The third season of Workaholics, everybody's favorite inebriated slacker comedy, premieres tonight. In anticipation, Complex catches up with the stars who put in hard work to make it look like they do nothing at all.
This feature is a part of Complex's Workaholics Week.
Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson are in Van Nuys, CA, shooting an action sequence with pyrotechnics at the crib where Adam and Blake used to live. Their old dump has been transformed into a dumpy set for their Comedy Central series Workaholics.
Two years ago, big production days were just a dream. Along with co-creator/director Kyle Newacheck (who also plays the show’s drug-dealing “rape van” owner, Karl Hevacheck), the guys were making Internet videos as the sketch group Mail Order Comedy. And that was their side hustle. Adam worked the door at the Improv and did stand-up, Anders wrote for Real Time with Bill Maher, and Blake delivered pizzas. Then Walter Newman, an exec at Comedy Central, saw their videos and asked them to pitch a show, then shoot a pilot.
The guys expanded their online series 5th Year, about three recent college grads and roommates (Adam DeMamp, Anders Holmvik, and Blake Chesterfield Henderson—guess who plays who…) who barely hold down shitty telemarketing gigs and are unmotivated to do anything more than get fucked up. The network was impressed. It ordered a 10-episode season. Workaholics premiered in April 2011. Fast-forward to 2012 and Adam (28), Anders (30), and Blake (28), are now filming season three.
Back on set, a pyrotechnics expert warns Blake, “Don’t look over your shoulder.” The crew is preparing to shoot a scene on a hovercraft… in the backyard pool. Sparks and a five-foot flame are going to shoot out of the vessel’s rear, where Blake, and his trademark mustache and frizzy blonde locks, will be crouched. There’s a good chance this will be his “Pepsi setting Michael Jackson’s hair on fire” moment.
It’s evident from watching the guys at work, that the irony suggested by the show’s title only applies to the characters. These dudes share a love for partying but they were grinding at comedy before Comedy Central happened: Blake with the Groundlings and Upright Citizen Brigade, Adam and Anders with the Second City Conservatory. Despite a growing legion of fans, they still put in work like it could all end tomorrow. But unless they pull a Chappelle, it’s unlikely they’ll disappear any time soon.
After an initial misfire, when the special effects rig did little more than blow smoke up everyone’s ass, fire shoots out of the hovercraft’s ass and the guys launch a fleet of abandon-ship jokes. With the shot secured, Adam, Anders, and Blake retreat into a room adjacent to Uncle Blazer’s former, real-life bedroom and current, television bedroom to talk to Complex about male nudity, getting trashed with fans, and comedy beef.
Written by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)
The workout theme of your Complex photo shoot is fitting, considering how frequently you guys take your clothes off on Workaholics. Was that a calculated move to advertise the goods?
Anders: There was a clamoring that had to be addressed.
Adam: Naked dudes are inherently funny.
Blake: And we grew up with some of the best shirtless dudes in history: the Hulk Hogans, the Stallones, the Arnolds.
Adam: And our dads.
Blake: All our dads look pretty good with their shirts off.
Adam: Dads in the late ’80s, early ’90s did not wear shirts. Too many dads nowadays are wearing shirts. They need to take those off, and let those titties breathe.
Anders: I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad with his shirt off. It’s always been V-necks.
Blake: Didn’t he used to be a bodybuilder?
Anders: Yeah, but then I happened.
Blake: But I bet he looked tight with his shirt off.
Is it fair to say that, as comedy troops go, the Workaholics are the most athletically gifted?
Adam: 100 percent.
Anders: We got a natural hard body sitting catty-corner from me over there. Look at this guy.
Blake: What can I say? It doesn’t take a lot—except for riding the bike every day.
Adam: Working out. Eating right ev-er-y day.
Anders: For like six hours. But the answer is, yeah.
Adam: We’re willing to fight any three-man sketch group to the death.
Anders: Three or four.
Would you prefer a non-lethal physical competition?
Adam: I guess we could work out instead of fighting to the death.
Anders: All physical competitions are a metaphor for fighting, so we might as well get down to the nitty gritty.
Blake: We’d have Kyle as our fourth, and he can beat up anybody. [Everyone nods.] He’s pretty fat, but when he gets to fighting he throws his weight around.
Adam: A lot of people don’t know Kyle is 6’ 9’’.
Anders: On the Richter scale.
Adam: One time, Kyle and me fought. Afterwards, when it had diffused, he says to me [whispering menacingly]: “Big! Czech! Hands! Oh, you’re lucky I didn’t hit you with these BIG…CZECH…HANDS…” [Everyone laughs.] When he gets drunk, Kyle is one of the worst people. [Laughs.] Sometimes he’s great but most times he goes to a dark spot.
Anders: He’s a psycho.
Adam threw pizza in my butthole once. We fought about that. We were in Chicago on our first comedy tour. Drunk. Livin’ life.
What were you two fighting about?
Adam: We were having a party and this girl was sitting on my lap on our old roommate’s bed. I was talking to her and things were going great. Then Kyle comes in and says he needs to talk to her real quick. So she gets off my lap and goes in the hallway. They take one step back—I can totally hear them—and Kyle says, “So what’s up?” Just starts hitting on her. I came in the hallway yelling, “What the fuck, man? She was just sitting on my lap, bro!” She got all weirded out ’cause I’m like half-crying…
Anders: [Laughs.] I was gonna marry her!
Adam: She left and I threw my beer at Kyle. He swung at me but it was just the drunkest swing ever. Then I crawled up him like a koala—’cause he’s a lot taller than me—and squeezed him with all my might and all he could do was swing at me like a T-Rex. That was also the night Kyle met Ders for the first time.
Anders: He tried to fight me, too.
Adam: Kyle was back on my team at that point. Ders was taking back the Jamie Foxx DVD he’d loaned me, and Kyle says, “Who the fuck are you, bro?” Ders was like, “I’m taking my Jamie Foxx DVD back,” and Kyle goes, “You can’t take that! That’s Adam’s friend’s Jamie Foxx DVD!”
Anders: Then Adam comes out of nowhere and says, “This is the guy,” and Kyle’s like, “I don’t fucking know this guy, bro.” [Everyone laughs.] The next day we all went and saw Kung Fu Hustle. The rest is history.
What other memorable fights have you gotten into with each other?
Blake: Adam threw pizza in my butthole once. We fought about that. We were in Chicago on our first comedy tour. Drunk. Livin’ life. Adam puked egg rolls in the limo, so I said, “I’ma take my pants off.” Nobody was feeling that, but they stayed off.
Adam: I had put all my stuff on a bed to claim it and then Blake fell asleep on the bed with all my stuff, curled up in a position where his ass and butthole were just fully in there. So I spiked some deep dish pizza in his butthole. Ders recorded us fighting and sent it to Kyle on his voicemail, ’cause he wasn’t there.
Blake: Kyle put sad music behind it. You can still hear it on Myspace.
Anders: “You can’t throw fuckin’ pizza up my butt!” “Well, your butt’s always hangin’ out! Fine then! No more butts! We won’t joke about butts anymore!”
Adam:: “Is that a thing? We’re not joking about butts anymore, Adam?” “Yah, I guess that’s a thing! No more butt jokes!” [Everyone laughs.] But we were so dead serious.
When I got fired from a Domino’s commercial because my ass was too huge, that was the definition of 'butt hurt.' —Adam
Speaking of asses, I heard Domino’s execs once dropped Adam from a commercial because they didn’t think his butt could sell pizza.
Adam: Yeah, and now it’s selling a TV show. Get at me! Sorry, Domino’s. I auditioned and they were like, “Oh, great, this dude can hold pizza and say one funny line.” They had this expensive crane. It was a huge production. They did this tracking shot of me getting out of a car and carrying the pizza to the house. It followed my ass, and evidently it was way too rotund. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing the Domino’s exec dismayed, just destroyed, that my ass was in the shot. They gave me bigger pants and tried to un-tuck the back of my shirt, but nah. When I got fired from that Domino’s commercial because my ass was too huge, that was the definition of “butt hurt.”
Workaholics transformed the English language with your use of “tight butthole” to describe anything that’s awesome and “loose butthole” for anything that’s not. What other ways can the butthole be used to describe situations and feelings?
Adam: A wet butthole of a day, ‘cause it’s a shitty day… Maybe it’s rainy. A slushy butthole of a day? I can talk about buttholes all day. [Laughs.]
Anders: If you have angst or anxiety, that’s an itchy butthole. “I don’t know man, my butthole itches about that whole situation.” If you got a bad feeling about something it’s, “That butthole’s totally crusty, man. I wouldn’t do that.” There are hairy buttholes. That’s a gnarly situation, like you’re running from the cops or whatever. “Dude, that butthole was hairy!”
What about a juicy butthole?
Anders: Uh, that would be whatever’s the most disgusting thing ever. [Laughs.] That’s like a bubbling butthole: “Last night’s Arby’s came out of my bubbling butthole and it was a bubbling butthole.”
There must have been many slushy and bubbly butthole days when you actually worked as telemarketers. What’s the worst thing someone you called did to you?
Adam: The worst was when people would pretend like, “Oh yeah, I definitely want some knives. Let me go get my credit card.” Then they’d come back and blow an air horn in my ear holes. People being mean became a normal thing. It was worse when people told their sad story about how lonely they were and how nice it was to talk to somebody. Those people weren’t buying shit, though, so you had to move on to the next call. You’re like, “I wish I could punch your grandkid in the face for not visiting you, old lady.”
Talking about the hoes you get, that’s the funniest rap. People f***, dude. You f*** too? Cool, man. You know you’re talking to mostly guys about this, right? —Anders
Anders: A lot of people said, “Oh yeah, hang on a second,” and then set the phone down. They thought they got me but it was the best thing ever because I didn’t have to do anything. I could pretend I was on a call while the boss trolled around. If they hung up, your computer redialed automatically. Some dudes would scream, “I’m a fucking lawyer! I’m gonna sue you!” You’re not suing me, homie. You’re gonna sue some company that I couldn’t care less about.
It’s clear from the raps on your show that you know hip-hop on a deep level. Did any of you ever want to rap seriously?
Did you freestyle in school?
Anders: Unfortunately, yes. [Everyone laughs.] At every party at my high school, there would be somebody banging their keys against the keg, dropping beats, and people being like, “OK, OK! All right, all right! OK!”
Adam: Just the beginning?
Anders: [Laughs.] No, there was some full-force rapping. My school, Evanston Township High School, has churned out more MCs—more white MCs—per capita than any other area.
Blake: When we were in high school, Kyle, my buddy Justin, and I released a rap album, Sugar in the Raw, which was like a Czechoslovakian trio. My MC name was Brother Diamond. It was tight. I was all about killing turtles and stuff.
Adam: I did not rap. I’m not a good rapper. For whatever reason, my brain does not work that way. I just do the beginning, like, “Yeah, yeah! Ha ha! Woo! What up? Come on! Get at me!” I’m Captain Hook.
Blake and Anders, how would you describe your rap styles?
Anders: I don’t dig rap that brags about getting chicks and shit. Talking about the hoes you get, that’s the funniest rap. People fuck, dude. [Everyone laughs.] You fuck too? Cool, man. You know you’re talking to mostly guys about this, right? That’s awesome.
Blake: If you come at it like that you have to be extremely honest. That’s why R. Kelly is the best, because he doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s just like, “Let’s have sex. And I’m going to wear my white T-shirt.”
We skipped two or three parties at the Playboy Mansion to do work. It’s a strong move, I know. I hope to not regret it someday. —Blake
Anders: But he’s talking to women! Kells is like, “Women, I fuck a lot. That’s why I know I’m the best. So come over.” A lot of rappers are talking about how they fuck, but they’re telling you, like, “Ayo, Bruce, I fuck a lot of girls.” I’m not a huge LL guy, but at least he’s talking to women, so it’s acceptable. I’m glad he’s not talking to me, ’cause I don’t care. “My stroke is long, dude!” [Everyone laughs.] Nice! Cool stroke!
Adam: I just want someone to be totally honest and say, “I got a medium-sized dick. My stroke ain’t that long. I’ve had sex with 11 girls.” [Everyone laughs.] Which is a pretty good number. Not too bad.
What is the best perk of celebrity thus far?
Blake: The babes. My girlfriend’s way cute now. [Everyone laughs.]
Your manager, Isaac, said you guys have skipped several parties at the Playboy Mansion to focus on work. That is both a travesty and also incredibly impressive and respectable.
Blake: Yeah, it’s a strong move, I know. We skipped two or three parties, and we have yet to go to the Playboy Mansion. It’s a bummer but hopefully we’ll be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I hope to not regret it someday. There are definitely some babes over there that would be cool to meet.
Since you became famous, are there other famous people you’ve met who you consider to be genuine friends?
Blake: I like to kick it with all the Trash Talk homies. The Odd Future kids come hang out too. Taco’s the shit. Travis. I never skateboarded but I always liked the culture and those guys are into that too, so we bonded a bit on that. The Trash Talk dudes like to drink, too, so it all works out. They’re good people, it turns out.
Have you stayed tight with your old friends?
Blake: You gotta have your back-home homies. That’s basic. What’s cool is Kyle and us came up together. If you ask me, who’re my best homies in Los Angeles—not counting my back-home buddies—it’s these dudes.
Anders: And Gwyneth Paltrow. [Everyone laughs.] We have each other, and that’s enough for me. I know that’s real. Sometimes you meet somebody and you catch yourself blowing them and they’re blowing you back, and you’re like, are we homies or are we just blowing each other because that’ll make us celebrity friends? That’s fun, by the way, to do that. Then the next day you’re like, who was I last night?
Adam: My best friend from middle school lives in this house right now. He’s the caretaker. As soon as we got the show I told him, “You gotta move out, dude!” He said, “I can’t, man. I’ve got a girlfriend.” So I say, “It’s about to get real serious out here, dude. Unless you’re planning on wedding that chick, marrying her down, it’s time for you to come out.” Three months later, he asked me, “Do you know anyone who’s looking for a roommate?” [Laughs.] Then he moved. It was radical.
We had 'The Night of Many Kills,' where I killed like five [rats] with my hands. One night, I got stoned and real weird and sat in the kitchen with a trash bag, a broom, and a bottle of Windex. I waited for them with the lights super dim. It was violent, but after that night they didn’t come in the kitchen for a minute. —Adam
Anders, you were the only Workaholic who didn’t live in this house. Did you ever feel like you were missing out on something amazing?
Anders: No. These guys had a fucking good time but I got a girl, man. I have something better. [Blake and Adam laugh.] They had rats living at their house. I had mice in college, ’cause it was Wisconsin and it was cold and they needed refuge, but rats? I’m not a clean dude, but I’m not a rat dude.
Adam and Anders: Kyle is a rat dude! [Both laugh.]
Blake: You get used to the rats. It was more difficult when you had a girl over and you had to explain the scratching in the walls.
Adam: We caught like 18 in a day one time. That was with traps, though. We had “The Night of Many Kills,” where I killed like five with my hands. One night, I got stoned and real weird and sat in the kitchen with a trash bag, a broom, and a bottle of Windex. I waited for them with the lights super dim. As they ran across the counter I sprayed their eyes with Windex. It was violent, but after that night they calmed down and didn’t come in the kitchen for a minute. They knew what was up. One got away and told the crew.
Adam and Blake, you guys still live together. Any particular reason?
Adam: Once you move out and you’re by yourself you’re like a real adult doing real adult shit. Originally we were like, “Everything is going good but this could all stop, so let’s do it big and live in a Hollywood Hills pad and be bachelors for a year.” Now that year has become two years and we’ve unfortunately both got girlfriends—also fortunately. [Laughs.]
As much drinking and smoking as your characters do, do fans expect you to get completely obliterated with them every time you go out?
Blake: And for the most part, we do.
Adam: I shot a movie in Baton Rouge, during LSU’s football season, and it was fucking mayhem. Every time I went to the bar, I had a system where I’d take three shots right away. That way I could say, “Yo, dude, I just took a bunch of shots! I cannot take any more for a while.” Before that, when I went out, I was taking 18 shots and drinking five beers and ending up like, “Who am I?”
Anders: Shots are the worst. You can buy me beer and Jack and Cokes all night, but those shots, man... You walk away. I stay here and another one of you shows up to do it again.
Blake: For the most part people are cool if you say, “Yo, man, I’ve taken a lot of shots. I appreciate the gesture. Let’s take a picture but I can’t do another shot for an hour.”
Anders: They’re usually not cool to me. They’re like, “WHAT?”
Blake: That’s just like you!
Adam: Pulling a Ders!
Anders: People always say, “If Blake was here, he’d fucking do it!” Well, no he wouldn’t. Read this fucking interview. The worst is the free alcohol. Waaaah!
Do people expect you to do crazy shit?
So that had nothing to do with you jumping off your roof and breaking your back?
Blake: I wanted to do that. It just didn’t go the way I planned. We’ve always done crazy shit. That’s the reason our show is crazy, too.
What exactly was your plan?
Adam: [Laughs.] It looked like you were planning to break your back.
Blake: Nah. I knew I could get hurt or whatever but…
In the TMZ video of the jump you clearly look like you’re in a great deal of pain. Did you know right away that you’d broken your back?
Blake: No. I was pretty drunk. There were a lot of people watching, too. I wasn’t trying to stop the party, so I went upstairs and deejayed a song. Then I noticed I couldn’t straighten up, but I didn’t think I broke my shit.
Adam: I didn’t help, either. I kept saying, “You’re fine, dude. It’s not broken. Believe me. It’s a sprain. Just a deep bruise, obviously.” I’m a back expert because I sprained my back and wore a brace for six weeks once.
Blake: I didn’t know it was broke until I got X-rays nine days later.
You should be able to punch photographers. I’d have a hell of a lot more respect for you if you said something ballsy to a celebrity and they could punch you for it. —Blake
Were you in crazy pain all that time?
Blake: It was pretty fucked up. It definitely hurts to break your back, for sure. Still hurts.
Was there any upside to the incident for you? Painkillers? Sympathy dome?
Anders: I gave him a sympathy blowjob. It was out of sympathy, so it’s fine. I spit.
Blake: I got to see my mom and friends from back home. They visited me in the hospital. But I missed Christmas, so that fucking sucked.
Was that incident the first time one of the Workaholics was on TMZ?
Blake: Fuck TMZ. They took the recording of my dad calling the hospital and called him a liar. Fuck that. They can suck my dick.
Anders: I like their argument: If not for us, you aren’t famous. Uh, nah. I create a TV show. I’m on that. People watch it.
Blake: All I am saying is, you should be able to punch photographers. I’d have a hell of a lot more respect for you if you said something ballsy to a celebrity and Michael Clunkin Darke [their nickname for Michael Clarke Duncan] could punch you for it. That would be sick!
Adam: Except when celebrities start getting their asses handed to them by some fucking mixed martial artist photographers. I’m Chuck Liddell and I work for TMZ!
Before he died, Patrice O’Neal had beef with you guys because he didn’t like how Anders interviewed him on the red carpet at Charlie Sheen’s roast. He went on The Opie & Anthony Show and slammed your style of comedy, what he perceived to be your lack of respect for him, and a false confidence given to you by suits at Comedy Central. It underlined some generational bitterness that younger comedians can become successful using the Internet without paying traditional dues. Did that bother you?
Adam: Most comics love our show and are excited we got our shot this way. They’re thinking, “If these dudes who came out of nowhere-ville can get a shot… If Adam, the kid who worked the door at the Improv, can get his own show, I can get a shot too. Maybe I should make more Internet videos.”
Blake: A lot of people thought Comedy Central handed us a show, but we were fucking grinding. We were broke, grinding for a long time. The fact that the show’s been successful is fucking radical. If you don’t know that side of the story, then maybe we seem like company men. But we’re very involved in our show and we work our asses off. Besides, we’re all comedy junkies. That’s what we breathe. Since I was a kid, it’s always been about comedy.
Adam: Exactly. We’re nerds on that shit.
Anders: I didn’t realize how big a deal that was. I listened to the Opie & Anthony thing and it was 10 minutes of them saying, “Fuck the red carpet and these dudes from Workaholics. I don’t know these guys!” Then take my name out of your mouth, dude. If you don’t know me, don’t talk about me. Thank God this industry isn’t a corporate ladder where you put in five years and get the next spot. Then you put in three more years and get the next spot. Then you put in 10 years and you’re a VP. In this business, you either land on gold and move ahead 20 spaces or you don’t. To people who hate on our success: Sorry, we’re just doing our thing.
Written by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)