Creators Dan Harmon & Justin Roiland join actors Chris Parnell & Sarah Chalke to discuss “Rick and Morty” at NYCC

Rick & Morty, Adult Swim’s hilarious sci-fi animated comedy from Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon (“Community”) released its first season on Blu-ray and DVD last month. To celebrate this release, the creators joined actors Chris Parnell (“Saturday Night Live”) and Sarah Chalke (“Scrubs”) at New York Comic Con where they sat down with the press just prior to taking the stage for their panel.

Rick & Morty follows Rick (Roiland), a belching, misanthropic mad scientist who’s moved into his daughter Beth’s (Chalke) family home, much to the dismay of her husband Jerry (Parnell). Rick drags his poor grandson Morty (also Roiland) off on outrageous science adventures that include other planets, other dimensions and on occasion inside a human body.

What about the show do you think speaks to the audience?

Justin Roiland: I think it’s a bunch of things. It’s the sum of all these parts, like Harmon’s ability to tap into a sort of the more emotional core component. Making characters really relatable and real. And then me, my sort of crazy, insane retro scripting and I don’t know. It’s very strange. It’s a weird sort of perfect storm of creative, I don’t know—

Dan Harmon: The carefree vibe. Like you…it’s nice to feel like you’re watching something that kind of doesn’t care if you’re watching.

Roiland: Yeah, yeah.

Harmon: So it’s kind of that energy that a new project has an opportunity to have that’s just like ‘alright let’s just—’

Roiland: And maintaining that is tricky. You know we’re trying to continue to maintain that. I mean I love stuff where at the end of the episode, Rick’s like [dropping into the scientist’s voice] ‘Member back in the first act of the episode when you did this?!’ It’s like you know, fuck it. It’s a TV show. We all know what we’re watching. We’re watching a TV show. I just love that kind of stuff. Just not giving a shit. The end of MeeSeeks is a great example you know where he’s just like…’Hey!’—he’s waving at the camera— ‘Alright! See you guys next week! Fuck!’ You know, whatever, like ‘I don’t give a fuck is my new catchphrase!’ All that shit. I don’t know I think that just lends a very loose kind of…it just let’s everyone who’s watching go like—Well then there’s the people who go ‘Does Rick know he’s on a TV show? Is this like some sort of master plan?’ But no, it’s just us having fun and being loose and allowing ourselves to do that kind of stuff. And who knows, I don’t know if that’s the secret ingredient. I think there’s a lot of things that added together make the show really connect with people.

 

One standout character of the first season was Mr. Meeseeks, a loud blue guy that exists solely to complete one task set by the human who summons him into creation. He spends most of the episode trying to teach Jerry a better golf game. The cast even brought a lifesize Meeseeks along with them to NYCC!

 

What was the origin of Mr. Meeseeks? 

Roiland: Uh, we were breaking a story, Harmon was on tour for Harmontown, he was out of the room and I remember like we had some story…I don’t remember what the fuck the story was, but I was just like this fuckin’ sucks and I was like ‘We gotta have fun with this! And [dropping a Mr MeeSeeks-like squawk] I’M MR. MEESEEKS! I’M MR. MEESEEKS!’ and I just started doing that. [Series writer Ryan] Ridley got all mad at me and I was like ‘I’M MR MEESEEKS LOOK AT ME!’ And then I don’t know if it was until [Harmon] came back—I think we came up with like the conceit of the Meeseeks but then Harmon came back and really helped us fine tune the story with Jerry and the golfing and all that stuff kind of was after [Dan] got back because I remember [him] being in the room and the whole like wiggle at the end. When [Jerry] finally lands the putt and they all disappear. But it was really just like out of my frustration of us really banging our heads against the wall of the other story that was just lame and we couldn’t get it…And Ridley was all pissed. But then he kind of came around. But then there’s a lot of stuff in that episode…that’s verbatim, like ‘I’m Mr Boobybuyer—I’ll buy your boobies!’ that’s all Ridley kind of angrily pitching ‘OH WHY DON’T WE JUST, I’M MR BOOBYBUYER!?…I’M THIRSTY SLIPPERY STAIR, BLAHBLAH’ And I’m just like ‘That’s perfect! Type it up!’…Now I’ve found that when Ridley gets upset and angrily pitches things spitefully, I’m like ‘Pay attention, guys…this could be good to put in the show.”

 

What would you make your own personal Meeseeks do for you?

Sarah Chalke: Your own wish granting Meeseeks…

Chris Parnell: Wow. I guess to make me a lot of money, maybe you know?

Chalke: Yeah

Parnell: Just a lot of money.

Chalke: Then you don’t work and the Meeseeks goes out to work for you

Parnell: Well I still probably want to work because it comes with a certain sense of self-worth…you know…but yeah to have a lot of money. I’d buy a nicer house and put my kid through college. What would your Meeseeks do?

Chalke: Probably a lot of neck massages. They’d take over the barista duties of the household. Which are about 13 to 14 a day, so it’s a heavy job. So, barista Meeseeks.

 

My personal favorite episode, Rixty Minutes, had Rick showing the family a remote control that not only flipped channels, but show programming from entirely alternate universes, many of which were ab-libbed voice work by Roiland.

Lauren Damon: Were there any additional alternate universe scenes in Rixty Minutes that were cut?

Roiland: The production plan for that episode is so different from the normal production pipeline because we’ll write and the break the—I guess you could call it the B-Story, the A-Story, whatever the narrative is—and then we try to keep that relatively tight and small. A third of the overall episode run length and then all the sketches are just experimental. It’s just like, I’ll go in the booth and just riff and improv shit. Harmon will be on the other side…But yeah, it’s weird, it’s a huge strain on the team, you know.

Harmon: Was there ones that we cut?

Roiland: We cut a Seinfeld one. It was just like Seinfeld—Unrelated Seinfeld and he’s like [twisted Jerry Seinfeld whine] ‘What’s the deaaaaaaaal with Chinese BONES….Whhhhhhy do they taste so goooooood?’

Harmon: Yeah, it was a universe where all of Seinfeld observations were just totally unrelatable.

Roiland: Like ‘What’s the deal with HUGE cocks? WHY do they taste so good in my mouth?!’ And then Rick’s like ‘Jeez, uhhh, Seinfeld’s really—’

Harmon: ‘This universe’s Seinfeld, his observations aren’t really resonant…’

Roiland: But then the audience is just exploding in laughter [Morty’s voice] ‘Oh, boy they really like it though!’ But that got cut…we might have put that on the DVD as a cut, deleted scene. That pitch was probably better than what—if it’s on the DVD you’ll be like okay, I see why they cut this. A lot more got cut for this new one, I really cast a wide net. And our poor storyboard guys boarded way more than they needed to board. But anyways…

 

If you could travel to any of the Rick & Morty worlds, where would you go?

Chalke: Uhhh, planet Squanch

Parnell: That’s a good answer. Pluto. I wouldn’t mind going to Pluto. That’s one that comes up this season. Jerry goes to Pluto.

 

Do you ever have to ask the writers what the hell is going on when the shows really offbeat?

Chalke: I mean every time you read the script, it’s one of the funnest jobs for that reason. Like you get the script and you’re so psyched to see where it goes and I laugh out loud when I’m reading it so the jokes are crazy. That’s the fun part of it, you get to see all these different ways a character can go. Like we go to a different dimension in the second season. They have us go to other planets as well, so that was cool and different and I got to be…like our characters but in a different dimension. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say what so for that you got to try totally different voices. I was like a Warrior who talked like this [Deep roaring] ‘JERRY!’

 

How much is ad-libbed for you guys?

Chalke: Most is the scripts. I mean the scripts are genius, mostly it’s the script. But if something happens or comes up and I ad libbed that Beth was a burper like her father, so we throw some burps in there. One of my few talents is burping on cue.

 

Are you ever surprised by how much vitriol Justin can get in just saying “Jerry”?

Parnell: [laughs] Uh, no. But it’s fun, it’s fun to hear it. I mean—I don’t know if he does Rick and Morty at the same time, I kind of think he does, I mean I’ve seen him do it. In person. But it’s just, you know, it’s amazing to watch. And then also they get so many great guest voices, you know? Sometimes you can kind of pick out who it is…

 

Season one set up so many crazy things, are we going to follow up with them in season 2? Like the League of Ricks? And that evil morty? Does the continuity exist?

Roiland: It’s sprinkled throughout the season.

Harmon: A little goes a long way. I mean it’s like I have a lot—I come to the table with a lot of gun-shyness from Community because I feel like Community’s fanbase became so rewardable and was so thankful for continuity in the show and I never like to do inside stuff. Meaning that you would have to have seen something previous in order to get it, I always try to painstakingly avoid doing that but I felt like over five years, Community—because of the intense relationship the fans had with the show—it actually got branded as being more ‘inside’ than I ever strove for it to be. And so now I’m in the writer’s room in this new show and  we got Mr. Meeseeks, we got the Council of Ricks, we got a billion things that we just shot out you know and so the question ultimately becomes do we revisit that stuff? I tend to be the guy that says no, not yet. Just let’s show some restraint and then we’ll be rewarded for it later. And not that Justin’s like ‘NO let’s do everything again’ but he’s a little less convinced that it would destroy the show than I am. Somewhere in between there what happens is little sprinkles here and there.

Roiland: Yeah, we don’t want to jump the shark, so to speak, too quickly in the show in terms of giving away too much of Rick’s backstory and going back to all the things we’ve kind of established in season one—

Harmon: I will say we spent a great deal of time in the writer’s room this year revisiting a major thing from season one and ultimately it was all wasted time. I mean it might be spoilers for season three for me to talk about what we were doing…but I will say it was like four or five weeks of us talking about ‘Okay, the finale’s gonna be when we do this…’ and we ended up going this isn’t working. It’s sort of like the second Dungeons of Dragons episode of Community was cursed from the beginning because it’s like to decide that you’re just going to do something again, you better really have your shit together…Ultimately stories tell themselves. It’s already hard to do that. But if they’re fighting you because you decided that you know what a story is better than the story knows, than you’re really screwing yourself.

 

Did any of you have an older relative like Rick making a bad influence on your lives?

Roiland: Not a huge bad influence. Maybe a little bit. I think I’m a lot like him and I’m gonna die at a young age like he did…

Harmon: I had a great grandpa who died a hermit. He lost all his money in the stock market and then he made it all back but he never trusted banks after that. So he lived in a corrugated tin hut out in some land in Wisconsin. He was rich again but it was all cash under his mattress! And he was a theology major and like he was the only other Harmon who went to college I think.

Roiland: [Rick voice] ‘DAN! DAN! C’mere I got cash under my mattress!!’

Harmon: But I never got to meet him, he was my great grandpa. The first time I saw him was in a coffin. I think Rick is just a symbol of all our mental illnesses.

Roiland: Rick’s a weird combination of me and Dan. Depending on what episode you’re watching, it’s more Dan or more me.

 

Rick & Morty is out on Blu-ray & DVD and you can check out their full NYCC panel at Adult Swim’s YouTube page.

Author Naomi Novik Talks “Temeraire” at NYCC

Naomi Novik has in the past several years taken her readers literally across the globe in her best-selling Temeraire novels. Beginning with the first, His Majesty’s Dragon, the fantasy series is set during the Napoleonic Wars in an alternate history where talking dragons comprise a valuable aerial force for their respective nations. More specifically they follow the adventures of William Laurence, a British naval captain whose capture of an enemy ship bearing a rare dragon’s egg leads him to a new life as an aviator with this hatchling he names Temeraire. Novik’s dragon is intelligent, witty, intensely loyal to his human captain and often defiant of the society of his time. And he is just one of many in a hugely diverse cast of humans and dragons. Such vivid characters thrown into Novik’s rich reworking of actual history really make this a standout story.

The books are scheduled to wrap up with its ninth installment,  League of Dragons, hopefully sometime next year while director Peter Jackson currently holds the screen rights to the series (More on that below). With all of the above going for it, and the fact that it’s a personal favorite book series of mine, I was so excited to get to speak with Naomi at New York Comic Con while she signed books for her fans.

Lauren Damon: When planning the novels, because they’re centered around the Napoleonic Wars, do you have an outline of what history is going on or do you start with your plot?

Naomi Novik: Oh I definitely check the history first and sort of look into the details. I have a general sense of where the plot is going because I know where the Napoleonic Wars go and I know how I modify the Napoleonic Wars so in that sense I know before I go in. But in terms of figuring out how the details of my plot are going to dovetail the details of history, it’s sort of like a back and forth. I generally get the broad strokes of the historical events first, make sure my plot works with that and then as I write, I generally check on the more specific details to make sure that I’m not contradicting something.

 

LD: Have you ever hit a snag because history went a different way than your plot?

Novik: You know I’m sure that happens on a routine basis and I just don’t remember all of them…I can’t think of a specific historical event example, but what I can remember is one time I was writing a scene set in Istanbul describing a place and it turned out that that place just didn’t kind of exist. But while reading about that I discovered about a location called the cistern—which was sort of this underwater cistern of the Byzantine era that used to store water for the city and then later on was abandoned and people would still be able to reach it through the basements of their homes. And would occasionally throw things down there. Sometimes bodies disappeared down there and I thought, that’s fantastic! So I put it in. So it actually worked out for the best.

 

LD: When it comes to the battles sequences, which read as hugely cinematic, how do you plan out just the logistics of those?

Novik: The battles are almost always heavily influenced by actual Napoleonic battles. I mean it depends. The actual battles that take place in the course of a military campaign, then the individual scenes that are about sort of—you know there’s the battles in a war and there are fights that are sort of an adventure sequence, right? And those are more just out of my imagination and the battle scenes are—I have a wonderful book called The Military Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars which basically shows…you can watch the movement of all the companies. It breaks up battles over several days. So you see here’s how they were, sort of setting themselves up, here’s where they were this day, here’s the terrain they were moving on, here are the ways that this person didn’t know what this person was doing and they misunderstood one another. And they got bad information from their spies. And all sorts of details like that which I tend to use as kind of, not exact—because of course my battles are quite different—

LD: They add the aerial level.

Novik: Yes, exactly, because there’s a third dimension going on which changes the tactics and  also just the historical locations but yeah, I mean I try to keep that same scope. That scale.

 

LD: When it comes to certain characters, fans love to pick up on certain expressions or character tropes that repeatedly pop up in your stories—Like Laurence’s concern for his neckcloth or Iskierka [a truly fiery fire-breathing dragon] saying “See if I don’t!”—When you become aware of fans grabbing onto these things, or sort of catchphrases, do you get self conscious about it?

Novik: No, not really. You know, I feel like that’s part of theIn a way I feel like finding those things is part of the pleasure as a fan. I like it myself as a reader. I like recognizing a character’s vocal tics, the character’s all definitely have their own, quite distinct voice in my pen. And I feel like if I tried to…if I became self-conscious and tried to muck with that in a way, I’d probably lose my own internal sense.

 

LD: Are there certain characters that you really enjoy writing their voice, their dialogue?

Novik: Yeah, I mean Temeraire, obviously. Temeraire is just always fun. Iskierka is always fun. I love writing the dragons voices. I feel like the dragons voices are always really cool. And there’s that pleasure of writing a voice that’s not quite human so I really like to do that.

 

LD: I love how you even include sexuality into the discussions that the dragons and the humans have because I feel like you don’t often see that associated with the fantasy genre:

Novik: I do feel you know it’s an interesting thing, that in that period there was simultaneously more prudery in a certain sense. Like you didn’t talk about certain things. But at the same time you lived with it a lot more. You lived with death a lot more. And in a way, living with death, I mean you lived in much closer quarters—especially on ships and you sort of had to pretend it wasn’t there. But it really was. And I mean, with dragons especially, I feel like dragons don’t have shame in the same was that human beings have shame. You know, they don’t cover themselves for warmth, so they don’t have any of that body stuff going on. So Temeraire just kind of doesn’t get what’s going on a lot of the time. So his perception is very fun. But I feel like it’s very much that that’s a thing that happens that’s part of life and I don’t know…I feel like I don’t want to pretend that’s not there.

 

LD: Iskierka in particular in regards to her Captain, Granby’s homosexuality is just kind of  like ‘Yeah, of course that’s how he is!’

Novik: I mean to a dragon it’s like what’s the difference between these two—it’s like two action figures, you know?

LD: Or dress up dolls? [Note: The dragon’s frequently make fashion decisions for their humans.]

Novik: Yes, exactly, that’s from Iskierka’s point of view absolutely!

LD: Peter Jackson holds the filming rights to these books—what’s happening there?!

Novik: Basically what happened was you know, after Guillermo Del Toro dropped out of The Hobbit and [Jackson] took over, that essentially put a stop to all his other projects. He’s finishing up the last Hobbit now, and I know he’s going to take a well deserved break and then we’ll see, you know?

LD: Did you see the giant Smaug up on the floor and think eventually?
Novik:
I hope so. I hope so. I mean it’s amazing.

 

LD: Now you wrote the first one in 2006?

Novik: I wrote the first one in 2004 and then they didn’t publish it until 2006 because they asked me to write two more so they could bring them all out one month after another. So I wrote the first three in like 2004-2005, so it’s been about ten years writing it.

 

LD: So back when you were writing it, or at any point since,  have you ever head-cast actors you’d like to see in any of the parts?

Novik: No, no…I don’t. Although I will say I thought at one point—I actually think Tom Hiddleston could make a great Laurence.

[Note: At which point I showed Naomi my Loki iPhone case as a sign of support.]

Excellent! I mean I say that like I’m a huge Tom Hiddleston fan, I mean I love Loki he’s such a fantastic character, I love him…But there are many actors of whom I’m a huge fan who I would say would not make a good Laurence. But I think he actually would.

 

Famously fan-friendly, Naomi is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works, “a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the fair-use rights of fan creators” and has written her own fan fiction.

LD: Being here at NYCC and just kind of in general are you happy to see that fan fiction is something you hear more about in public discussion, do you think it’s coming sort of out of just something you see online?

 

Novik: I hope so. You know, in fact we had this panel about fairy tales and of course 95% of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings are fan fiction. It’s the same impulse as fan fiction. It’s using characters that other people recognize to tell your own stories in a way that allows you to communicate and form a community around fiction. So there’s nothing actually new about the fan fiction impulse, it’s just that we’re doing it about media of a different form, right? Which is quite interesting.

LD: Speaking of fan communities–you just opened your own fan forum, is that a convenient way to consolidate your fans?

Novik: It’s not even that, it’s more that you know there are a lot of fans who don’t feel like they know where to find the place to talk. And I love giving them a place to talk now. And a lot of people said that they wanted one, so we went ahead and put it together. But I love–one of the things that I love about the fannish community in general is that it’s so widespread. There’s so many different places and proliferating conversations and I love that. It’s not like, I would never want everybody to come to feel like that they had to come to my site. It’s more like here’s another place to talk if you want to hang out and talk about Temeraire.

 

LD: Do you have a memorable first fan encounter, or when you became aware or your series having fans?

Novik: I fortunately, the year the Temeraire books came out, I went to like seven conventions that year. And I went to a lot of smaller science fiction conventions first which was a good kind of ramp up. And I mean it’s just really wonderful you know. For me it’s a completely positive experience. I mean I get tired and sometimes I lose my voice. There’s just something wonderful about coming out here and feeling this kind of fannish energy all around you. And it’s not a sort of, I don’t know, it’s such a thing that I myself would do. I feel like I’m just meeting my people from the other side!

The 9th and final Temeraire novel, League of Dragons, is aiming for a release sometime next year while Novik will also be releasing an entirely new fantasy novel, Uprooted, on June 30th 2015.

New York Comic Con 2014 “The Following” Panel

On Sunday, October 12th, Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, and Shawn Ashmore took to the Empire Stage at New York Comic Con to discuss their show The Following. Slim on specifics, the actors and director didn’t give too much of the new season away to fans, instead opting for vague descriptions of possible upcoming plot points. With Lily Gray’s plotline officially wrapped up and Joe Carroll in prison, it’s a new dawn for The Following, allowing a new set of events to start and creating a good entry point for new viewers.

In the teaser that was shown, Bacon’s character Ryan has a new love in his life, an ER doctor, as does his niece Max, but don’t worry Following fans. Shortly after setting this idyllic scene, a cocktail waiter was shown coming towards Ryan with a knife- perhaps setting us up for a new slew of bad guys?

After the teaser and discussion, the floor was opened up to questions from the fans. One woman asked Bacon and Ashmore for tips on working in the FBI; they laughingly replied, “Don’t do anything we do.”

Check out the slideshow below for more pictures of The Following Panel at New York Comic Con. Season 3 begins January 20th.


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New York Comic Con 2014 “Adult Swim Panel Block”

Three shows were represented at this year’s Adult Swim Panel Block on Friday, October 10th at New York Comic Con. Starting things off was a panel for the upcoming The Jack and Triumph Show, which features Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (voiced by Robert Smigel). The show will be a sitcom with a live studio audience that includes a combination of scripted comedy and improvisation. Audience members were treated to some clips from the show, featuring guest stars Joy Fatone from NSYNC and film critic Leonard Maltin. Also present on the panel was Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, who fans may recognize from a 2002 viral video shown on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The panel ended on a sadder note with Smigel showing a SNL sketch in remembrance of Jan Hooks, a personal friend of his.

The next panel to take the stage was for the animated show Rick and Morty. Last year delegated to one of the smaller rooms, this year the panel was excited to take the main stage. The group, consisting of Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, and Sarah Chalke, brought an animatic mashup full of Rick’s newest catchphrases from the upcoming Season 2. Panel members promoted the Season 1 DVD, available now, as well as the upcoming comic book spin-off, written by Zac Gorman and published by Oni Press. They then delighted audience members with an improvised family breakfast scene in character.

Finally, Robot Chicken, or the annual meeting of the silly hats club, took to the stage. This panel is always a favorite among fans, and this year did not disappoint. Moderated by Adult Swim Vice President Keith Crofford, the panel included co-creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, actors Clare Grant, Breckin Meyer, and Macaulay Culkin, and producer John Harvatine IV. Things started off with a segment from Season 7’s “Chipotle Miserables.” A few announcements followed including the release date of the Robot Chicken: Christmas Specials DVD on November 18th and the release of “The Lots of Holidays But Don’t Worry Christmas Is Still in there So Get The Stick Out of Your Ass Fox News Special” on December 7th, before the floor was opened up to the fan Q&A. This year’s fan portion of the panel produced the annual sexy pose request, as well as the return of Emmett, the fan with whom Meyer had a rivalry with at last year’s NYCC panel. A trailer for Clare Grant’s new pilot the Team Unicorn Saturday Action Fun Hour! was also shown.

Click through our slideshow below for more moments from The Adult Swim Panels at New York Comic Con 2014!


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New York Comic Con 2014 – Andrea Romano & Greg Cipes Panel


On Friday, October 10th, the voice directing legend Andrea Romano took to the stage at New York Comic Con to discuss her illustrious career and her advice to aspiring voice actors. The eight-time Emmy Award winning director was joined by Greg Cipes, the voice of Beast Boy in Teen Titans and Michelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tv series, who stopped by the panel to discuss working in the animation voice over industry.

Romano, herself once a struggling actress, got her start in the industry while working as an assistant to voice agent Don Pitts. From there she went on to work at the Hanna-Barbera, the studio known for Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons, while freelancing with Disney television animation on shows such as Bonkers, DuckTales, and Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers. She now works as a freelance voice director, and her filmography is extensive, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, The Boondocks, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, and Tiny Toon Adventures. In general, she is working on at least five projects at a time, once even juggling eleven projects all at the same time.

Nicknamed “Velvet Hammer” by the actors she works with, Romano calls making a comfortable environment for the talent to feel safe to create and work as one of her biggest goals when working on a show. She emphasized the importance of taking acting classes before trying to make a start in the realm of voice acting, saying that creating an emotional and believable character goes far beyond just being able to do a voice. Romano is generally regarded as one of the most iconic voice directors and voice casting directors working in the animation world today and is known for giving many actors’ their first big breaks. Greg Cipes, whose very first professional audition was in front of Romano for the role of Teen Titans’s Beast Boy, said “I was green…Andrea fought for me. I got the role.”

New York Comic Con 2014 – Broad City Panel


Appearing before a packed room at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 10, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson declined the use of a traditional introduction and danced their way on stage to Missy Elliot’s iconic song “Work It.” Fans of their Broad City show cheered and danced along with them as they took the stage. Once at the microphone, the women seemed shocked at the large crowd, some of whom had queued up an hour before the actual start of the panel, remarking that they had never imagined any of this when they had started their show, originally a web series, in 2009.

The Broad City web series began on YouTube in 2009 and achieved an almost cult-like status before being discovered by Amy Poehler, who transitioned the show into a 30-minute televised format. Poehler is now an executive producer on the Comedy Central show, which wrapped its first season in March. About the move to television, Jacobson said, “(Comedy Central) never made it feel corporate. It still feels like we’re making a web series. Not for the web, but it’s still so DIY and everyone is so collaborative.” Glazer and Jacobson both have strong comedy backgrounds; they met doing improv and are Upright Citizen Brigade alums. The first season of the show was nominated for Best Comedy Series at the 2014 Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and both Glazer and Jacobson were on the 2014 Variety’s Power of Women: New York Impact List.

The panel was moderated by fellow comedian Nicole Drespel, who also appears on the show. A sneak preview of Season 2 was shown, which further explored Abbi’s obsession with the store Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Jacobson and Glazer then did live commentary for the Season 1 episode “Fattest Asses,” before the floor was opened up to questions from the fans. Questions ranged from their ideal guest stars- living or dead (Lucille Ball and Clive Owen for Glazer; Richard Jenkins, Frances McDormand, and Idris Elba for Jacobson), to advice on how to break into the comedy world. When asked how much of their characters were actually based on themselves, Glazer replied, “It’s like 15% of ourselves, blown up to the full 100. It’s like my f—ing nuttiest and Abbi’s f—ing craziest.” One fan thanked Glazer on behalf of her friend for being the first tv character she felt comfortable identifying with, calling the women feminist heroes.

The panel wrapped up with a clip from the companion web series to the tv show, Hack Into Broad City, and audience members were treated to free tee-shirts and stickers from the Comedy Central staff.

The second season of Broad City will premiere this January.

New York Comic Con 2014 – Cosplay Favorites

New York Comic Con finished up this year with a bang, bringing in a record number of guests. The convention, taking place from October 9-12, was held once again at the Javits Center in New York City. The event was filled with its usual fare- panels, screenings, sneak peeks, vendors, exhibitors, artists, freebies, autographs, and special guests- but also included several new features this year, including a stricter harassment policy (“Cosplay is not Consent”), which allowed guests to report incidents through the NYCC app on their phones. Also, a new main stage clearing procedure seemed to work rather well, cutting back on line waiting times and seemingly spreading out the larger panels throughout the entire weekend. The addition of a NYCC Eastern Championship of Cosplay also brought in crowds, filling the main stage on Saturday night.

This is New York Comic Con’s ninth year and its largest yet. Run by the exhibitor Reed Pop, 151,000 tickets were sold, up from the 133,000 that it boasted last year, and out-topping San Diego’s attendance of 130,000. Thursday, originally reserved for press, VIP, and four-day pass holders only, was broadened into a full day of programming, which helped the increase in numbers. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the appearance of George Clooney, who visited the main stage during Disney’s Tomorrowland panel, saying, “It is not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic Con.”

Here are some of our cosplay favorites from New York Comic Con 2014:


Created with flickr slideshow.

New York Comic Con 2014 – “Bob’s Burgers” Panel Coverage

The Bob’s Burgers panel, comprised of Loren Bouchard (show creator), Bobby Tisdale (voice of Zeke), Kristen Schaal (voice of Louise), John Roberts (voice of Linda), Larry Murphy (voice of Teddy), Eugene Mirman (voice of Gene), and H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Bob), took the main stage at New York Comic Con this past Thursday, October 9th. Although Dan Mintz (voice of Tina) was not among them, a larger-than-life Tina Belcher, joined the panel, sitting on the side during the discussion.

The audience was shown three clips of the new season. In one, Linda dyes her hair blonde, while in another Bob partakes in a life-drawing class, where he is forced to draw Edith, a character that was seen in the previous “Art Crawl” episode. The last clip had Gene, Tina, and Louise visiting an upscale grocer on a quest to buy black garlic. In addition to these sneak peeks, audience members were also treated to some key news announcements (tracks are being prepared for an upcoming show soundtrack and there will be a Christmas special where viewers will meet Bob’s father for the first time), before the panel continued with a fan Q&A, where many of the questioners came prepared in Bob’s Burger character costumes.

One fan asked, “As actors and performers who have very unique voices, how do you bring subtlety to your characters?” Kristen Schaal remarked, “Definitely the scenes. I took a college course on subtlety and it cost me $500,000. Totally worth it.” Loren Bouchard also shared some anecdotes with fans, saying that in his original meeting with the Fox network, he pitched the show as a “Family that runs a restaurant, and they’re cannibals,” believing that he needed to make the show edgy in some way-to which the Fox executive replied, “What if they’re not cannibals?”

The Emmy-awarded Bob’s Burgers entered its 5th season on October 5, 2014, and judging from the response at this year’s New York Comic Con, fans can’t wait to see what happens next.