Talking with ADULT SWIM’s Robot Chicken Crew (Exclusive Interview)

Talking at NYCC with Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer and John Harvatine IV all about their work on Robot Chicken is just as fun as the show!

Talking at NYCC with Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer and John Harvatine IV all about their work on Robot Chicken is just as fun as the show!

New York Comic Con 2014 was the place to be this month especially if you were looking forward to the awesome ADULT SWIM panels. I was one of the many eager fans there for Robot Chicken. The highly popular stop motion animated sketch-comedy television series, created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, is outrageously funny.

There’s no denying the love of fans and the Stoopid Monkey crew themselves for the show. Where else can you find Apocalypse Ponies, Bitch Pudding, a cocky Superman, G.I Joe failures, and hear The Emperor‘s phone call without upsetting a single fan of the originals?

Robot Chicken is also a huge favorite among celebrities who have lent over their voices such as:

The list goes on and on…

While at NYCC, I got the chance to speak with Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer and John Harvatine IV all about their work on Robot Chicken. Talking to them was just as entertaining as the show!

What can we expect to see?

Matthew: We have our Holiday Special coming out in December that’s the last episode of Season 7 and then we start writing Season 8 in December. This is our small hiatus before we kickstart our next season.

How do you choose your material?

Matthew: It’s whatever makes you laugh. It’s like you having conversations with your friends at home where you’re laughing at something you saw. Having a moment talking about something, then finding that one odd moment in it that spirals into something funny is what really sparks it. The writers room is just a bunch of people who’ve been friends for almost 20 years.

Is there ever a moment where you’re “okay that’s too far?”

Matthew: Um no (laughter). Our show goes kind of far. Our show is TVMA and sometimes is uncomfortable to watch.

John: We still have to monitor. We know what’s not really appropriate and what is, for the most part anything goes.

Are there any toys you want to use that you haven’t used yet?

Matthew: We keep talking about Ben 10. That’s the one we really haven’t cracked yet. It’s that next generation, ’cause we’re a little older, people know it very well, it’s very popular. Yet man we cannot figure out how to make that a funny sketch. We wrote like 10 that keep just getting thrown out. Breckin has wrote one that was horrible, he can tell you about that. (laughter) That’s probably the biggest one.

How do you write a show like Robot Chicken?

Matthew: I compare it to SNL. It’s a sketch comedy show. People write sketches, then submit them, and then you vote on them. Everybody sits at their computers from like 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, everyone is writing. At 4:00 pm everyone is distributed packets, you see what you like and we vote on them. If we vote on them, the it goes to the next round where it gets scripted or we give notes.

Breckin: The skits we’ve done about Lindsey Lohan all came from my experiences working with Lindsey. I came to the Writers Room exhausted with a lot tales of working with Lindsey, I’d do the voice–my interpretation of it. That became the beginning of our skits. I’m a lazy writer so a lot of the fun stuff comes about from stuff in the room. Like me playing with He-Man, playing with King Randor was me just annoying Doug Goldstein, one of our writers, because I didn’t want to write–I was bored. So I started just walking King Randor over to him and go “Oh are you working? My bad you’re working.” Every 10 minutes I’d go back and go “Oh you’re a hard worker.” That’s how it became our King Randor skit.

Did any of you think it would go as far as it has?

Matthew: We thought we’re going to be cancelled after the first few episodes. For Seth and I–first season, it was the second job. Seth was an actor (lots of laughter) and I worked in comic books. We never thought it would be a full-time scenario and then we had to realize that this was bigger than all this other stuff.

John: It’s kind of crazy to think too back then that a stop motion show would have longevity, is pretty rare and unique. Right now it’s the longest running stop motion show on tv, so that’s pretty crazy and pretty hard to imagine back then.

Breckin: My whole goal with the show from jumpstreet is I’m looking to make Seth laugh when I see him running the board. My whole goal is to make him giggle and vice versa. I think that’s one of the reasons our show has been kept around a bit because you see that fun, you hear that fun, that stupid goofiness that we have.

Have you thought about putting Robot Chicken on the big screen?

Matthew: We always talk about it, it’s tricky because if we’re going to do long form it has to be very specific. Doing an ADD show more than 11 minutes throws you kind of off, probably the closest thing to it is like Jackass: The Movie. If we’re going to do it like we did the Bitch Pudding Special this season, I think we can expand. If we take like a specific character I think there’s something to that. The Simpsons didn’t have a movie until Season 20 something, Family Guy still hasn’t had a movie. We got time time, we enjoy the television world.

Are there any voices that you have gone for that you haven’t got?

Matthew & John (in unison): HARRISON FORD

Which voice do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?

Breckin: If we do (which I’m sure we’ll do) Guardians of the Galaxy, I want to plant my flag in “Rocket.” By the way if we get Bradley Cooper though, I’ll step aside.

What were some of your favorite toys growing up?

Breckin: He-Man, Castle Grayskull. I never got the big ones like the Millennium Falcon. I got Castle Grayskull but nothing else.

Breckin did realize during this “therapy” session, that his parents never got him the cool toys. This realization “sucked.”

(laughter all around)
Will we ever see a Robot Chicken video game?

John: Oh man a video game that would be great! A humping robot running around (laughing) like Super Mario.

Matthew: I have a vision for it. I want to do it like WarioWare where it’s a bunch of mini games but I don’t know yet. We’ll see.

What are some of your all-time favorite video games that you like to play?

Matthew: Mario Kart on N64, Final Fantasy VII, you point to the classics… right now I only have time for the iPad when I have only 10 minutes.

These guys are a great bunch and you can certainly hear in their voices that they truly love what they do. If only all of us can be this lucky. Speaking with Matthew, John and Breckin was an absolute treat for me–especially being a long-time Robot Chicken fan.

Robot Chicken‘s Season 7 is currently airing on Cartoon Network’s ADULT SWIM with their Holiday Special coming in December, so keep watching!

About the author

Venisia Gonzalez

Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.