Interview Date: 03/13/2010
Run Date: 03/24/2010
To sit and talk with Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke is to get a textbook lesson on funny, and three different kinds of funny at that. As their “Hot Tub Time Machine” director Steve Pink observed, each of them works at a different speed – a notion that oddly offended them when we dared to suggest it late in our chat – and the roundtable interview the three did with Bullz-Eye and three other writers, their first of the day, covered the spectrum of comedy. In short, one of them used the word ‘meta,’ while another talked about showing his tits on camera.
A word of caution: plot pieces are discussed in length, so if you haven’t yet seen the movie, beware that SPOILERS abound, along with a hell of a lot of funny.
Writer: It’s a movie set in the ‘80s, and it’s a comedy. What’s the draw?
Clark Duke: You just rattled it off, man! It’s a funny movie set in the ‘80s.
Rob Corddry: There’s boobies in it.
Craig Robinson: Drug use.
Duke: John Cusack.
Corddry: More boobies.
Duke: Motley Crue.
Robinson: Chevy Chase.
Robinson: Chevy Chase calls Clark a girl.
Writer: The movie is a throwback to the fun, R-rated, hardcore comedies. Was that what excited you to be a part of this project?
Corddry: The only thing I thought that this was missing, in terms of being that kind of hardcore comedy, was actual penetration. I mean on-camera, full-on, penny.
Robinson: “Silence of the Lambs”? They had penetration.
Duke: They did?
Robinson: The director’s cut.
Duke: I’m trying to remember that.
Corddry: “The Goonies” had full-on penetration.
Robinson: Freddy Kreuger.
Duke: That’s a little before my time, so I’ll have to go back and check.
Writer: When you first heard about this, was it called “Hot Tub Time Machine”?
Duke: Oh, yeah.
Corddry: The guy who wrote this, I don’t know if you know this, but this is a joke going back to their college days in the ‘90s. He said he was going to write a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine.” His roommates were [Jon] Hurwitz and [Hayden] Schlossberg, the guys that wrote “Harold and Kumar.” They told me that it was always a running joke, like, what a world it would be if you could pitch and sell a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine.” And then one day, he just decided to write it…and it was terrible. So they rewrote it…
Corddry: Kidding. It was an instant classic. And it made a lot of people very, very rich.
Writer: Was there a lot of improv, stuff you guys came up with for the characters, or was it all right there [in the script]?
Duke: There were some rewrites, and improv from the cast, the director and producer.
Robinson: A lot of collaboration.
Duke: A collabo, is what they call it.
Bullz-Eye: Craig, when you got involved in acting, did you ever think there would be a day where you’d be singing a Rick Springfield song in a movie?
Robinson: It’s funny you should ask that: no. I’ve done the singing stuff in movies because I do sing, and I have a band called the Nasty Delicious, who played on the soundtrack. They’re right behind me [in the movie] on those songs. So it was nice to live that.
Writer: You’ve got Chevy Chase, you’ve got John Cusack, Crispin Glover, three guys who’ve had a big impact on films in the ‘80s. How was that to have them in the film and give some legitimacy to the project?
Duke: We definitely had the whole meta level of Cusack being the lead guy. I think it turned the movie into something a lot more interesting than it would have if it starred someone who wasn’t an iconic ‘80s figure.
Corddry: And getting [William] Zabka, that was fun.
Bullz-Eye: I picture the younger actors going to John as some kind of soothsayer, a wise man.
Duke: The only younger actor was me.
Bullz-Eye: I was thinking of the girls, too.
Duke: Yeah. But I think it had a bigger impact on me than it did the girls. But yeah, I was a huge fan of “High Fidelity” and “Grosse Point Blank” – which Steve Pink, the director, wrote – in addition to Cusack’s ‘80s stuff, which is fun.
Writer: Was there any ‘80s cultural moment or reference you wish was in the movie, or got cut from the movie?
Corddry: Probably Reagan getting shot. That was funny.
Robinson: Kool Moe Dee. Have him do a cameo, where he comes out and says, “How you like me now?” and then the camera goes back.
Corddry: That’s totally what this movie is missing.
Duke: If the movie doesn’t open big, we’ll know why.
Robinson: Had that been pitched during the filming of this movie, that would have gotten in there, provided we could have gotten Kool Moe Dee.
Duke: You think he was tied up? I feel like this is Kool Moe Dee’s phone, and this is Kool. (Stares at recorder in front of him)
Writer: What trend do you remember rocking in the ‘80s, and what do you have still at home from that time period?
Robinson: I had some leather pants that I wrote a couple times that are in my closet.
Duke: You mean like Eddie Murphy?
Robinson: No, no, they were black and (embarrassed) I used to wear them with this red silk shirt.
Corddry & Duke: (Much laughter)
Robinson: It was pretty bad.
Writer: Everyone loved Motley Lou. Was there more Motley Lou stuff that had to be cut out?
Corddry: Motley Lou was a re-shoot, a couple months ago. We shot the “Home Sweet Home” video almost shot for shot. I don’t know how much of it made it into the film…
Duke: Have you seen it with the effects on it, with the title effects? They look awesome.
Robinson: You gonna love it.
Corddry: I haven’t seen it. I was a big Motley Crue fan in the ‘80s, so I’ve been rehearsing for that scene since 1986, in my bedroom. Which is sad and true.
Writer: What was the wildest thing asked of you, going beyond your comfort zone?
Corddry: There were a lot of challenges to my comfort zone. I’m often pantsless. That’s something.
Duke: They wouldn’t let you use cue cards or your earpiece.
Corddry: That’s right. I had to show my tits.
Bullz-Eye: Did you get paid extra for that?
Corddry: No. They don’t do that. I was also on mushrooms most of the time, while making this movie.
Writer: Do you find that difficult?
Corddry: Terrible idea, terrible idea. Don’t ever do it.
Robinson: One day, they served…
Duke: Spicy Italian sandwiches?
Robinson: Spicy Italian sandwiches, but the big stew that they had. And Rob put all the mushrooms in there, and the whole cast and crew ate a stew of mushrooms and beef.
Corddry: I feel terrible about that, because some elderly people, they went crazy.
Duke: They never came back.
Corddry: They never came back.
Duke: The only thing that saved [Rob] was the loose Canadian legal system. They just…
Corddry: They do not care who you dose.
Duke: It was a misdemeanor.
Robinson: And then we shot one of the ski scenes. That was why we skied so good.
Bullz-Eye: The leads right into my next question: how much of your actual skiing made it into the final cut.
Duke: All of it.
Corddry: All of our actual skiing made it into the final cut, but all of our actual skiing was probably about three seconds.
Bullz-Eye: So no real skiers in the bunch?
Duke: They taught me and Craig.
Robinson: Cusack skis.
Bullz-Eye: Well, Cusack skied the K-12.
Duke: In real life?
Duke: Oh, right, “Better Off Dead.” No, but he can really ski. The first take, we’re on the bluff thing, and we’re all like, “Cut,” and he’s like, “I wanna try one!” Boom, he’s down the hill.
Writer: Talk about the on-set atmosphere the day of your big blowjob sequence.
Corddry: The atmosphere was pretty sexually charged. Most people were just 100% erect, men and women.
Writer: No fluffers?
Robinson: No fluffers. We came in early, and Rob would fluff me, prepare me…and then I came in his face.
Corddry: He resets really fast.
Robinson: We did seven takes, and then I’d have to reload.
Writer: How often do you go into hot tubs now?
Corddry: I’m not really a hot tub guy.
Robinson: I would love to, more.
Duke: I tub a lot, I’m not gonna lie to you.
Corddry: You ‘tub’ a lot? So much so that you use it as a verb?
Duke: If the weather would get ten degrees warmer, we’d spend all summer up there.
Corddry: Unabashedly saying ‘tub’ this and ‘tub’ that.
Duke: I have a little pair of short shorts like James Bond wore in “Casino Royale.”
Corddry: Tub shorts, you’d call them.
Duke: Bright red.
Corddry: You are fucking disgusting.
Duke: I’m just telling you, man, that’s how we do it.
Corddry: No, man. I avoid Hollywood. I go an hour out of my way, because I don’t want to go anywhere near your hot tub.
Bullz-Eye: I want to hear from each one of you, what your favorite project is from the other leads, and let’s include Cusack in this.
Duke: “Grosse Pointe Blank” for Cusack, for sure.
Corddry: Cusack’s had some real classics. “Must Love Dogs”… (This kills everyone in the room.) I’m actually a huge fan of “1408,” that’s a really good horror movie. And Clark, I’m a big “Sex Drive” fan. Can’t wait to see “Kick-Ass.”
Duke: You just named the only two movies [I’ve done]. You just named my entire catalog.
Corddry: So far, you’re 3-for-3. That’s pretty good. I was in a movie called “Unaccompanied Minors.”
Duke: But “Sex Drive” didn’t make any money. But it’s underrated. Kind of an ‘80s homage itself. It’s our “Sure Thing.”
Robinson: “Serendipity.” When we signed up to do this movie, I had to brush up and see who this Clark Duke was, so they screened “Sex Drive” for me. I was like, “Oh, this dude, he’s kind of a pimp.” That’s the only thing [of Clark’s] I saw.
Duke: That’s the only thing there is!
Robinson: Well, there’s “Greek,” of course. And then I’m looking at [Corddry], and realizing how much stuff of his I know. The basketball, Will Ferrell, what’s the name of that?
Robinson: “Semi-Pro.” I was rolling at the scene where Woody Harrelson and the other girl make out, and you’re like, (turned on) “Yeah…”
Duke: You were also really great on “Studio 60.” I know they only have the one season, but you were awesome.
Corddry: That’s…my brother.
Corddry: That was my brother Nate. That wasn’t me.
Duke: What are you talking about? (Looks at Robinson) You guys are doing a bit.
Robinson: (Laughs) You can Google it.
Duke: You guys are doing a bit. There’s not another Corddry.
Writer: Clark, you had some great scenes with Chevy Chase. Can you talk about working with him, and what that was like?
Duke: It was a career highlight for me. He’s my hero. I told him that on the first day, otherwise I was gonna throw up.
Writer: What was the most unexpected thing you did in your scenes?
Duke: My name being next to Chevy Chase’s on the poster is the most unexpected thing that I could ever come up with.
Robinson: He farted.
Duke: Yeah. On day one.
Corddry: On cue.
Duke: I don’t think he’d appreciate us…
Corddry: Don’t care.
Robinson: They were gonna put that in the movie.
Duke: Yeah, but he could have denied it was real. He could have acted like it was special effects.
Writer: Does that add to his legend?
Robinson: Absolutely. It was kind of amazing.
Duke: He’s so funny in regular life, just in conversation. He’s a wiseass, but he’s also amazingly politically incorrect. I’ve never seen anybody do shit to waiters like he does, ever.
Corddry: Don’t wait on him.
Duke: No, do, because you’re in for a treat! Unless you’re easily offended. Because he’ll do bits about inappropriate gynecology at nice restaurants. We had dinner every night for a week, and it was pretty amazing.
Writer: Steve Pink and Cusack have a sort of shorthand at this point, I would imagine. How was it cracking that, or did you feel left out?
Duke: They have, like, a twin language, almost.
Corddry: Which one’s John? Which one’s Steve?
Duke: (pretending he’s holding a gun) I don’t know who to shoot!
Robinson: They were like an old married couple from day one. But it turned out all right because I would just look in [between them], go “Okay,” and then do what I wanted to do.
Writer: They would each tell you different things?
Robinson: Oh, yeah.
Bullz-Eye: Who was the guy in the bear suit? Where did he come from?
Duke: It was a bunch of different guys.
Bullz-Eye: Well, not the actual actor, but you guys are in the tub, and…
Corddry: Paul Rudd.
Duke: Paul Rudd was the bear.
Bullz-Eye: …and then he’s gone. What happened to him?
Robinson: (Getting mock-philosophical) Here’s the thing: did you really see a bear suit? Was it really in the movie?
Corddry: I don’t get this.
Duke: I don’t, either.
Robinson: Was the bear really there?
Robinson: Or were we inebriated, and the bear showed up?
Corddry: Oh, I see what you’re saying.
Duke: The bear shows up in the background in a bunch of shots.
Robinson: Yeah, but was he?
Corddry: You know, Craig, you make a great point. Somewhere in there, there is a great point.
Robinson: His name is James Patanti. (This sends Corddry into hysterics.)
Writer: Rob, there’s this great gag involving Crispin and the arm, and your character is just waiting the whole movie to see how that turned out. Tell us about that gag and how it was created.
Corddry: I didn’t get it; I thought Crispin Glover was really gonna lose his arm. And then they told me, “No, it’s just going to be a running joke through the rest of the movie.” And I was disappointed.
Duke: Because you hate his guts.
Corddry: I HATE that guy, and I hate his arm! For years, I hate that guy’s stupid arm.
Duke: For years, now.
Corddry: No, I don’t hate him, at all. What would you like to know about that bit, specifically?
Writer: Just working it out with Crispin, and how it developed.
Corddry: That was one of those bits where…I read a very, very early version of the script – and little of what is in the movie now is in the original script – the original script was kind of bonkers. Like, my character actually rents a DeLorean, thinking it’s going to take him back to the present. But that [arm gag] was in every draft.
Writer: It’s hard to imagine that working as well with anyone else.
Corddry: We’ll never know.
Bullz-Eye: (To Duke and Robinson) Your approach to acting is pretty laid back. (To Corddry) You had to be pretty much ‘on’ the entire time. Did that get exhausting after a while?
Duke: (Offended) What are you implying?
Corddry: He’s saying that you guys phoned it in, while…
Duke: That’s exactly what it sounded like.
Bullz-Eye: That’s not what I’m saying.
Robinson: So Rob was always on, and we were just kinda there.
Bullz-Eye: What I’m saying is Rob was always up. (Note: Swear to God, I never thought the other two would take offense to this, since they’re known for delivering funny in a more laconic style, while Corddry did the entire movie like he was over-caffeinated. Jesus.)
Corddry: Well, what I have to do is I have to get a hard-on, before every scene. If you see me when I’m acting in a scene in a movie, I am erect. I have a hard-on.
Duke: Which is actually medically dangerous, because we’ll shoot 12, 14-hour days.
Robinson: And he doesn’t take breaks.
Corddry: I have a hard-on right now.
Bullz-Eye: Must be tough to run with it.
Duke: I don’t. Totally flaccid.At this point, the three posed for a couple pictures, and were off to do their second of four roundtable interviews