It’s a pretty lucky situation to be in. There are of course people who are naturally funny who don’t do comedy, but there’s something about sitting around with friends who perform all the time and have this sort of rhythm and unspoken language between them.
Scott Aukerman: It’s so funny, it can be really difficult to watch comedy for me. But the funniest thing for me… is “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” It just makes me giggle so hard. My wife loves watching me watch it. I don’t watch it consistently so I don’t get burned out on it. I’ll put it on once every three months or so and just laugh myself silly.
TheWrap: I was on a flight to Vietnam and they had a version — the people in the videos were all American for some reason — and they were almost all violent. The videos were almost all “person falls down.”
Aukerman: Right. That happened to me in Thailand. They know they have a bunch of people who don’t speak one particular language, so they put on this “Just For Laughs”-produced prank show that’s all visual, with people falling down, and it transcends language.