When we got the chance to talk with the hard-partying man-boys of Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” we figured: What better place to meet them than a bar?
After all, getting wasted is a way of life for office drones Adam (Adam DeVine), Blake (Blake Anderson), and Anders (Anders Holm), who are fighting to keep the college dream of round-the-clock raging alive despite being stuck in dead-end telemarketing jobs. Apparently, some of you can relate: Now in its third season, “Workaholics” has amassed a serious cult following, dominating the young male demo in the ratings. And Comedy Central has noticed, renewing the show for two more seasons earlier this month.
So we headed to a swanky hotel bar in L.A. to meet Adam, Blake, Anders, and co-star/director Kyle Newacheck for a round of drinks -- draft beers for Adam and Kyle, a bottle of Bud Light for Blake, and a hot toddy for Anders -- and an extensive chat about the show, which rolls out new episodes this week. The guys seemed impressed that Yahoo! wanted to talk to them. (Adam: “Hotmail’s never come and interviewed me, I’ll say that.”) And as the booze flowed, the conversation naturally got weird at times: We covered anything and everything, including sex, drugs, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
For those who don’t know, “Workaholics” originally sprang from the guys’ online comedy troupe Mail Order Comedy, where they posted sketches and played pranks on unsuspecting delivery men. They may have come into “Workaholics” with zero TV experience, but Blake sees that as an advantage: “It kind of helped us that we were ignorant on how to make a TV show. We really just came from doing our own thing, and Comedy Central let us do our own thing.”
Not to say that they didn’t have a list of TV shows they wanted to emulate. Kyle and Adam specifically cite “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” as inspirations -- especially since the “Sunny” guys started out as TV-industry outsiders as well. “‘It’s Always Sunny’ was really inspiring,” Adam says. “We looked up to them like, It could happen to us as well. If you work hard and put out good content, something will happen. And luckily for us, it did.”
Watch a vintage “Workaholics” moment right here:
So when did the guys realize they had a hit on their hands? “We did [the] Bonnaroo [music festival] a couple years ago, right after Season 1 had just aired,” Adam remembers. “That was the first time we got bombarded by people saying ‘I love the show,’ wanting pictures with us. It was really surreal.” In fact, during our interview, a young guy from New York can't resist coming up to tell the guys how much he loves their show: “When I’m not working my tits off, we all go back and have a beer and watch your show.” (Don’t be surprised to see the term “working my tits off” find its way into a future “Workaholics” episode.)
Plus, there are perks to being on a show where all you do is get drunk and high. “We have one of the cooler fan bases, because everybody’s ready to party,” Blake declares. He rhapsodizes about complete strangers “just giving you weed just because you’re you. It’s completely free weed.” Adam concurs: Since the show started, “I truly have not [had to buy weed]. It’s great.” But as the show has grown, the fan base has, too. “It used to be just college dudes who probably smoke weed who watched the show,” Adam says. “But now I have dads coming up to me, and girls who are fans, and younger kids… who I’m pretty worried about.”
The unsung MVP of “Workaholics” is Newacheck, who not only plays the dudes’ spacey drug dealer Karl; he directs the bulk of the episodes as well. “I’ve always wanted to direct,” Newacheck says. “Acting with these dudes is fun, but that’s the goal.” Blake gives a lot of credit for the show’s success to Newacheck: “Kyle is out there handling every aspect behind the scenes… He’s going to every location scout, he’s in editing sessions, he’s looking at the budget. A lot of it is on his shoulders.” Newacheck jokes that all the responsibility may be taking a toll on him: “I have a case of the hemorrhoids, and ‘Workaholics’ gave it to me. I’m having trouble sitting down.”
The guys do get serious for a minute, though, when discussing the sudden death of co-star Jessie “Jet Set” Johnson, who played fellow cubicle dweller Jet Set and passed away of a heart attack last month. “He’s a performer that really never got a shot, because a lot of people don’t take him seriously,” Anders says. “But when you let him go, he gives you all the funny stuff you see on our show. Would ‘Will & Grace’ work for him? It wouldn’t. But our platform worked for him, and he rocked it.” Blake adds that “the rest of this season is dedicated to Jet Set.”
Watch a video tribute to “Workaholics” co-star Jet Set:
In fact, “Workaholics” resumes its third season this week with a hilarious installment highlighting Jet Set, and follows it up next week with an ambitious horror-movie spoof that guest stars Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. The guys are looking to push the show’s boundaries this season, Anders says: “We get bored with some stuff, man. We want to entertain ourselves, too.” Adam adds, “We don’t want it to be the crazy version of NBC’s ‘The Office.’ We want every week to be something new and fun and different, that people will be like, ‘Holy s---, did you see that new episode? It was bizarre, it was strange, it was weird, it was…”
“Fantastic,” Anders adds.
One thing that isn’t fantastic: the guys’ on-screen love lives. Not for lack of trying, but Adam, Blake, and Anders have never been able to maintain a decent relationship with a girl… or even get one into bed, it seems. But Adam insists that’s all part of the plan. “We’re trying to be real as possible. On TV shows, the cool guys get laid. And we’re not that cool. Dudes that get laid all the time, that’s not funny.” Blake adds, in an oddly confessional moment, “I’ve probably had sex with five people,” before pausing to add, “Should I have said ‘women’?”
The guys will be joined, however, by more guest stars this season, including Englund, Daniel Stern, Tom Green, and “Key & Peele’s” Jordan Peele. "Workaholics" has made a habit of bringing in out-of-left-field names like William Atherton as Anders’ dad and Rumer Willis as a rival drug dealer. But who would the guys’ ideal guest star be? They toss off A-list names like Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Jamie Foxx, before finally settling on ultimate ‘80s badass Kurt Russell. But they’re not picky: “Even Keri Russell would be great,” Anders concedes.
With or without Felicity, the future looks bright for the guys of “Workaholics.” They’re already locked in for Seasons 4 and 5, and they’re looking forward to playing immature slackers for years to come. When asked if their characters will evolve at all in future seasons, Newacheck predicts: “Same mind state… their bodies will get older, though.” Adam agrees: “If they take us to, like, Season 10, we’re probably gonna start looking a little old and weird.” That sparks an idea for Blake: “It would be cool to do Seasons 4 and 5, take a twenty-year break, and then do 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.” “Workaholics” getting weird in the old folks’ home? We’ll drink to that.
Get a sneak peek at the new season of “Workaholics” right here:
Season 3 of “Workaholics” continues Wednesday, 1/16 at 10 PM on Comedy Central.