Icing: An EXCLUSIVE Interview with The Creators of The New Comedy BRIAN REMUS: SCIENCE GENIUS
Time to switch to my nifty science goggles. OK kids, have we got the science comedy series for you! Like Neil deGrasse Tyson Definitively squashing a flat earth theory TODAY the FIRST EPISODE of BRIAN REMUS: SCIENCE GENIUS does an epic mic drop. This digital science comedy tells the story of Brian Remus, a young man who dreams of being the next science star, but is stuck hosting a low budget show on, most likely, the world’s worst public access TV station. Quite a pickle! This mashup of workplace sitcom and quirky science parody is the brainchild of it’s star Lyman Johnson (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), who plays Brian, and Unst Unst Unst Productions writer-director Evan Muehlbauer. The series co-star is Heather Anne Campbell who you know from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Saturday Night Live AND you’ll also recognize Curt Mega of Glee and Tristen Winger of Insecure among the outstanding cast. With this talented crew the series excels at hearkening the inner geek in us all while tickling that nerdy funny bone. Watch the pilot episode in which we are introduced to Brian and his shining inspiration Carl Sagan, played by Chris Kelly (star of the feature films Ink, Somnio, and The Frame). Is it a dream or a harsh wake up call to Brian’s current reality? Find out, then read our INTERVIEW with series creators Lyman Johnson and Evan Muehlbauer, who really love their science!
COMEDY CAKE: Let’s start off by saying we love all things science, so our interest was piqued as soon as we heard about this project. For those less in tune with the left-brained side of things, what might be the motivation to latch on to the Brian Remus series?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS (Lyman & Evan): The great thing about science is you don’t need to be particularly left-brained to appreciate it. Popular scientists like Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye would never have become household names if that were the case. We’re living in a time when each day we learn more and more about the incredible universe we live in. On top of that, new technologies and innovations are constantly and rapidly changing our way of life. Science affects all of us on a daily basis, so I think people are understandably excited by the incredible work being conducted by the brilliant men and women in the fields of science, mathematics and technology. So that’s our pitch for science, but the other, shorter, answer to your question is – science is funny! Science is full of absurd characters, geeks and lunatics, and science is also all about making mistakes, sometimes hilarious ones. There’s a very good reason why geek humor has gone mainstream, especially on the Internet.
COMEDY CAKE: What was the inspiration behind the project?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: Lyman is a trained engineer with a strong science background, and Evan studied archaeology in college and used to watch a ton of PBS science shows growing up. It was Lyman’s idea, originally, to make a comedy about a science show host. At first, the idea was to do something really wild and fantastical, almost like a live action Rick and Morty. But as the development process went on, it became clear that this would be hard to pull off and that a more interesting approach would be to make this a grounded workplace comedy like The Office or Parks and Recreation. But we kept some of those quirky fantasy elements in the form of Brian’s wild imaginative life, and that’s part of what gives the show its unique tone. Brian has a really boring, kind of terrible life, but his head is filled with vivid imagination. So in Episode 1 (not to spoil anything) Brian takes a trip around the cosmos with his hero, Carl Sagan, and there are lots of scenes like that throughout the show.
COMEDY CAKE: What was the process like getting from the initial concept to filming?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: Arduous! We raised almost all of our money from a successful Kickstarter campaign, which was its own beast to tackle. This was a tough show to produce because we had a ton of locations and things like visual effects and original music that had to be composed. Most web shows keep things much simpler, in terms of having a small number of locations and characters. But we felt it was important to have all of these complex elements in order to give the show its special character. We’re probably insane, to be honest.
COMEDY CAKE: In addition to the series’ stars Lyman Johnson and Heather Anne Campbell, who can we look forward to seeing in the series?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: We were incredibly lucky to assemble the cast we did. Lyman starred in the spectacularly successful web series Awkward Black Girl, and Heather is a huge figure in the improv world and a regular on Whose Line Is It Anyway? We also cast Curt Mega, who was a series regular on Glee for several years. Tristen Winger is a really talented comic actor who is currently in the new HBO comedy Insecure. And Bill Watterson (not the Calvin and Hobbes creator!) is a really great, experienced actor whom we first found through his hilarious commercials as a bumbling surgeon in an Intel ad campaign.
COMEDY CAKE: Any writers guilty of trying to be Bill Nye the Science Guy growing up?
LYMAN: Sure! I mean, what kid doesn’t want to be their favorite hero? I’m sure lots of people practiced Bill Nye’s catchphrases in the bathroom mirror, or insisted that everyone at school call them Bill, or wrote letters to him every day after school. Hasn’t everyone, at some point in life, written to Bill Nye asking him for a cutting of his hair?
So yeah, guilty as charged! Bill Nye is great guy, and I’d like to use this interview to once again apologize to his family for all the hardship I put them through.
COMEDY CAKE: Who were the science heroes for the series creators as kids and today as adults?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: We’ve already mentioned several of the really important ones. Carl Sagan and Bill Nye were very influential for us when we were younger, and Neil deGrasse Tyson has done a great job stepping into Sagan’s formidable shoes. In terms of historically great scientists, we have enormous respect for OGs like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. Lyman also has a special affection for Johannes Keppler – the influential astronomer who first observed the elliptical motion of the planets. In addition to a brilliant mind, he had really tremendous facial hair. We give him a shout-out in one of the episodes.
COMEDY CAKE: What icons of science would be thrilled watched your series?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: If anyone watches the show, we’ll be happy! I mean, we’re open to animals, too. Cats and dogs…
But seriously, if we found out Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, or anyone who did any work whatsoever on the Hadron Collider were tuning in to our show, we would be quite stoked.
COMEDY CAKE: Do you plan to make a second installment of the series and would you consider taking it beyond the Internet?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: We’re definitely open to producing additional seasons and adapting the show to other formats. We actually think the concept would lend itself really well to a half-hour sitcom format. And a Brian Remus board game might make a nice Christmas present. If the show does really well, these are all things we’ll be exploring. We’ll see.
COMEDY CAKE: Where and when can viewers look for new episodes of the series?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: The show launches December 13th on Vimeo, and we’ll release a new episode every Tuesday thereafter. This is all part of our larger campaign to make Tuesdays sexy again.
COMEDY CAKE: What others projects do you have in the works?
BRIAN REMUS GUYS: We’re definitely hopeful to keep working on Brian Remus, because we have a ton of great ideas that haven’t found their way into the show yet. Outside of that, Evan recently co-produced an indie feature film that should be coming out in 2017 and is developing a couple feature film scripts. Lyman is keeping busy acting in several other web projects, including one that was co-created by Brian Remus producer Jesse Knapp. And on top of his busy entertainment career, he’s also been doing some legit engineering work for an architectural consulting firm. It’s quite a balancing act!
COMEDY CAKE: Thanks for internet talking with us and much success!