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Comedian Paul Scheer Talks About Making TV In San Diego

Above: Paul Scheer and the cast of "NTSF:SD:SUV::" which airs on Thursday nights on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim."

Aired 7/28/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.

A new television show set in San Diego parodies crime procedurals like the "Law and Order" franchise and "CSI." We'll talk to comedian Paul Scheer, who created Adult Swim's "NTSF:SD:SUV::" about cliches, comedy, and shooting in San Diego.

A new television show set in San Diego parodies crime procedurals like the "Law and Order" franchise and "CSI." We'll talk to comedian Paul Scheer, who created Adult Swim's "NTSF:SD:SUV::" about cliches, comedy, and shooting in San Diego.

Paul Scheer's new show "NTSF:SD:SUV::" is on Thursday nights on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. It's on at 12:15am right after "Childrens Hospital."

Guest:

Paul Scheer is a comedian and actor. He created a new show on Adult Swim that's set in San Diego. He also stars in it. It's called "NTSF:SD:SUV::."

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. If the TV show 24 met CSI and NCIS on SNL, you might get a new idea of the new crime show spot, NTSFSDSUV. National terrorism strike force San Diego sports utility vehicle, and yes, the show is set in San Diego. Each episode is 15†minutes long, and it's just started on the cartoon network's grownup late night program called adult swim. It's hear a scene from the very first show. A student from USSD, university of southern San Diego, has just exploded from drinking an energy drink called Casa Dimente, the strike force team is at the scene of the crime.

(Audio Recording Played)

CAVANAUGH: That's a scene showcasing the fast paced and ridiculous dialogue from the new show, NTSFSDSUV, created by my guest, comedian and actor Paul Scheer. He plays crime fighter Trent Hauser. Paul, hello.

SCHEER: Hi, how are you?

CAVANAUGH: I'm doing great. Thank you for being with us today.

SCHEER: Oh, thank you so much. That was the best introduction I've ever heard for the show, that was amazing.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that. Did you have fun choosing your rip from the headlines topics for this show?

SCHEER: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, the thing about these shows -- I'm a summer for a good CSI Miami episode. But the thing is, it's so hard to Trump what they're already doing. There's an episode of CSI Miami where David Carusso goes to outer space to solve a murder. I'm not exaggerating. Literally someone gets shot in a space shuttle, and he's got to go to outer space. And I'm like, wow, we've gotta figure out more ways to Trump what they're doing. That's been the most Trump kind of challenge. We have had cereal killer dolph fins cent yen SUVAs, energy drinks that make you explode like you played there, and Mexicans stealing the space shuttle program. So it's a lot of fun stuff.

CAVANAUGH: I hadn't thought about this, Paul, but you are absolutely right, these crime shows have such out of the plots a lot of the time. That must be where why there hasn't been a spoof come along.

SCHEER: That was the feeling. I got deeper and deeper in the rabbit hole, you go oh, my God, these shows are ridiculous. And one of the things that I find so funny is that the labbeck goos or the technology nerds are the most beautiful people you'll ever see. That's why we cast Rebecca romaybe as the lab tech, and everyone treats her like she's a nerd. Like oh, look at this nerd bump she's obviously a gorgeous super model.

CAVANAUGH: I said the name of the show correctly so far.

SCHEER: Yes.

CAVANAUGH: I don't know what's going to happen as we move on. It's a mouthful. NTSFSDSUV.

SCHEER: Colon colon.

CAVANAUGH: Right. I didn't put that in. It must be very tough for marketing.

SCHEER: Yeah. I know. Well, we figured out that it's a name that no one can remember. So that's good because then it's like, well, what is that show? Then you have to think about it. If you just put a random bunch of letters into your DVR, you'll probably find it.

CAVANAUGH: How did you come up with it?

SCHEER: I wanted to just call it national terrorism strike force San Diego. But then and there we just started seeing, like, law and order SVU, we started joking we would call it special victims terrorist unit. And then the head of the network was, like, why don't you just call it SUV? And we were like that's amazingly dumb, and perfect. Upon.

CAVANAUGH: One thing I think we all want to know out here, how did you decide on San Diego for the setting.

SCHEER: To me, obviously San Diego is a hotbed of terrorist activity. We figured the terrorism strike force, they're doing a very good job because so far there have been no terror attacks on San Diego. They've protected it perfectly.

CAVANAUGH: Very true.

SCHEER: But we just felt it was a fun place that kind of had a lot of sun, it's beautiful, and not a place that you would think where there'd be a lot of terrorist activity like the way Hawaii 50 does it. In one scene, they're surfing, the next scene they're shooting somebody, and literally putting their fingers in the bullet hole to get information it's like oh! It's always a jarring conviction match, like a beautiful locale with something really violent.

CAVANAUGH: I've seen two episodes. I think it's a great deal of fun -- for San Diegans to see these locales that we're all familiar with, being incorporated in this truly -- these ridiculous plot lines that you've come up with.

SCHEER: Oh, I'm so glad you like it. We actually shot a scene at ComiCon last weekend. We had an audience in our panel of like 1700 people. So we actually are trying to do an episode that takes place in Comicon our next season, which would be a lot of fun.

CAVANAUGH: Let's talk about your irk ca, Trent Hauser. There are some people that might not recognize you, Paul.

SCHEER: I know. I have -- I am normally a balt man, and I have a wig on that makes me look like a rough and tumble Justin Bieber.

CAVANAUGH: Somebody calls you hair do in one of --

SCHEER: I know, J. K. Simmons insults me, making fun of my hair. But I wanted to look a little bit different. Everything that I normally do, I'm a little bit of -- a low status guy or the nerd or the geek. So it was fun to embrace a character much tougher than anything I've ever done. So I had to get the wig on. So I don't have the weight behind me like Michael chickless in the shield.

CAVANAUGH: And not only do you -- is the hair do something, but it's also your whole attitude is very, very take charge and very action hero. You have a different sound to your voice as Trent Hauser. Is it possible you might be able to do that for us?

SCHEER: Yeah. Like my Trent Hauser is kind of a little bit of a rip off of the bat man voice meets like keyer Sutherland. So it's really low like this, like thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm heal happy I could get the word out about these terrorists in San Diego.

CAVANAUGH: That's very good. You have a great cast, I must say.

SCHEER: Oh, thank you so much. We're really lucky to have these people, like Martin star, you've seen on party down. I mentioned Rebecca romaine. Kate mull grew who is the captain on star trek voyager. It's been great to work with these people, and the reason we got them is because our schedule is so short. We shot our entire season in 24†days.

CAVANAUGH: So they were available for that short period of time is what you're saying.

SCHEER: Yeah, basically. You can get somebody like -- I have Jeff Goldblum in one of the episodes, it's like oh, you yeah, you come in for two days and it's perfect. Everyone can kind of make room for a handful of days. It allows you to get a better cast because of that.

CAVANAUGH: There are, as you mentioned, a lot of cameos in this series. One episode, Adam Scott, who people will recognize from parks and recreation, plays an agent from Oregon called van van dam, how did you come up with this episode?

SCHEER: We just -- I love Adam, and I worked with him on a movie called per se Ana 3D. I think it was nominated for a couple Oscars. I'm not sure. We have to check on that. But we were -- I actually wanted to work with him and do something fun. And Adam has a background of doing some action movies. So we thought I should have a nemesis, and it woulding funny if my nemesis was in my wheel chair but he was even better than me. That's there's a whole chase scene in that episode where van van dam is literally keeping up with someone performing hard core, and he's still? A wheel chair moving around.

CAVANAUGH: Although you do pretty well on a lawn mower.

SCHEER: Yeah, there's a lawn mower chase scene in there. There's a lot of action in those shows.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear a scene from that particular episode. The team has assembled, they're throwing out ideas for what they should work on next, and van van dam played we Adam Scott is not pleased with any of those ideas. Here it is.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That's from the new show, okay let me get it right, NTSFSDSUV, an episode that featured Adam Scott. On the line with me is my guest, Paul sheer, he plays Trent Hauser in the new show. That's on adult swim. I'm wondering, do you give your cast any sort of a cue as to how to read these lines? 'Cause as I said in the very beginning, it's very fast paced, and there's a certain attitude that people are using that really make this dialogue working I think.

SCHEER: Well, thank you for saying that. Because I've watched so many. These shows, before everyone got the set, I had given them a character breakdown with inspirations that I thought their character should have. So for example, one of our actors, Brandon Johnson, I was like I want him to be a little bit like Scott con in Hawaii 50, and a little bit like LLcool jay in network CIS. And for June's character, I wanted her to be like Sidney britto from alias, and a lot bit like piper paraboot from covert affairs. So I informed people what I wanted them to be, and all these shows follow a similar mold. And also we only had 15†minutes so we got to pack in a lot.

CAVANAUGH: It's really an ensemble kind of a thing because the characters, are the actors seem to really playoff each other in these scenes, and enjoy themselves. Is that true?

SCHEER: Yeah. There's something really fun about doing a show on a network like adult swim, which is on cartoon network, which is it's all for fun. No one's going there for big paychecks and we don't really and much more of you than just to come. If you're there, you want to be there. And that's a great feeling. Every day it was, like, kind of hanging out with a bunch of good friends, and then bringing in all these amazing other people. We got some pretty big dramatic actors in our show like Julian sands from room with a view came on our show and was doing hilarious comedy scenes. So it's great to kind of pull all these actors that I've always admired and get them involved.

CAVANAUGH: I guess another thing that might surprise people considering this is a 15-minute program is it really seems to have some great production values. I'm thinking of the action scenes. Have there anyone any problems in putting them together.

SCHEER: There's one scene that I mention we had a serial killer dolphin, and I have a confrontation with this dolphin in the ocean, and the dolphin was this gigantic plastic heavy thing, it was like 500†pounds. And we had to anchor is down to the ocean floor. And as I'm wrestling with it, my foot got wrapped around one of the chains, and I got pulled under, the dolphin was defeating me. And everyone was, like oh, wow, Paul's doing a great job. Meanwhile, I'm dying in, like, four feet of water. Luckily someone realized something was up and came out and rescued me.

CAVANAUGH: Paul, you mentioned that you were just here for this year's ComiCon in addition to your using the ComiCon as a background for one of your series next season, what do you think of this year's Con?

SCHEER: I'm a huge ComiCon fan. I've been there six years a row now. And I love it. To me, I can just walk away around on the convention floor. I don't even have to go see any of the panels. And I just love seeing the people and what is going on. Upon I love all the costumes, I saw Obiwan canobodiy meets Sherlock homes, which was an amazing costume, a mash up. Also Dolph-Vader, and it was a Miami dolphins quarter back meets Darth Vader. That sort of stuff will entertain me more than anything.

CAVANAUGH: I think that might be one of the reasons that your new show is set here in San Diego.

SCHEER: We actually did a little -- we did some research trips to San Diego. And it was so much fun. I enjoy San Diego a lot. It's really nice. We stayed at the beautiful Coronado beach resort it do a lot of writing one time. It was really wonderful.

CAVANAUGH: I want to tell everyone that the new show is on Thursday nights on adult swim, at 1215 right after children's hospital. Thank you so much for doing this, Paul.

SCHEER: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

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