Bobby Moynihan and Method Man talk about FX’s new comedy “Chozen”

On Monday January 13th, FX will debut its animated comedy, Chozen from the creators of Archer and Eastbound and Down. Chozen stars Bobby Moynihan as the eponymous openly gay rapper who’s fresh out of a ten year prison sentence and looking to make it big on the music scene while getting revenge on those who put him in the slammer. I got to catch up with stars Moynihan and Method Man along with creator Grant Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady at this year’s New York Comic Con.

Bobby Moynihan (this writer’s favorite Saturday Night Live cast member) was eager to join the cast of the show,  “I got the thing that said ‘do you want to put yourself on tape for this?’ where I had the drawing of all the characters and I saw—I was a big Archer fan—so I saw that and it was just like ‘I want to do this.’…I called my agents every single day. Like 9 o’clock in the morning, ‘hey found anything out about Chozen?’” This isn’t to say Moynihan identifies with the brash character, “he just says and does whatever he wants…he walks in the room, his sister’s having sex with somebody and he’s just like, [dropping into Chozen’s voice] ‘Ooh, you havin’ sex? Good for you!’ He’s just pumped about things. I feel like I would be like ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I apologize!’ And then never talk to my sister again…Just everything he’s thinking is just out there.” The comedian did add a personal touch to how he sees Chozen spending his time in jail though. “In my mind he just spent a lot of time aggressively going after taking what he wanted and just watching Lost…I keep saying it so hopefully it will come out. I’m a weird Lost nerd…I want to do a whole episode where it’s just him in jail watching Lost.” Would Chozen then have enjoyed that drama’s finale? “YES. YES” Moynihan says emphatically of his cartoon alter ego before adding, “It was perfect, I truly loved it.”

Moynihan is also a talented improvisational comedian, notably appearing recently on IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! as murderous orphan Fourvel (it’s one less than Fievel). “I didn’t really have much other than the name [and] that one joke” Moynihan says, “Just being able to improvise with Scott [Aukerman] and Paul F. Tompkins was a blast.” Fortunately we’ll get to hear Moynihan improvise in Chozen as well—“I feel very very lucky. It’s a lot of fun improvising and a lot of ‘oh my god, that was crazy, don’t use that…I don’t want the people to hear the fact that I said those things!”

Method Man plays Phantasm, the villainous ex-band mate of Chozen who was responsible in setting up the drug bust that puts Chozen behind bars. The rapper maintains that the sleazy voice he lends to Phantasm “comes from a family member named Daddio…you know, he smokes these backwoods cigars and it’s gotten to the point where his voice is so low you can’t even hear him!” Despite his background however, Method Man maintains he’s not behind the musical writing of the series “since I’m playing a character and not Method Man, no, I will not” although he’s not ruling it out adding, “if they gave me a shot to, maybe.”

 Behind the songwriting, and singing voice of Chozen is creator Grant Dekernion who was asked if we can expect more musical acts to come on the show in the future, he explained: “Obviously we got Method Man which blew my mind—and that’s definitely helped us open doors. You know, we’re hoping later this season we might see some more musical acts, I think once the show comes out and people get behind it and see what it’s about, that’s definitely something we can play with in the future. But I think just a lot of people are just curious to see it.”

Both Dekernion and executive producer Tom Brady are particularly excited to be creating the show for the FX network. “Been doing this a little while and you know, I’ve been part of shows that have been on networks and different cable shows and stuff and this is the right show for the right network” says Brady. “The content, the subject matter, FX seems to invest in voices. In this case, Grant’s, from his brain. And if they buy into it, they support it, they let you grow and they nurture it.” Other FX hits include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League. Of the creative teams behind those shows, Brady adds “we’ve heard them talk about how supportive FX has been and them finding what identity those shows have, so that’s been kind of cool for us to think ‘hey, maybe we could be like that.’”

Check out Chozen Monday January 13th at 10:30pm on FX.

Interview with Christopher Moynihan & Dan Fogler

Christopher Moynihan & Dan Fogler are the stars of ABC’s new comedy “Man Up!”, playing the roles of Craig and Kenny (respectively).  Christopher is also the creator and writer on the show.  Dan Fogler is known best for his roles in films like “Balls of Fury” and “Fanboys”.  The show is one of the funniest shows on TV right now easily.  It airs on ABC on Tuesday nights and their second episode is “Star Wars” themed so check it out.  Media Mikes had the chance to chat with Christopher (again) and Dan about the show and what we can expect from their characters.

Mike Gencarelli: You have have been filming for a while now, would you say that you are comfortable with your characters?
Dan Fogler: I think it is growing. Each episode it gets more hysterical and we get more into our skin. As you can tell from the pilot right of the bat it looks like we have been going this for a while. Everyone was really cohesive.  The chemistry from day one was great and we are just having a great time. I think that is going to come through when you watch the show definitely.

MG: You both have love troubles in the pilot, are we going to see any new love interests from your characters?
DF: Yeah!
Chris Moynihan: It is a good question Mike, actually we are going to be seeing quite a few new love interest for me and Dan.  We actually have a new girl for both of us for each episode.  At one point we are dating the girls who work the money and food windows at the local drive-in.  I am dating the first girl and we call her money because she takes out money [laughs].
DF: I date the second girl.  We call her food because she give me my food [laughs].
CM: So every week we have a different set of girls we are going after.
DF: It is like “Three’s Company” in here man.
CM: But…it is like Two’s Company with two more women…like four.
DF: And it all CHRISSIE! [laughs]

MG: Every show has its challenges, what are some of yours for this show?
CM: The truth is from a creative stand point, the only challenge is making something that you like and I think we have done that.  Actually the big challenge is getting people to watch it and getting the network to give it an honest shot.  I think the pilot tracked well, people watched it and hopefully more people will tune it each week.  Hopefully the network will give us a little time while to get our legs.  I have no doubt that we could be a show that people will really dig.
DF: My concerns are that I am hairy like a werewolf. I am really concerned about continuity day to day.  There is a lot of shaving going on.  I think that is going to get weird on my skin after a while.

MG: Dan, what drew you to work on this show?
DF: My wife. She forced me.  No, I loved the show.  I read the script and I thought it was hysterical.  I have been doing a lot of film and I thought it was time for me to break into TV.  I think I picked a winner with this show. I am really excited.  It is my first TV venture and it is really hysterical.  They are really letting me play and I love coming to work.

MG: Tell us about the transition with the character Grant joining your group?
CM: It was tricky thing from a writing stand point.  This is a guy who is sleeping with Kenny’s ex-wife. It was hard bringing him into the group without a little bump. What we did was we had it that Craig and Will really like Grant. He is a good guy.  He is going to be part of the family because Bridgette is going be part of the family because she is the God parent to Will’s kids. That was out way in.  In the second episode, we all sit down to watch “Star Wars” because Grant never has seen it. We figure since he has never seen it, he will watch it and love it and him and Kenny will have something in common. Of course it all goes array.  Our job as writers is to make him part of the group and make it feel organic and natural.  By the third or fourth episode, it is the four of us together and you don’t even question whether Grant should be there.

MG: The promos that you guys have done have been killer, any more plans for those?
CM: We are going to be doing as much as we can.  If you do on YouTube, we have been shooting some fun behind the scenes stuff like Teri Polo naked.  Really if you go on YouTube you can see it. We are trying to get people to watch by lying to them [laughs].  We are going to try to shoot at least one a week and keep posting them and trying to make it go viral.

MG: Any cool guest stars coming up that you want to tell us about?
CM: The big one is Billy Dee Williams.
DF: Yeah, we had Lando come on.  It was awesome. I worked with on “Fanboys”.  We have this sweet scene with him and I together and my God he is one manly space scallywag [laughs] if I have ever seen one.  Working with him was like being on cloud city [laughs].
CM: And Billy does some great dialogue from “Empire Strikes Back”
DF: Yes, there is a lot of “Star Wars” love. So if you are fan…tune it in.

Interview with Christopher Moynihan

Christopher Moynihan is the creator, writer and co-star in ABC’s new show “Man Up!”. It co-star Dan Fogler, Mather Zickel, Henry Simmons, Teri Polo and Amanda Detmer. This show is one of the funniest new show this year. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Christopher about his new show and what we can expect from the season.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up coming on board for the show “Man Up!”?
Christopher Moynihan: I created the show as part of deal I had for two pilots with ABC. This is the first one I came to as it has been in my head for a few years. My grandfather was wounded on the beach of Anzio, Italy in WWII and my father was a cop in the Bronx during the riots of the 1960’s. I am just a different breed of guy! I sit around and play video games and talk about “Spider-Man”. I think that we have the luxury in this day and age where we don’t have to go off and fight and do those types of things. Instead we have a person that volunteer to do those things for us which then allows us to be sort of over grown children. I always wanted to do something reflecting this modern man that doesn’t have a lot of chances to do manly thing. Things moved pretty quickly after I pitched the idea to ABC. They bought script and I wrote the pilot. We got really lucky with casting and everyone worked well. From there it moved onto series and things are going well.

MG: How do you go about getting into character and is it directly based on you?
CM: I kind of think that all the guys have pieces of me to them. My guy Craig reminds me of the guy I was in my 20’s. The way I break the three guys up is Will is really a man, Kenny is too much of a child to be a man and Craig is too much of a woman to be a man. I always think Craig is more in touch with his sensitive side and its all in the writing. We spent the whole summer writing these episodes, so its always in my wheel house that Craig is more touchy feely than the other two guys. I think there is a big piece of me that is that so its not too hard for me to get there.

MG: Do you guys have a lot of fun on set?
CM: Yes we really do. I think these television shows live and die by the casting and we really got lucky. It feels like we know each of from when we were kids. We have a lot of fun on set with each other. I feel very fortunate that we all get along.

MG: How do you feel that the show stands out from other comedies currently on television?
CM: I think what you do is you hope your voice is unique and distinct. I have a lot of great writers and I have some bizarre things in my head that I want to get to the screen. I’m hoping that our stuff is different in the sense that it is a network sitcom and its in the vein of what’s working on ABC but you try and set yourself apart by taking different approaches on popular subjects. You have to find a way to put a unique twist on a classic storyline. I think that’s how you set yourself apart.

MG: How many episodes have you filmed so far and do you have a favorite?
CM: We are currently in the process of shooting episode 105 which would make this the fourth episode since the pilot that we have shot. I am really happy with everything we have done so far. Everything comes out of the scripts you write in the summer time. We had six scripts in pretty good shape even before we started shooting episode 102. Everything we have shot so far has been pretty good. I have only seen episode 101 and its really funny however its kind of like looking at your own baby. You think its cute but what do other people think. I really believe its funny and the network seems pleased.

MG: How many episodes have been green-lit?
CM: We have been green-lit the pilot plus twelve episodes. We are shooting number four right now.

MG: Can you give us a sneak preview of what we can expect this season?
CM: We have eight or nine scripts written and the other ones are loosely put together. When we come back Kenny’s ex-wife Brenda has brought a new guy into the group by the name of Grant. Our first episode back Craig and Will try to get Kenny to be friends with Grant as he found out that the other were hanging out with this Grant guy behind his back. The episode is called “Finessing the Bromance”. A lot of the first season is going to be the three guys getting Grant to be a part of their group.