Showrunners 2012: 'Workaholics' Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck and Kevin Etten
From their obsessive rituals (Peppermint Patties! Oatmeal! Bruce Springsteen!) to the parts of their jobs they hate most (killing characters off, dealing with agents), TV's most influential writer-producers featured on The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of the Top 50 Showrunners come clean about the people, things and quirky habits that keep them -- and their shows -- alive.
Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck and Kevin Etten, Workaholics (Comedy Central)
The show that inspired me to write:
Anderson: Probably Saturday Night Live. I think sketch writing is a good spot for everyone to start because it requires you to develop characters, have a beginning, middle and end and have a bunch of jokes in a short amount of time.
Holm: It was actually the movie Rushmore that made me first realize that i could try writing, but Cheers is the best show ever. The writers on that show created a relationship that writers today still fail to rip off successfully, the Sam and Diane.
THR's Top 50 Showrunners 2012 -- the Complete List
My big break:
Anderson: I'd say writing down pizza delivery orders but I'm not sure if everyone considers that as "major" of a writing job as I do, so I'm gonna go with Workaholics.
Holm: My first major writing job was Workaholics. My only writing job ever is Workaholics.
My TV mentor:
Anderson: The Original Gnar Dog of Comedy, Kevin Etten. I mean the dude can riff, and I've seen him cry.
Holm: I had the pleasure of working for Hart Hanson as the writers' assistant on the Fox show Bones. He was always willing to take five minutes in the kitchen and answer questions I had about writing and the business. Looking back now, I realize he might have just been politely waiting for the coffee to brew.
My proudest accomplishment this year:
Anderson: Being able to honestly say that I think Workaholics is one of the funniest shows currently on TV.
Holm: Well, I got married to an amazing woman, but you guys don't care about that, so I'm really pleased with the last season of Workaholics. It's been a lot of fun to hang out with my friends and create innovative ways to describe erections.
My toughest scene to write this year:
Anderson: The scene in the episode “Ders Comes in Handy” when Adam ends up hanging himself out front of Montez's house. For the longest time we had that as some fight scene with Montez's wife and we kept beating ourselves over the head thinking that it had already been done. You find yourself lying in bed, driving in the car, tossing tons of scenarios in your head and when we came up with the hanging thing it was like, "Yes!" It's like solving a math problem. And that scene ending up being one of my favorites.
The most absurd note I've ever gotten:
Anderson: "I don't know, it seems kinda gay."
Holm: The network is usually pretty lax, but it's always funny to me, when legal suggests replacements for words we can't say like "jizz" or "p****." They're always grosser, like, "how about 'snake snot' and 'lady hole'?" Nah. Stay lawyering, guys.
The aspect of my job as showrunner that I'd rather delegate:
Holm: I never watch dailies, but i do think that someone should ... make sure production is going according to plan. Being that I'm acting on the show and I'm in the dailies, I could get lost watching me for hours. That can't be good for anyone.
My preferred method for breaking through writer's block:
Anderson: Beer helps. Watching cartoons does too.
Holm: I'm not patient at all. I avoid writer's block by writing. I power through with a bad version, so i can move on and usually once I've gotten to the next scene, I'll discover what was missing from the bad version scene. Then I can easily rewrite it to get back on the right path. Also, tracking my iPhone 5's travel route from China was a fun diversion when ideas weren't flowing. My phone's been to Anchorage. I haven't. That's cool to me.
If I could add any one writer to your staff, it would it be:
Anderson: Jim Starlin. I'd like to see you guys get a little more cosmic.
Holm: I would add Mitch Hurwitz. We had him guest star as an actor in season two and he's a mad man. Funniest human alive. I think his humor is a little different than our show, but I'm pretty sure he'd be a riot to have in the room.
The show I'm embarrassed to admit I watch:
Anderson: I've been making up for lost time with Jem lately.
Holm: I'm not embarrassed to watch anything on TV. That said, I have gotten shit from people for loving The New Adventures of Old Christine, American Idol (Simon Cowell seasons), Project Runway, Wings and Enlightened (I had the last laugh with that one). So it's out there. I like these shows.
The three things I need in order to write:
Anderson: String cheese and background jazz.
Holm: I need a white board, every Beastie Boys album ever on my computer and a tight outline.
If I could scrub one credit from your resume, it would be:
Anderson: Even terrible stuff becomes great when given enough time ... no regrets yet.
Holm: Resume? I wish I had a resume. And if I did, I wouldn't scrub anything from it. Who cares?