ABC’s hit drama “Grey’s Anatomy” became a prime source of parody for actor Rob Corddry when he decided to create the online Web series called “Children’s Hospital.” He nabbed some name actors (Lake Bell, Megan Mullally, Ed Helms) to join him. The verdict: a funny show featuring doctors playing doctor in front of kids with cancer while making an impressive array of poor medical decisions.
At the time, Corddry figured it would never work on TV. But then Adult Swim came calling. And since Web-only series aren’t exactly a path to financial security, he said yes.
“I love money,” said Corddry in a phone interview last week. “Plus, I hadn’t been aware of of the 15-minute format. I believe if this ever went more than 15, it would stop being funny. I don’t think it could sustain itself much longer than that. ”
[Check out an episode here.]
Here are highlights from the interview:
- Corddry, who broke it big as a correspondent on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and recently starred in “Hot Tub Time Machine,” plays a clown doctor who is seldom deliberately funny. “He’s practically autistic,” he said. “He’s devoid of emotion.”
- Do the characters change in any way? He hopes not. “I don’t want to be accused of developing characters,” he said. “Let’s leave that up to the guys on ‘Three and a Half Men.’ Or whatever how many men. I mean, one of them doesn’t even count as a whole.”
- Were any children actors subjected to anything inappropriate? “TV sets are really kind of inappropriate settings for children in general,” he said. “A lot of stuff slips. I blame the parents for bringing them into this situation. I’ll exploit them for sure. It’s not my fault. I’m just doing my job. You’re the bad parent!”
- During one new episode airing later in the fall, Ernie Hudson (”Ghostbusters”) is implaled on a pole with an obnoxious white 20 year old. The doctors turn it into a racial issue. Hudson plays it with a nobility and grace totally out of sync with the show. “Do you smell Emmy?” I asked. “I can’t imagine that’s what an Emmy smells like,” Corddry responded.
- What is the most realistic aspect of the show? “We’re wearing an actual professional line of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ scrubs. Pretty bonkers!” [Yes! They do exist! He wasn't joking!]
- Speaking of “Grey’s Anatomy,” former “Grey’s” star Kate Walsh does appear later in the season. “She was fantastic,” he said. “But she got the impression no one at ‘Grey’s’ even knew we existed.”
- Does Corddry actually watch “Grey’s Anatomy”? He said he’d surf the Net and watch it out of the corner of his eye while she enjoyed McDreamy and McSteamy and all the sexual politics of that show.
- Is Megan Mullally’s doctor is a blatant copy of Laura Innes’ “E.R.” crippled character? ” ‘E.R’ took the cowardly route. Laura only had one crutch and was asexual. We went full handicapped with two crutches and she’s fully sexual!”
- And “House” fans shouldn’t worry. One episode will mock that show incessantly, with Rob Huebel playing the House character and actor John Cho as one of his multi-ethnic interns.
- Surprisingly, Corddry was not a fan of the recently canceled sitcom “Scrubs,” which also mocked the conventions of a medical drama. “It was more ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ jokes about camera moves,” he said. “But we did shoot in the same hospital they did. It actually is a former hospital. And the creepy caretaker said it’s where Herve Villechaize died.”
- The show drew 1.2 million viewers for each of the first two episodes, holding about two-thirds of the “Family Guy” audience at 10 p.m. But it’s doing better than “Delocated,” a show that airs at 10:45 p.m., which has brought in about 820,000.
Adult Swim, Sundays at 10:30 p.m.