The Folks Behind Rick & Morty and Robot Chicken Introduce Hot Streets
This post originally appeared on the Turner Blog.
Take one of the writers for the wildly successful animated comedies Rick and Morty and Robot Chicken, add the co-creator of Robot Chicken and what you get is something even more bizarre than you can imagine – Hot Streets, a new animated comedy premiering Sunday, January 14 at midnight ET on Adult Swim.
Hot Streets surrounds the supernatural investigations of an FBI agent, his partner, his niece and their cowardly talking dog. But trust us, this is no Scooby-Doo; it’s way weirder. We sat down with the guys behind Hot Streets, Matt Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken) and Brian Wysol (writer, Rick and Morty) to talk about their new show.
Watch a psychedelically strange trailer for Hot Streets.
Tell us a little bit about your role with Hot Streets.
Brian Wysol: I’m the creator and showrunner. I run the writer's room and, essentially, the show.
Matt Senreich: This is Brian’s baby. Every aspect of this show has to pass by him in one way or another, from the writing, to the editing, to the animation to every little minute detail, whereas, I have a broader role. I’m a co-owner of the studio that produces this show – and Robot Chicken – Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. And as co-creator for Robot Chicken, I worked with Brian before, and then helped him land this show with Adult Swim.
How did the idea of Hot Streets come about? Was it something you wanted to do for a while?
Brian: I had been making these shorts for a film festival called Channel 101 back in 2011. One was called We Solved the Crime, and another was called, Hot Cross Buns. These two shorts basically had the DNA of Hot Streets. I came up with the idea of putting them together to make an adventure series back in 2012. Eventually, I met up with Matt and the Stoopid Buddy guys, and we pitched it to Adult Swim.
Matt: We were looking for new writers for Robot Chicken, and I met Brian through Justin Roiland, co-creator and executive producer of Rick and Morty. Justin sent me Brian’s shorts and a bunch of his Channel 101 stuff. We brought Brian on to write for Robot Chicken, and it was great getting to know him in that capacity. From there, Justin and I would joke that we didn’t understand why Brian hadn’t created his own show. When he pitched his show to us, we wanted to take it straight to Mike Lazzo (EVP, Creative Director, Adult Swim); it was that great of an idea.
What was it like collaborating across teams from both Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty for an entirely new show?
Brian: The collaboration is really great. I'm a new show creator and had people from some of the most loved Adult Swim shows (Rick and Morty and Robot Chicken) on board from the start. I had them as support, and they were very instructive. They were basically the glue that kept me together. It was great having those guys by my side.
Matt: Every short Brian’s done in the past, he's done by himself, literally from start to finish – the animation, writing and even the music, it was just him. And then all of a sudden, we built a support team around him. Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty could not be more different from each other. Hot Streets has the blood of both of them, but it really is a completely different show.
The humor in Hot Streets is pretty edgy – were there any shows that inspired how you approached this show?
Brian: An inspiration for me is the 60’s spy TV show Get Smart. Buck Henry, the co-creator, talked about how easy it is to make the lead character, Maxwell Smart, funny. They could have made a show with him doing all the jokes. But all the peripheral characters is what made that show stand out. The little side characters, everybody, had a joke. Every character was funny. So, for Hot Streets, I wanted to make sure that every character got a chance to be funny. You’ll find that a lot of the time, we'll have this little character pop in for a second and just steal the show.
Matt: I’ve always equated it to Naked Gun, in a weird way. This is the first time I've heard him tie it to Get Smart, so I think that’s cool!
What is it about being a part of Adult Swim that appeals to you?
Brian: Having a show on Adult Swim is my dream, just to be able to make an adult animated show. I don't think that a show like this could exist on another network. It's just too psychedelic and strange. I remember when we were making the pilot, at one point they (Adult Swim) said, “we want your voice in it more. How can we get it more strange, more your style?” It's really an ideal scenario.
Matt: I can only echo that. What I love is, you cannot predict what’s going to be on Adult Swim, and that's what makes it the best it can be. There's always something different. They're always taking chances. There's always a risk in what they're doing. And they're leaning very much on the creators to be the proponent for those risks. That's what I love.
Not including Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty, what’s your all-time favorite Adult Swim show?
Matt: That's like picking your favorite child in a way. That's a hard one. But for me, it's Venture Brothers. I come from a comic book world, that's where my first jobs were. That was my life. The way they were able to twist every comic book I had grown up with, in addition to every old school TV show that I had watched, yeah, there's something so fun about that.
Brian: If I were to pick one, as a sentimental choice, I'll pick The Brak Show. It was so psychedelic and strange. I just remember staying up late to watch it. You never knew what to expect when you watched that show, every episode was a curve ball. I just loved it; it's hilarious.
Matt: You had the “golden age” era with Space Ghost, The Brak Show and Sealab 2021. And then I hope we're in that silver age era with Venture Brothers” and Tim and Eric. We were that second big wave that hit right after. And now we're in a more modern era, and it's exciting to watch it evolve. You never know what the next shows are going to be.
What do you hope that viewers feel after the watching the premiere of Hot Streets?
Matt: I want them to be like, "what the %&$# is that? I want to see that again."
Brian: The pacing is so breakneck that I hope that they would want to experience it again. I hope that they would enjoy it and laugh.
Hot Streets premieres Sunday, January 14 at midnight ET on Adult Swim.