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[Table] IAmA: Dominic Monaghan's curious Q&A. I like curiosity. AMA.

2014.03.24 22:03 tabledresser [Table] IAmA: Dominic Monaghan's curious Q&A. I like curiosity. AMA.

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Date: 2014-03-24
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Questions Answers
Do you remember my dad Paul? You and him used to be mates and you met on Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. I've got a Pic of you and him on set. Link to Paul was the clapper loader on Hetty Wainthropp, and one of the first real friends I made in the industry. He was a lovely guy and I was a young kid, who didn't know anything about the business, and he took me under his wing. Please tell him I said hey!
Hey Dom! How was the experience of returning to Hobbiton with your friend Billy Boyd? How long has it been, reliving the location where it all began? It's been at least 10 years, maybe 11 or 12 years, since Billy and I were both back in New Zealand together? We've been there individually but not at the same time.
It was great, because we were able to go to Mata Mata, where the Shire is, so Bag End, the Prancing Pony where the hobbits drink, so what we were able to do was sneak into the Prancing Pony and not tell the tourists we were there, and then we opened the Prancing Pony to the tourists. And then when they went inside, we opened the pub up and they asked "What are you doing here?" and Billy replied back "we stay here when we're not working! We've rooms above the pub." And I mean, there were a few people who were quite emotional about it, it was great, we served them all ginger beer and served the adults ale.
Hi Dominic, Did you really choose Luke as your Confirmation name after Luke Skywalker? Greetings from Croatia! Yes, and I wanted Han, but my mom and dad wouldn't let me have Han. They said it has to be a name in the bible, so I went away and said "Chewie" and then they said "no, Chewie's not in the Bible." Chewie SHOULD be in the Bible, he has that biblical beard. But we went with Luke.
Do you keep in touch with the other Hobbits? Yes of course! Billy comes and stays at my house whenever he's in LA. I see Elijah whenever our paths cross with each other. And same with Sean Astin. We're all busy and working but when we're in the same city we tend to find each other.
What's the absolute worst experience (anything from a single day to an entire project) you've ever had filming, and what happened that made it so terrible? I did a film in the Ukraine called Soldiers of Fortune with Christian Slater and Ving Rhames and Jamie Cromwell and Sean Bean, and it was just kind of miserable. The director didn't really know what he was doing, the film wasn't great, the hotel was rubbish, room service closed at 5 and we wouldn't get back to the hotel until 7 or 8, I had a broken foot at the time. So that was pretty poor.
Who was your favorite actoactress to work with and why? Probably Viggo? or Ian McKellen? They're both real professionals, they both bring their A-game to every scene they do and they are both incredibly unpredictable, so you never know what is going to happen next. And he is willing to do anything to make his character more authentic. He would you know, sleep in the forest for LOTR trying to be as Aragorn-y as possible.
Did you ever get Aragorn straight on that whole “Second Breakfast” thing? That's a fun question.
Hi Dominic, thanks for doing an AMA! I don't think humans will ever understand the idiosyncrasies of hobbits.
I did a phoner with you a year and a half ago when you were doing press for The Day. I’m curious: what’s the most annoying question you’ve ever been asked during an interview? It's good to be curious. And the most annoying question that I got asked are the lazy ones where they ask you to do all the work, like "tell us the most amusing story from on set" or "tell us about your character" that's a little lame. I get interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos a lot and he really does his homework, and it makes the interview really enjoyable because he asks questions that come from a place of research. Chris Hardwick is the same. Hello ChrisHardwick! He clearly does his homework. And if I'm going to show up at an interview and try to make it best and give the best answers, it's refreshing when the interviewer tries to give their best questions.
Also, you’re attached to “The Hundred Code.” I’m assuming from the title it’s a police drama. What can you tell us about it? The Hundred Code is a swedish cop show that I'm going to do in May. Which deals with a New York cop (who I play) who goes to Stockholm following a very specific type of serial killer, whose case file has shown up in Stockholm. And I have to work with a completely different type of police unit. It's Seven meets Lethal Weapon. It's Lethal Seven.
Was it your idea to make Charlie wear band-aids on his fingers? What did they represent? They wanted me to have some sort of minor injury after the crash. They didn't want me to look like I'd survived the crash unscathed. So we put bandages on my fingers, and then JJ and Damon came up with the idea of I write a four letter word on my hand every so often. It was going to change over the course of the show, so I think I started out writing LATE and then eventually he was going to get hungry and I was going to write PATE. And then I think I ended up writing FATE and we would all try to work out how many words we could get out of that, and then we dropped the idea.
Hello Dominic! How did you find the Hobbit movies? Just walk to my local cinema, and they're on!
Is there going to be a Driveshaft reunion tour? There wasn't even a Driveshaft tour in the first place, so I doubt a reunion is on the books! I would like to do it though, I had a great time with Neil Hopkins who played my brother. We were trying to do an homage to the Mancunian band Oasis.
Hello,how was your day? Have you kept in contact with anyone else from lost, specifically Claire? And how did you feel about Flashforwards cancelation? It was fantastic. Hanging out with my BBC America friends on the east coast, but unfortunately I am slightly hungover.
Yes, I'm still friends with Emily. We go out to dinner every so often, and there are pictures of us tweeting at each other. People want us to fall in love and go off into the sunset, but she's married. You know, I'm still friend with Harold and see him and his wife quite a bit, as well as Ian, Jorge, Josh Holloway. We're all busy and stuff, but when we see each other it's cool. There's a weird camaraderie with those people because you shared such an experience with them.
It's very difficult to get shows on the air anyway, so I'm always a little disappointed when you've made it to that point and the show doesn't return. I thought Flash Forward was really well written and had a great group of actors involved with it, but the irony of that was that I probably would not have been able to do Wild Things if I was still doing Flash Forward, so you just have to give in to the flow of, I dunno, the universe? The cosmos? Furbies?
So I had a dream 2 nights ago where I met you on the street and told you that the "Not Penny's Boat" scene made me cry and you didn't even acknowledge me. Let's get the record straight, how would you really react in real life? I always react in the same way, which is "Oh, thank you so much. I'm so glad it worked. We all attempted to move the audience in that scene, and I think we did a pretty good job."
Hey Dom, of all the character you have played, who can you relate to the most? I don't know, maybe Charlie from LOST. He was a real guy, he had similarities in his personality that I have. He has some demons, which he deals with incorrectly at times, and he has a good heart, wants to do the right thing, makes mistakes, is quite human.
If you could be on any television show (besides the ones you have worked on), what would it be? Game of Thrones.
I want this to happen, i can imagine him playing a youngish lord of a smallish town. Okay! Make it so.
What did you have for second breakfast today? I haven't eaten today.
Do you ever ask yourself, "What the fuck am I doing?" when handling wild and dangerous animals on your show? Have you ever been bit? That's one of the more common questions that i get asked, are you crazy, are you mental type thing. You know, the potential of being bit or being in any sense of peril is outweighed by the profound experience of interacting with a wild animal. It's powerful, you know? And palpable as well. An animal will fight you a little bit, but then you communicate to the extent it will stay with you, it's quite powerful.
I've been bit a few times - snakes, spiders, stung by scorpions, I've been bitten by an anaconda this year, it was definitely a dodgy moment on set.
Where has been your favorite place you have traveled? And would you like to do any comic cons to meet your fans? I've done Comic-Con a bunch! I think I've done it 8 times. Favorite place to visit? I really like Southeast Asia, so any of those places - Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Thailand. The food is so great, the people are so friendly, animals everywhere.
Do you have a favorite animal? Yes, my favorite animals are ants. The insect, yeah. They're fascinating. If you're interested in animals, you should study ants because they are fascinating. They live in highly condensed communities where there's no murder, no rape, they work to protect their kids, they create clean soil and air, they allow trees to grow, they protect the forest, they live in complete balance with our planet. And they're fucking awesome.
That's an unexpected answer! I've always thought bees were really neat, maybe they're on the same level. Are their societies similar? Thanks for answering, you are awesome! Well, bees and ants belong to the same insect group, called hymenoptera. Wasps are in that group as well. And ants are essentially wingless wasps. So those 3 animals tend to live in very complex, tightly knit communities and do it very successfully.
Throughout your career you’ve filmed in some crazy places. What was your favourite location? Also, I just want to say that you’re awesome and I’ve had a massive crush on you since I started watching Lost in high school. I cried like a little bitch when Charlie bit the dust. Sorry for your loss. And all-time favorite location is New Zealand, just because of the experience, the memories. I'll probably live there eventually, if I ever have children.
Did Steve Irwin influence you/your show in any way? Of course. The death of Steve was the impetus for me to turn my idea for a show into something real. I was pretty devastated by his death, and I remember thinking "If I don't use this as an opportunity to turn this into the show that i have always talked about, then what does that say about how I felt when he died?"
How do you like your steak cooked? Medium rare.
Slightly on the bloody side.
Did you ever get around to fighting Elijah Wood? Well, yeah, we had a boxing match. Which we did for a film festival. And the kind of sponsored film in that film festival was a documentary called Knuckle, so they did these commemorative boxing matches, so the guy from Knuckle, for the guy who ran the film festival, that wasn't a real fight. Then a girl fought a boy. And then a six foot three guy fought a five foot two guy, and they didn't have a real fight either, so Elijah and I looked at each other, we're both good sports and we love each other, and we said "Hey, let's fight." There must be a link somewhere that you can see.
1) What was it like shooting the Eminem/Rihanna video? Any funny/interesting moments? 1) Well, I mean, it was pretty special. The director got in touch with me and said "what are you doing next week" and I said "nothing" and he said "you want to be in the new Eminem video" and I said "absolutely." There was no format for what the video would be at that point that I knew of. But Eminem is probably my favorite hip hop artist of all time alongside Rakim and KRS-One. So I jumped at the opportunity. And then I was talking to the director, and he told me what he thought the video would be, which was a couple in a very dysfunctional relationship, you know, battling and then making up and then battling and then making up, and he kept saying "We should cast someone like Megan Fox, or a Megan Fox type" and then eventually, I emailed him back and said "what about Megan Fox?" And she was an Eminem fan too. So then we met onset and made out a lot, and I got paid for it. Which was great.
2) What can we do to get yourself, Billy B. and Peter J. to work on a Merry and Pippin solo movie? You two had such great chemistry. 2) That's probably more of a question for Peter Jackson, but I'm sure Billy and I would both love to work with Pete again. And Billy and I are also cooking a little show together, which hopefully by this time next year we can hopefully talk about in a real fashion. So watch this space.
My husband and I are huge fans of your performances in LOTR, Lost, and Chuck. IMO, the best thing to come out of the LOTR trilogy was the Easter Egg on the ROTK Extended DVD where you prank-interview Elijah Wood on your birthday (and that's saying a lot, because I adored the trilogy). (Link for the uninitiated: Link to Your comedic turn there and the comedic aspects of your other characters make us really want to see you in more comedic roles. Have you ever done sketch comedy? Will you do more comedy? Vhen vill you vear vigs? I did Mad TV, which I really enjoyed and wrote a few sketches for that. I love to do comedy and that's where my agent thinks I will end up, because he thinks I'm funny for some reason.
Where do you think the female Ents went? I think they probably left the forest, knowing that it was inevitable that it was going to be destroyed, and then tried to go somewhere safe, and were probably unfortunately found by the evil forces and turned into a lovely mahogany desk or something.
Waddup Dom! Huge fan of your playing of Merry in LoTR, thanks for killing the Witch-King of Angmar! My question for you; if one person has a sniper rifle (50. Cal) and another an axe, who would kill first if they are five feet apart, both weapons are not drawn. I attended an open audition in London, my agent called me and said that they were doing castings for Lord of The Rings and asked if I knew the project, and I said "I do," my dad had read us the Hobbit and we had storybook tapes of LOTR when we were kids. And I had read the book when I was about 15. And so I was in a play in London, I was playing a skinhead and I had a cold, so I had no hair and a little bit of a black eye, and probably looked nothing like a hobbit, and just came in and did this reading, and assumed that i didn't really have that much of a chance,that I should just forget about it. The casting director actually said that David Bowie was coming in later and did I want to stay and see him and I said yes, so I sat in reception another hour, and so that was cool. I think he was auditioning for Gandalf? He would have been a great Elrond. Some of the casting was crazy, I think Sean Connery was being talked about for Aragorn, or Russell Crowe for Aragorn, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke were really close to being in it, some crazy names being thrown about.
My serious question; what got you into acting, how did you get the role of Merry? I watched Empire Strikes Back when I was six or seven. And then the week after, I watched Star Wars (wrong order but true story) and then very shortly after that, I watched Indiana Jones and I realized that Harrison Ford was both characters, and I started asking my dad, I think, about how that worked, and my dad explained that he was an actor. So by the age of seven or eight, I knew I wanted to be an actor. You know what it's like when you're a kid, you don't really know that adults have jobs and stuff, you think it's what you want to play as today, and it sort of became a career.
You rode a mule near the end of The Return of the King. The mule has died. In a sailing accident. Out of the animals you've never kept as pets, are there any that you would really, really like to have? If we're talking about fantasy animals, I'd very much like a black panther, or a raven. But I wouldn't keep either one of them, because it's totally unfair and they live in the wild. I like the idea of having a raven sitting on your shoulder, and you could sort of have a conference with it. They're just cool, you know? And it could answer for you when your friends ask if you want to go to the cinema, and say KAW. He's feeling it.
Who are your "dream" guest stars to have in Wild Things? (Love the show btw) David Attenborough (never going to happen, but still), Phillippe Cousteau. Jimmy Kimmel, because people keep telling him to do it and he's super scared of animals, and Scarlett Johanssen because that would just be fun.
I will be able to see Billy Boyd at Fan Expo in Vancouver, is there you can suggest I can say to him to make him laugh? Ask him why he watches so much news.
What's your very best life advice? Adversity is opportunity.
Do you keep in touch with other people from Lost? Was Dharma beer a lager or an ale? Dharma beer was probably a seltzer.
What the fuck is seltzer? Seltzer, I've learned, is fizzy water. And it goes great with dried fruit.
Hey i'm a big fan of yours ever since i saw the first LOTR movie and i wonder what's your dream movie to star in ? Star Wars.
I've read that you are a nature enthusiast and animal rights activist. Which endangered species of animal do you think needs the most public awareness? They are so noble, you know? And they just look at us like, you know?
If you had to choose, what would it be: living in Middle Earth or discovering an island similar to the one in LOST? P.S. Big fan. You're awesome. :) Oh, live in MIddle Earth, for sure! The Shire is obviously beautiful. Has some pretty incredible magical characters in that world. And we're saving something that we love as opposed to, you know, on the LOST island trying to escape.
Hi Dom, congrats on the new season of Wild Things, I can’t wait to see it. Your passion and hard work is definitely inspiring people to change their ideas and behavior towards animals, including me. Very soon, I hope. Season 1 is already playing in about 30 countries. I think you have to be optimistic, because it's the only way to affect change, but I think some big decisions need to be made about how we, as the stewards of planet earth, behave towards our fellow animals. We seem to think because we can build skyscrapers or computers that we are in a position that we can dictate what lives or what dies.
When do you think season 2 will start airing in other countries? Are you optimistic about the future of the natural world? What changes would you like to see happening within a decade from now? Electric cars, heavy recycling, legitimate conservation of wild habitats, more buffalo wings (they're really tasty), and I think that's it.
What role was the most challenging for you at the time? I think the most challenging role that I will do is the one I'm about to do for the Hundred Code. Very serious lead in a foreign project where I play a New Yorker and if you get a New Yorker wrong by one degree, everyone can see it, so, it's a challenge for sure.
Hey ! Do yo have any plans of becoming a director ? ps. You should totaly do a full version of hey all everybody. I'd like to direct kids. Because I think I communicate with young people pretty well. And I enjoy their company. But I'm not sure if I could direct an adult. Because, hey, what do I know?
Hi Dominic, when Elijah had his AMA, I asked him if he had any favourite TV shows. So I'll ask you too, what are your currently favourite TV shows? I watch a lot of Manchester United. I like Survivor, Game of Thrones, Dragon's Den (which is the English version of Shark Tank)… the Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Colbert Report, Key & Peele.
Which hobbit would win in an arm wrestle? Probably Sam, he was kind of the most burly out of the hobbits. He was a bit more heavier set and muscular, because he's a gardener. He's earthy.
Hey Dom! Big Lost fan here! I know you're a big fan of football especially Manchester United. Who are some of your favorite current players? Ryan Giggs is my all-time favourite Manchester United player. Wayne Rooney is fantastic. Eric Cantona, George Best, Denis Law, those are my favourites. I like fast, skillful, dynamic scoring Manchester United players.
Hey, your show Wild Things with yourself is really cool. If you could be any animal or insect, which would it be? Well, insects are animals. So let's point that out. If I could be any animal…maybe like a gray whale or a minke whale? You know, they're big, beautiful peaceful animals that spend their entire life navigating the globe and it seems to be relatively carefree and they go into the deep oceans which is fascinating.
Hi Dom! How are you enjoying your seltzer? It's yummy. It's helping my slightly upset hangover stomach.
Just wanted to say, you were by far the best thing about Wolverine: Origins. That's very sweet to say. I'm sure Hugh would feel slightly different about that. But I had a lot of fun with that and it was a fantastic experience to be around such a huge star who had such a beautiful way about him.
Nothing to ask, but I absolutely adore your friendship with Elijah Wood. The interview prank gets me every time. Nice! That was one of my favorite moments doing press for LOTR and certainly it was one of Peter Jackson's favorite moments, he watched it over and over again and asked if it was ok to put on the DVD. I was super honored by that, I was just trying to make Elijah smile and laugh.
Have you ever had a brush with death, and if so, please elaborate. Yes, I've had a few brushes with death. I think I died once, and then I came back from it. I remember being dead and something saying to me "you can stay here if you want, and if you stay here, you can affect way more change here than if you're alive" and I remember having a dialogue with this voice saying "I don't want to stay here, I want to go back" and then the voice said "OK, well if you want to continue to go back, then follow that girls' voice." so I followed that girls' voice, and it brought me back into consciousness, but it was very very clear to me that I had the opportunity to die. It was one of the most real moments of my life.
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2013.07.26 05:08 tabledresser [Table] IAmA: I am Dino Stamatopoulos, comedy writer, Starburns on Community, creator of Morel Orel, Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, and a new show premiering this Saturday night called High School USA! Ask me anything.

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Date: 2013-07-26
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Questions Answers
Are you gonna be back for Season 5 of Community? I do whatever my friend Dan says, so yes.
Sorry for one of the most over-used questions, but what is your favorite joke on Community? That Dan Harmon was fired.
Have you watched any of the episodes of season 4 of Community? Which is your favorite and least favorite episode from that season? No.
How did you meet Dan Harmon and what was the first project you guys made together? We met at a bar and our first project was drinking vodka.
Is Chevy Chase really as difficult to work with/as big of a jerk as he is always made out to be? I had an easy time working with him because I wasn't in many shows and got to go home early when he was being an asshole.
I drove by Starburns Industries on a side street in Burbank and was thoroughly stunned/amazed/amused at the same time. Can I come in?? Yes, come in.
What were some of your favorite moments working for Conan O'Brien? Also, did you have a hand in creating/writing for Starburns or was he solely the creation of Mr. Harmon himself? I loved it when Conan came in and interrupted us from working to make us laugh for hours while production was waiting for us to write a sketch. Conan wasted more time than anyone on that show, but it was a lot of fun.
I discovered the band The Mountain Goats through the show Morel Orel... How did they become such a big part of the show? Edit: I would just like to add for all you mountain goats fans, mark maron does a crazy awesome interview with john darnielle on his podcast. I liked them and listened to them a lot while writing third season.
The Dean riding into your home on a Chariot pulled by 101 Muscular Dalmatian-Men. Or- Conan O'Brien riding into your home on a Chariot pulled by 99 Andy Richters and one Louis C.K. eating a Cinnabon? Your question.
Any chance of a mr show reunion? Can i use this chair? Maybe, but only with the main actors, not me.
Did you realize when you were working on Mr. Show that everyone involved would become famous? Also what's your favorite sketch either you wrote or in general from the show? No, when I worked on Mr. Show I just thought I was making money to eat and drink with. My favorite sketch that I wrote always changes, but right now I really like PHILOUZA.
Hey Dino, I'm a huge fan of yours and your work on Community! So happy you're returning for the 5th season. More importantly, I just love "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas." It is one the the best Community episodes, and for my money, one the best sitcom episodes of all time. Are you bringing another awesome show idea like that to season 5? As for your second question, there WILL be an animated episode and I will probably write the first draft after we all break the story. Then Dan will rewrite everything and I will make thousands of dollars.
Could Star-Burns--I mean Alex--bring back the "cool study group," with JB, and Owen Wilson, and the cute Asian girl. Let's get a JLA v. Legion of Doom thing going on between the study groups! I don't think the cool study group will raise it's lovely head again.
What was your reaction to Donald Glover only wanting to be in 5 episodes this coming up season? I don't blame him, but it's going to make writing 5th season a challenge. But a good challenge. I think the show will change in an interesting way.
Who would win in a fight between you, George Stephanopoulos, or George Stroumboulopoulos? I sure wouldn't. Probably George.
How are things going with Anomalisa? Everything's going great. Slow, but great. But slow is good with stop-motion.
Is Barack Obama going to show up on Reddit again tonight, like he did the last time you did an AMA? Why can't he wait his turn? Goodnight. I can't answer your other questions. But he'll answer them in two minutes, here.
I'm 14. I'm interested in becoming a writer. You and Dan Harmon are two of my heroes. First off, I love Moral Orel. I first caught Moral Orel on Adult Swim when I was 6. Up until then, I had no idea that Adult Swim existed. I was watching Cartoon Network that night and fell asleep with the tv on. I woke up and...the animation just...fascinated me. I was far too young to appreciate it's genius. Up until a few months ago, I had no idea YOU created it. I also religiously watch Community. After you were "killed off", I began taking interest in you as an actor. That's when I realized you're a writer and you've written all this amazing stuff. Anyways... How long does it take to produce an episode of High School USA! (which is really funny by the way)? I don't know. I've never really produced one. It just says I do on the credits so I get more money.
As someone who grew up with a heavy evangelical background, Moral Orel always spoke to me and my experiences. Where did you draw that level of realism? Was it pure comedy or based on your experiences? It's based on me going on vacation for two seconds in the Bible Belt. What a crapfest.
I did grow up Greek Orthodox, so I guess that colored my opinion of hypocrisy in organized religion.
I don't have a question, but will you acknowledge my existence so I can brag to my friends about it? You don't exist!
What's your best piece of advice? Could be about anything you want. Making tv shows, music, general life advice, whatever. You choose. Always be miserable. Life lasts longer that way.
Hey Dino, you have an awesome history and you were awesome on Community. My question is, how did you get started in comedy writing? Do you have any advice for aspiring sketch comedy writers? Thanks for doing this AMA. I got started in comedy writing because i would write serious things and people laughed. My advice is growing up exactly like me with my brain and body.
What are you drinking this fine evening? Had vodka at work, but I NEVER drink during AMAs!
Have you ever taken a role and later regretted it? Which one and why? Yes, the role of a husband in my real life. I like being a father, though.
Have you ever got back lash from the religious community for Moral Orel? Btw did you watch a lot of I Love Lucy as a kid? Never got any backlash from Christians because they don't watch my little shows. I did watch I Love Lucy.
Were you surprised Morel Orel was on air for as long as it was? Is that an insult?
How involved is Charlie Kaufman in Anomalisa at this point? Still on schedule? He's involved in every aspect of the production except the raising of the money. That is STARBURNS INDUSTRIES job.
Is your daughter in High School USA? No, she is 13. She hates my shows, now.
Do you think [as] is ever going to quit being jerks, and actually allow you to produce the lost episodes of Moral Orel (I'm sorry, but you had to know somebody here was going to ask you this). And if not, is there ever a chance you might try and produce it yourself and coast it on DVD sales? (I'm sorry, that probably won't pay for itself) At the end of Moral Orel, you say that the show is dedicated to, I believe, your father, "the head of a truly loving family." If this is true, where was it that you gleamed your inspiration for Clay Puppington? Was it drawn from real life or wholly invented? Clay is the father I would be if I stayed married. I'm not a good husband. What?! Are you?!!!
Hey, Dino! Thanks for doing this! Do you prefer writing for animated shows or live action shows? And why? I like animated shows better because I hate living people who act. They always make fun of my crooked teeth.
I stopped watching 'community' after they fired Dan Harmon. Now they've hired him back. Dino, why should I start watching 'community' again? Because he's back, dummy.
Can you write other stories and publish them separately? or is everything you create under contract? thanks in advance I'm writing a lot on my own now. Have a graphic novel that may come out sometime this year.
I wanna warn you this is gonna be super-specific. "The Audition" from Mr. Show is one of my favorite things in the entire universe. It's right up there with my mothers Sunday dinner, Venus dimples on a woman's lower back, & Lee Hazlewood's music/mustache as the things I'll miss most when I exit this moral coil. I know it's super pedestrian to ask this but where did the idea for that sketch come from? Was there a point where you were going out on a lot of auditions & just wanted to make fun of the whole process? Was it just a weird little idea you wrote the hell out of? I wrote a play that I directed in Chicago at the Annoyance Theater. After the show, my friends and I would do fake auditions to make each other laugh. That was one of the bits that just flew out of my head. That was the best way to write. Just hang out with friends and make each other laugh. Scott Adsit was always there. I remember tons of funny things coming from those nights.
Do you have any Mr. Show horror stories? How has fox been so far with HSUSA as far as meddling and promotion? Loved the episode they showed. Fox has been great with what they let us do on the show. They're not as conservative in entertainment as they are with their awful news.
DINOLICIOUS. I was afraid to click that link.
My mom and I are huge fans of Morel Orel. Can we expect anymore Morel Orel specials in the future, like Beforel Orel? No, Mike Lazzo hates me. But I'm sure he loves you and your mom, as I do.
Was it annoying to make Mary Shelley's Frankenhole (In the way of animation)? Was it mostly made of paper or were there a few parts of regular clay-mation as well? It wasn't annoying for me. I just click-clacked on a computer. I had nerds animate it for me. They are all very nice and underpaid.
Big Moral Orel fan here, seems like you've been gearing towards less depressing shows as of late. Will you ever get back to making something soul crushing? I want to, but no one will let me. But I will write more serious, dark comedy on my own. You may see it some day if you buy my Graphic Novel when it is released. I might make a stop motion movie out of it. It's called TRENT.
Hi Dino! I just wanted to ask, what was your dream job as a child? A fireman in outer space dressed like a clown.
Milas ellinika? Ne.
Also, when did you decide you wanted to become a writer? I never decided. Still thinking about it.
Me in high/middle school was me being a moody pastors kid that got moved around constantly because the Methodist church doesn't think it's a good idea for a church to get too attached to one pastor. I would go to a new school and take about a year to make new friend. As a result I became very introspective and loved anything emotional and cathartic. The Mountain Goats and Moral Orel where big parts of my moody teenage years. I started listening to the mountain goats and then heard about moral orel from my sister. Both those things were just so amazing to me. I don't want to get too sappy or whatever but their is something about your show and the mountain goats I can't explain (I'm bad with words so that might be it.) So thanks for helping me think my way through religion in way that wasn't what my parents preached from the pulpit. Also question since this is what this is for: I know that John Darniel had a pretty rough life that definitely encouraged his music. Did profound life events influence you to create a show like moral Orel where the show is so introspective and investigates so thoroughly religion, morals, and it's effect on a town? My childhood was pretty happy. It's getting old that's making me miserable.
Why should I check out your new show in 10 words or less? DON'T!!!
Who are your comedy heroes? Is there anyone you are still afraid to meet that you haven't met or worked with yet? The Marx Brothers. I'd be really afraid to meet them because they're dead. Albert Brooks. He's not dead. I met some of Monty Python and only yelled at one of them.
You tweeted a couple days ago that Adult Swim has forsaken you. What happened? Edit: Quick edit to say I'm not just living in the past and that I'm looking forward to the rest of the High School USA season. They won't pick up any of my shows.
How would you compare writing for live action, to writing for HS USA? With cartoons you can be a lot darker with the humor because animation has a more distancing emotional quality. It's that reason that makes me want to test the boundaries and write really serious shit for animation.
I want to thank you very much for Moral Orel, it is one of my favorite shows of all time. The Camping episode has to be one of the darkest quarter hours of television yet, "It's because you become a bad person when you drink" still is stuck in my mind. Does the pain Morel feels come from personal experience? if not where? No, it's the pain I imagine people around ME feel.
What is Nathan Barnatt like in real life? Very nice and healthy. He just broke his leg really badly and refuses to take pain pills. I mean, I love pain, but I love pills even more.
Why don't you wear the starburns in real life? Because my sideburns are so gray that it would just look like more of my ashen, gray, dead face. And I don't like that.
Dino, I saw you during my first time at little Dom's. Your 'burns weren't starred. If you had to choose between sex or teleportation, which would you choose? Can I do them both with my clothes on?
How important was Mr. Show to you in your career? Do you have any plans to work with Bob and/or Dave in the future? No plans but it really helped hone my writing skills. I learned a lot on that show. Also I think it got me a lot of respect and Dan Harmon approached me at a bar because of Mr. Show and we became friends.
Do you actually have starburns? Only when I make 825 dollars a week, pal.
What is the funniest thing that happened on set... out of all the sets you've been involved in? A duck once took a shit in my mouth. Wasn't funny to me, but the duck loved it. I swear it's true. It happened on TV FUNHOUSE. I was working a duck puppet under a stage that had a bunch of real Ducks on it. One duck looked down into the hole my arm was going through and the rest is history.
Hey Dino ! I love your own work when not being bad ass starburns the one true student body prez and cant wait to see your new show. I just wanted to say that when I first saw morel orel it was maybe 4 am I was high as a kite and my friend looks at me and says wtf is this crap. 3 mins in we were hooked and got it all the next day to watch the rest. It was so hilarious and I just want to say thanks for giving me some OC late at night. Also how did you get the idea for morel's dad's study that was the best part? It's a common sitcom trope. Look up "trope."
Do you project any of your characteristics on any of your High School USA! characters? Are any of the characters modeled after you? Or any characters in any of your shows? All my characters have a little bit of me in them, except the nice ones.
Marsh from High School USA! is a lot like Orel. Only a teenager.
#REALTALK who in comedy do you hate? So so many. Start naming and put a yes after their names.
Okay. Fox is a major network. Adult Swim is not. How does working at Fox compare? Are they way more touchy feely tryna get involved in your project than Adult Swim might be? No, they're about the same. So far. Until I start trying to ruin the show with characters people care about.
Could I get either? Both? Both and yes...Too late!
Will we ever get a chance to see the unaired episode of Frankenhole? My plans were always to make those characters as real as possible but I think I did it too fast. You see, I have no patience.
did that happen organically? As for the unaired episode, we used a lot of it in a second season of Mary Shelley's Frankenhole. But we will show the whole lost episode at the Cinefamily show on August 18th here in Los Angeles. Fly out if you don't live here!
Link to
Can you actually grow "star-burns"? I can grow them but I can't make them not gray. That's the make-up septs job. That and touching my fucking eyes!
No, I have to shave them that way.
Do you get sick of people asking you about Mr. Show? How did you like working on Mr. Show? A little sick of it, but it was a great, fun time.
How were you inspired to write the 3rd season of Morel Orel? What was the inspiration? Did you have teh story arc planned before teh show was produced? Did you get to meet John Darnielle? A lot of season 3 just fell into place. I always liked the idea of going back and expanding on little moments I barely thought about the first time around.
John is a very nice guy. I met him once at one of his concerts. I went to ask him if I could use one of his songs (LOVE LOVE LOVE). He looks a little concerned and said, "I don't know. It's such a personal song..." I didn't want to press him so I said, "That's okay, I would't feel comfortable using it if you didn't feel comfortable." He just smiled and said, "Go ahead. Use it."
What bands are you into right now? I don't have time for music or laughter. I'm in show business!
How's the toon poon from groupies? your answer will heavily affect my future career choice. No good. Stay away from my toon poon!!!
How do you feel about High School USA! airing? are you jaded about the process or does it still excite you to see your stuff come to fruition? It's always exciting to see what I wrote air. Now if old men like me would stop writing about hating it in newspapers, I'll be happy.
Who's your mortal comedy enemy? Adam Sandler.
If you could hook up with any of the characters you've ever written for, who would it be and why? Clay Puppington, because why make anyone else miserable?
How/when did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? What did you do after that? I wanted to be a writer very early in life. Like around 12. After that, I masturbated,
Loved Morel Orel (Me & My Dad Obessesd over it!) & Still in Love with Frankenhole ... Big fan of your work! My question here : how did you get Fox to let your genius show on ADHD? & is there a series as brilliant as Morel Orel - someday in the future? How does adultswim feel about it? Nick Weidenfeld who first picked up Moral Orel picked up High School USA! No, there will ever be anything like Moral Orel ever again. No one will let me do it.
Why did morel orel and frankenhole fail? Were you dissapointed? And is there a chance either will be back on the air? Maybe a new season or another special? I ask because I was a huge fan, not just of the material and smarts but the time and dedication you took with the animation style. They didn't fail. Mike Lazzo failed. A nice guy, but he takes things too personally. Probably no chance they will come back after he reads this answer. So thanks a lot for ruining everything T-R-E-O-S!!!
How would you compare working on High School USA! to working on other animated shows? I have to write "High School USA!" a lot more on "High School USA!"
Who do I gotta blow to get something as good as Morel Orel Season 3 on TV again? Mike Lazzo. Then me. But wash your mouth in between us.
What is your best memory from the Mr. Show days? Bill Odenkirk would always get really giggly after lunch.
I've read about a couple of 'lost' episodes of Moral Orel that were partly made, will they ever see the light of day? Even on YouTube/Adult Swim website. Go down to AUG 18th on that link. We'll be reading two unproduced MORAL OREL scripts there accompanied by a puppet show with the actual stop motion puppets from the show.
(Link to Link to
Dino I have been a fan of yours for years, can you tell me where the inspiration for Morel Orel came from? The characters are all so fleshed out and real feeling it just seems like some of them are based on people you know, especially Clay. If you're such a big fan, look up the million interviews where I answered that question. Thanks, though! I still love you.
If you could be in any other line of work, what would it be? An AMA asker.
How did you actually get started as a pro writer? Was it luck, connections, hard work? Combination? Something different altogether? Combo.
Do Hollywood Greek-Americans network and support each other, or do they wait for each other in the mountain passes and ambush each other from the donkey back with very sharp knives, like back in the old country? Yes, they do, but they haven't found ME yet.
Hey, huge fan here. I really dig your writing on Moral Orel and Frankenhole. You're pretty damn talented. What's the status on Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa? I'm looking forward to it Anomalisa will probably be finished shooting in November. Stand by!
Dino, I was kinda disappointed when Star-Burns was killed off, but then in the season closer I saw StarBurns in the blonde wig! I'm so relieved that the door was left open for his return. *Here's my question. My gf is annoying me with her "You don't communicate with me", affirmation head-trip. How would Dino handle this in his relationship? Also, How would Starburns handle it seeing as he is in the cool group? * Just break up and leave me alone.
What color is your toothbrush? The color of filthy, smelly teeth.
Pretty late to the party, but I'm rather curious: what's your relationship with (musician) Peter Blood? I fell in love with "Osama's Daughter" the first time I listened to it. Peter and I went to college together. He was homeless for a while back then and couch surfed a lot. Sometimes he ate out of Popeyes Fried Chicken dumpsters. I was jealous. I love Popeyes.
On a scale of 1-26 shots, how drunk were you at the Park West last month? Too much pizza.
Moral Orel is such a unique and perfect show, I love it. What is the name of your new graphic novel and do you know when you will be releasing it? So I know what to look out for. Also you were pretty hilarious at the Community Comic-Con panel. "Is Meltitude coming back?" My new graphic novel is called Trent. The info for it should be up now at but I just looked but it's not!!! Keep checking, though.
#unfuck Sony? Hmmm I don't know if I'd go that far. Why? You'd be a hero like me. I also coined the phrase "fuck Sony." Coward.
What do you do on the weekends? My whole life is one big, long, miserable weekend.
how did you come up with Moral Orel? Do you practice a religion? I am a Christian and I've got to say I love the show. Look up one of my other interviews or my last AMA. Or ask Obama. He loves my AMAs.
High School USA was hilarious. Do you have faith that fox will keep this Saturday night block? Yes, I do.
As a European, American TV and cinema seems obsessed with high school/college. Why do you think that is, what drives this continued focus on these years when people aren't even really adults? While that might lend itself to "coming of age" stories, why is this period so important to american audiences? I think because people in school are a huge portion of our audience. College students especially, who are fresh out of High School.
Why did you make the only decent character in Moral Orel also perverted? Is there an actual message to it or do you just like contrasts? Also, what were your inspirations? Thank you for it, it was great. Perverts aren't bad.
What was it like working for Adult Swim back in it's glory days? I still remember watching old school swim when all they played was Anime and Home Movies. It was great! They let me do what I wanted and look what happened...
I'd love to know, what is a project you'd like to be a part of? I'm very lucky in that I always get what I want. Why do you think I'm so miserable?
Oiy, Dino. Do people recognize you on the street? Any rabid fan stories you wanna share? Btw, if I ever win the lottery, I'm gonna fund the shit outta your projects. Sometimes I get recognized. No rabid fans.
Wanna do a star shaped coke line off my boobs? My three favorite things! Well, two anyway. Unless your tits are small.
Did you choose 'Star Burns' because of John Hodgman's list of facial hair styles and their corresponding difficulty levels? No.
Speaking as an amateur writer, your characters on Moral Orel were impressively human, and I am inspired by how well they were written. Would you be comfortable sharing anything about the abandoned story arcs from the abbreviated 3rd season? I will at Cinefamily show on August 18th in Los Angeles. Maybe we'll film it.
I was really sad when Starburns died. I'm was a mixture of happy and outraged when he came back, feeling toyed with emotionally. How can I learn to trust again? Don't. Never trust. It makes life too exciting.
You've performed more than one live sketch. What's your favorite moment as a performer? Going home.
I heard your first episode of Andy Dick's Shit Show. Do you guys have stuff together that people can see? Link to
August 18th!
How long did it take to shave the stars into your sideburns? Depends how drunk I am.
How often does Allison Brie freestyle rap on the set? Like all you damn kids! No melodies!
of all I'd like to say I loved Mary Shelley's Frankenhole but a question, How often do people make fun of you because of your name? Just you.
Thanks for doing this AMA! Big Fan! If you had to get a "real job", what would you do? Wiping your baby ass.
Last updated: 2013-07-30 02:47 UTC
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