TCA Tour, Day 2: “Glenn Martin, DDS”

Last month, I had a chat with Kevin Nealon in conjunction with his most recent gig for TBS (he’s the standing host of their funniest-commercials specials), and during the conversation, he dropped a little bit of info about his upcoming stop-motion animated Nick at Nite series, “Glenn Martin, DDS”:

“It’s about a family who’s traveling around the country in an RV called the Molar Express. I play Glenn Martin, DDS, and I’m working my practice out of the RV. My wife is played by Catherine O’Hara, and we have a couple of kids. It’s a dysfunctional family, and it’s along the same lines of ‘Family Guy’ and ‘The Simpsons.’ We go to different parts of the country each week and get into a bunch of trouble. It’s stop-motion animation, and they really did a good job with it. I was really impressed with the results.”

It’s a good thing I was able to get Kevin’s comments on the show during our conversation, however, as the TCA panel dedicated to the series was very much under the control of the show’s executive producer, the one and only Michael Eisner. The show was introduced to the crowd by Cyma Zarghami, President of Nickelodeon and MTV Networks Kids and Family, and we would soon know why she was smirking when she asked Eisner, “Michael, do you want to say something before we start?” Worse, most of the things he had to say really didn’t serve to illuminate us very much about the show…or, at least, no more so than Kevin already had last month.

We did, however, learn at least one new thing: “Glenn Martin, DDS” will have a laugh track.

Co-creator Eric Fogel acknowledged that it was something they had experimented with a little bit before finally deciding to go with it, but “we all just really enjoyed the experience with the laugh track. Somehow it seemed like it elevated the experience, made the characters feel more real in a way.”

“It’s kind of tongue in cheek, too,” said Nealon, “because you know there’s not a live audience watching it. I think it goes with the whole feel of the show.”

“I like to imagine that there’s actually an audience of clay puppets out there laughing at the show,” added Fogel.

Here’s the trailer for the series:

I miss the old days of stop-motion animation just enough to be curious about the series on general principle, and while Kevin Nealon might not be my favorite “Weekend Update” anchor, I do think he’s a funny guy. In other words, I’ll be tuning in when “Glenn Martin, DDS” premieres on Nick at Nite on August 17th.

  

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A Chat with Kevin Nealon

Kevin Nealon’s been a familiar face on television since his days as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” but in recent years, he’s become more known for his work on Showtime’s long-running series, “Weeds.” Those who can’t afford the premium stations, however, may also see him pop up as the host of TBS’s “World’s Funniest Commercials” specials. Won’t you please join us for…

Kevin Nealon: Hey, Will! How are you doing?

Bullz-Eye: Hey, Kevin, good to talk to you!

KN: Yeah, you, too!

BE: So this is not your first time around the block for TBS.

KN: No, it’s not! It’s starting to add up. (Laughs)

BE: So how did you come to hook up with them in the first place?

KN: Oh, gee, let me see if I can remember. It’s been about…oh, I’m guessing eight years now? Seven or eight years. I think they just kind of came to my agents with this offer to host this show, and I always loved funny commercials. You know, one of the reasons – like a lot of people – that I watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials during it, so I was into that. And, also, I went to school for marketing and learned a lot about commercials then, and I was going to be in advertising, but instead I went into comedy. So there’s a big interest there for me.

BE: Do you have a favorite commercial from this most recent special that really stands out?

KN: Well, there are a couple that I like. There’s one…I think it’s for Berlitz Language School, where a guy’s on the phone and he’s trying to find out how to spell “Def Leppard” because he’s doing a tattoo on somebody’s back. And it’s all in subtitles, but the woman goes, “Do you mean ‘deaf’ as in hearing, or ‘death’ as in dying?” He goes, “Um, I’m not sure.” Then he looks to the person’s back, where he’s just made the tattoo “deaf.” That’s a cool one, and there’s another one for Tabasco that’s from Belgium, where they show a streaker running across a soccer field, the cops are chasing him, and then they stop the action and say, “An hour earlier,” and they show him in a restaurant having Tabasco sauce. They kind of back up the whole thing, from the soccer field leading back up to when he used the Tabasco.

BE: So where did you film this special? I know you film them on location in various places.

KN: Oh, yeah, we’ve done them everywhere! Well, not everywhere, but we’ve done them in California, in Paris, New York. This one happens to be in Chicago, which is great, because I love Chicago.

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