He’s Neither Angry Nor Naked: An Interview With Brian Lynch
If you hear the name Brian Lynch, depending on your level of nerdom, you may have different knowledge about the man. He’s a funny guy and a web humor pioneer. After a few missed interview schedule times that both of us blame ENTIRELY on the mutual friend who organized the interview, the two of us got on the phone to discuss Brian’s body of work – which includes comedy writing, movies, comic book writing, and most notably to us, his long-running comic series/website Angry Naked Pat, one of the original humor series and sites on the web. One that is also mounting a comeback when it returns in the form of a bi-weekly animated series hitting the web beginning February 7th. When speaking with Brian the conversation went completely random at times and had its share of sarcasm…just about the best interview one could ask for.
The Laugh Button: So, tell me about the animated Angry Naked Pat show you have coming out.
Brian Lynch: Angry Naked Pat is about a very angry man who is also naked, which you can kind of gauge from the title. He’s kind of bitter at the world, and his roommate is the exact opposite. His roommate is extremely optimistic happy-go-lucky and they kind of balance each other out. There are side characters also, there’s the guy who lives next door that’s always trying to kill him, and we never know the back story why, but they consider each other arch enemies even though in their down time they hang out. Once the clock is punched, they’re in; they have to kill each other.
There is a Spirit Bear whose been assigned to Pat to try and help him with his life but the Spirit Bear is more fucked up than Pat is. He [the bear] is addicted to drugs, he has problems with his parents, he lost his leg in a moped accident so he’s kind of slow to move around. So the whole joke there is he needs more help than the people he is assigned to help. So he always messes up Pat’s life.
Pat finds out later on that there’s a better Pat that’s replaced him at work; it’s a robot that is kind of the next Pat. Every time Pat tries to do something, this new guy is much better at it, and much funnier. Like if Pat tries to make a joke, the robot will come on with a timelier joke and he will do it auto-tune so it sounds cooler. So Pat can’t win. The bear comes down and tries to help him, that kind of thing. It’s that kind of world, it starts off very normal except for the fact that the guy is naked and it spirals within a couple of minutes into all of this.
TLB: Now this is a play off your website which has been around for a long time correct?
BL: Yeah for sure, it started off as a strip I did in college. It was a big one panel strip with whatever joke I found funny that week, I would just throw in. And then around 2000 or 2001 we started the website where we collected it and started doing cartoons and comic books and it just kind of grew from there.
TLB: I remember going to the website…and this is kind of dating myself, probably about eight years ago because the first thing that pops into my head was the “Superbowl is Gay” video that Andy Milonakis did.
BL: Sure *laughs* that crashed our site for a couple of weeks.
TLB: Did it really? *laughs* That’s awesome. Now I know Andy is going to have some involvement on the new show if I am not mistaken.
BL: Absolutely, Andy is doing our theme song and he is doing a couple of voices in later episodes. So even if you don’t like the show, we still go out good because the song is really catchy and sticks in your head all day.
TLB: That’s how you have to do it. You get them with the super catchy theme song, kind of like the It’s Garry Shandling Show theme.
BL: *Laughs* Yeah exactly like that song, seven minutes of the show is just us slumming it and throwing any joke we can into it and then Andy just knocks it home with the theme song.
TLB: So as far as other people I heard will be involved with the show, Chris Hardwick and Simon Rex?
BL: Right, well we are still working on other people to get. I made an independent sketch comedy movie called Big Helium Dog thirteen years ago and I would like to get everyone back in on that. That’s like the Broken Lizard people and I talked to Michael Ian Black and he’s down for whatever we need. And I want to get Kevin Smith to come in and do a voice. So basically whoever we find funny and whoever doesn’t mind me coming to their house with a microphone and my laptop, we’re going to get in there.
TLB: Gotcha, that’s a lot of names you’re dropping. How did you get involved with some of these people, for example Kevin Smith?
TLB: Well with Kevin Smith, I was friends with the guy who actually worked at the video store when Kevin worked at the convenience store [that was the inspiration for Clerks]. So when Kevin was Randal I was friends with Dante. Oh wait no, I was friends with Randal and Kevin was Dante *laughs*. So from there we hung out and Kevin and I had the same sense of humor, he read Big Helium Dog and he said, “I think we can make this for like thirty grand.” So he gave me thirty-thousand dollars and we combed the area for the funniest people on the East Coast. I think if the movie were released now, people would be like, “Broken Lizard and Michael Ian Black!” it’s insane. Back then they were just starting to break out, I think it’s pretty funny. I think Pat is the same kind of sense of humor, it’s kind of whatever we find funny will just be thrown in. But we also have heart in Pat, the characters definitely care about each other but it does spiral into this insane world of talking bears and whatnot. The other actors like Simon Rex and Chris Hardwick came through other actors in the cartoon, they liked it.
TLB: Are they playing main characters or insular ones? Who is going to be the voice of Pat?
BL: The voice of Pat is going to be Matt Kawczynski, he is actually the lead in Big Helium Dog as well. You see him in a bunch of commercials and sketches online and also he bartends so if you go to his bar you can see him there. But he was friends with Hardwick and that is how we became friends with Chris. Chris is actually doing a recurring voice, he is Spirit Bear, and Simon is actually doing a recurring voice also.
TLB: Any chance Simon will break into his Dirt Nasty character and perform the song “My Dick”?
BL: You know I hope so! I actually want to do a musical episode of Pat. And I would love for him to do it, especially because we have so many people that are good at it. Simon can rap, Matt can sing, Chris can sing, I cannot but that’s okay.
TLB: Looks like you got yourself an episode waiting right there. *laugh*
BL: I know! Matt just has to write the songs and we got an episode. I can let them do all the work and I will just take the credit. I will just say “yeah I helped.”
TLB: So when does Angry Naked Pat debut?
BL: It debuts February 7th it’s a Monday its right after the Superbowl, because people are really charged up and they want to go and see a naked guy on the Internet. I think that’s a good mix. And Feb 14th is episode two which is a continuation of the first story line. And then we will do two a month from there on out.
TLB: And it’s going to be on Funny or Die correct?
BL: Yeah it’s on Funny or Die but you can still find it on Youtube or Vimeo, but Funny or Die for sure. And of course please vote “Funny” as opposed to the other one [Die]. It would be really, really horrifying to see that.
TLB: Does anything actually “Die” on that website? I feel like they vet well for the funny stuff.
BL: And I think even if you get 100% “Die” they don’t take it off. Watch Pat be the first thing that gets removed.
TLB: Well that can be your campaign, it’s like going for the perfect 0.0 on Pitchfork as opposed to a 10.0. I mean you will get just as much press for a perfect zero as you would for a perfect score.
BL: I don’t want that press though.
TLB: Yeah but bad press IS still press is how they say it.
BL: I think people are going to love it, I think we are going to get 110% funny.
TLB: Well I am not denying that I think it will absolutely happen. Now is this project something you officially partnered with Funny Or Die for?
BL: No. But I contacted them and they were really took to it, they ARE very into it, and that’s really nice. But it was always something we wanted to bring back. In 2001, myself and Bob Cesca did a couple of them but that was it. Since I started getting screenwriting gigs and the movies were getting made, I was getting more money and I was thinking “I want to bring Pat back.” So I was able to pay for the animators then I sent it to Funny Or Die. In 2001 we didn’t have anywhere to put it, we were like, “we have this great cartoon but there is no site.”
TLB: Yeah, there wasn’t anything like that early in the decade was there?
BL: No there wasn’t, there was CampChaos.com which was Bob Cesca’s site. But now it has the potential to get a lot more hits and get in front of people. We started pre-Youtube, pre-everything. I think Youtube was started as an answer to Angry Naked Pat.
TLB: *laugh* Really? Do you have facts or is this just a theory you are working on?
BL: I am just going to go out on a limb and say the creator of Youtube was upset that Pat didn’t get the audience it deserved and created Youtube because of it.
TLB: Alright there you go. I will make sure that definitely makes it into the interview.
BL: I want that to be the headline just so we can start the internet rumor.
TLB: It will be the pull quote. “Fuck Youtube! They exist because of me!”
BL: It’s like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet. I am saying that if it wasn’t for me, Youtube would not exist.
TLB: Yeah totally, your site, CampChaos, even Fensler Films for those GI Joe PSAs. Those were all pre-Youtube. So what is the ultimate goal for the show? Do you want it to run indefinitely on the web? Are you looking to develop it into something for television?
BL: Well we already had a couple of people sniffing around it to bring it to TV which is really insane because back in 2001 they were like, “we love Angry Naked Pat but do you have anything else that doesn’t have a lead that is naked?” So we were always up against this wall but times have changed and there are a couple of stations that are like “well it’s animated so it doesn’t really look that offensive” So yeah, I would be totally fine with doing it on the internet until I die, I just want to get it out there and I want people to enjoy it.
TLB: You know what may have broken down the wall for you? Dr. Manhattan’s wang from The Watchmen comic books and movie.
BL: Again I think that was inspired by Angry Naked Pat also. I am very egotistical.
TLB: *laugh* Yeah I was going to say, doesn’t Watchman pre-date Angry Naked Pat though?
BL: It may, it may not, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking maybe we inspired it. Timelines are screwy anyway.
TLB: It’s all relative, time.
BL: If it was before Pat, I can go on Wikipedia and say it was after Pat.
TLB: Ah the internet, the series of tubes that we love.
BL: Also Wikipedia is because of me too.
TLB: Oh is it? *laughs* ok I will note that. So I know you do other things other than Angry Naked Pat, I know you have written comic books? Correct?
BL: Yeah I wrote a couple of comic’s that took place in Joss Whedon’s BuffyThe Vampire Slayer universe.
TLB: It was for Angel, correct?
BL: Yeah, and he [Whedon] read them and asked if I would co-write the official continuation of the Angel series. So I got to do that for about two years. And Angel is easily my favorite show ever, so to write it with the creator was pretty awesome.
TLB: What’s it like working with someone like Joss Whedon?
BL: I got to meet him a couple of times, and we did talk a lot but he did trust me once we came up with the outline he was like “go have fun.”
TLB: Oh wow, that is a lot of trust.
BL: Or it was a lot of “I’m busy kid, go away.”
TLB: I didn’t think of that…Yeah let’s look at it the other way.
BL: *laugh* He absolutely never said “I’m busy kid go away,” he was very sweet about it he was like this is great we worked on an outline went back and forth through email and breakfast meetings for a while and he said “You have it, just go do it. Write the dialogue; go have fun,” but he said it much better than that. You heard his dialogue, he said it much better than I just did. It was very flowery with pop culture references. I got to do that for a couple of years that was a lot of fun completely different from anything else I have ever done. Because I like comedy and Angel is not really a comedy.
TLB: Or naked….
BL: No…well…I got him naked a couple of times.
TLB: Well I am sure the ladies loved that.
BL: A couple of dudes did too.
TLB: I heard you also did some work for Spider-Man as well?
BL: I wrote an issue of Spider-Man yes. They were doing a new book where they had Spider-Man short stories and I wrote one of them. It was a very comedic one and it got in the first issue of that book. So I wrote that and that was pretty sweet.
TLB: That still has to be kind of awesome…the fact that someone asked you to write Spider-Man.
BL: Oh Yeah, I have the page on my wall and it has my name on it. It’s pretty exciting. I actually just went to see the Broadway play, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
TLB: Oh! how was that?
BL: I was thinking “Eh my story is better.”
TLB: Now did you go see the play because you actually wanted to see the play? Or did you go with more of a sinister angle? Hoping someone would fall?
BL: No I am just a dork. So I wanted to see a Spider-Man play. But we did go to one of the shows where someone got hurt. With five minutes to go, the guy fell thirty feet.
TLB: You went to THAT show?
BL: I was there. I Twittered about it, and it broke the story about it on Twitter, and The New York Times quoted my story about it on Twitter. Which is insane by the way. THAT is what The New York Times is quoting now? And all of these news stations wanted to meet with me and I was home in New Jersey, they wanted to send camera crews to interview me, in the hotel we were in. And I was like, “You guys do realize I have nothing to do with the play? Like literally I just saw the guy fall, that’s all I would be able to say.” They they didn’t care.
TLB: Yeah but that is still kind of amazing because you were a part of a really big story from the last few weeks.
BL: When it happened my wife was sitting next to me and her heart dropped. Because it was clear that this man just fell.
TLB: Wow, and that stuntman wants to get back up there and do it again. More power to him.
BL: Or less power…But I want to see how it ends because we had five minutes to go and I want to see if Spider-Man won.
TLB: Well you should write another book and have that be the ending to the play.
BL: You think the last five minutes were an adaptation of my eleven page story? I think it could’ve been.
TLB: You can totally make it happen and somehow stick Pat in there to promote the new show. It will be like the Yogi Bear ultimate ending on the web right now.
BL: How awesome was that?! But how depressing was it too?
TLB: It was totally depressing. But it was probably way more entertaining than the actual movie.
BL: I am actually in post production in a movie that is kind of similar in the genre, the whole CG animals thing and real people, and that got passed around that day and it brightened everyone’s day.
TLB: I feel good about this conversation…it’s flowing.
BL: I love it. It’s like The Green Hornet of interviews, because it kept getting delayed but when you finally see it you think it’s going to be alright.
TLB: Ok as a comic book guy, what is your take on The Green Hornet movie?
BL: My friends actually saw it and they said it’s much better than you think it’s going to be.
TLB: That’s positive. On the other hand you’re worried because some people might go to see the trailer and might think, “This is shit and I am not going to go see it.”
BL: Yeah I don’t know if it will do that well, I mean I root for it, because I like superhero crap and I love Seth Rogen. Yeah I am a fan of both of those things and I love Kato. I don’t know who that guy is but I know he is funny in the trailer.
TLB: I was listening to Seth Rogen on Howard Stern and apparently the guy [Jay Chou] who plays Kato is the biggest Chinese actor/musician in the history of Chinese actor/musicians. And then again China is a billion people so who knows.
BL: Oh so if it doesn’t do well here everyone in China will watch it.
TLB: China has this thing on lock.
BL: You think it’s just called Kato in China?
TLB: It might be called Kato And The Green Hornet I also heard the actor that played original Green Hornet is like a Mormon somewhere with like six wives.
TLB: That’s what I heard. They tried to contact him to have a cameo in the movie, but I guess his Mormonism got in the way.
BL: You think he will come out for the premiere? Are Mormons scared of movie cameras?
TLB: *laugh* Yeah…I guess.
TLB: Anyway…is there anything else we forgot to mention?
BL: Yeah I have a new movie coming out April 1st. It’s called Hop and it’s got Russell Brand, James Marsden, and Kaley Cuoco. It’s a kid’s movie, but it’s really great. It’s much smarter than you think it’s going to be.
TLB: Well those are all great names you just dropped. All of those people just did something this past week alone. Obviously Kaley is in The Big Bang Theory so she’s doing okay for herself. And Marsden was just in Modern Family this past week and he was funny too.
BL: Casting was great, writing is excellent, Tim Hill directed it, he did Alvin and the Chipmunks and one of The Muppets movies. So he is kind of royalty in my head cause The Muppets are the greatest things ever. And it’s really funny, it’s a kid’s movie but parents won’t be annoyed.
TLB: What’s the plot of the movie?
BL: This is where it get’s weird. It’s live action and CG mixed, Russell Brand is a 16-year old rabbit next in line to be the Easter Bunny but he is all Russell Brand-y so he doesn’t want to, he goes to LA, and James Marsden, who is a human not animated, hits him with his car. They become friends, and James Marsden helps take over Easter. So Russell doesn’t have to. But I swear it’s hilarious.
TLB: Where does Kaley Cuoco fit into all of this?
BL: Kaley plays Marsden’s sister and she helps him because his character has kind of hit hard times. We had a test screening right before Christmas and it could have ruined our Christmas but it didn’t. Everyone flipped for it.
TLB: Maybe it is because they all just walked out of Yogi Bear and walked into yours?
BL: That’s right we should have made it a double feature. And asked which one of the two is better.
TLB: Every time I think of Russell Brand, I think of some of the more random things he’s tied to. Like the upcoming Arthur remake, he just wrapped up the filming that. And Get him to the Greek was great, I work in the music industry so some of the scenes in that are pretty realistic.
BL: He was great in that movie because it was so emotional, he was so funny but then he was really heartbreaking in the end, I thought it was great. We just hung out with him, he had to record some lines in the same studio that Thriller was recorded in.
TLB: Now is he like “Russell Brand” in his personal life too? Is it what you see, what you get with that guy?
BL: Well he is the sweetest guy in the world. He is very interested in you and asks questions about you. He is hilarious in person, you forget you actually have to do work. He is just going off on these monologues that are amazing. Very caring guy, we had to go to England for two days, my wife came along. And he arranged a tour for her, and he just met her that day. He arranged a tour backstage at Abbey Road and he literally did that on his way out. He is a really nice guy, he is really great.
TLB: So I can’t hate Russell Brand for marrying Katy Perry is what your saying?
BL: Oh no. Seriously five minutes into meeting Russell Brand you just root for him. Like “I want him to get whatever he wants”
TLB: Shit! Alright, I guess I am going to have to take down my website www.ihaterussellbrandformarryingkatyperry.com
I’d like to thank Brian Lynch for taking time to talk to us! Look for the new animated videos of Angry Naked Pat to hit the web on February 7th. And in the meantime check out www.angrynakedpat.com, follow new updates on Facebook, and the archives on Camp Chaos.