If Adam DeVine, 1/3 of the genius behind Workaholics, were giving a graduation speech, this is what he envisions it would look like: “I would probably chant ‘let’s get weird’ a lot and take off my shirt and chug a beer that I had planted under the podium. And when it gets all wild, I would quickly put my shirt back on, and say “stay in school, never grow up, be a kid forever” and run off.”
BroBible: Adam, how are you man? Pretty excited for Arrested Development…
Adam DeVine: Me too man. I’m so stoked. I was so happy to be a part of it. We actually had Mitch Hurwitz on an episode of Workaholics and he just contacted us and was a fan of the show and we’re like “we wanna write a part for you.” And he’s like “I don’t really act….” “Well you do now.” We had him on as like our human resources guy in the office and he was just a total maniac. It was just a funny bit. We thought that was going to be the end of it but he’s such cool, super funny dude and he was just kind of like “I want you guys in an episode.” It’s just a small cameo, but I still feel pretty lucky because it’s one of my favorite shows. It’s so funny.
Yeah, yeah. So you said you’re only in one episode?
Yeah we’re only in one.
What are some of your favorite Arrested Development moments?
Let me think. I mean I love when Tobias was trying to be a part of the Blue Man Group and he was painting himself blue all the time. It’s the little things in Arrested Development and the fact that every scene has so many jokes – Mitch Hurwitz is such a genius that every scene has layers of jokes. Which is hard to do, when you’re writing a comedy show you see that the scene will be funny or that this bit will be funny, but it’s hard to say this will be funny because this is funny, this is funny, this is funny, and this is funny and they make it have… you know, so many layers. It’s like a little comedy onion except it doesn’t make you cry, it makes ya laugh.
Remember when… oh shit, I forgot the character in the episode… the Magician?
When he was trying to show Michael Jr. all his magic tricks and they’re doing this Girls Gone Wild type thing. And it’s like spring break and he’s showing him all the magic tricks and he’s taking him to the beach and showing all these girls, trying to convince them to take off their tops if he shows them a magic trick. And then he’s like… he promised, last year on an MTV-type-of-show that he was going to make his boat disappear. So he does that huge production where they play the final countdown and then when Michael Jr. gets on the boat and is hiding that because he wants people to wonder how they’re going to make it disappear, then he blows the boat up and everyone thinks he’s dead for like a half hour.
It was the funniest thing to me. And when in fact he realized “Oh, my uncle’s a creep he’s just trying to see boobs, I’m not going to do that.” For whatever reason, which is so smart when they did it, they made him like the nicest kid who like never wanted to get in trouble and didn’t want to see boobs. Like any other kid, teenage boy would have been like “yo, I’m kicking it with my weird uncle ‘cause he’s conning girls into showing him their boobs.” But he’s such a sweetheart that it didn’t happen.
I mean, George Michael is one of the best characters…
Yeah and the casting was so rad on the series because everybody for the most part went on to have like crazy, huge movie careers. Like a lot of them just went on to…. And I was talking about this last night. The only one I didn’t see like have a huge movie career was like Maeby (Alia Shawkat). And then I looked her up on IMDB and it’s like she did 5,000 things that just flew under my radar, I just don’t watch those type of movies. But she’s in a million things. So… they all did some stuff then.
I always loved the show’s ridiculous fashion choices. Like Jorts and all these things that kind of became running jokes.
Yes. I mean like never-nude was one of the most genius things. And I hate to throw around the word genius, but with Arrested Development and Mitch Hurwitz, I feel totally confident in doing that. Because the most annoying thing to me is when somebody is like “oh my god, did you see (whatever show that’s just ok)? GENIUS!” and then I’m like “I don’t know if that’s genius” and they’ll be like “oh my god, that joke you just told is genius.” And you’re like “that joke wasn’t genius.” They’re throwing that around, literally, lackadaisically.
Never-nudes, that’s just so funny to me, and just what a really hilarious affliction for someone to have, for a comedy plotline, that they can never be nude.
I guess from a comedy perspective it means Workaholics can never have a “jorts” episode now.
I know. Really bums us out. Or never-nude affliction. We can never find out that Ders can never be nude. Which is true, which is true… but… they covered a lot of territory. It’s good they didn’t go for nine seasons because I’m sure Mitch Hurwitz would have covered every joke you can tell and we would be…. We would be done with Workaholics. We just wouldn’t have anything else to say. It would be the guys move to Newport Beach and just live the Arrested Development life. Ron Howard would be the narrator.
Maybe hoping for the airline worker role to open up in Arrested Development for everything to come full circle?
Yeah, totally. I think it was so cool that Ron Howard is literally one of the executive producers and also that he narrated it. You just recognize his voice so well just from watching Happy Days and stuff at your grandparents’ house. You’re like “oh, I know this voice” and to have him narrate everything was really really smart.
When Arrested Development went off the air, you were obviously in the very beginning of your career. What was your reaction at the time?
You know, I caught a few episodes, but Arrested is the type of show where you need to… It’s one of the weird comedy shows that you, it’s actually better to watch every episode than just catching a few. A lot like Workaholics, like every episode is standalone, if you’ve never seen it before you just tune in and you watch it and you’ll probably understand what’s happening. There’ll be a couple inside jokes you don’t get but it’ll be fine. But Arrested, there’s so many layers and so many jokes that to really get everything out of the episode you have to watch every episode. So I’d only seen two episodes in the past and was like that show seems really funny it seems pretty insane, but I didn’t really catch up on everything until after it was off the air and I met Ders. It was Ders’s favorite show and he was like “here, watch every episode of this.” And I’m like “oh wow, this is it” and thank you.
Do you think it helped lay a blueprint for Workaholics?
I think with having the opportunity to create Workaholics, it wasn’t necessarily all of our favorite shows, but it was definitely one of them. It’s two totally different shows because being able to have the device of narrating an episode, there’s gotta be someone to narrate it for you and “last time on…” and like “George Michael talked to Maeby and this happened” and it gets out a lot of the stupid exposition that we end up doing since we didn’t have a narrator. It really cleans up their episodes really nicely and we just decided not to go down the road.
But yeah, watching Arrested Development and Always Sunny and we’re all big Cheers fans — it’s a well-written show. And you really have to, if you want to be a tv writer, the knowledge of your favorite TV shows and see what you like about ‘em and see what you’d change about ‘em, and go from there. And form your own opinion.
Do you have any anecdotes or stories from when you were shooting Arrested Development?
We’re all big fans, so it was just cool to be there and we’re standing talking to Jason Bateman. He was being very nice and polite but obviously, he has no idea about Workaholics, has never seen the show, just thinks we’re like… three actors that they hired – which we were. But he had no idea we had our own television show, and some 14 or 15-year-old kids came up to us and were like “oh my god, Workaholics!” and we’re right next to Jason Bateman, and they asked Jason Bateman to take a photograph… of us… with the kid!
And he’s like “really?” and the kid is like “yeah, sorry man.” I’m sure he would have realized it was Jason Bateman if he was paying any amount of attention but it seems like when people see a celebrity they get so fixated on that celebrity that the rest of the world just goes black for them. Especially when you’re 14 or 15. So he’s like “Ok” and then he’s like “Wait, who are you guys?” and we’re like “We have our own TV show” and he’s like “oh, that’s so cool, I’m going to have to watch it”. I don’t know if he did or not but it made me feel good to think Jason Bateman was gonna go home, curl up in a little ball, make some popcorn, and get weird.
So let’s talk Special Units Unit, you got to be a cop. What do you like about playing a cop? Pretty easy to make fun of?
Playing a cop is just so much fun. And for whatever reason, me and the other actors in the spot decided to just have them have a weird Chicago accent, even though obviously we’re shooting in downtown Los Angeles. It looks like training day, we’re running around all Denzel Washington style. But we have Chicago accents which makes no sense but it was just kind of funny. But you know, it’s cool man, I’d love to play a cop in a movie. There’s something fun about having… well in this case aNorelco Click and Style shaver attached to my head, but in other cases, possibly a weapon. I guess the Click and Style is kind of a weapon against your hair follicles. If you’re gonna take that beard down a peg or two, show it who’s boss.
Did you decide you had to go with the mustache? It’s very Reno 911…
Well being a cop, it’s issued. When you get your badge, you also get are able to go and pick a ‘stache.
Let’s talk manscaping. Any words of wisdom?
Clean up after yourself, don’t be a creep. Your girlfriend doesn’t want to find pube trimmings all over the bathroom floor, on her sink, it’ll get in her toothbrush, and the reason that you’re cleaning up is for her anyway, so you might as well be polite and do it over the sink. What’s cool about… The quickest way is to do it in the shower. You don’t even need to do it in the sink, it goes right down the drain.
And don’t try to put a design in there. Just maintain… have it be clean, I’m actually really glad I’m in this generation. Like my parents, my parents are in their late 50s, it’s just a full growth down there. That’s nasty, right? Disgusting. I’m glad that we have shavers that are able to maintain a slight amount of hair, we’re not trying to look like 12-year-old boys. But not so much hair that girls are going to find it disgusting, that they’ll like us.
The advances in shaving are technologically comparable to mankind going to space.
That’s where all the NASA money went, we stopped going to space and we started shaving our chests.
One last question… It’s graduation season and Workaholics is all about young people in the workforce sort of right out of college. If you were to give a graduation speech, what would you say?
What would the entire speech be? I would probably chant “let’s get weird” a lot and take off my shirt and chug a beer that I had planted under the podium. And when it gets all wild, I would quickly put my shirt back on, and say “stay in school, never grow up, be a kid forever” and run off. Just really confuse ‘em. I don’t know, it’s tough, finding jobs and shit now. There’s no jobs out there, evidently. I’m lucky where I get to have a job where I make fun of that very thing, but if I were in school right now and I’m graduating I would quickly take out another $5,000 loan and get my doctorate in something weird that won’t help me down the line. So I can just stay in school because college is… college isn’t bad.
Would you get your doctorate in something like divinity or something crazy?
Human sexuality, I feel like that would be something you could learn that would help you down the line. Like as a pickup line at the bar “I’m studying human sexuality, what’s up, my name’s Adam.” That might fly. It might fly. Even if it didn’t fly, some girls would be like “really?” and you’d be like “yeah” and they’re like “well, alright” and then it’s like at least he’s option number 2. I’ll look around the bar a little bit longer and find someone handsome but if not I’ve got this weirdo who has his doctorate in human sexuality. And you’ll just see me in the corner doing some weird thing with my hands.