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When did people start to recognize you from your work?
I used to do some bits on the old Conan O'Brien show in New York. I don't get recognized all that much, but when I do it's usually for 'Curb' or 'Reno.'
When did you get your start in acting?
I moved to LA in 2005. I had been acting in New York, I just wasn't getting paid for it.
What's your involvement with the Upright Citizens Brigade improv group?
I'd been doing stuff with UCB since it started. Then I moved out when they opened the UCB Theatre in LA, and I became the artistic director there. I was one of the first to work there, along with Rob Huebel, Rob Corddry and Rob Riggle and all those guys.
What was your last day job?
I worked at a group home for the developmentally disabled.
Is that a joke about working in Hollywood?
No. That's really where I worked.
How'd you get involved with 'Funny or Die Presents'?
I'm a writer for the website, which I got involved with through UCB. I met [Funny or Die co-founder] Adam McKay a few times through the theater. They brought me on as the first full-time writer. The first season of 'Funny or Die Presents' didn't draw as much from the people at the website because there were so many other people involved. This time around, they tried to give the show the voice of the site.
There seems to be a large interconnected web that stretches from Funny or Die to UCB to Judd Apatow movies and elsewhere.
Definitely. McKay helped start the Upright Citizen's Brigade and when he left to go to 'Saturday Night Live,' Amy Poehler sort of took his place. When UCB got to LA, it became a good resource for these guys to pull from. Judd got into UCB just from being a comedy fan. You'd meet more and more people, going to shows and seeing someone like Aziz Ansari perform. They also all share a "lunatics run the asylum" philosophy.
Is it at all cutthroat?
It's very much about people helping each other out. There's a lot of cross-pollination with the people you come up with. With people from the UCB, there's almost a fraternity feel. You try to help the younger kids out, because you've gone through it too.
What can you tell us about putting together this season's sketch "The United Stated Police Department?"
I wrote it and was involved with choosing the director and actors. I'd been talking with the producers and they asked for four or five ideas. They went with this one because they liked it and it was one of the more practical ideas. After that, they were very hands-off. Their thinking is, "If they're funny, why would I want to get in the way?"
USPD is a clear take-off on 'Law & Order'. Are you a big fan of the show?
Totally. I'm a big 'SVU' fan. One of the things we focused on was the snarky banter before a commercial break-like when a suspect runs out and the detective deadpans, "Looks like he's in a hurry." Also, we ran with the idea of the torn-from-the-headlines thing, where everything that makes its way into a newspaper ends up on the show.
Where you lampooning specific episodes?
I must've seen one about organ harvesting, which is where I got the idea that the bad guys were stealing buttholes. Also, we used some of the typical tropes of all those shows, the whole idea of diplomatic immunity and stuff like that. We shot another segment that had to do with terrorism, but decided not to air it because we didn't want to offend people. We did include a child pornography ring though, which was about a kid drawing boobies.
Who is Bob Ducca?
He's a character I've been doing, mostly on Comedy Death Ray radio. He's a sad, middle-aged, divorced guy. He's not a hippie, but he's very self-helpy. He likes to read long lists, whether they're ingredients, medical ailments or family relatives. On one of those lists, he names Rick Ducca, which is the character's name in "The United States Police Department."
What would he think of the sketch?
He'd probably wonder if getting a new butthole is a real thing.