I recently reached out to the creators of the excellent television show on Comedy Central, Jeff & Some Aliens. Sean Donnelly and Alessandro Minoli are the two geniuses that I owe the pleasure to, for creating this wonderfully warped show. Season one has wrapped up airing and we are still waiting for an official word on a renewal for season two. Fingers are crossed for good news.
Bubbleblabber: Concerning the past pilot of Basement Gary, as well as Jeff, there is a lot of science? Do either of you guys have a background in science?
Alessandro Minnoli: I don’t. Do you [Sean]?
Sean Donnelly: I don’t. I was forced to take a few science classes. Probably a similar science background to what you have.
BB: Well, I’m actually majoring in chemistry, so….
AM: Well, there you go. You surpass our background. One of the things that happened with Basement Gary was that we had all these ideas for that show. We pitched it around and developed it with Fox and then they were like “Nah, never mind” and in a way, they now owned the character. We still had all these science-y ideas that we had a new outlet for with Jeff & Some Aliens. The energy trader idea was originally from Basement Gary, so we used that idea for Jeff. Whereas before, we were like “Yeah, we can make a two minute short out of that” now we were like “Let’s make a 22-minute story out of that.”
BB: Awesome! So it sounds like Jeff & Some Aliens is a culmination of several previous ideas.
AM: For sure; it’s got elements of a lot of stuff- old and new. As new ideas come to us, we add them to the show.
SD: A giant cartoon stew of old and new ideas.
BB: You guys have this very particular sense of dark humor. Where did that originate from and when was the decision to go that route made?
AM: I don’t think there was ever a decision to go that way. When you think of scenarios there are usually about 20 ways that it could go, and ultimately we decide on the correct one, and that’s the path that we go down for that particular episode. It’s always funny to hear people talk about the show and its “dark sense of humor.” We definitely don’t set out and say “How can we make this as dark as possible?”
SD: I think there is a big range to most episodes, to be honest. If you look at Sauce and Jeff going to Sweden, it is mainly happy and joyful moments. There are a few sad parts, but overall the tone is happy. I think that the dark moments just stick with people the most. They are like “He killed an old woman!” and that definitely sticks with people more than Jeff and Sauce having fun in Sweden.
BB: It’s funny you say that because I showed the pilot to my parents and while my mom liked it, my dad was like “But he killed an old woman!” I tried to tell him that he did it for the greater good of Earth and that she came back at the end of the episode, but he didn’t want to hear it.
AM: Yeah, dad!
BB: Assuming that the network orders a second season, what have you learned from making the first season that you could implement, to make the second season even better if that’s possible?
SD: I feel like that’s the question that Comedy Central will ask us over lunch.
AM: Well, we are going to be exploring a lot more themes. Season one ended with Jeff finding a match, with the help from the aliens, that he is much more compatible with. So we spent season one looking at a guy who is desperate for love, but what does it look like when he actually finds it? It’s hard enough to figure the wants and needs of one person, so when you throw a second person in there, and some aliens, we will be looking at a whole different side of the life experience.
SD: We don’t want to repeat ourselves so we’ll be looking at pushing the story to all different types of places, and flushing out the world. We’ll watch the characters grow, and learn about where they came from.
BB: Did you have any notable experiences with any of the guest stars? You had so many guests throughout the season, such as Key, Kesha, Christian Slater, etc..
AM: We definitely had a lot of fun with all of the guest stars from the first season! We did a remote voice acting with the guests, so it’s not like “And then we did cocaine with them!” There were a lot of great moments. Keegan-Michael Key was a great guest. He gave so much back! There are some actors who just come in and give it all they’ve got. Key was one of those. He’d come in and get super psyched as part of the role, so much so that he almost passed out. The role had him screaming with excitement when he was in Sweden and he kept volunteering to redo it better and better. That’s a generous actor.
SD: It’s really cool to be able to get all of these great actors. It’s also interesting to mix actors that would never be next to each other. We had people who were good at making crazy voices, as well as dramatic actors. Steve Schirripa, from The Sopranos, played the pawn shop owner. He was really great. Steve would read over the script and be like “You guys are insane! Oh my God!” and go on to play the role perfectly.
AM: Here’s a fun little tidbit: the “water is so wet” song from episode 1 was sung by Brett in the booth. He was drinking water and just started singing to himself. Interestingly enough, Comedy Central, used that song for the promos, and the pilot coincidentally featured Jeff taking a shower and singing; so it worked out perfectly.
BB: Will there be a season one DVD? And will there be special features?
AM: That is a question for….. uhhh……
SD: ..someone else.
AM: We’ll ask around and see what we can do. And sure, we’d have special features.
SD: We have a bunch of deleted scenes that weren’t good enough to be in the show that we could put on the DVD. We could have a look at behind the scenes. Outtakes. People may be interested in seeing the process of the show being made from when it is in its early stages.
BB: I’d love to see that behind the scenes stuff! If you each had to pick your favorite episode, what would it be?
SD: It’s hard to say. I have a few favorites. If we had to pick one, I guess I’d say “Some Love” if we had to submit one to a thing for our best foot forward. I think that one came out well. It deals with love in a weird and surreal way. There is an emotional backbone. It has some fun twists and turns but never loses focus on Jeff and Linda.
AM: Yeah, that one is good. I really like the ones like “Some Energy Trading” and “Some Preteen Girls.” It’s fun to see where those end up while following the characters. Each episode has its pros, and its cons, to be honest. Whereas one like “Some Love” focuses on a single point, “Some Energy Trading” and “Some Preteen Girls” are fun because you get to see all the parts of the story come together.
BB: Any parting comments?
AM: It’s great to be able to have so many amazing people working towards a common goal. It’s really just a room full of people working really hard to make the best show possible.
SD: We’re going to go back to making the best show that we can.
There you have it folks. Again, I want to thank Alessandro Minoli and Sean Donnelly for letting me interview them. Those guys are awesome and it was the highlight of my week, no scratch that, my month to be able talk with them. Jeff & Some Aliens can be followed on Twitter and Facebook, here and here, and hopefully soon, we’ll be first to announce an official confirmation on a second season.