Alright, whatever, I’m going to admit right off the bat I’ve been a fan of these two ever since I saw Reno 911! (yes, I’m showing my age by saying The State was before my time), so I just couldn’t hold back the fandom that was waiting to burst out of me. I mean, here I was sitting down with Lieutenant Jim Dangle and Deputy Travis Junior, two characters on one of my favorite TV shows of all time, in the legendary Friars Club – I was legitimately nervous.
Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon couldn’t have been nicer though, and despite the fact that I actually lost my train of thought because I was laughing so hard at times, I had an absolute blast talking to the two stars about their new movie Hell Baby. Well, it wasn’t as much an interview as it was a hilarious conversation, as the interview didn’t even start with me asking a question, but that’s just how these two jokesters operate. If you continue reading, you’ll discover why Thomas and Robert decided to enter the horror genre, why making Hell Baby all on their own was extremely important to them, and you’ll discover their epic quest to find the best Po’ Boy in New Orleans. Seriously, if you need a Po’ Boy recommendation, I’d go right to these guys.
Thomas Lennon: What I like about [Hell Baby], is that while it isn’t a movie for everybody across the board, it is for our people.
Robert Ben Garant: It’s committed to your sense of humor if you like our sense of humor. It’s not shy, it’s really out there.
We Got This Covered: That’s really what I appreciated about Hell Baby. You delivered a movie that your fans are absolutely going to enjoy…
Thomas Lennon: I don’t think we gained any new fans…
Robert Ben Garant: Oh, I don’t think so. We might have lost a couple…
Thomas Lennon: …we probably lost a couple, we got Riki [Lindhome], which probably gained a couple…
Robert Ben Garant: When Reno 911! ended, we said, “Let’s try to do this in a movie. Let’s try and spend the energy we used to spend getting Reno 911! made and do a movie, with that sort of production style, and see what happens.” [Hell Baby] was the first one we wrote.
Thomas Lennon: That was sort of our sanity check. When you write studio movies, the process takes years. Literally years. We were working on a version of The Incredible Shrinking Man I want to say for seven or eight years.
Robert Ben Garant: It’s still not officially done.
Thomas Lennon: No, no, it may still be happening for all we know, but you can go crazy.
Robert Ben Garant: It’s so slow, it’s such a committee.
Thomas Lennon: There’s so many people you have to take notes from, and so many people’s ideas you have to incorporate.
Robert Ben Garant: It’s great work if you can get it, it’s the best job in the world, but to stay sane…
Thomas Lennon: …you might want to have a part time job like [Hell Baby] is for us.
We Got This Covered: So why did you guys decided to use the horror genre? Were you simply trying to branch out and do something different?
Thomas Lennon: Ultimately, we thought, “Why not make the kind of movie we would like to watch?” And we watch a lot of horror. Probably more than we watch comedy. [Hell Baby] is sort of scientifically crafted to not be a movie I would see in the theater, but a movie I would rent. I’m being completely honest. It’s exactly the kind of movie I would rent.
Robert Ben Garant: This was a really fun time. We didn’t make any money, but it was a really great experience. The cast was great, the creative freedom was great, and we’ll probably do more of these. The first one was horror probably because we talk about horror movies more than any other kinds of movies.
Thomas Lennon: Ben also has an actual horror movie coming out in January called Jessabelle.
Robert Ben Garant: It’s good! Kevin Greutert directed it, the cast is good, it’s cool. It’s got Mark Webber and Sarah Snook, and I’m not horrified by it. Sometimes we see movies and go “Ahh!”
Thomas Lennon: [Laughs] You never know…
Getting back to Hell Baby:
Robert Ben Garant: The way Cops is, everybody knows Cops. You can start as a jumping point to a lot of different jokes. Horror is such a common type of movie, it’s such a good venue for a jumping off point, it allows us to do all the stupid stuff we did [in Hell Baby].
Thomas Lennon: The formula of the movie is very formulaic. “Hey! Here’s a spooky house, it better not be haunted. It totally is! Uh oh!” It’s really just a backdrop for all the weird things that happen, and for Keegan’s character, all the F’resnel stuff that happens.
Robert Ben Garant: The plot is very simple, which lets us do all of the stupid detours, which is great. The movie is about detours.
Thomas Lennon: The movie is about sandwich eating…