"There are no words to describe our Emmy nomination!” jokes Hardwick, who filmed teasers for upcoming episodes. “I got a message from [Viacom Entertainment Group president] Doug Herzog congratulating me. I wrote back, ‘What the f— are you talking about?’ It was and is very surreal.”
Hardwick (left) and his @midnight brain trust took a quick (fake) snooze in the green room post-taping.
“Comedy Central is truly the perfect place to do this show,” says Hardwick (second from right, with, from left, Reggie Watts, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Thomas Lennon). “A few of the regular comics are seeing a rise in their ticket sales, which I love to hear.”
Bizarre web content is fodder for testing comedians on their quickest-inspired musings. “At 8 a.m. we get a 27-page breakdown of the craziest stuff our team found on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube — anywhere online,” says Joe Farrell, a co-executive producer from Funny or Die. “Our hiring criterion is: What's your website ritual?”
The comedians took a stab at writing the “saddest letter ever from summer camp.” From top: Lennon’s, Watts’ and Yankovic’s efforts.
The final challenge involved a (creepy) glimpse into the online “Mpreg” culture, which features photoshopped images of men with pregnant bellies.
From top: Yankovic’s and Lennon’s final jokes.
Lennon was crowned the winner. “We really underestimated the competitiveness between the comedians,” says showrunner Jack Martin. “At first they’re like, ‘Oh, no big deal.’ By the end, they want to kill each other.”
“We have the best joke-to-minute ratio on TV,” says Hardwick.
“The show is a well-oiled machine,” says Lennon of the brisk postproduction schedule, which involves shaving 20 to 30 minutes off the running time. “A lot of the shitty things we did in the pilot that we don’t do anymore were my ideas, so that’s good.”
@midnight films at 4 p.m. Pacific, so editors have only a few hours to cut the show before it airs on the East Coast.
“The show is a cool hangout,” says Hardwick, who snapped a selfie with the comedians during the show. “When the comics leave, they say, ‘Oh my God, that was so much fun!’ They get to be funny without burning through their own material. I’d definitely want to be on the show, even if I weren’t hosting it.”