When Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel first stumbled upon the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre’s Crash Test show in 2004, it was run by Aziz Ansari in New York City. The two friends were hosting an ’04 election special, but “the show got progressively more depressing as the night went on,” so they decided to check out what Ansari was doing instead. A decade later it’s all theirs, and they’ve turned it into a movable comedy special filmed in and around a “60-foot glass bus.”
Despite a busy schedule, what with popular shows like The League and The Hotwives of Las Vegas premiering on FXX and Hulu respectively, Scheer was nice enough to chat with us about Odd Future getting the Paramount Studios lot stoned out of its mind, planning a bit with Ansari via text message, and how the Crash Test special came about.
When did you and Rob Huebel decide to literally take your UCB show on the road?
It was just a joke that we used to do on stage that just evolved into a reality. We love our audience, this loyal crowd that comes out every Monday night at midnight to see us. So we’re always joking with them about having a sleepover or going to Rob’s house. With the bus bit, instead of the comedians coming to us, we would go to the comedians. Ben Stiller’s company heard about the joke and everything started to fall into place after that. An amazing genius in New York built the bus and we were able to drive it cross-country, which must have been the craziest thing to see. Rob and I really wanted to do a documentary about that, just me and him going from New York to Los Angeles with no show, but we were both working at the time.
You spoke of other ideas for the special. Did you seriously consider any of these, or others?
Some of them yes, some of them no. The one that’s still running right now is that we’re going to get the entire audience to do Salvia divinorum. We did a 4/20 show, to which we brought a guy in from a local weed place. He supplied the crowd with an insane amount of his “products.” So much so that when Rob and I were walking home, we would see people leaving their leftovers on the street. They couldn’t handle the amount this guy brought.
A weed show, eh?
Speaking of which, no one has ever been allowed to shoot on the Paramount Studios back lot the way we did. We got lucky for whatever reason. Thanks to Odd Future and Earl Sweatshirt, however, when we pulled into Paramount, they smelled like weed smoke. The entire city block reeked of weed, and the security guards couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. That was one of the craziest bits of that entire night. These guys were there waiting because we didn’t know when we would get there, so they got so crazily high that it stunk up the entire block.