Inside Late Night With Mark Malkoff Ep 7: Rob Corddry

If someone offered Rob Corddry the opportunity to host a talk show, he says he’d say no. “Respectfully,” he adds. 

He’s in the rare position to know. Not only was he a correspondent at The Daily Show from 2002 to 2006, where he worked alongside Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but he’s guested on every major talk show of the last two decades.

Along the way, he’s starred in hit movies like Hot Tub Time Machine, created and starred in Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital (for which he won four Emmy Primetime Awards), and co-starred alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the hit HBO series Ballers.

In this episode of Inside Late Night, Corddry reunites with his one-time scene partner Mark Malkoff for a wide-ranging discussion about late night past and present, including his four years on The Daily Show, his very favorite late-night guest spot, and the show that he did so well on as a guest that its host asked that he not be invited back.

Click the embed below to listen now, or find Inside Late Night on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Show Transcript

Mark Malkoff: Yeah, the last time I saw you, you had glitter on your face. I don’t see any. 

Rob Corddry: Uh, no, no. My kids are, um, above sort of, uh, princess age. Now I just, you know, marvel at their powers of reasoning and, uh, and they’re, they’re so funny and savvy. They’re savvy, joke telling. 

You got them into comedy. I know that Johnny Carson, one of his friends, was Dudley Moore, and they would be at parties, and Johnny would be on the drums, and Dudley would be on the piano. And I know Arthur is like your favorite film, I mean… 


And I know that you introduced a lot of comedy to your kids growing up. I don’t know about Arthur, I mean, now it probably wouldn’t fly as much. 

It, yeah. Still holds up for me… 

I haven’t watched it [recently], but it’s Dudley Moore. I mean, come on. I mean, such a funny underrated guy. 


John Gielgud, you have the straight man. It just, it really does work well, but you’ve seen it close to 200 times and I’m not exaggerating. 

Yeah, probably. My… it’s a thing. I haven’t said it yet today, but at some point, somebody in the house will say, “I have to go pee,” and I’ll go, “I’ll alert the media.” I quote John Gielgud all the time. 

And I haven’t seen the second one. I don’t know why. I just, a lot of times with sequels, I’ve never seen Ghostbusters 2 either. I was just like, I just don’t want it to be, and it could be better. I mean, sometimes like The Godfather

It’s not. I saw Arthur II when I was a kid, probably before I saw Arthur I, because it was just one of those movies that was on HBO incessantly, like Silver Streak, you know, things just ran all the time and I watched those. They weren’t very good, but I just loved them. 

Oh, I mean, whatever was accessible when we were kids, right? I mean, three or four channels and then you had like a little bit of infancy and cable and whatever we can, even if we don’t like it, we are watching it. 

Oh, my God, that’s the definition of our generation, I think, you know.

I’m so excited to talk to you. The first thing I wanted to mention: When you were hired on The Daily Show, this is February of 2002, I didn’t know until recently that you and Ed Helms are hired together the same day. 

The same day. Yeah. Yeah, we were. They saw us in the same audition process. We were hired out of that. I think the only two guys, but they didn’t use me for a while. I sat in an office, I sat in my office for like three weeks while he went out on a field piece. And so he kind of, like, got over the hard part, got over the hump, and did one of those field pieces while I was just sitting there waiting. And I would sit there and I’d prepare for them. I would watch raw footage over and over and over. 

Yeah, I mean, I was about to say it was almost a gift because you were watching Colbert back then it was a single camera for those field shoots, I believe..


You were watching just everything behind the scenes and how things were set up and and Colbert then doing the questions later when the person isn’t there and…

Yeah that was a surprise.

Such an education and so smart on your end to take that time to really figuire it out, the process. 

I’ve always been like, I don’t like, well, I can’t say always, I love free time now, but just sitting there in an office waiting is not my kind of thing. 

No, I mean, you’re getting paid, but you wanna, I mean, wouldn’t you get that hire and stuff, I mean, when you got The Daily Show, were you still a waiter at Jekyll and Hyde doing the Don Rickles insults to patrons? 

What was I doing? What was I doing? You know what? I think I had been able to supplement my income enough at that point with commercials and voiceovers and things like that. When my wife met me, she said, “So what do you do?” This is our first date. I said, “I’m an actor.” She goes, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what do you do?” I was like, “No, I’m an actor,” and this went on forever and she she stopped asking me because she felt bad She thought she was insulting me so at that point I believe I was I was just doing commercials 

That’s great, and I know you’re doing some Conan stuff. And I want to point out what a gift it was also that you and Ed Helms knew each other from UCB. This was like the infancy at UCB. So to go in with somebody that you knew, I don’t know if you were friends or not, but just to be able to have that experience. 

I think he worked in the office at the time to supplement classes. We would just see each other and say hi, and people would be like, “Oh, that guy’s really funny.” I came in before him. I didn’t really know him that well, and never performed with him at the UCB Theater. 

I remember seeing “Naked Babies,” which was your sketch group. And I remember you all dancing to Journey… And then climbing it was like some sort of like, yeah, it was really fun, the four of you. And then I mean, you guys started to take off. It’s pretty amazing. So, you know, the SNL audition is so and you didn’t do SNL, but It’s legendary for people that are going and they know that no one’s going to laugh and it’s just going to be this, “Can you handle the pressure?” But when you do Daily Show, it’s not like that. Jon is there and it’s really easy going. So that must have just right away, you hear the laugh and just gave you that confidence. Just I mean, you’re auditioning all the time, but to hear the laughs was unexpected. 

Yeah. My final audition was with Jon at the desk, and to make him crack up was, I think it’s the best laugh I’ve ever gotten to this day. When I got that audition for The Daily Show, I was like, “I can do this. I can do this thing.” And there were five auditions until I got to the desk, five callbacks or something. I just was like, I practiced that so hard. I put the script against the wall and pretended I was reading a teleprompter and, you know, did the whole news voice, which apparently some people can’t do. Luckily, I could. 

Yes, that’s the one requirement for that job. 

It’s the one requirement.

Like “Weekend Update” would not play on Saturday Night Live with somebody they couldn’t.. they’d have to be able to be a broadcaster on the news. 

It’s a cadence yeah that you can at least uh and it’s fun it’s really fun that sort of rhythm. 

You had a great run and then um I mean i’m looking at your your appearances on late night and you’ve done so much, but I mean you were already, I guess, eight years in on The Daily Show when you get booked your first time at Letterman. Did you grow up watching Letterman? Was this a big deal? What stands out about your first Letterman appearance? 

So, of course, yeah, Letterman is a big deal. I didn’t grow. I thought I grew up watching Letterman, right? Until I met other comedians and comedy writers who grew up watching Letterman, like they breathed Letterman. And I was like, “oh, no, I don’t have that kind of knowledge or experience.” But I had enough to be so very intimidated. My first interview with David Letterman was terrifying. Like, I’ve never been terrified for a for a late night appearance before. And those are stressful, man. Even if it’s with Colbert, like Colbert, who’s a friend of mine, they’re stressful, they’re scary. 

You make it look easy, and that’s the job of a professional. But when you went out, because the thing with Dave is, you wanted to score, and also you want to be asked back, which you were, and most people aren’t. So from the time that you, I guess you’re with Biff Henderson backstage until he says your name, what stands out? Did you bring people with you? Do you remember that? 

No, No, no, no, no. Never never bring someone with I never ever bring someone with me. I mean my, sometimes my publicist will be there now. I didn’t have one back then I don’t think it and they’ll be in the green room. I just want to be alone and that’s true for pretty much everything I do. I don’t like visits, set visits, but that moment that you’re talking about standing there with Biff, I’m sure it happened. I like I went into a zone 

I’ve heard that before from people that were at the show. 

Yeah, really?  Yeah It happens a lot when you go on to a talk show because it’s like a sink or swim kind of thing, and you you can’t really prepare. People say, “Oh you got to prepare for those things.” Like you can’t really. 

I mean you have the pre-interview, but Dave would deviate from the pre-interview all the time. I mean… 


Could you tell that it was working right away, was it one of those things where you just could you enjoy it with Dave the first time? 

So, my first time with David Letterman was not only terrifying, it ended up just being so very confusing. 


Because I think I got, I got a weird, you know, there’s many Dave Lettermans and when I was walking up, I shook his hand and I was wearing these awesome, mind you, like Alden wingtip shoes. And he goes, “Where did you get those shoes? Those shoes are fantastic.” And I was like, “Oh, thank you.” And then we sat down, everybody stopped clapping. And he went on for about a minute or two on the shoes, asking me where I got them. He was going to get a pair too. And then I kept trying to make jokes, you know, to like, this is what you do. And he would, “No, no, no, don’t, don’t, don’t joke. I’m just talking about the shoes.” I was like, “I blew it.”

Because you want to go out and be as entertaining as possible. That’s your job as a guest. And Dave…


There were some things, I’m talking to Spike Feresten later today. And there was a moment when he was at the show that I’m going to bring up where Spike signed up for a go kart race for the show and Dave was so into this and told Spike, “I don’t need to write any more for the show today. I want you to go work on the go-kart.” Spike was working on top tens and it was like Dave, the day of the go-kart race, was calling every half hour to see how the go-kart was and it was like, “You have a show. It’s a show day.” I guess if Dave is into something, he is into something. 

And I guess he’s just so comfortable up there now that when he’s into something, he’ll indulge that. Like, you know, ’cause my second appearance was vastly different than my first. 

How so? 

Oh, it was great. Like, we didn’t talk about my shoes. So he was a big fan… the reason I got on there in the first place is he was a fan of Children’s Hospital, the show I was doing at the time. And ’cause it is very sort of Letterman, Letterman-esque at times, was very absurd. It’s an absurd show. And so he just, that’s the kind of thing he would like. And so he talked about that a lot, and I got off a couple of good jokes and I made him laugh and that I was like, “Oh, I recovered. I finally, finally recovered.” And I never saw him again. 

To make that guy laugh is not easy. 


Well, he’s that mysterious guy. I mean there were people that did the Johnny Carson show only once, or Letterman show once and it’s just like “What happened?” Who knows but the fact that you got to in and he just retired three years later. So, if he was still doing the show, I mean you’ve done so many shows, but in terms of being loose. It seems like James Corden has this this thing, because if you’re out there with other people a looseness that I don’t necessarily see anywhere else, is that… 

Yeah, it’s built in it’s definitely built in for sure… 

So you could feel that and you felt really loose. 

Yeah, because, like, you know like you said, they do a pre -interview for all these shows even that pre -interview was kind of perfunctory They were like this is not anything, you know, we don’t have to get to any of this and they always say that when you’re there on a show. They’re like just go wherever he goes, But they really mean stick to the cards stick to the pre-interview, but with Corden it was very very, so very loose, and you had two other people usually to bounce off of.

It was fun pairings. What was that thing that you did… “musical shares,” instead of chairs? It was it was chairs, but it was What was that it was you and… Mullally, it was Megan Mullally. 

That’s right. That’s right. So we were wearing chairwigs, I believe that was. 

Yeah. And Corden. 

I don’t know, man. It was fun. I love a bit. I love doing a bit. 

So you’re all dressed as chairs, and it was musical chairs, but “musical shares,” they called it. Yeah. He was really, really a strong host in terms of his likeability and just terms of getting his guests relaxed. What was it like doing the Conans? Because were you doing Conan background work before you were even a guest? 

Yeah, yeah. 

So you knew people over there. So you must have been really…



No, never, never comfortable. 

I guess to go from that one, because there’s there’s clips of like Rob Riggle and all these people doing the background, Andy Daly and stuff. And to go from that, to actually be sitting down next to him and having Andy… 

The group of the UCB theater down at like the alternative comedy scene at the time in New York City, the UCB theater was known, was derogatorily known as “Conan’s Farm Team.” 

It was Michael Delaney was in every episode he’s seen for a while. 

He put his kids through college with that background money. 

Yeah, he was always good, but I’m like… 

Michael Delaney, that’s so funny. The first time I was on that show, I played, I had so much fun doing that, I played an astronaut whose space helmet fills up with pee. 

Was that for the staring contest? 

Yes. Yes. I was like, this is for me. I feel at home here. But when I went to get… sit on the couch for the first time, I was terrified because I really revered Conan and revered that show. Still do. Like, I think — I think he’s one of the best at it ever. If not the best. 

You did his podcast as well. 

Oh, yeah. He’s — he’s so great, man. I would do anything that guy tells me to do. And you know what’s so great is that, like after one or two times on the show He’s very familiar, you know, he’ll he’ll talk to you backstage like Corden does, too. But a lot of some of them don’t anymore, like come backstage, and and and chat with you. 

Letterman for sure I mean, Letterman was  “save it save that…” 

No pre-show chat with Letterman.

Yeah, he learned that from Johnny Carson because Carson would maybe see somebody in makeup and say hi, but he wanted to save that the first moment, and that energy… 

Makes sense. 

Which is different. Leno, you did a bunch of times and Jay is just hanging out backstage. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. Yeah, because, see, that’s kind of what I do. Like, if I had a talk show, that’s what I’d probably be doing. Like, I keep my green room open, my door open, and I go out into the hallway. I don’t wanna be stuck in there, like shut the door like all these other, like there’s a lot of actors who ust slam the door and that’s it. 

They, ’cause they’re scared, terrified. I mean– – 

Yes, yes, I’m not blaming them. I’m not blaming them, but I’m just trying to force myself into sort of a talking mood. 

Yeah, but whatever your process is, and then to put that stuff together with entertaining stories, and make make it work and then just to be able to have women you did so much improv. I mean you’re an experienced trained actor and you’re doing that for years and then you do the comedy and you have the skill sets that a lot of people don’t have where you can go. Some of some people cannot deviate from the guest from the pre interview I mean 

Right. I’ve heard that.

You can tell sometimes. But You could always just kind of ride a wave, which was a lot of fun. What about going on with Ferguson? He’s another one that seems to throw away the card and it just seems like a conversation, which is not with all the hosts. Did you have that experience or not? 

Exactly. I did. I had a great time doing his show, but, because I felt like I nailed it, and I really had a great time. I felt like we had a great rapport and I got a lot of laughs and then I heard from my publicist later that he didn’t want me back on the show. 

Because you were too funny, do you think? 

I guess so. I guess he didn’t… I guess he didn’t like that. 

It’s such a strange thing. They would have these, um, after every show and Jon Stewart would do this Colbert where they were just post mortem, and they would talk about how the show went and I know it Johnny Carson… and sometimes the guest would absolutely kill, and Carson’s, like “I don’t want the person back on.” And it’s like, “Why?” Who knows? 

See, that’s like old school. It’s old school, you know? Today, it’s so loose in all of those shows, you know? 

Yeah, going on with somebody like Seth Meyers, who I’m sure you know, in doing, I saw like, what else, you did Fallon and Carson Daly a bunch of times. You’ve done Colbert’s CBS show like something like eight times. 

Yeah, yeah, I did Kimmel once, and that was great too. 

Yeah, it seems like you’re a veteran. It seems like you’ve gone on everything, but going on Colbert, since he’s a friend of yours and you overlapped it at The Daily Show. 


I think he is underestimated in terms of his interviewing skills and just his connection and stuff. Well, there’s some hosts that are just so caught up on whatever is the pre-interview and whatever is on the card, not as much, but I think Seth doesn’t do it and I think Stephen doesn’t do it. 

They’re improv comedians, yeah. 

I mean, that’s an excellent point. I mean, they can really have a conversation, which is great. You mentioned, and this has to be really hard, and maybe it’s not, when you were at the Daily Show, you just give your soul to these field pieces. Everything is edited in the way that you want, that you see, and then Jon Stewart gets to it and he starts making cuts. I mean, it’s basically, you called him, I think, surgical, John is surgical with the jokes, which has to be tough. How long did that take you to get used to? Could you go to him and challenge him? Maybe this doesn’t work, and was he right most of the time? 

He was always right. 


Yeah, I can’t think of a time when he wasn’t right, and maybe this is just a kind of hero worship on my part. I don’t know. I could be guilty of that, but, like, he’s so good at that thing, what he turned that show into, that he knew where the joke was, and even though something was, like, I learned a lot on that, like, how to kill babies, basically, in terms of, like, that’s a funny joke, but it has nothing to do with the plot of your field piece. But Jon’s note sessions were stressful because while he is insightful, he’s also very vague, he was famous for saying like, “So just do the thing with the thing.” We were like, “Okay. So the thing you were just talking about, or the thing, is there a reference to a thing?” “But just do that thing with that thing.” 

What is the adrenaline level like to be there in the studio, the studio audience, when your field piece plays and it scores? 

Oh, it’s great, man. Those, I mean, I got. The field the field pieces that are so hard they’re so so hard  

You made them look easy, I mean…

Oh wow. I mean it’s not. Guys like Jason Jones had an easier time with it, maybe John Oliver because because those guys those guys were… Jon once said it was a new correspondent that came in that didn’t last too long, and they just didn’t get what Jon wanted on a field piece, so he killed it and then and Jason was by the door and he said “Don’t bring a shovel to do the work of a steam shovel” or something like that because, you know, Jason Jones was terrifying and he he enjoyed like ripping people apart, whereas I was it was just hanging… like Colbert said you got to hang your soul up at the door a little bit. 

I can’t imagine. The one that you did because it wasn’t until you got there probably but there was, you were doing a piece that was about children are our future and you define a guy that was working with children’s charities and the joke was going to be “he’s in it to meet celebrities.” 


So, you go into, and you know that this guy is not going to be in the celebrities. You walk into his office and he has his children in his charity and what do you see everywhere on the walls? 

His wall is covered with pictures of him with celebrities. 

It’s exactly what you did not want, and he was illustrating the joke. 

This is an irony killer, and also he just, we tried it anyway, and he kicked us out. 

No after just he just… There was no reasoning or? 

No, no, he would know he was just like, I think the jokes didn’t work first of all with him because they hit too close to home So he took them kind of personal. It’s better when they’re like we just want them to say “No, I’m in it to save children’s lives.” You know, that’s all we want in a nutshell 

When they try to be funny or they try to play along with the ridiculousness of questions, that’s it doesn’t work a lot.

That usually is gone, yeah. We, it happens all the time and we sometimes have to stop recording and be like you just sometimes to a point where we even have to explain it to him like “Listen, you’re the bad guy. All right, even though you’re the good guy. Do you get it?” 

There were people that you obliterated that you would think would be upset with you when the thing aired, but instead they were just excited. You would hear from them. They were just excited to be on TV. Can I take you out to lunch? Can I be your friend? 

Yeah. Oh, Ed Helms interviewed this… We were sharing an office and he told me he interviewed a, I think it was a politician probably who was so anti-gay, and Ed destroyed him. And he would just call Ed all the time and ask him to, like, it was almost kind of gay. 

Wow. Would Ed have dinner with him? 

No, Ed wouldn’t have dinner with him. 

Okay. I didn’t think so. I didn’t think he would, but that’s, you wouldn’t expect that. I wouldn’t expect that. But I mean, you know, what’s the whole cliche is like any publicity is good publicity and they hear from their friends. 

Yeah, people just wanna get on the TV is essentially the motto there. 

When you did the 2004, it was “Vote and Die.” It was basically people were going out to vote. Can you set this up and were you nervous for it at all? I mean, it played really well. 

No more nervous than I was for any of them, which was, you know, a certain degree of being nervous. But “Vote or Die” was the saying on MTV, popularized by MTV at the time. And we said, that’s both really “vote and die,” meaning we will find fecal matter in the voting booths. And we did. And we had a doctor, he was gold, this guy, who actually said, “As a species, we are literally bathing in human waste.” 

And this is a real doctor. 

Where’s my Emmy?

Yeah, just the level of where you would go. But just to have a gift like that of a doctor like that is so funny. 

Yeah, it makes your job a lot easier, especially when, like you said, we had one camera and it was… 

Did you ever see a photo of Joe Franklin’s office before? Covered with stacks of pieces of paper and books the late Joe Franklin. I mean, it was just ridiculous. I didn’t know this.  I was reading an interview you did, but Jon Stewart gave Joe Franklin a little bit of a run for his money. I mean, Jon Stewart’s desk, you said, was just, I mean, it was piled and stuff. 

Oh, it was ridiculous. It was ridiculous. 

Did he acknowledge it? That it was ridiculous? 

Yeah, oh yeah, every time I went in there, I’d go into his office and sit out and he’d be like, “Um, so I just cleaned up.” Like it was just a mess. 

I was just gonna say, a lot of books because he would read the books from people that were gonna be there and it was just everybody. 

Oh, he read books he didn’t want to read. Yeah, he and I caught him once.. and he was embarrassed. I walked into his office without knocking, ’cause that’s the Corddry way of doing things. And he had a book in front of him, and he was reading it like this. 

Oh, he was like a speed reader. 

Yeah. And he comprehends it and digests it. He’s a very fast reader. He’s such a smart dude. 

He’s intimidating, and him and Colbert, both of them, I mean, I had a day job with Stephen for almost four years, and I could, I always, it was hard for me to be myself around him sometimes ’cause he was so smart. I know you don’t–  

It was when I was on the show, it was hard for me to be, I mean, you know, Jon Stewart was really intimidating when I was on the show. Now he’s like, it’s not like I’m, he’s like my uncle. 

Johnny Carson was a speed reader, he took a class. So Jon was embarrassed just that you knew he was a speed reader, is that what his embarrassment was? 

Yeah, that was. Yeah, that I had caught him being smart. You know, he’s so verbal too. I mean, yeah, his turn of phrase just off the cuff is amazing.

I have wanted to ask you this for the longest time because there was a script that was going around Hollywood and here in New York and I got a copy, and it was almost this underground script by Ricky Blitt called The Winner. And it was like when I read it for the first time. I mean, I was laughing out loud. I couldn’t stop. And then I talked to somebody in LA and they’re like, “No, Mark, this is everywhere. People are obsessed with this script.” 

Oh, wow. 

And then you get the lead. And then Julie Haggerty in the pilot. 

Yeah, and the whole show. Well, she did the whole show. 


Six episodes. 

But it was one of those things where it just, at what point in the process, did you know about all the hype around the script and at what point did you kind of know or discover maybe this doesn’t… isn’t working?

I thought it was working. I think….my this is my introduction to working in Los Angeles, like in Hollywood. and.. 

Seth MacFarlane as well 

Yeah yeah yeah yeah and Seth is so easy-going but the guys behind the curtain, like, they… I think at one point realized because I played a 35-year-old shut-in whose best friend was a 14-year-old boy. They at some point realized that they they’re making a show about a possible pedophile. I don’t know. 

I never got that in the pilot. 

No, no…

The stuff that I’ve seen…

It was just that’s what my, I think, because well, as we went on, they kept like making it a little safer. You could see them getting more nervous and Ricky getting angrier and then finally it was gone. Also, I don’t think anybody watched it. 

I mean, I don’t think it was promoted that much. I don’t remember seeing many promos. It was six episodes. David Koechner, a very funny man, said that he gets mistaken… People go up to him all the time and they think that Koechner’s you. Do you get the same thing sometimes, or? 

Yes, all the time. I will. Not recently, but I will whenever I do text, he’ll text me sometimes and be like, “Oh, hey, somebody thinks you’re great in Hot Tub.” And I’ll be like, “Hey, this dude thinks you’re awesome in Anchorman.” 

It’s so strange. It seems like whenever I talk to somebody that’s famous like yourself, they have stuff that I would never think of, like Mark Linn-Baker gets Griffin Dunne a lot, and vice versa. And I’m just like hey, 

I can maybe see that… I can see I mean Koechner. I I was scrolling through, because I prepared for this show. I’m looking through my appearances And I was looking through the videos on Google, and one of them was with Koechner and I thought it was me and I had to read it and see what show I was on. And it was like, oh, my God, that was Koechner talking about how he was like me. 

Do you have a favorite talk show appearance that you did, by the way, like a certain one that stands out? 

Yeah, I think maybe the reunion show on Colbert when it was Sam Bee and Ed Helms and John Oliver and Jon Stewart and myself. That was fun, man. 

You guys were rock stars. I mean, to look back, it’s like the Yankees, like the best dynasty and stuff. 

And it was so cool.  

The fact that all of you were propelled into this amazing stardom. Whereas, you know, SNL still was launching people. But for a while, it was like The Daily Show was really launching those careers. 

Yeah, I got in there at a good time. I really did get in there at a good time. Jon just had just found his, you Um, 

Yeah, he found his voice because when he got there, it took a couple years or something for the audience to accept him. I always go back that people when he first got the gig all I would hear people be like, “I miss Craig Kilborn. I miss Craig.” and Jon wearing a suit was very different than what people were used to.

Yes, he did not like wearing suits. 

Yeah, he would always what would he would wear? The ball cap he would wear, was it thermal like a thermal…

Leather jacket and a turquoise -ish, a muted turquoise t -shirt.  Oh, once I went into his office and saw a stack of about 20, like, muted turquoise t -shirts on his desk. And I said, “Hey, you’re branching out, huh?” And he was caught. It’s funny watching him caught. 

That’s really funny. I was so inspired by Childrens Hospital for so many reasons that you just pulled this thing off and it was such a hit, it ran forever. And there’s very few times in show business where the creator can go out on their own terms and they’re not canceled. And you did what you wanted to do. But the thing that really I got to me, and I need to read this book, my dad actually sent it to me, is this really came out and a lot of creative people are not like this. You were taking some time, you were kind of down, and you were reading, I don’t know if [calling it a] self-help book is the right thing. Productivity. 

Productivity, yeah. 

And you get to David Allen, Getting Things Done


It changed your life creatively. I mean, it just, it was so, when I read about this, I was like, I have to bring this up. What exactly happened? 

Yeah, it gave me, I found out there was an actual structure for the way I vaguely did things anyway, so it sort of propelled my productivity, and once you’re productive, you want to work more. Like, you want to create more and your brain is sort of free and empty and able to sort of accept ideas. And so really, I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. And since then, it’s the same. I do the same thing, but I’ve modified it to a point where it’s very analog now. 

Because a lot of creative people, minds can be turbulent. And it got you to the point where because you were so productive, and you had stuff that you needed to do filed in certain places, you could that you had that tranquility in your mind. And that’s when the idea for Children’s Hospital came to you when you were the most relaxed. 

Exactly right. I was, well, not relaxed so much because I just, was driving my daughter home from Children’s Hospital after hurting her elbow, but I definitely was in a place where I could accept that particular idea, and I don’t think I would have been able to, had I not been reading about this stuff. It’s a great thing. It’s a great…Get Things Done. It’s so simple. 

I need to read it. I just get overwhelmed very easily and stuff, but it’s not. 

I would listen to podcasts about it, like, you know, Merlin Man. 

Yeah, there’s people that swear their whole life. I’ve talked to some people that admit I take it too far, it’s easy to jump like to have it control your life, like anything is too much and stuff. But I know people that swear about it, so I definitely want to check it out. So you’re doing Children’s Hospital, then you start working on Ballers with the most famous movie star, maybe in the world, at the same time, you’re doing these crazy hour days in Miami because it’s a single camera show. You’re out on location, you’re probably really hot, 13, 14 hours, and then you have to go. People think this is so glamorous. Then you go to where you’re staying and you have to edit. The day’s not done. You are doing Childrens Hospital. One outlet called you a one-man band. I mean, you’re starring and it’s very similar to what Shandling did, you know, with Larry Sanders. You’re starring, you’re writing, you’re editing, you’re supervising all of it. How hard was that? And then you have a family. What was that like? 

Well, I want to give credit to the producers, because, you know, I mean, the editors who did do the actual editing, but, you know, they would give us cuts. And that’s what I was doing after work is reviewing those cuts and giving notes. Yeah, I don’t know. I enjoyed Ballers so much, and I enjoyed Childrens Hospital so much. None of that… I never looked back on that as being difficult or feeling like work. 

How hard was that? And who was your very first phone call when you decided you wanted to stop Childrens Hospital? Again, not many performers ever get the luxury of being able to do that. 

Yeah. I think, like you said, I like doing a lot of different things. And Childrens Hospital, as I was wearing three hats, you know, in that show, and I sort of just want I wanted to do other things. That’s all. That’s, it was really a selfish choice on my part because all these other guys and my my friends in the cast were like, it was summer camp. They used to call it summer camp for them when we shoot, 

That’s… to have that experience. You don’t get that how special that is for… 

I know and I ruined that. 

You gave them employment for seven years or something. 

Because I wanted to do Hot Tub Time Machine 2

[Laughs] Well, you know, the first one I saw in the theater, when you first did Hot Tub Time Machine, and that was the very first film you did not have to audition for, correct? 

Yeah, I think that sounds about right. 

That must have been just this amazing feeling, because, like, I mean, I think you were so defined by then anyways, what you could play and beyond and stuff so but a lot of times they still make you audition but that must have been in just the cast that you were with. 

Yeah, it’s kind of cool I mean, I was like, I’m also, I enjoy auditioning… as much as someone can enjoy auditioning. I am good at it I think I really worked hard at it when I first started out acting. I learned how to do it. So So I’m a good auditioner and so I tell my agents all the time, like, I know you will look like a bad agent if I audition, but I please tell them that if it comes down to it, I will be happy to audition. I don’t need just an offer. 

Because there are some people, I’m not going to mention, you would think that they would just suck up the pride and audition, but they won’t. And It’s people you would be very — people would be very surprised. 

It’s — I understand it because it’s not pleasant, but they should just get better at it. They should feel more confident about it. Now it’s difficult because, you know, you’re self-taping, and that’s a whole other animal. 

When 8.8 million people on average were watching Ballers, I mean, on network television, to get even something, numbers like that, but at HBO and this cult thing. Like, what was that like? I mean, could you tell the difference when that got on the air? Did things just change in terms of if you walk into a restaurant, you’re traveling on an airplane or not really? 

I don’t know. I don’t really remember. I wasn’t really conscious of it. I mean, it is probably the show I’m most recognized for, even today. But it is a great show. I I don’t, like, I don’t really know I didn’t I don’t remember there being a dramatic shift. 

I just remember how much press it got. I mean you’ve gotten so much press over the years and some great interviews. I was I was doing research. What was it like the day that you’re over at The Daily Show? I’m guessing it would have been I guess maybe Jen Jen Flanz, whoever goes up to him and be like, “Rob, guess what you’re doing tonight? You’re guest hosting for John. No notice. What was that day like?” 

Oh, it’s terrifying. It’s f*cking terrifying. 

How much notice did you get? 

About that much. About less than, you know, eight hours. And I was like, “I know. Absolutely I am. Let’s do it. Let’s do it.” And first of all, there was an author, a very dry author on as the guest. My first job as host was to say, “Can we not interview him? Can we interview someone else? Because I’m not really… I’ll blow that one.” And they were like, “Yeah, yeah, Absolutely. How about Will Arnett?” And I was like, “Perfect. Perfect.” And so, yeah, “Just give me a fun interview, please, about one of these dudes, because I don’t… I read the book. I ain’t gonna.” 

You did great, and you looked so natural. If there were nerves, you couldn’t tell it. And there was something about this audience, they, you know, they wait forever to see Jon Stewart. And then, but when you come out at the same time, they’re like, they realize the significance of a correspondent hosting the show and there’s this energy in the room. Could you feel that energy that people were rooting for you? 

I guess. I knew that people were just inherently disappointed, who were there, right? But sort of, I think the secret, to success of hosting, co-hosting that show or guest hosting is to just much, you know, just do what Jon would do. You know, just like do your imitation of Jon, essentially. And he’s so comfortable up there. I, I literally knew the movements. Like I knew the like tapping your pencil and the papers that mean nothing. There’s nothing on those papers. 

I have some of the papers when I worked at Colbert. Jack. Remember Jack, the security guard? 

Yeah, sure. 

Yeah, he came and it would be like Jon just doing doodles. Yeah, I mean on on the blue paper and stuff. 

Yeah, I don’t know he he’d come up and he’d just be the camera would come up to him and he’d be there doing doodles and he That was it. 

Yeah, there was nothing. He was not writing insightful notes at all. 

No. I didn’t do that part, but he looked good. It was very funny. 

He did look good. But… 

That was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done on television. 

Didn’t you do it twice or was it just once that you guest-hosted? 

So just the once, yeah, 

You know, one of my favorite things, because I am ended friends over there and I would go over the Q &A with Jon and I’m glad they’re taping it now, which they never did. I mean, back when he would come out. But and they do that with Stephen on the CBS show.. 

Yeah, I’m sure. 

I’m so glad he’s back. I mean, Even if it’s a, you know, once a week, it’s still– 

I can’t believe it. I mean, when I heard he was back, I was like, “No, that’s not true.” He would not do that. 

If they asked you to host a show like that, like a talk show or something, you’re behind the desk, what would you say? ‘Cause it is the hardest gig to keep doing that. 

“No, thank you.” I would say, “No, thanks respectfully. No, thanks.” Because I’m not that kind of guy that I know it’s not… 

It’s a grind too. 

I I could fake it that one time. I could fake it pretty well, but I cant… I couldn’t… 

I can’t Imagine how Letterman and Carson did that for so long.

What a slog, you know, I mean.. 

Yeah, I mean it was it was ridiculous. Last question. If somebody gave you–a studio–llike $50 million, do you have a dream project that you would want to do that you’ve always in your head that you want to make? 

What do you mean, like…

Just whatever you wanted, like an idea for a movie idea for whatever that like here’s your money, surprise us, what you want to make? 

Well, I always wanted to play, and this is for, you know, for years I’ve wanted to play. I had it written on a post-it note. I wanted to play an athlete or baseball player, baseball player, superhero or villain. And what else did I want to play? Oh, like a hitman or an assassin or an FBI CIA agent. And that’s what I’d do. I’d combine them all. And I’d be like CIA-baseball-superhero=-assassin. 

I’d be in the theater for that one. Final question, ’cause I did this on my Johnny Carson podcast, I would ask a similar question. I just asked Robert Smigel the same question about Lorne Michaels, but for you: Who was Jon Stewart and what did he mean to you? What does he mean to you? 

Oh man, it’s hard to even put into words because I look up to that guy so much. I treasure… a treasure my experience there and that guy, and what he taught me and it’s hard to even put it into words, but like and I love now that i could probably call him and just have a conversation with them? Like buddies? And and it took a long time to get to that point but he i just. There’s probably not a guy in show business, I mean, he and Colbert are probably right up there, who I respect more.

I mean, yeah, they’re smart. I mean, the smartest guys. 

They’re smart. They got it all. They got it all for that. 

And Jon is a leader. He would come over to Colbert sometimes at the Report and just talk to all of us. And you’re like, “I want this guy to be our leader.” 

He would produce! Yeah. He was the producer, right? Or still is. Yeah. So he would actually…  That’s cool. I didn’t know that. 

Usually those guys like that they’re hands off usually Yeah, the title. But no he would, h went over to the CBS show – when in the first year when you know they were still trying to find the voice and talking to the staff and stuff.Yeah, he’s great real deal. Is there anything you want to plug or social media handles or anything? I first of all, I’m so honored you would talk to me that you – you would do this. 

No, what are you talking about? You came over to my house. I was rude to you. I was rude to you when you came over to my house. 

(Laughing) Some people thought that was real and I’m just like– 

No, we were good.  You and I, we were good. We made a good team. You were a good– 

Yeah, it was amazing. I loved it. No, you were so damn funny. 

That was a lot of fun. So, yeah, I thought you were a good guy.

Thanks. Rob, I just hope everything’s well, I can’t believe, like, do you have kids in college now?

Just got accepted to college, you know, one of them. 

Oh, wow, where? If you’re allowed to say. 

Hampshire, yeah, I’m allowed to say. Hampshire College in Massachusetts, which is part of the five college system that UMass is part of where I went to school. 

You must be, when you go back to school, they honored you when you were on The Daily Show at your old school, or your high school. You must be a rock star when you go back. I mean, you’re a rock star anyway. 

I mean, I went back, the one time I went back to UMass, I went back with, and I was there with Jeffrey Donovan. So we both sort of, it was sort of diluted. It was divided between the two of us. We were…thank God. No, I don’t really know, I don’t notice. It’s all just very like a sort of pleasant in a constant sort of thing, with with people coming up to you and people like that and especially at those places I I have a very comfortable level of fame is what I’m saying. 

Yeah, I mean you’ve worked so hard I mean, I just love reading the early interviews with you just about… you were saving money You’d say like $25 a week to sleep in a van instead of like when you’re doing the Shakespeare stuff. 


Yeah, I know you beyond paid your dues. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. 

And now I’m done. I just want to be you know, I want to come on. Can we just retire in this business for God’s sake? 

It would be nice to be able to just add it’s hustle, hustle, hustle. Thank you for doing this. I hope you how was this? Was this okay? I know you do you don’t do a lot of these. 

It was great. Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

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