Paul Scheer may look familiar for any number of reasons: his improv-comedy work on “Human Giant,” his role as a fantasy football leaguer on FX’s “The League,” as guest star head of the charity organization KaBOOM! on “Parks and Recreation” or, most recently, as one half of the oblivious Canadian makeout couple during the ESPYs.
But Scheer, 35, is wearing a new hat. Or rather, a new ridiculous wig as star of a show he created, “NTSF:SD:SVU::,” a 15-minute Adult Swim crime-procedural-satire that airs in conjunction with “Children’s Hospital” beginning Thursday at 12:15 a.m. on Cartoon Network.
As Scheer, who also happens to be a “Lost” fan and a Comic-Con veteran, prepared to head to San Diego for this years Con, he took some time to explain the importance of extra colons in the names of TV shows, his admiration for Jeff Goldblum and how Gary Busey got a little crazy on the set of “Piranha DD.”
Were you just watchig one of those procedurals one night and thought, this is great fodder for satire?
Scheer: It was kind of like a three-pronged thing. First of all, I’m obsessed with “Hawaii Five-O.” Because “Hawaiit Five-O” to me is amazing. It’s like “Magnum P.I.” meets “24.” They’re running around on a beach surfing but then they’re not afraid to put their finger in someone’s bullethole wound. The show’s so fun, I’d love to be on a show like that. But I was like, no one will ever cast me as the lead on an action show.
So I found out Rob Corddry was doing “Children’s Hospital” and I was like, “The League” only shoots for two and a half months. So I have a lot of downtime. I would like to do this cheap version of my show. I went over to Adult Swim, I pitched them my idea and we shot a trailer for it. And then through the trailer they greenlit it.
It’s been so much fun because as I have gotten more and more into the “CSI: Miamis” and the “NCISs,” I was like, oh my god, there is so much here that I never even knew. It was a challenge for us to make our show insane beause their shows are nuts.We have a serial-killing dolphin in our show and I was like, you know what? In an episode of “CSI:Miami” that probably could happen.
So why San Diego?
That to me was like a funny thing — nothing is going on in San Diego. San Diego is clearly not the hot bed of terrorist activity and with all the CSI — “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: New York,” “CSI: Las Vegas”-- and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” it was like what’s the next untapped city? Where’s it going to be, Rhode Island or whatever? Heading toward the beach theme that “CSI:Miami” and “Hawaii Five-O” have, we jumped on to San Diego.
I realize that the title of the show is tongue-in-cheek. However, the title suggests that this should be a show about an environmentally unfriendly car that prevents terrorism in San Diego. But it’s not.
It is National Terrorism Strike Force San Diego Sport Utility Vehicle, yeah. You’re right it is — the cars play a very big part.
But the people are the show.
The title actually, it’s funny you bring that up because it came out literally of a verbal gaffe. The original title was “NTSF:SD:STVU.” Like Special Terrorism Victim Unit or something like that. And when we were pitching it, we said it very quickly and we said SUV. And the head of the network was like “Oh my God. SUV. You’ve gotta do SUV!” And it was so funny because all these guys drive their SUVs anyway. We just decided that would be a fun way to make fun of these shows where they’re always in their SUVs, too. And it also is recognizable. SUV also has double colons at the end...
That was my next question: why the two colons?
Scheer: We wanted to make sure we had the most acronyms of any crime procedural on television. Which we succeeded at. Then we figured, if someone can maybe beat on us that, we want to make sure we have the most colons.
Even when I pass the billboard here on Sunset [Blvd. in L.A.] I look at it and think, this does not look that fake. The billboard is me with that crazy wig and my hand out, my hand is in the shape of a gun, I’m screaming and it says “Bang, bang you’re dead.” Honestly, if you don’t really look at it for too long, you think this is a new CBS show.
You have some great cast members and guest stars on the show. Who most surprised you by saying yes to “NTSF:SD:SVU::”?
Scheer: I gotta say the person who surprised me the most was Jeff Goldblum. The episode was written by two people, B.J. Porter and Krim Marshall, and they handed in the script and I was looking at it thinking, who could we get to play this German card dealer/drug dealer kind of guy? I was like, it would be really funny if we got Jeff Goldblum. We kept on just joking about — Oh yeah, the Goldblum character, the Goldblum character — knowing that he would never do it. We literally just sent him the script, reached out to him, showed him the trailer and he signed on — he was the first guest star we booked on the show. And it was so exciting because he’s Jeff Goldblum and he’s been in everything and he is the coolest guy.
He plays like this German bad guy. He’s not playing a version of himself. He was very cool and collected, so it was really fun to see him embracing this odd German guy who doesn’t carry a gun and has like this 20-year-old girlfriend. To me, it was also a little bit of like hero idol worship, too. I mean, I love Jeff Goldblum. I’ve loved him in everything since I was a kid. The entire crew was pretty giddy with excitement.
My second, just again from a fan point of view, that like, blew my mind, was we got Martin Cove. Martin Cove played the bad guy in “Karate Kid,” Sensei John Kreese and we got him and it was just, to get him to come in and do this — he killed it.
So will there be another season of “NSTF”?
Scheer: We’re hoping. The response from “Adult Swim” has been extremely good. I guess you can kind of announce this but we are shoting a scene from an upcoming episode at our Comic-Con panel. We’ve been wanting to shoot a Comic-Con episode and we’re like, how can we do it? You know, it will never look as good as Comic-Con actually looks. So when we got our panel we thought, we should do something there. So we are going to shoot a brief scene with the members of the panel who are there.
I also wanted to ask you about “Piranha DD,” the sequel to “Piranha 3D.” You’re finished shooting, right?
Scheer: I am. Ving Rhames and I went out there a while ago. We shot some scenes together. And that’ll be — it’ll be crazy. He and I basically came in for one day, we shot our five scenes together and the movie on paper is ... I couldn’t get a script of the movie for the longest time. “I would like to see a script, I would like to see a script.” And they’re like no, no, no. Then I finally saw it and it was like, woah. ... I have to say they do a very good jump of upping the ante with this movie. It is insane.
Were you on-set at all with Gary Busey or David Hasselhoff?
Scheer: No, it’s funny. Ving and I — our scenes take place in the waterpark so we’re kind of on our little separate mini-adventure. We have our own little story. I did not get to meet David Hasselhoff, he had yet to come. But I did get to hear about Gary Busey. And everything you could possibly imagine about Gary Busey seems like it happened on this set. He was exactly the insane type of guy you would want him to be.
There are a lot of things I can imagine about Gary Busey so that just opens up a whole world.
Scheer: I’ll tell you this much: I know that he kicked an actor in the stomach for introducing himself to him.
Oh my God.
Scheer:So that is, that’s kind of the level of Busey we’re dealing with.
On that note, last question: as someone who works for NTSF, what advice do you have for first-timers coming to San Diego and Comic-Con?
Scheer: My advice is Comic-Con is obviously the most dangerous time of the year. Everyone around you is most likely a terrorist. And if they are wearing a mask or a costume, they are definitely a terrorist. So you must take them out with extreme — oh, look at that I can’t remember my one thing --
Scheer: Yeah, I’ll say vigilance. That’s my advice.