The Indy: Well it seems like most of your characters—Baby Cakes in particular—are themselves incredibly maladjusted for that environment. They can’t make any sort of sense of it. BN: Say that in a different way.
The Indy: And within this universe, the people that self-present as having their shit together are the ones that are being sent up. We see it with the “America, Now” singers. There are these very bourgeois or neoliberal people with total confidence who are the actual brunt of the joke.
The Indy: The central characters can’t figure out what’s going on. Baby Cakes doesn’t really understand figurative language or metaphor.
BN: I think that’s an instinct for me, to mistrust authority figures and anybody who is firmly espousing any kind of rule or law. My primary instinct is to tear that down, remind them that they shit and puke.
BN: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I feel like he’s, in a lot of way, representative of me and my attitude towards the world of academia and the world at large. He’s kind of moving through it, mostly drunk, looking for pleasure. I split different aspects of my personality amongst a lot of the characters in China, IL. That’s the part of me that’s shown by Baby Cakes. The Indy: And then the scatological angle is played very well too. It seems like most of the characters in your show really embrace the fact of “I have a body; I am an animal.”
The Indy: Music plays a large role in the early videos. BN: It’s been a large part of my life growing up. I’ve played music in bands since I was a kid, with friends. I can’t keep it out of my life. I did songs for the show that will be peppered throughout the season. As far as taste is concerned, I hate to sound like a generic dad, but I like pretty much all sorts of stuff. When it comes to making comedy, I gravitate mostly to the stuff I listened to as a kid or heard as a kid. 80’s music mostly.
BN: Yes. That, I think, is one of my primary interests. Boiling things down to what is common between all of us. I think it’s funny to talk about poop and vomit and blood. But I think that really that’s kind of what links us all together, having that stuff in common.
The Indy: Are you a father, when you describe yourself as “a generic dad”?
The Indy: But at one and the same time the characters have an alienation to them. Their capacity for sense-making is fairly low. It’s sort of off. Despite the fact of their having poop and vomit and blood in common, they still come from this place of total weirdness. BN: Yeah. I think that reflects my general attitude about communication and sharing between people. I feel like it’s an easy thing to get wrong. I think it’s easy to misunderstand each other and also misrepresent yourself. I feel like that’s grounds for a lot of comedy for me, that general misunderstanding between people, even people who spend all their time together or are brothers even. I feel like that’s super funny, how people really have a hard time communicating.
NOVEMBER 15 2013
BN: I have a two year old daughter. The Indy: That must be ripe for you. BN: She was born when we were doing season one. So I had two things growing in front of me shitting and puking. The Indy: It’s been ten years or so since the release of your “Wizard People, Dear Reader.” With a little bit more perspective on the franchise as its ended, do you still agree with the character of Harry Potter as you portray him, as this myopic, young deity? BN: Yeah. I never read the books so I wasn’t a step ahead, I’ve only seen the first one. And I feel like I nailed it. The kids are drunks. He’s a god. I don’t think they were hiding any of those facts. They’re celebrating it. “The world’s dangerous. Let’s get drunk. And by the way, Harry is God.”
INTERVIEWS █ 10