Splitsider Interview with Adam Devine of Workaholics
Part sitcom, part standup showcase, Adam Devine’s House Party might be difficult to describe, but it’s a fun hybrid.
Mensch that he is, Devine created the show in part to give the up-and-coming comedians who perform on it a chance to display their acting chops. The show features short written scenes interspersed between standup sets, and for many of performers Adam Devine’s House Party is their television debut.
Season one was set in a gaudy Los Angeles mansion, but in Season two the party has moved down to New Orleans for even more debauchery.
I recently had the chance to talk to Devine about the upcoming season, his love of New Orleans, and the action movie he’s working on with the Workaholics guys.
You’re the host of the show but you don’t do a lot of standup on it. What’s your reasoning behind that?
Well since it’s such a hybrid show with all the narrative heads and story lines — I spearhead all of those — I didn’t want anything I would do to take away from the comics. They are all new faces new to TV so it was really about giving them as much standup as possible. When I do do standup I’ll write a special for myself and just do it that way. I don’t need to just do two minutes, five minutes on this show when really it’s a new faces standup show.
Do you still get a chance to do much stand up given all the other projects you do with acting and everything?
Yeah I still do but it’s a lot less than I used to. But in the next few months I’m going on a big tour. So I’m going to be getting up a lot more and come January be right back at it baby just cranking down, which means standup, that doesn’t mean masturbating.
Thanks for that clarification.
Well I might be doing that on the road as well. It gets lonely.
[Laughs.] Clubs, theaters?
The plan right now is a theater tour about a month long. I’m pretty excited to get back out there. Last year I did a bunch of colleges and that was a lot of fun and you know performing in front of 1,500 to a few thousand people is a rush. Premium rush like that bike movie, but hopefully more entertaining.
You started as a standup right?
Yeah, I started as a standup. I actually started working the door and answering phones at the Hollywood Improv. I wanted to get into standup and I figured that was the best place to do it. I read this book on a comedian, well I’ve read a lot of books on comedians, but this one book in particular was an Andy Kauffman book that his best friend Bob Zmuda wrote and I read that in high school. He started at the Improv and then got Taxi and I was like “oh, I wanna do that.” So when I moved up to L.A. I found the Improv and then started bothering them every day for almost a month and they were like, “Get the fuck out of here we don’t have a job. How many times do we have to tell you that?” I was like, “Please” and did a lot of really cute eye-batting and wore my man blush and cuted my way in to a job at The Improv. I started doing open mics and they thought I was OK and didn’t suck. Every now and then when someone was running late I would bring a change of clothes and they would say, “Adam get up there.” I would run and change my clothes real quick and I would do five or ten minutes. After about a year of doing standup I got invited to the Montreal Comedy Festival and then from there I considered myself a professional comedian. I immediately quit my job and started making $50 a show. I decided to quit my job at the comedy club to make less money doing comedy. [Laughs.]
Is standup a first love for you?
I love it. I mean comedy is my first love. I really started doing comedy when I was like 14 or whatever eighth grade is — so yeah like 14. I would call in and do different voices on the radio and I would do a bunch of different voices on the local radio and it became the local hit or whatever. I would call in every day with different bits and different sketches. I would read the local newspaper and figure out specific Omaha, Nebraska bits that I could do. I feel like that was my first foray in to comedy and then at about 20 I found my way in to standup.
Let’s talk about the new season. Obviously you’re in a different location but you kept the format pretty similar to last season.
Yeah. I like it. The reason I created the show was because I saw a lot of these comics that I knew were so funny who were really funny comedic actors as well as standup performers who wanted to give it a shot as actors — for whatever reason people like to pigeon hole standups and say, “Oh standups, that’s what they do and comedic actors act comedically.” So I’m like, no a lot of these standup are great comedic actors and not all of them suck. Some of them do and we really figure that out. So I wanted them to have to opportunity to do their sets and have a few scenes where they can build their reel if that’s what they’re looking to do.