'Gemberling' plunges into Adult Swim


Adult Swim has given a pilot order to a live-action/green-screen project based on a series of online shorts from John Gemberling and Curtis Gwinn.

Gemberling and Gwinn also will star in, write and executive produce the as-yet-untitled half-hour project, which centers on a brilliant computer programmer (Gemberling) who gets sucked into the Internet, where a bounty hunter (Gwinn) is sent to find him by an evil CEO. The green-screen portion of the show, which will feature the "inside" of the Internet, may encompass animation or CGI elements.

The pilot is tentatively set to be shot this month. David Tochterman, who is Gemberling and Gwinn's manager, also will executive produce.

The original series, titled "Gemberling," comprised a total of eight episodes (seven of which were five minutes long and an eighth that ran for 17 minutes). The show was part of the lineup of Channel 102 in New York, where a live audience votes on various five-minute shorts and the top five become the Web site's "primetime" lineup. According to the Channel 102 site, "Gemberling" was the longest-running show in its original lineup and was the "most dependably funny, best-paced show in 102 history when it ended." The shorts also aired on TV this year as part of Fuse's late-night show "Munchies."

The original cast also included Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and Rob Corddry, among others, but the talent for the pilot is still being finalized.

Gemberling and Gwinn pointed out that "Gemberling" was inspired by their favorite movies in the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres, including "Star Wars," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Tron" and "Flash Gordon." They joked about how the show got its start, saying they bought a green-screen off eBay as well as various other equipment they had no idea how to use.

"We figured, we may not know how to use (the equipment), but we bought the stuff hoping that spending a lot of money would force us to do something with it," Gwinn joked.

Gemberling added that they also shot in a friend's "real-world office" by sneaking past security into the building during the weekends and nailing the green-screen into the walls.

"It was probably illegal," he joked.

Tochterman pointed out that the "low-fi production values were obviously part of the charm" of the show.

Gemberling and Gwinn, also known as the comedy duo Cowboy & John, regularly appear at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York and have written for such shows as Comedy Central's "The Man Show."

They are repped by WMA and Tochterman.