The Tim & Eric Interview: Talking wolves, kids, poop, and Johnny Depp look-alikes

So I got to do a roundtable interview with Tim & Eric a few weeks back, which I was hoping to post last Friday, to coincide with the movie opening. Obviously that didn’t happen, but you know how it is, things come up, you get busy, your wife and kids start nagging you, a gang of terrorists take over the water park, etc., etc., (*pantomimes glug glug glug*). Nonetheless, it’s here now. I’ve got a transcript below and an mp3 version at the end, if you want to hear the audio. I’m not going to tell you it’s the greatest interview ever, but if you’re at all into Tim and Eric, it’ll probably make your bub bubs bounce. (No guarantees).

VINCE: I’ve always wondered what your casting process is like. I mean, do you guys ever just see someone funny looking on the street and ask if they want to get dry humped in front of a green screen?

ERIC WAREHEIM: Our producers absolutely do carry around business cards. The nice thing is, everyone in Los Angeles is an actor, or wants to be an actor. So we have this large pool of people to pick from. But most of them we get from casting sites — LA Casting, some others — really shitty websites where people are cab drivers during the day, but they’re also acting. Everyone’s got a head shot, so that’s why you see a lot of interesting faces and unique performances in our work.

TIM HEIDECKER: And sometimes we’ll be shooting something and we’ll have an extra, and we’ll see the extra and be like, oh that guy is great, and we’ll bring him back and get him closer to camera. And then suddenly we give him a line, and then suddenly we bring him back and he’s starring in the next thing we do. A lot people don’t work, but it’s a gut kind of thing.

[another journalist] Where did you find the Johnny Depp look alike? And did he come first or did you write the bit first?

TIM: We had worked with him before on our awesome show, he had done a sketch before called Celebrity Zillions. We had actually done an online talk show called Tim & Eric Night Live. And one of the ideas was that we’d bring on celebrity impersonators just pretending to be… like we had Tom Cruise on, we just said it was Tom Cruise. This guy looked like Tom Cruise, it was amazing. Why not? Who cares, you wouldn’t know the difference. So we became obsessed with celebrity impersonators and just using them as the real people. Our first idea for Diamond Jim was to get Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or someone like that, and we were disappointed to find out that they were not interested…

ERIC: –in making fun of themselves…

TIM: So this idea just came out one day, like hey, why don’t we go to Ronny Rodriguez, our Johnny Depp guy, and it was just like, instant, that’s a funnier idea anyway.

VINCE: On that note, I was wondering when you guys first started working with John C. Reilly, and how you guys got together.

TIM: Oh, he’s actually a John C. Reilly impersonator.

[another journalist at the round table, but one whom I actually know because he’s also a stand-up comedian here in San Francisco]: You worked with both children and animals, which was harder?

TIM: The wolf [the wolf that lives in the abandoned S’Wallow Valley Mall that Tim and Eric take over in the movie] for us was very hard, because it was actually the cutest thing in the world, you just wanted to go up and give it a hug. It was so not scary. It took very creative editing and sound effects to make it feel like it was something intimidating.

ERIC: As far as the kids go, they were great,they would just crack up for the first ten takes. Then after they get bored of it, that’s when we get those scary, Shrim faces from them. Eventually we just wore them down.

OJ: Are they aware of what’s going on?

ERIC: Oh yeah. We explained it to them, they thought it was funny [I think he’s talking specifically about a scene where he gets pooped on here]. You know, everyone thinks that gag is silly, and they were into it.

TIM: It’s funny how not creepy it is on set. It’s just like a fun thing to do. But then when you edit it together and you put the scary music under it, and the way it’s cut, and suddenly it’s like, “Oh that must’ve been a nightmare.” But no, we had a great time.

VINCE: Have you guys considered doing an Imbreadables stand up show, where you actually do a bread-themed comedy night? [one of the gags from the movie, where they go to a bread-themed dinner theater starring a stand-up comic who only does corny jokes about bread. I still think an actual bread-themed comedy night with famous comedians only joking about bread would be amazing.]

TIM: No, but that’s one of the subtle jokes that makes me laugh every time in the movie, is that that set is only like, a minute long? And you see it from beginning to end. He begins and ends in the course of a minute and a half. And that cycles through. Like, we imagine that little set cycles through every 20 minutes, like he comes out and does his whole set over and over again.

[Another journalist asks about Sundance, and if they got any flack about the movie there]

TIM: No pushback from the programmers. I think the programmers were actually excited to have something so subversive. I think they’re tired of the reputation that that festival carries with it. You know, of a certain kind of independent film. But we definitely got people who weren’t comfortable with some of the crudeness of the film. There’s a lot of upper-middle class, you know, PC liberal type people that go to the Sundance Film Festival from all over the country that… you know, they don’t want to see that. A lot of it is scheduling, where people have a block of time where they just see whatever’s playing, so you pick up a lot of the, you know, strays.

ERIC: Yeah, but for us, we went to film school 15 years ago, and the first movie that we wrote and starred in and directed, it got into Sundance. And that’s mind-blowing. It’s the best.

VINCE: There seems to be a hard split between people that get you guys and people that don’t. Do you ever think about what the fundamental quality is that makes people either get you or not?

TIM: I would love to host a convention of haters. Like just once, and just be like, let’s talk. Because I am curious. But I think there’s an anger that comes when you don’t get something, especially comedy. Where you’re like, it becomes personal. Why are you laughing, or why am I not laughing? What’s wrong with you or what’s wrong with me? And then there’s people I think that think that we’re… that we don’t deserve… that there’s no craft behind what we do. That there’s no effort, so they think that we’re somehow gaming the system. So yeah, I’m sort of personally curious about that myself, I don’t really know.

ERIC: Some people just don’t like to be put in that awkward situation. They don’t want to see things that make them squirm, you know? And that’s what we loooove. So that’s a big division right there.|titles=Tim