Comedian Paul Scheer Talks Steve Harvey, The Bachelor and Prudish Networks [AdWeek]
Age Paul Scheer
Claim to fame Actor/comedian (ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, FXX's The League); co-host of the How Did This Get Made podcast; executive producer of Fox's Party Over Here (Sundays, 11 p.m.)
Base Los Angeles
Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?
Paul Scheer: The first information I get is from Twitter. The second piece of information is usually something very exciting about Thomas the Train from my son. I don't know if you're following it at all, but there's an issue between the Steamies and the Diesels. We're hoping to get some resolution on the Island of Sodor.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
Besides the dumb ones I follow? There's a Twitter account called Whoopi Pics that is just pictures of Whoopi Goldberg without comments, and it's the best. I also follow this fake women's magazine called The Reductress, which is super funny. It's like The Onion meets Cosmo. I'm constantly showing it to my wife. Another person that I follow is [comedian]Harris Wittels, who has passed away but his account is still active in the sense that it's retweeting some of the amazing things that he wrote while he was alive. Harris was a hilarious standup comedian and writer that was in our scene out here in L.A., and just an awesome dude.
Are you on Snapchat?
I do use Snapchat. I feel I'm always one of the first people to jump on something, whether it's Peach or Snapchat or Instagram. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to use it. I'm not one to pull out my phone and take videos of things all the time. I think one of my last ones a picture of a security keypad that said "Bosch," and I wrote, "This is my favorite Amazon series." That was a joke for no one—I mean, no one even knows that Bosch is an Amazon TV series. The benefit of Snapchat, though, is that there's no "likes" or anything, so you feel less pressure.
What podcasts do you listen to?
One of my favorite new podcasts I've been listening to is Another Round, which is kind of a societal and pop culture discussion of what's going on in the world. Another one is Bodega Boys, which is basically two guys talking about whatever is going on in their minds, like a fight that went on at Chuck E. Cheese over the weekend. I'm obsessed with Karina Longworth's podcast, You Must Remember This. It's little audio documentaries on Hollywood history. It's not just the showbiz side; it's also the seedy underbelly. There's an amazing series on the Manson murders. Right now, I'm deep into the history of MGM.
What about TV shows?
I've been watching this show called The Profit. It's about this guy named Marcus Lemoniswho's a multimillionaire who invests in failing businesses. It's amazing. Family Feud is my go-to. I DVR it every day. I honestly believe, without irony, that Steve Harvey is one of the funniest people on TV. His crowd work is amazing. It doesn't hurt that the clues have become crazy. They're like, "Two big boobies" or "His special junk." [Laugh] When I was growing up, Family Feud was a clean game show, and now it's just veiled penis references. I'm also a huge Better Call Saul fan, and for comedy, Broad City is my No. 1. Oh, and of course, The Bachelor. One of the highlights of my life was being invited to a Bachelor wedding. I was on the Bachelor Wedding Special, my name misspelled. And here's the thing: My wife and I were the only people there who weren't on The Bachelor. It was hilarious.
Your new Fox late-night show, Party Over Here, just premiered. Is this the first network show you've done?
It's the first network show I've had a hand in creating. It's been a really interesting process. We're taking over the coveted 11 p.m. slot on Fox that has been home to such short-lived shows as Spike Ferensten and Wanda Sykes. I guess MadTV was on there for a long time. Hopefully we'll get to do more than one season of this.
What's it like working on a network show versus a cable one?
You know, surprisingly, the budget is way less, which I was blown away by. I thought, "Oh, when you go to network, that's where the money comes in." And at least for this show, it's almost half the money I had to make an 11-minute show for Adult Swim, which is crazy. But I always find that when you only have a little bit of money, you have to be a lot more creative. The other part that sucks about working for a network is that they're super, super, super prude. I have literally been on the phone for six or eight hours with Standards and Practices talking about what you can and cannot say and do. Not that we need to be filthy, but this is stuff that I've never really thought of before, because on cable, you have a lot of freedom to express points of view. It seems to me that Fox, of all the networks, is the most prude. And they're supposed to be the cool network! But that's their prerogative, and again, it forces you to be kind of creative and find ways to get your ideas across without compromising the show.