No matter what he does in life, Kyle Newacheck will always be remembered as a drug dealer and "rape van" owner, just a gnarly piece of "dirty brown water trash." Fortunately for the 28-year-old co-creator, executive producer, writer, director, and recurring star of Comedy Central's hit series Workaholics, these characterizations (mostly) refer to his fictional alter ego, Karl Hevacheck. On the show, which the Concord, CA native created with friends and lead actors Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson, he plays the dim-witted pusher who keeps the party-loving protagonists flying high.
Based on 5th Year, the web series about slacker college grads that got them discovered, Workaholics has taken Kyle and his boys from Internet obscurity to legitimate stardom. While on set during a season three shoot to interview Adam, Anders, and Blake for the online cover story that kicked off this site's Workaholics Week coverage, Complex spoke with Kyle about his narcotrafficking experience, plans for feature films, and why he loves but also hates Michael Bay.
Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)
Is your Workaholics character, Karl, based on anyone in particular?
I would imagine that he’s based on me. I dealt drugs for a second. I don’t know if it was even dealing drugs but I purchased and made sure they got to other co-workers of mine at the school that I worked at. [Laughs.]
Your former roommates Blake and Adam told me that you and your stray dog were responsible for the rat problems in the Workaholics house when you all lived there. They said he was stupid and blind and may have actually been a rat and was just calling them into the house.
[Laughs.] His name is Gripster, 'cause I was gripping on a show out in the desert and this dog came to my truck every day for like a month. I decided to take him home, got him all of his shots, took him to the vet, and then kept him for almost three years. I had to get rid of him last year because our neighbors at the Workaholics set threatened a lawsuit. He was kind of crazy sometimes. But yeah, the rats found my dog food and then it was game on.
So Gripster was like the unofficial Workaholics mascot?
For a while, yeah. PA’s had to clean up his shit, which was nice for me because I hated cleaning up his shit.
During season one, when you, Blake, and Adam were still living in the house you shoot in, did you ever get sick of your friends?
When I used to shoot and edit everything and live with them it was tough, man. [Laughs.] But I don’t know that it was too much of each other, because we were all still riding on a high [of landing the show]. But yeah, it was too much, totally. [Laughs.] I mean, to wrap up shooting at 8 o’clock at night and then have the crew leave at 9:30, 10 o’clock, and then you sleep and the crew is back at 6 in the morning, it’s too much. But we got our rent paid, so that was a plus.
At what age does it get weird living with your boys?
[Laughs.] I probably started to question it at 27, like, “What am I doing? I can afford to live by myself now.” But I’d say 35-ish. That’s when it gets, like, really weird. That’s when you should really think about what’s happening.
Is there any one party that stands out as the wildest you guys had at the house?
The wrap party for season one was probably my favorite. It was all day, all night, all weekend. I think that’s when our boy Trevor went off the roof and into the pool on the recumbent bike that Ders rides around on in season one. It was rad, the best stunt I’d ever seen done at this house.
You identify yourself as “dirty brown water trash.” Where did that originate?
Me and the homies from up north, in Concord, when we would get together it would be a weekend of just eating and drinking, eating and drinking, just gnarly, like not showering, nothing. We joked around that we were “water trash” because you can't clean water trash. [Laughs.] Later, we added the “dirty brown” in front just to make it extra crude. [Laughs.] I’m proud of that, man. I'll be king of the water trash forever.
Right now, Workaholics is the number one priority, but the number one goal from five years ago was a movie. I still have my eye on that prize. I want to take all of us up to the feature world.
Is that the grimiest, gnarliest thing you’ve ever done? Or have there been filthier moments in your life?
I did this documentary with my brother and his wife where we bought an RV online for 1,000 bucks and 10 of us went up to Oregon and drove it down the coast for two weeks. All we did was surf. It was awesome, but it was like 10 of us in this RV that only slept four people, so it was just gnarly. It was nasty, filled with sand and wetsuits and boards, and we only had a bag the size of a shoebox that we carried all of our clothes in, no laundry. [Laughs.] It was so gross.
Are you a big surfer?
I try to go out a lot. I’ve only been surfing for two and a half years, but I love it. It’s cool. There’s nothing more relaxing.
Does surfing have anything to do with your current dye job?
[Laughs.] No, no, no. I just felt like dying my hair and I thought that Karl needed an overhaul. I’ve always bleached my hair.
In addition to directing episodes, you also are a writer and executive producer on the show. Are there many creative battles on the Workaholics set?
No. I think the biggest battle that I have is how to accomplish what we write with the money that we're given, because we write big. It always sucks if I go back to the writers room and say, “Guys, we can’t do this.” But it’s because we don’t have the manpower or the time to do it.
You’ve worked on some outside projects, directing an episode of Happy Endings, two episodes of Community, and the music video for Childish Gambino’s “Heartbeat.” What have you learned while working outside the crew?
I came back from directing Community and Happy Endings with a different view of Workaholics and with other tricks that I could use. Creating a show with my best friends, I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. Our characters are so based on us, and we hang out together and make each other laugh—that’s where it all comes from. Stepping out of that world for a little bit and then coming back gave me some outside perspective. And also just production secrets that the networks are using. They have a huge budget and whatnot, but for me it was and is a challenge trying to bring some of their tricks back to this show.
Could you ever see yourself stepping away from Workaholics to focus on directing elsewhere?
It all depends on what opportunities arise. Workaholics is what’s up. Right now, Workaholics is [the] number one [priority], but the number one goal from five years ago was a movie, so I still have my eye on that prize, for sure. I want to take all of us up to the feature world—that’s the number-one goal. We would like to be writing and producing and starring in our own movies.
I actually love Michael Bay. I don’t mean to talk sh*t about him, but changing the Ninja Turtles origin story is just not cool, man.
Where does the Mail Order Comedy movie you all are working on stand at this point?
It’s being written. It’s almost done. We almost have a draft of it; we’ll shop it later this year and get a budget. I don't know what that'll be but the idea is big. Hopefully we’ll be able to start shooting that next March. I think that's the earliest we could start.
Speaking of directors, what's the story behind you tweeting “Fuck Michael Bay”?
I actually love Michael Bay. I think his movies are rad and I think he does action more beautifully than a lot of directors. The reason I tweeted that was because I'd just heard that he was doing the Ninja Turtles movie and changed it so they’re from another planet, and I just don’t like that. I don’t mean to talk shit about him but it's just not cool, man. That’s a story that I love and I grew up on, so I’m just like, don’t mess with it, give this generation that story as well. If they change it like they’re saying they are, it becomes less imaginative. Everyone always questions aliens but not many people question mutants and ooze.
Are you a big cartoon and comic book head?
I’m a huge Ninja Turtle guy. That’s it. That’s what I latched onto as a kid. So when someone changes the origin story I get kinda pissed. [Laughs.]
Do you have a favorite Ninja Turtle of the four?
No, I like them all. I thought they all served their own purpose within the group. I always went back and forth between them, and I still do. Donatello has been my favorite for a while now because I think he's the most overlooked. He’s really cool. He develops all of their technology. That’s rad.
Donatello would approve of how you guys got on, grinding out comedy videos online until Comedy Central discovered you. What is key to making it online?
First you gotta figure out who you are and what your style is, which means you gotta do it a lot without any recognition, or only a little bit or recognition, ’cause then you know that you’re doing it for yourself, which allows you to develop that unique voice. It’s all just trying to prove yourself. You can’t give up. Put it out there, but most importantly, do what you want and what you think is funny.
Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)