I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how to approach this interview mainly because I have been such a huge fan of Roger and Waco’s work since high school(I’m 27 years old now) and I didn’t want to be completely biased, so when I got the advanced screeners for their new animated series Brickleberry I couldn’t just watch it by myself and give it a score, instead I had some people watch it with me including guys like Cybertron of whom works for the site, others like my brother Brian of whom does not. After having seen the first episode with them, we all came to a resounding conclusion…Brickleberry is the best new animated series on Comedy Central since South Park.
Whenever I read up on new shows I love seeing the different synopses for animated series as its usually a “South Park meets…” type opening but few if any have captured the essence of what makes South Park special despite the fact that viewers and media outlets everywhere are obliviously reminded of one thing…there’s no other show like it. Other than a few exceptions like Ugly Americans and Futurama, quite a few animated series have come and gone over Comedy Central’s illustrious tenure with many going out to pasture despite decent voice casts and funny premises. Remember Freak Show with the NOW Emmy-nominated Jon Benjamin and the brilliant David Cross as the stars? Or how about the equally brilliant Drawn Together??
That said, the Brickleberry creators had one mission in mind when they came up with the concept for their show as according to co-creator Waco O’Guin “We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done, there were too many family shows out there “. The real treat here is listening to Roger’s take on how the concept came about when he was pissing off an actual park ranger at Waco’s wedding “I got into a fight at Waco’s wedding with his Father-in-Law due to my smart-ass comments.” And his name?? “Woody”. According to Roger, “We thought, boy this guy takes his job way too seriously, why don’t we do a nature park kind of thing?”.
And that they have done. Brickleberry is a workplace animated sitcom that takes place in a forest with horny animals, dopey park rangers, and a little trouble-making/junk food-loving bear named Malloy. The idea was actually first conceived as a live action show, but when it was pitched to FOX21(Sons of Anarchy)?? “They pretty much said the show would cost $10 mil an episode…that’s when we decided to make it a cartoon”, says Waco. But, don’t think for 5 seconds that Waco and Roger are new to this whole animation thing, as Roger states: “I think from day one we knew what the show was—how we wanted it to look. We both come from art backgrounds. Waco is an animation major, so we had a specific eye and we just know what we like and we started character sketches and stuff and we just kind of put down some ideas on paper and stuff.”
The voice cast is stellar for Brickleberry, led by Steve(played by David Herman) of whom clearly loves his job as a park ranger and displays that proudly with a badge of honor proclaiming him “Ranger of the Month”(“he was perfect and there was no doubt when he(David) came in” says Waco ) at the behest of his boss “Woody” played by Mr. Spongebob Squarepants himself Tom Kenny of whom almost didn’t even make the audition! Says Waco, “He almost didn’t make the audition because he came in when we were packing up everything, so and nobody—everybody was just was doing that really growling, screaming thing, but it wasn’t really that funny. So Tom, he just blew it away. I mean he was so far beyond anybody else we had heard with his voice and funny.”
Helping round out the cast is Kaitlin Olson of whom plays Ethel, a character that isn’t too unlike her role as Dee on Its Always Sunny due to her striving to be noticed in a male-dominated setting while trying to stave off her alcoholic tendencies. Then we have Jerry Minor as Denzel who seems to have a thing for the golden oldies, Roger as the surely Nicole Bass-influenced Connie, and of course Daniel Tosh as Malloy. ”At first we wanted Malloy to be a cute bear saying evil things but all of the voices were bad, then for the pilot he was actually Scottish and no one really got that, so when Daniel got involved he just used his regular voice which sounded SO much better”, says Waco.
Any fans of the Damn Show DVDs and the whole universe fronted by Yucko the Clown will be in for a treat as well because so far I have seen the first two episodes and we get expertly drawn depictions of characters derived from the universe to help mesh with the new characters introduced in Brickleberry all done by Bento Box Animation, the studio most famously behind Bob’s Burgers. “Even though we have the show on computers we didn’t want it to have that Flash look we wanted it to look as traditional as possible” says Waco “some of the Flash look creeps in but for the most part we couldn’t be happier!”
And happy these guys should be because Brickleberry is smart, funny, and crude which makes perfect ingredients for a surefire hit, and judging by the reaction at San Diego Comic Con its going to be, and guess what? The creators of Brickleberry wouldn’t have had it any other way because according to Waco “We got the exact reaction we were used to from doing live shows, we go after belly laughs, we don’t go after chuckles, we go after BIG explosive laughter and that’s what we got”.
Brickleberry is all new on Comedy Central starting September 25th @ 10:30pm EST, check out the trailer and keep checking back for the review.