“Cheap Wine, Plastic Chairs” is a weekly series that celebrates everyone’s favorite part of an author reading: the Q&A! This week, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Brian Posehn and Jon Benjamin discuss their inspiration and a musical they wrote called Rooms: The Musical.
Today, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk may respectively be best known for Arrested Development and Breaking Bad, but their real claim to fame came in the mid-’90s with HBO’s Mr. Show. The two recently joined forces again on the book Hollywood Said No!: Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show and, as part of their book tour, stopped by powerHouse Arena with contributor Brian Posehn and comedian Jon Benjamin. The four read lines from the new book and answered audience questions.
David Cross: There were a bunch of questions. A bunch were passed out, and a bunch were filled out, and a lot of them were … silly. We’re not going to waste our time with those, but I’ve picked out the more interesting ones, and we’ll read them. This is from Jason W.: “David, you’re fantastic. You’re literally the most talented of the group, but that’s not my question.” [Brian Posehn tries to look at the question slip from over David’s shoulder.] It’s in there! You can’t read it from your angle! Okay, Jason W.: “What was your inspiration —” [Brian still tries to peer over David’s shoulder.] [To Brian:] Why are you still doing that?
Jon Benjamin: Let me take a quick look at that: “What was your inspiration for the Mr. Show billiard ball sketch?”
Bob Odenkirk: There was a card trick, some stupid card trick, and it had this story behind it: The King follows the Queen, and the Jack jumps out of the … Nine. It just always stuck with me just how dumb that was and sweaty and how much work it was for a funny gimmick. So then one day, we were having a party and there was a pool table, and I was doing just that, but with pool balls. It came out of that.
DC: And actually, that was one of the handful of sketches that we shot for Mr. Show, the live show, before it was ever a TV show.
BO: Also, how about the room that we shot that in? Do you remember the library? When we reshot the show it was —
DC: A Scientology house!
BO: As you know, there are a lot of Scientologists in Hollywood, and for some reason, a lot of them are in show business, and they are okay with renting out their houses, which is so weird because most people in show business know you don’t ever rent your house out to a film company because they will shit all over it. I don’t care what they tell you.
DC: That’s not fair! But just also — because I think it might have confused people in your reference — the Jack jumps out of the Seven.
JB: Alright here’s the next one for all of you: “Who would you want to play you in an eventual Mr. Show biopic?”
BO: Let’s see, who’s going to make this biopic?
DC: Uh, the History Channel.
BO: Alright, alright.
Brian Posehn: Well, I want Lena Dunham to play me.
DC: She should play you bitching about her!
BP: Our heads would explode.
DC: I guess the obvious answer for me is a younger Paul Giamatti.
BO: So I’ll just go with an older Justin Timberlake.
JB: Alright, this question is probably for you, Bob: “Who would you rather see in concert: Titannica or Wycked Sceptre?”
BO: I mean, I would see … Titannica.
JB: Why though?
BO: Well, Wycked Sceptre is one joke.
JB: One joke? What do you mean?
BO: I’d go with Titannica because they’d just be so dumb. I mean, I know, Brian, you would love it. Today we signed books and listened to ... what was it? Iron Maiden?
BP: Oh my god, so Iron Maiden is one of my all-time favorite bands, but listening to it with him was like listening to anything with your grandfather: “How do you think they would have pitched that song?” Fucking asshole. I’m much older now, but 20 years ago, if you would have done that in the writing room, I would have hit you with a chair.
DC: I mean, also in fairness, Bob listens to like … jazz. Like anything with an alto sax.
BO: Anything smooth.
DC: You know, the nice lady running the Reddit AMA this morning said, “Hey, you guys should do a musical.”
BO: There was a musical we never got to do for the show, but we made a poster of it in the hopes that it would somehow get someone to want us to do it. The poster appears in the audition scene. I couldn’t get anyone to write it with me.…
DC: Well you didn’t even know what it would be!
BO: No, I did, but I couldn’t think of a reason for it. So it’s probably shitty, but I wound up doing posters for it, and I’ll Twitter it out for you. It’s called Rooms: The Musical, and it’s a musical Broadway show that has rooms in the house singing about what they are. [Sings:] I am the upstairs bathroom!
JB: I’m the old, sad basement! No one wants to come down here.
BO: I’m the stairs! I’m kind of crazy! I’m the stairs! [Stops singing:] Does it need a reason to exist?
BP: [Sings:] I am the lonely pantry! No one loves a pantry anymore.
DC: Let’s do it!
BO: I just thought of the reason behind it: The rooms are trying to keep the family together!
Freddie Moore is a Brooklyn-based writer. Her full name is Winifred, and her writing has appeared in unFold, The Leaf Unturned and Italics Mine. As a former co-president of SUNY Purchase’s Cheese Club, she’s a big-time foodie who knows her cheese.
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