On Feb. 8, comedy site CollegeHumor will make its jump from web to television when the appropriately titled The CollegeHumor Show premieres on MTV. The crew there is hard at work shooting and editing episodes, but director/executive producer/writer/actor Sam Reich took a few minutes to talk with us about the what to expect from the show, what it’s like creating television and whether other MTV personalities will come out from their Hills to pop in.
Think of The CollegeHumor Show (TCHS) as an office comedy. Only unlike most office comedies, all the actors actually work in, well, the CollegeHumor offices.
The vast majority of TCHS will be brand-new, with each episode centered around a basic plot — the site goes down, or a rival site starts getting more traffic, etc. The story elements will be punctuated with sketches similar to CollegeHumor’s Hardly Working series. “The Hardly Working series was the inspiration — it’s a much longer, better version of that,” said Reich.
Longer indeed. CollegeHumor was used to working in 2-5 minute chunks, now they have to come up with 22 minutes of material for each episode. “It’s a different beast,” said Reich. “It’s storytelling, and we don’t do that; we parody a lot of stuff. A lot of this is about characters and storytelling, but it’s still all over the place.”
Despite the longer show times, CollegeHumor isn’t abandoning its short-form roots. “The show kind of caters to that attention span, because we’re cutting to sketch every once in awhile,” said Reich, who cites the quick-bit and cutaway shows like Robot Chicken and Family Guy as inspirations.
So what’s it like working for a oldteevee company like MTV? “MTV, to their credit, has given us a huge amount of autonomy. They really haven’t gotten in our way at all,” said Reich (though I doubt he’d bite the hand that feeds so close to the premiere). Reich even sees CollegeHumor’s presence as a bonus for the network. “MTV doesn’t have a rep for producing this kind of content. It gives us a unique opportunity to bring in other people who might not be watching the network.”
When asked whether we can expect appearances from other MTV stars, Reich is quick to respond, “We’ve kept thus far kept the doors locked from any other MTV appearances.”
Guess that means we won’t be getting a Jake and Amir and Heidi and Spencer spin-off anytime soon.