Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Maroon 5 Interview

Depth PerceptionMaroon 5With a radio-friendly pop/R&B/funk combo, guest spots with Mr. West, a Rolling Stone cover and throw in a couple of Grammys, and you have one of the biggest bands in the world.

Forming originally as Kara’s Flowers back in 1997 and becoming Maroon 5 in 2001, the LA quintet is living the rock ‘n’ roll dream right now. The last time that Maroon 5 was in Motown, they opened for the Rolling Stones at Comerica Park, one of the band’s idols and an experience they will not likely forget. “We had the opportunity to meet them all backstage,” guitarist James Valentine said. “They were so gracious. We were led around by Ronnie Wood to each member’s dressing room and you could sort of see each member’s personalities in the little areas. Keith Richard’s backstage area was just a bar.”

This time around, Maroon 5 are the headlining band, with Swedish rockers The Hives opening up for them. “We love The Hives, they’re a great band and we wanted to get a really good, energetic, amazing live act,” singer Adam Levine said. “They’re the best Swedish band; we’re the best American band.”

Maroon 5 has become know for that confidence, or perhaps arrogance. When your debut album sells over 10 million copies, and second album debuts at number one, selling 500,000 the first week, it seems to be working, however they’re perceived.

When asked how they want to impact popular culture, they seem hesitant to answer. “Bands get big and they kind of develop these grandiose opinions of themselves and what they want to do,” Levine said. “Then they start answering questions like this and you think, ‘All right, let’s backpedal for a minute.’ We craft songs and we love to play them. But we’re certainly not reinventing the wheel or necessarily putting a flag anywhere.”

After the wild success of Songs About Jane, their new album has already sold 2 million copies, seemingly avoiding the dreaded ‘sophomore slump.’ “We were really glad, at least I was sort of relieved to make it through this record because it is sort of a test,” Valentine said. “One record doesn’t mean that you’ve proven anything. I’m excited now that that’s over. I’m really excited about making our next record because I think we’re going to go in there with a lot less of that pressure over us, as much as we sort of pushed that aside to make this record. I think we’ll be free to follow wherever our creative musings go.”

After the success of their first two albums, Maroon 5 is planning on staying around for a while. “I think that we don’t want to burn out and there’s definitely this mentality that’s very strong these days about cashing in and we’re much more interested in longevity. We’re also interested in cashing in to some extent, who wouldn’t be?” Levine said. “We want to be taken seriously as a band. I think that we just need to try as hard as we can and make sure that we’re not always taking a check just to take a check. I think that at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing, which is writing good music that people can connect with.”

“I’m happy that even over the few years since we released Songs About Jane that some of the songs have entered the canon of pop music that will be around forever,” Valentine added. “We want to write those sort of songs that will stick around forever, that you’ll hear on the radio in 20, 30 years.” RDW

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boblo Boat

Holy Ship
Rebirth of the Bob-Lo Boat

For Detroiters in generations past and present, few things represent summer more than Bob-Lo Island. I grew up hearing stories of trips to this seemingly summer utopia, as I’m sure most people in Michigan have. When I told my parents that I was going to go on the Bob-Lo boat, for the first time in my journalism career, they were jealous of me. My father told me about a time in ’67 when his family drove to Detroit to catch the Bob-Lo Boat to the Island, even though they could have boarded it a mile from where he lived in Wyandotte ... just so they could ride the boat longer. The boat trip, he said, was the best part. I couldn’t quite understand this, but to everyone I talked to, the S.S. Ste. Clair seemed like a long-lost brother or sister.

The boat has been away from Detroit for the last five years, until Ron Katoo, a doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, purchased the ship last year with hopes of restoring it to its former glory in the city where the boat meant so much. After seeing the vessel five years ago, Katoo became interested in the prospect of buying it because of his memories of childhood Bob-Lo trips. “We went to Bob-Lo probably four times a summer. The amusement park was fun, but the most fun part was the boat," Katoo said. "You get on the boat with your friends and family, and feed the seagulls, watch the freighters going by, chase your brother and sister around the ship, make friends with other people on the ship, had a couple hot dogs, look over the railing — it was an experience. Where else would you get to go on a ship like this?”

Katoo said that with the state the waterfront in Detroit five years ago, you couldn’t make a profit here, but since it has been docked at Tri-Centennial State Park for the last few months, the ship has drawn a lot of interested visitors.

“The response has been tremendous. People come out for the tours on the weekend; we have people saying they want to have parties on the ship, or donate money or their time," Katoo said. "From welders, painters, administrators and secretaries — they all want to donate their time to help us. There are a lot of baby boomers that come back and bring their kids and grandkids. There’s people who have never been on the boat but are interested in checking it out. There’s a pretty good mix of people.”

The short-term goals for the ship include gaining a non-profit status, continuing with the tours, and putting together a haunted house on board. And for the first time in 15 years, the ship will be covered with a tarp for the winter. Then it will go into storage to begin renovations. “We’re going to take her down all the way to the steel," Katoo said with vigor. "Every piece of wood that isn’t salvageable is going to be replaced.”

Once the $5.5 million, three-year renovation is complete, the ship will be re-launched on her 100th anniversary, May 7, 2010. Katoo plans to house a museum and a restaurant on the boat, and make the Ste. Clair available for parties. He hopes to have her permanently docked between the Ambassador and Belle Isle Bridges. Until then, get down to the boat for weekend tours and keep in mind that until the end of October, the Bob-Lo Boat will be “haunted” for your fright delight. RDW

Monday, September 17, 2007

Russell Industrial Center

True Grit:Russell Industrial Center

Up close, the magnitude of the Russell Industrial Center makes it feel Alcatraz-esque, complete with a water tower. In fact, Russell’s history is just as extensive as that of The Rock, save for a couple escape attempts.

The story of Russell starts in 1915 with famed architect Albert Kahn designing it, and by 1925 all seven buildings were completed. According to the Russell's Assistant General Manager Eric Novack, Murray Body was the first tenant, manufacturing for the Dodge Brothers until the 1940s, when the space was converted for the war effort to create B1 Fortress wings. In the 1950s and ‘60s it was the Michigan Stamping Plant and by the ‘70s it was the Midwest’s printing capital, with around 130 printers on site. “Basically, everything that was licked, stamped or bound came through here at one point to a Midwest mailbox,” Novack said.

Things took a downturn come the end of the 20th century. The printer Winter Swan bought the Russell in the ‘90s and soon couldn’t afford it, and by the 2000s, things were bleak. In 2003, Dennis Kefallinos came to look at one of the buildings. “Before he left that day, the story goes, he bought all seven buildings,” Novack said. “He saw all the artists already there and he just continued what they were doing. The artists came to whoever owned it at the time and asked for 2,000 square feet and they would let them have it if they would build it out. They decided to build it out which really helped the complex to flourish.

“I think Dennis has come to the realization that he’s not going to be Donald Trump, he’s going to be himself,” Novack continued. “By keeping things commercially savvy for small businesses, he’s bolstering the city. Turn of the century London was this way. No one wanted to be there, everybody moved out, it was a shit hole. Then the artists came.”

Today, of the 2.2 million square feet, 650,000 square feet are in use, with 500,000 for immediate use, and another million awaiting infrastructure work. “

In the past seven months, we’ve had 32 move-ins, and since June we’ve had 10, half of which are artists,” Novack said. “About 90 percent of our interest comes from the Internet. The rest is word of mouth. We take people around, they meet two of the artists, look at some of the build outs, and some of them are like 18th century libraries smack in the middle of Italy, and you're like, ‘Holy shit, this is sweet.’ Artists attract small businesses and small businesses do the same because everything touches art. So it’s pretty easy for us.”

One perk of the Russell that is particularly attractive for the artists is the vast artistic community. “The community is an easy sell," Novack affirmed. "The helping hands are great and we have a lot of leaders there. You have seamstresses to help you with the curtains, woodworkers to help you with desks and the overall construction. Architects to help you out with designing and making sure everything is ergonomic. The sense of community is excellent.

"It’s your space, you can do what you want with it as long as you’re not doing anything illegal," Novack said. "If you’re going to strip down to your skivvies and pour mustard on yourself and roll on cardboard — I don’t care, as long as it’s legal.”

As Russell continues to grow, Novack has high expectations for the future. “We are hoping to become, in the next couple years, the art Mecca of the Midwest.” RDW


Designing Minds:Metropolitan Architecture Practice

Walking into their studio with the sound of "Icky Thump" blasting in the background, it’s evident this is not your usual architecture firm. Tucked away among the artists of the Russell is the architectural firm of Metropolitan Architecture Practice (MAP), made up of Roger Berent and Kyle Hulewat. They’ve been there for six months now. From the disregarded drywall the pair found and stacked into a bookshelf to the handcrafted coffee table, MAP is always interested in exploring different projects.

“We do all kinds of work. We do some residential work. We primarily do commercial work — loft designs. We’ve done interior, furniture design. We kind of consider ourselves general practice architects,” Berent said. “It’s the same disciplines that go into large buildings that go into small buildings. It’s just different scales, and we like to work at all different scales, from furniture to large elements. We’re a full-service firm.”

The architects have found themselves at home in the highly artistic community, even if they are the only architects. “Everyone is really nice here,” Berent said. “It’s kind of weird, we work regular hours and most people don’t get here until later in the afternoon or work here on the weekend. It’s been pretty exciting. I think a lot of people like the idea of having different disciplines here.”

After both received their Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, they’ve emphasized developing Michigan, and were first runners up in the Transit Riders United design contest, as well as advisory board members for the Woodward Action Association, both in hopes of rapid transit for Metro Detroit. With visions of transforming Motown, Russell seemed ideal for them.

“We were drawn to the raw, industrial feel of this place,” Berent said. “The history of the [Russell] is amazing. We liked the idea of the community with the other artists, we felt the synergy. We thought this was a cool place and we could see ourselves starting out here. The whole place is great.”

Sarah Fisher

Blonde Ambition
Sarah Fisher

Long blonde hair of the non-mullet variety at an auto race is almost unheard of. But golden locked Sarah Fisher has been the talk of the IndyCar series since debuting in 2000 at the age of 20 and becoming the third woman in the Indianapolis 500 and the youngest person to lead laps during an IRL IndyCar event. In 2001, Fisher finished second at the Homestead Miami Speedway, the best result ever by a woman. Fisher brings her exciting racing to Motown for the Grand Prix.

Growing up in Ohio and attending Ohio State University for a mechanical engineering degree, Fisher, 26, says she was excited to be racing in the Grand Prix. “It’s pretty neat. The first time I followed the Grand Prix in Detroit was when I was 16 years old,” she remembers. “I got to walk around on the cart with Walker Racing. It’s really neat to be part of IndyCar and come back here.”

Fisher started racing midget cars when she was five, after being inspired by her father’s racing career. “It started off as a family event, so it gave me something to take part in with my dad, because he traveled a lot growing up. To be able to go with him to races on the weekends was a lot of the way I could spend time with him,” Fisher says. “As I grew into it, I became more competitive as a person and enjoyed working on the cars and trying to make them go faster and the different things you can do to them technically to do that.”

Growing up, Fisher never doubted her racing career because of her gender. “As a young girl, I didn’t really care,” she says. “I was more focused on racing stunt cars with my dad and what they did. My peers really respected me because I had the ability to do so.”

Despite her position as a female in a male dominated sport, she doesn’t feel like being a woman should be the defining characteristic about her. “I think a lot of general fans might view me as a woman first, and that’s fine, because that attracts fans who aren’t regular sports or IndyCar fans to the sport,” she explains. “But the people who are already here, and are already IndyCar fans, don’t identify me as a woman driver anymore because they’ve seen what I’ve done on the track and I’ve been very successful, so it’s no longer being a female, it’s just being a driver.”

Yet because of her appeal and uniqueness as a female, Fisher has been placed into a spokesperson role in promoting the IRL through her blog and her numerous public appearances, which in turn has led Fisher to be named the fan-favorite driver four years running. But she has embraced this role. “To be able to speak on behalf of the IndyCar series and try to make open wheel grow to become the number one racing series in the world, it’s a big honor,” she says, “and the more that I can do to help with that effort, the more I’ll do.”

Fisher has had a tough season so far, but she says she is living out her dream everyday. “There’s a lot of dreams kids have, whether it’s becoming an astronaut or race car driver, if you put your head down and dig at it, you can make it happen,” she says. “The Indianapolis 500 is what I grew up dreaming about participating in — and I’ve done it six times and I hope to do it six more.” RDW

Old School Video Games

Forget Xbox:Old School Video Games

For people growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, a mustachioed Italian plumber with red overalls played a huge role in childhood memories. As the time has passed and video games have become more and more advanced, the idea of a side-scrolling game seems laughable. But today, kids are turning back the clock and playing old school video games for a number of reasons.

Self-proclaimed “old school gamer” Everett Kaniarz, 19, says that he spends about 20 hours a week playing one of his 40 Super Nintendo games. “I play the old games because the gameplay is so much better; they’re much simpler,” he says. “There’s so much stuff to do in the new games that it takes away from actually playing. The old games have the best music, best accessories and the best storylines.”

Kaniarz owns newer systems and will play the more recent systems at friends' houses, but at his house they usually end up playing one of the older consoles. “People will come over and they’ll see Duck Hunt and they’ll be like, ‘Oh really, I remember Duck Hunt, I loved it, let’s play.’ Or they’ll mention another old game and I’ll have it right there and they’ll have a lot of fun,” Kaniarz explains. “People have heard about all these old games, seen them on YouTube or played one of the sequels, so they want to play the original.”

Though he does maintain some interest in the newer games, Kaniarz knows where his true gaming love doth live. “I’ll play the new ones, just to see how they are, but they’re just bad,” he says. “The brand new Zelda on the Wii I thought was pretty disappointing. There’s so much stuff to do. I put five hours in, using a player’s guide, to just get past the first dungeon. It was ridiculous. I don’t want to find a baby, find a monkey, get a sword, go back to the baby and go fishing. It’s cool that you can do all that, but that you have to do all that to move on, it’s a waste of time.”

At college campuses and suburban basements, the Nintendo 64 has become popular because of its numerous multiplayer games, like Mario Kart, GoldenEye and Super Smash Bros., that allow a lot of people to be involved while playing short games so everyone gets a turn. The new systems have focused more on two or single player games, leaving the Nintendo 64 as a group favorite.

Brian Bosler, 18, would go over to a friend’s house to play Smash Bros. on the N64 every Friday after school with a bunch of his friends. They would play the game with the loser rotating out so everyone could get in. “We just like to play video games, and Smash Bros. was simple enough for everyone and was still fun,” he says. “It’s very easy to pick up, very accessible. It’s a four player game, so everyone gets to play. It had that arcade feel to it without spending the quarters.”

Bosler says there are two reasons why they continue to play a system that dates back more than a decade: “Maybe it’s nostalgia on my part because it was my first experience with (the now infamous) first person shooter video game. Plus, PS3 is $600, and our parents would kill us if we blew our money on that.”


UFC Blows Up

It seems like every couple of years a new televised form of fighting comes along and captures the youth’s attention. While The Rock hasn’t smelled anything in years, kids have found a new outlet for their fighting interests in Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC is a form of mixed martial arts and prides itself on the "no holds barred" aspect of their competition, where almost every sort of fighting is permissible. The UFC has been gaining attention in the last couple of years following the debut of the reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV in 2005. Spike TV has since expanded their coverage to include a weekly hour recap on the show UFC Unleashed.

UFC fans say that the new trend is much like the wrestling fad of the ‘90s, except it's not scripted. “I feel the UFC provides the same storylines that the WWF (now WWE) did, but it’s not fake. There’s guys yelling at each other, talking smack, just like the WWF used to be. They’re not exactly the same, but they have the same basis of story,” said Ryan Frasier, 19, of Troy. “I’ve been watching with my cousin pretty intently the last couple years. He buys all the pay per views and the videos. I love the real pain the two guys show, they go until they either get knocked out or can't go anymore.”

Luke Burns, 20, a student at U of M, has been watching UFC for about a year now. He says that the different styles of fighting that are unique to the fighters is one of the big reasons he became interested. “Each fighter is an individual, whether they wrestled in high school or have more of a martial arts background, it makes it more interesting,” Burns said. “Boxing sucks now and wrestling isn’t real, so UFC is what all the bloodthirsty guys are watching now.”

Burns feels like the UFC is here to stay because of the real competition and that there are so many more aspects to the fight, where other sports like boxing and wrestling have failed in the past.

David Kinzer, 18, summed up the appeal of UFC: “Boxing isn’t violent enough and wrestling isn’t stupid enough.”

Electric Car

V(olt)-& Living With An Electric Car

If owning a foreign car in Detroit is a hanging offense, then owning an electric car would at least call for cruel and unusual punishment.

But Michael Corrigan of Troy loves his 1999 Solectria Force, one of only 400 made, and probably one of only a handful of electric cars in Michigan. Corrigan, 18, says that life with an electric car is pretty much like life with any other car — just less expensive.

“For everyday use it’s really practical. You don’t need oil changes or engine tune ups — it’s pretty much maintenance free. You just have to plug it in at night and you never have to go to the gas station. It’s better in a crash because it’s heavier than a regular car, too,” Corrigan said. “You just have to plan ahead a little. Sometimes when we go to the car wash, they put the keys in the ignition and can’t figure out how to start it, but that’s about it.”

The car was created by a group of MIT grads, taking a Geo Metro body and putting in an electric engine. The limited edition ride cost about $30,000, but if it were mass-produced, Corrigan estimates it would cost only about $12,000. It’s able to go up to 45 miles on a full battery, with a battery taking under three hours to charge. The Force can reach up to 70 MPH on the highway. With school only a mile away and work only three, he doesn’t get concerned about the car running out of battery.

That’s not to say Corrigan never worries in the car. “You don’t really know how much the battery will hold,” Corrigan explained, “so you get nervous sometimes — but I’ve never had it run out. Once I had to pull over and let it sit for a little, but it was okay.”

Although the electric car is an oddity in Michigan, the reviews have been unusually encouraging. “Most people are pretty positive; they just wonder how it works,” Corrigan said. “When I drive with people and we start going forward, they wonder when we’re going to turn on the engine because it’s so quiet. They usually aren’t negative, they never say, ‘You’re stupid for driving this car! What are you doing saving the environment?’”


Go Your Own Way:Craigslist Rideshare

Craigslist’s rideshare section is basically organized hitchhiking. I posted an ad saying I’d be driving to Detroit from Troy and a guy from Rochester Hills wanted me to drive him to the airport. I agreed, but never heard back from him. I assume he walked.

After no other responses, I asked people on Craigslist for their experiences with rideshare. Rob Rowe from Ann Arbor has been doing dozens of rideshares since his days at U of M, taking them for business, pleasure or adventure. “The really long distance shares are the interesting ones,” he said. “The best experience was when I was in Denver and I needed to get back to Ann Arbor. I posted on Craigslist and got a response from a woman that co-owned a very successful restaurant in NYC and was making a culinary adventure out of her trip. She had planned stops at some great restaurants along the way, so we ate very well and had a great time. The worst experience was with a couple girls who didn’t want to chip in for gas and expenses going from Ann Arbor to Chicago. I think they either thought they could sweet talk their way there, or expected to trade something else for the ride.”

Rowe, 40, said most of the ridesharers split gas and tolls, but otherwise it’s free. “Sometimes I just want a cheap vacation,” he continued. “When I do a business trip to New York or Chicago, I’ll usually post for riders to come along. Time goes by faster when you have someone to converse with, and it’s nice to split the gas cost.”

Preparing for my rideshare, I was more than a little nervous about safety. Rowe says that as long as you’re careful, it won’t be a problem. “I’m usually pretty selective,” he explained. “I’m a pretty good judge of character and can tell if people are easy to get along with, or just too weird to be cooped up with for hours. I’ve talked to people who’ve had some creepy experiences. Any woman gets creepy responses. Most of the people I’ve rideshared with have become friends who I correspond with occasionally, or even visit sometimes. The longer trips can be bonding experiences with the right people.” RDW

Hot Rod Junket

Hot Rod
Get Your Motor Runnin'
As a 20-year old unpaid intern, the chance to fly to Los Angeles for the Hot Rod press junket seemed unreal.

Even when I was there, I felt like I was floating in a dream.

I arrived in LA and walked around Rodeo Drive looking for celebrities. I overheard a 6-year-old girl say, “Mommy, I want to go to Dolce & Gabbana.” This was not Detroit.

I think I saw Brad Pitt with an Amish guy. I swear.

For the actual press junket, they put me in a room with four other journalists who were all easily 30 years my senior. Two were reading Harry Potter and the others were Canadian, talking about the greatest Canadians ever — I knew only a couple.

First up for interviews was Isla Fisher. As if I wasn’t nervous enough — she sat down right next to me. She seemed like the girl next door that she plays; her Australian accent only added to the cuteness factor. Spunky, sweet and beautiful, I was in love, although the seven months pregnant thing was kind of a turn off (maybe it would have been hot if that was my bun in her oven … so to speak). I finally mustered up enough courage to ask if her career had changed post-Borat. Not the best question. She gave me a pity smile, briefly answered and walked out of my life forever.

What was it like on the set?
It was a lot of fun, it was a boys' club in a way, but these guys are so friendly, I felt instantly welcomed. I feel like a few of those men have vaginas, and that made me feel at ease.

You mentioned that originally your character was going to wilder or funnier places, why the switch?
We went between various characters. Essentially, we wanted a funny counterpart for Andy and a way of explaining why someone like Rod, who’s emotionally sort of stunted and slightly special needs, was able to get someone like Denise. But in the end, they wanted someone for the audience to relate to, so Denise was the straight girl. And I think it actually works really well; it’s really charming, their relationship.

Was there a back-story to why she had the bad boyfriend?
No, that would be absurd. We weren’t doing Shakespeare, but whatever genre the movie is, you really want it to work to a degree, but you don’t want to look too closely at it because it would probably dissolve.

Is there something that you brought to the film that the boys warmed to or they appreciated in what you did?
I didn’t bake any cookies, if that’s what you’re asking. Girlfriend, I do not bake. What did I bring? I’d really have to ask them.

I was more prepared for Andy Samberg; he was way less intimidating. I had a lot to ask, but everyone else did, too! After touching on almost everything, I asked if they consciously tried to make scenes that could be played on YouTube. Not as bad as my Isla question; maybe I was starting to get used to this. Here are the highlights:

This is your feature film debut, what are you feeling right now?
No matter how it’s viewed by the public or how it does money-wise, I feel like it’s very representative of our sense of humor and the kind of movie we would want to see if we were moviegoers. It’s weird to have your face on a billboard, especially if you’re collecting unemployment two years ago. It’s awesome, it’s like, I used to be a P.A. driving up and down this street, and now I’m on it. It’s really bizarre, but at the same time it’s what we always wanted. We feel like everything from this point on is just icing, because we’ve got to do everything we’ve wanted — it’s just nuts.

How have the reactions been?
People really dig it. I’ve been traveling from city to city doing press and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I was scared to go out there and have people be like, “Yeah, it wasn’t that great.” We’ve had people like, “Oh my god, you guys did it! It’s so crazy and silly, I laughed so much.” Just to hear people say that they laughed and they want to quote it, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’re huge comedy fans and to this day I’m the kind of guy that sits around quoting movies with my friends. To think that we could be that to somebody, that’s the greatest feeling there is.


In walked Lorne Michaels and director Akiva Schaffer. The opportunity to speak to a comedic legend was too good to pass up, so I tried to come up with a brilliant question before someone else did. I asked why he thought the time was right for the movie. He rambled while never answering the question. The Canadians batted over questions for their countryman, while Akiva sat, arms folded, only speaking twice.

How did you feel about giving these guys all the freedom with the movie?
I think there’s freedom, and then there’s the illusion of freedom. Akiva had never shot a feature before and Andy had never been in one before, so there was not as steep a learning curve as you’d think. Once we had the cast, my bet was that it would be original, and not be like any other movie I've made or (is) coming out this summer.

Can you talk a little about Andy?
The show is like an early warning. You can tell — whether it’s Bill Murray, Adam Sandler or Andy Samberg, for that matter — how they are connecting to the audience and each time they are out there, they’re taking it to another level and they have confidence and poise. Each week they are getting better, you can see it on that scale before a movie studio would. For me, when I know people are on their game and there’s sparks coming off them, and you can see they are exploding, you can say it’s easier to trust that because you’ve seen it happen 15 times.

You haven’t been involved in a movie since Mean Girls, and there hasn’t been a movie with such an SNL feel … you could go all the way back to The Ladies Man ...
We seldom go back to that (laughs).

What was it about the time right now that made you decide to go forward with this movie?It was a script everyone wanted me to make and I just had to find a way into it that would make it interesting for me and I thought we could make it a hit. There’s also a big risk on this because I don’t think the American public knows Andy and at least half the people think it’s a serious hot rod movie, so we might get mangled in the marketplace, but I think our core audience will find it and they’ll spread the word.


Ian McShane was next, dressed in black and speaking with a British accent. One journalist was a huge Deadwood fan, and they talked about the show for 15 minutes, leaving little time for questions. I had one about working with so many first-timers — but didn’t get to ask it.

Was the relationship with you and Andy like Frank and Rod at all?No, I did whack him around in the fights, though. He’s delightful, we had a good time.

This isn’t a film people would expect Ian McShane in.
I got offered it right after Deadwood got cancelled and it’s better to laugh than cry, so it came at the perfect time.

Jorma, Bill and Danny

Last were Bill Hader, Jorma Taccone and Danny McBride. Entering, they spotted me, and Bill said, “Look at the young guy, must be pretty smart.” We joked around about our ages and how I had the same haircut as Jorma. They all gave me high fives as we talked about Nintendo and things from our youth, while the other journalists awkwardly laughed. They joked around and told stories most of the time. Seeing these guys from the movie acting like me and my friends do was very profound.

You guys got the chance to improvise quite a bit, correct?
Jorma: When they ring the bell and we all start making the “ding” sound — amazingly that wasn’t written. But then "cool beans" was in the script, so you can never tell with us.

Bill: But Danny’s dream and when he’s beating the shit out of that guy, that was really funny.

Danny: He said he was going to punch my dickhole in, and I don’t like it when people cuss. That whole fight was improv.


And on the image of my own dickhole being punched in, the junket was over. I started to reflect: I realized I was in LA, the land of eccentricity and social saturation. I was livin' it up at the Four Seasons, the land of mini-bars and mega babes, hanging out with Lorne Michaels, Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher and Bill Hader. You know, I’m not gonna lie: it was one hell of a nerve-racking weekend — but it was one of the coolest times of my life. RDW

Bob Saget Interview

Bob Saget
By Scott BolohanJul 31, 2007, 11:44

Raw Yucks
After playing one of the most wholesome characters in network TV history, Bob Saget’s career was reborn following appearances in Half Baked, Entourage and most recently, The Aristocrats. Saget’s brand of raunchy comedy has become popular with the same people who grew up with him as the “All American dad.”

Saget has always had a darker sense of humor, and at this point in his life, he feels comfortable showing it. “I would say I hit it harder now than I ever did," he says. "Since I started doing standup when I was 17, my jokes were always weird and sick. We had a lot of death in my family; my dad lost four brothers, and I lost two sisters. We had a lot of hardships, and my dad chose — rather than have a nervous breakdown or turn negative — he went to his sick sense of humor. I was raised to go to the gallows with humor. I wouldn’t do anything if it didn’t organically come from where I’m at. It’s not an intentional, linear thinking thing, I don’t go, ‘This is how I’m going to be now.’ It’s just how I am.”

Despite the potential shock of seeing Danny Tanner spewing out filthy material, Saget says it’s not his intention. “I just want people to laugh and be entertained, it’s that basic," he admits. "I don’t want to offend people. When I host 1 vs. 100, the stuff in-between is pretty raw. People in the audience enjoy it, but they have to cut it out, because I know it’s not right. In the HBO special that I have coming out, first I say to the audience, this is filthy, it’s just for me. If I’ve got 12-year-olds in my audience, I ask them, please don’t put them in my audience, give them their money back. I can’t do my work: I’m not going to do it in front of them. I’m not here to shock people. I haven’t really heard from anybody that goes, ‘How could you do this?’ I’m not coming from a bad place with it.”

Asked if he would consider himself “raw,” Saget grapples with the concept of rawness. “I think it means you don’t have a big censor," he explains. "I’m always trying to get to the core. I guess raw talent is when something is real and it’s honest and you’re not trying to shut down any part of it — and in my standup I really get to do that now. But I try not to say something that would hurt people in my life. I strive to just say what comes to mind in addition to stuff that I find funny and not censor myself anymore for anyone, so I would call that raw. It shouldn’t be about being sexual or dirty, it should be about getting to your core. That’s how I’ve always done it: I come balls out. From the moment I was birthed, my balls come first.”

Saget isn’t opposed to doing family shows, but he’s not the same guy from Full House. “I can’t do Danny Tanner," he says. "I don’t know how to do that anymore. I wouldn’t be that kind of a character unless there were levels to it, unless he breaks down and you find out that he dresses up in strange women’s clothing and Uncle Jesse and him are doing something weird.”