TRANSCRIPT Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rob Huebel, Star of Medical Police

Rob Huebel joins us to talk about his new series “Medical Police” – the spin-off of his old show “Children’s Hospital,” which ran for seven seasons on Adult Swim. He’s a talented comic actor who has appeared on MTV’s “Human Giant” and on Amazon’s critically-acclaimed series “Transparent.” Rob sits down with Jesse to talk about where he gets his sense of humor from, what it’s like playing jerks with a heart of gold and how he got his start in improv. Plus, he’ll talk to us about his favorite types of silly comedies. All that and more on a all-new Bullseye!

Guests: Rob Huebel

Transcript

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Gentle, trilling music with a steady drumbeat plays under the dialogue.

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Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

jesse thorn

I’m Jesse Thorn. It’s Bullseye.

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“Huddle Formation” from the album Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team. A fast, upbeat, peppy song. Music plays as Jesse speaks, then fades out.

jesse

So, there is a new show coming to Netflix. One of those shows where the title kind of tells you everything you need to know. It’s called Medical Police. Yes. Medical Police. It stars Rob Huebel, who’s my guest. Rob is a veteran comic actor. He broke through in 2007, on the MTV sketch show, Human Giant, alongside Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer. He’s been in many, many other things. Maybe you know him as Les, from Transparent. He was on The League. He was on 30 Rock. And maybe his best-known role was on the totally bonkers Adult Swim show, Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital was a medical drama parody where pretty much all of the doctors are truly awful at their jobs. He played Dr. Owen Maestro, who was also a bad doctor. Owen used to be a cop in New York City, but left after September 11th. Children’s Hospital’s last episode aired in 2016. [Music begins to fade out.] Which brings us to Medical Police: the new show picks up where Children’s Hospital left off—focusing now on Owen, played by Rob, and his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Lola Spratt—played by Erinn Hayes. Here’s the premise: Lola and Owen discover a deadly virus. One that could end life as we know it. And, together with the government—specifically [laughing] the Centers for Disease Control—the two of them start traveling the world to see who made the virus and find a cure. They are: Medical Police. Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the show. In this clip, Lola just confessed she’s having cold feet about the mission. And, as you’re about to hear, Rob’s character is giving her a pep talk.

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[The muffled sound of many people moving around and speaking, in the background.] Owen Maestro: Hey. Now, listen to me. Come here. You remember what happened to us in Berlin? Lola Spratt: [Whispered.] Yeah. Music: Gentle, inspirational music begins to play. Owen: We got shot out of the sky! Lola: Yeah! Owen: And left for dead! Lola: Yeah! Owen: No back or support. Lola: Yeah! Owen: And we what’d we do? We kicked [censored]. And then we continued to kick [censored]. Florence. Sudan. Denmark and France. Also, Florida. To a lesser degree, Latvia. And now, here we are in Sur de Fond. [The sounds of a bus and a car horn interrupt the music, bringing it to an end.]

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Lola: Shanghai. Owen: Yes! Shanghai! China! Lola: Which is where we are. Owen: Yes. Lola: Ah. But isn’t it a matter for the police? Owen: We are the police. And we’re doctors. Which makes us… Lola: Cop doctors! Owen: Oh, I was gonna say doctor cops. I like that better. Lola: Look, I appreciate what you’re trying to do. But you know what would make me feel better? Guns. Owen: Well, I really thought they were gonna let us bring them on the plane! That’s my bad!

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jesse

[Laughs.] Rob Huebel—welcome back to Bullseye. It’s nice to see you.

rob huebel

It’s, uuuh—I’m pleasured to be here. Thank you, Jesse.

jesse

Congratulations on this very stupid television show. [Laughs.]

rob

It is so stupid, and when I hear stuff like that it makes me laugh so hard. That’s my favorite sort of comedy is just dumb silliness.

jesse

I watched, recently, all—I have a TV VCR, at my cabin.

crosstalk

Jesse: And I was— Rob: Woah. There’s a lot to unpack right there. Jesse: [Giggling.] Yeah. And I was at the thrift store and I found the VHSs of Police Squad. Rob: Yeah! Jesse: The television program. Rob: Yeah, wow.

jesse

And I watched those, recently. And I think it might be my favorite kind—I mean, for, like, I’m supposed to be a comedy sophisticate. We’re on public radio, right now.

rob

Of course, of course.

jesse

I just like [laughing] ten thousand jokes in a row.

rob

Yeah. And silly jokes, too. Yeah. I loved all that stuff. Like Airplane and, you know, the—just all those really, kind of silly movies and stuff where there were so many jokes going on. Like, even in the background, there’d be something funny happening in the background while the people in the foreground are talking seriously. Like—

jesse

[Absolutely shattered with laughter, struggling to get the words out.] I’m laughing because I just remember one when you said that—which is—there’s this one episode where they’re talking about police stuff in the foreground, and then in the background a gurney, or like a—whatever a gurney that doesn’t have wheels is called. Like a—

rob

A stretcher?

jesse

A stretcher. A stretcher comes into the scene, but then—as the guy is carrying it—it just crosses the entire frame and keeps going and going and going and going and going, like one of those handkerchiefs that comes out of a magician’s pocket.

rob

[Laughs.] Yeah, oh, just the longest stretcher in the world? [Rob agrees several times as Jesse speaks.]

jesse

Yeah, it just keeps going and going and going and then—the man must be 40 feet long and then, finally, the back end of the stretcher crosses the—yeah.

rob

I love stuff like that, man. I think that stuff’s so funny.

jesse

What else did you really love, when you were a kid?

rob

Well, my mom was, like, a big comedy fan. And I have two brothers—I’m in the middle. And we all, kind of, grew up kind of, like, with my mom’s sense of humor, I think. Because she just, sort of, raised us on, like, old—you know—‘70s SNL and like, you know, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and when Steve Martin was on there. So, I loved all that stuff. And then—yeah, like, you know—later, Eddie Murphy. And so, all that stuff, for sure. And then, you know, I loved—like, in the ‘80s, I loved all the, like—anything Chevy Chase did. I loved, you know, Caddyshack and—like, my brothers and I used to just quote every line of Fletch. Like, I knew every single line of Fletch, you know? I just thought—I really wanted to be Chevy Chase, you know? He was just so funny and physical, and, like, I love that type of comedy, you know. I love actors that can do that. They can be, like—they can seem really serious, but then just do something really silly and dumb. Like fall down the stairs or get hit by a car. Like—I just think that’s so cartoony and funny.

jesse

[Chuckling.] I’m not surprised to hear you say that you were a fan of Chevy Chase. And I, too, am a fan of Chevy Chase. I could watch Chevy Chase do Chevy Chase stuff— [Rob agrees.] —indefinitely.

rob

Old Chevy Chase, yeah. [Jesse agrees.] [Laughing.] Classic Chevy Chase. [Rob agrees several times as Jesse continues.]

jesse

[Laughs.] Well, there’s a few things, recently, he’s been quite good in. But I love to watch him be—say—be an idiot with a completely straight face. And I love to watch him be a monster with a completely straight face. Both of those are funny, to me, forever.

rob

I think that—I mean, when we started doing Children’s Hospital—and I do think that Corddry and David Wain and those guys that write all this stuff for us, like—they’re such fans of that style of absurd comedy. You know? It’s like dumb comedy for smart people. That sort of stuff, to me, just makes me laugh so hard. And, like, just—you know—so when you’re shooting it, it just becomes a contest of trying not to laugh. You know. ‘Cause you’re just saying the craziest, silliest stuff. But you’re saying it like a doctor. Or, in this show, we’re saying it like a cop, some—‘cause in this show we’re doctors and cops, now. [Jesse laughs.] Which makes total sense. And so, yeah. So, just to say stuff that’s really absurd but with a totally straight face. And like, say it with, like, a sense of urgency and sincerity is so fun to me. Like, it just makes me laugh. ‘Cause as soon as they say cut, you just laugh so hard. You know.

jesse

I think, specifically, one of your gifts—and like, if you compare it to Rob Corddry, who created Children’s Hospital—the show from which this one is spun off…

rob

Yeah, and I should clarify, I’m not a fan of his.

crosstalk

Jesse: Right. Rob: At all. Jesse: I understand. Rob: You know, but we have an ongoing feud. He, there is— Jesse: So, both personally and professionally, you’re not a fan of his. Rob: Correct. Jesse: Right. Rob: Yes, personally I have a restraining order against him. Jesse: Oh! Rob: And he’s not allowed to even look at me.

jesse

A legal restraining order?

rob

Uuum, that’s a good question. I’m not sure if the guy that I did this through has any sort of laaaw degree. This is a—

jesse

Did you just do it at one of those document places?

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Jesse: Where they, like, fill out— Rob: Yeah. And it’s like a guy— Jesse: —inspirational forms for you?

rob

Yeah, it’s like a guy in a van behind the Safeway. And he filled out a—I filled out a form and I took a picture and then he sped off and I assume that it got processed. So, you know.

jesse

Did you get that on Craigslist?

rob

I did get it on Craigslist, yeah. So, it’s reputable.

jesse

Right.

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Rob: So… Jesse: Greatlist. Rob: Yeah, so Corddry can’t mess with me. [Rob agrees several times as Jesse continues.]

jesse

Rob Corddry’s onscreen character is as silly as yours, but I think Rob is kind of a sweet doofus. Because he’s just got such a—he’s got a very winning smile, I think. He could sell any doofusy thing with his sweet smile. You, on this show to some extent, but in a lot of things, you often play a truly bad person.

rob

Sure. Yeah. I’ll take that. [Chuckles.] [He agrees several times as Jesse speaks.]

jesse

And that’s what makes me think of—that’s what makes me think of Chevy Chase’s—and Chevy Chase’s performances. Which is, like—you have played so many Brads, Chads, Devins.

rob

Terry. Yeah, Devin for sure. Yeah. Lotta Todds. Tad. [Jesse laughs in the background.] Uhh, [laughing] yeah. Just Gavin. Just people that you—that you wouldn’t wanna be friends with. Yeah. They’re usually—I specialize—I pay my rent, like, playing jerks.

jesse

And you’re a nice man. I wanna stipulate that you’re a nice man. I’ve known you a long time, in real life, and you’re a—you’re a sweet guy in real life.

rob

I appreciate that. Thank you. I think you’re a sweet guy. Yeah, but I mean, that’s why I like playing those people. And, again, like—I think just with my brothers, you know, just growing up horsing around the kitchen table, it's just—you sort of develop your, sort of, little toolbox of what you’re—what you’re funny with and what kind of—what kind of guy you can do. You know? And I was sort of good at doing the jerk guy. You know. Just the oblivious guy who’s, like, cocky—a total idiot, though. You know. But he thinks he’s, like, [laughing] super cool, or something. [Jesse chuckles.] So, yeah, I just think those guys are—‘cause I’m—‘cause I don’t think I am like that, but when I see people like that out in the world, I’m like, [in a whisper scream] “Come on! Look at yourself! You are such an idiot!” [Jesse laughs.] You know. And then so, I just try to remember what that guy was like and sort of channel that person, you know.

jesse

I heard that you and kids from your neighborhood would knock off Saturday Night Live sketches, for parents.

rob

Oh my gosh. Yeah. I don’t know who does your research. That’s awesome. Yeah, we would do… there was a girl in our neighborhood who lived down the street from us, and we were—they had kids all of—that matched our ages. And so, we would play with these kids a lot. And their older sister would tape Saturday Night Live, and then transcribe it. And then we would put it on, like, the next day [laughing] or some—or, like, then a couple days later. So, we would basically just do verbatim SNL sketches, which—by the way—the writer’s guild should come to my house and arrest me for doing that. [Jesse huffs a laugh.] But, yeah. We would just do that. You know, I think—I’m sure I was, like, eight years old. Ten years old. And we would just do that in our friend’s basement for our parents or whatever. And our parents were probably like, “Where are they getting this stuff?! These kids are geniuses! The Coneheads!? What!? What!? Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger?” You know, like, “Where are they—these routines that they’re coming—these characters!” You know. And we’re just totally ripping off—like, not even parodying. Like, just reading back the sketches from the previous night.

jesse

[Chuckles.] What’s amazing about it, to me, is that you were part of a cohort of performers who all became professionals. Many, very successful professionals. And you did it by pursuing the one comic art that absolutely cannot be a career. So, improvisation. [Laughs.]

rob

Yes. Correct.

jesse

Like, there are, like—there’s, like…

rob

You’re not gonna make money.

jesse

Eight people at The Second City, in Chicago. [Rob laughs and agrees.] Who do half-improv. There’s a few people on a Second City cruise ship, somewhere.

rob

Yeah, they make money. Yeah.

jesse

There’s some people at a thing called Boom Chicago, in Amsterdam.

rob

In Amsterdam, yep.

jesse

And that’s the full complement of professional—full-time professional improvisers in the world.

rob

Those people make money, yeah. Everybody else—the hundreds of thousands of other young people doing improv are not getting paid. It’s not a lucrative hobby, [laughing] at all. You’re not gonna make money. But, I mean, the thing that it does give you is you learn to write. You’re—‘cause you’re essentially writing on your feet. You’re making stuff up with someone else as you’re—as the audience is watching. And so, it’s basically writing. And so that, sort of, muscle—for me—has paid off in other ways, you know? Like, now I feel like I can, sort of, write comedy better. Or come up with—a lot of times, like, I feel like when I get hired on a show or a movie or something, I’m like, “I think why I got cast is to hopefully… improvise a little bit.” You know. So, usually the director—

jesse

To come and do a Rob—they want—they want a Rob Huebel type to come and do a Rob Huebel thing.

rob

I hope so. Oh god, I hope so. [Jesse laughs.] But, yeah. So, I assume that, like, they’re gonna kind of let me do my thing, a little bit. And let me kind of improvise some and, sort of, try to beat the jokes that they already have, you know. So, I’ll do all the stuff that’s scripted, for sure. And let’s get that. And then hopefully they’ll let me do, you know, a run of my own ideas, also. But yeah. So, I think it’s—hopefully—paid off in other ways. And I kind of got very lucky, back in New York, doing commercials. Like, ‘cause I was doing all that improv stuff and sketch comedy and—for free, as you mentioned—and then, somewhere in there, I took a commercial acting class with, like, Jason Mantzoukas and Jessica St Clair and, like, Lennon Parham. We were all in, like, the same—Brian Huskey. So, we were all in, like, the same commercial class together. And then, from that, I got—I started getting commercials. And so, then I was—I was able to, like, kind of quit my little day jobs, you know. And just make that sweet, sweet commercial bread. I’m talking about the Olive Garden, bro! I’m—I guess we can’t name people on this show, because of the—

jesse

No, you can name—you can name.

rob

[With renewed enthusiasm.] I’m talking about McDonalds! The Olive Garden! Uh, FedEx Kinkos! What other corporations did I plug?

crosstalk

Jesse: You were inconsiderate cellphone man. Rob: I was!

rob

That was my—that was one of the first commercials I did. I was—and that was for—I don’t think this company is around anymore. There was a company—a cell phone company called Cingular, and they had a commercial that used to play before movies across the country. And it was just a reminder to turn your cellphone off. And it was just me [laughing] being a jerk on my cellphone. It’s called “Inconsiderate Cellphone Man”. And so, it was just a montage of this guy in terrible situations being a jerk on his cellphone.

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[A collection of chimes and cellphone ringtones, building on top of one another into a cacophony.] Inconsiderate Cellphone Man: Hellooo? Pedro?! Music: An upbeat, ‘50s bop style song. He’s Inconsiderate Cellphone Man! Ooooh-aaaah! [Scene changes.] Inconsiderate Cellphone Man: [Yelling.] You’re at the concert?! [Sarcastically] Thanks for the invite, Glen! [Scene changes.] Inconsiderate Cellphone Man: [Smugly.] You tell her I’m tan all over. Music: So inappropriate!

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jesse

I think I’m—I mentioned I was going to interview you, on Twitter, and several people brough that up.

rob

Buddy—

jesse

That’s something that will follow you—

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Rob: To my grave. Jesse: To your grave.

rob

To my grave. That will follow me to my grave and then there’s a meme of me that will follow me to my grave, also. Which is from Children’s Hospital—which is me in a—with a very thick moustache. Not as aggressive as yours. But—in a blue tuxedo throwing glitter. And so that little gif is out on the internet and that’s a little moment from Children’s Hospital, but now that gets sent around everywhere—that gif—for, like, birthdays and, you know, whatever. So, I’m like this meme and I do think that when I ultimately die—like, get hit by a bus crossing the street—they’ll play that at the Emmy Awards, hopefully. [Jesse laughs.] Like, “Oh, In Memoriam.” And they’ll play, like, my little glitter clip. Which would be awesome. [Laughs.]

jesse

He was the poor man’s Rip Taylor. [Rob laughs and agrees.] And we knew him from a gif.

rob

Again, just ripping off Rip Taylor. [Jesse laughs.] Yeah. [Chuckles.]

jesse

We’ll finish up with Rob Huebel after the break. Stay with us. It’s Bullseye, from MaximumFun.org and NPR.

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Music: Upbeat, cheerful music with clapping in the background. Jesse Thorn: Hey, gang! Jesse here, the founder of Maximum Fun, and with me is Stacey Molski, who is—among other things—the lady who responds to all of your Tweets. Stacey Molski: Hi everyone! I also send you newsletters. Jesse: Uh, so anyway. Something really awesome. You! MaxFun listeners have given us the chance to do something really cool on behalf of our entire community, and we wanted to tell you about it. Stacey: Last summer, following the MaxFun drive, we put all of the enamel pins on sale to $10 and up members, with proceeds going to the National CASA/GAL Association for Children. Jesse: Your generous support and enthusiasm raised over a hundred thousand dollars. Our bookkeeper, Steph, would be quick to tell me the exact total is $109,025, to be exact. Stacey: Your money will go toward pairing kids who've experienced abuse or neglect with court-appointed advocates or guardian ad litem volunteers. Jesse: In other words, kids in tough spots will have somebody in their corner. Knowledgeable grown-ups who are on their team through court dates and life upheavals and confusing situations, whatever. Stacey: The money we raised together is going to help a lot of kids. Jesse: Whether you bought pins or not, you can help us build on that $109,000 foundation. Make a donation to support National CASA/GAL, and help some of our nation's most vulnerable children, at MaximumFun.org/casa. That's MaximumFun.org/casa. Stacey: And seriously, thank you. Our community rules. [Music fades out.]

jesse

Welcome back to Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest is Rob Huebel. He’s an actor who’s performed on Transparent, in Human Giant, on The League, and more. He’s the star of the new show, Medical Police: a spinoff of the hit Adult Swim show, Children’s Hospital. It’s a spoof about doctors who carry guns and travel the world fighting disease and crime. It’s streaming now, on Netflix. [Rob agrees several times as Jesse talks.] You became a father, a few years ago. And your daughter was born very prematurely. What were the circumstances of it?

rob

[Takes a breath.] Ooh. Jesse. We just took a hard turn, buddy.

jesse

[Quietly.] We did.

rob

We were talking full-on comedy.

jesse

I know.

rob

No, I can do this. I’ve talked about this before. The good news is, is my daughter is super healthy and she’s a maniac. But she’s [laughing] super healthy. She’s three. And she’s, like, as—she’s tall and strong and lean and she’s driving us crazy, right now. But, yeah. She was born at 26 weeks. And so, you know, a full-term baby is, I believe, 40 weeks. And so, this baby came however many weeks that is, early. You know. And so—came 14 weeks early. She was under two pounds, when she was born. And she was just a tiny—I mean, she was, you know, a—basically a baby bird, you know? Like, just the smallest little thing. And we don’t know exactly why it happened. I mean, they tried to… kind of go back and figure it out, later, but there’s not that much that they can tell all the time. And so, you know, my wife basically just started having contractions. We were, like, furniture shopping over—we were—luckily, we were near the hospital. And all of the sudden my wife was like, “Um, something’s wrong.” And like—I was like, “What’s wrong?” And she was like, “I think we need to go to the hospital.” And so, we just sped over to the hospital, and they took her up. Initially they—we thought, like, “Oh, okay. They can just slow down these contractions and everything’s—” You don’t know what’s happening. And it’s the most terrifying thing, ‘cause you just don’t have any clue. You know. So, we thought, “Well, they’ll keep her for a few days, and they’ll slow down these contractions or whatever.” So, that turned into a week which turned into ten days. And then, finally, they just couldn’t slow down the contractions anymore. And so, it became the sort of thing of like, “We think you’re gonna have the baby tomorrow.”

rob

And we’re like, “Wait—what?!” Like, “What are you even talking about?” You know. A baby born at 26 weeks—that’s pretty close to, like, the cut-off point of viability. Of—whatever that is—survivability. So, this baby came three months early and then we stayed in the NICU, over there, for 117 days. Now I’ve kind of, like, put it in a box in my mind. So, I don’t really open that box that much, unless I’m on a podcast like this. [Laughing.] For sure—no. You know. We, at the time, were—we were so freaked out by it that, kind of, all we could do—I didn’t know anyone else that had gone through that experience, and so at the time all we would do is, like, look through Instagram for hashtags that matched our daughter. So, we would, like, search “26weeker” or “preemie” or “#NICU” or anything like that. And we would find someone that was in the same situation that we were and then we would just, like, scroll through their Instagram and look to see how it panned out for them. And so sometimes it worked out. Sometimes they had, you know, really complicated situations, you know. So, we just didn’t know what was gonna happen. And ours was like two steps forward, one step back. But, you know, we finally got her home after 117 days and she was on oxygen for, like, six months at home. But, you know, now she’s doing great. I just always try to be as public about it as I can, because when—it’s like anything. Like, whatever you’re going through, someone else has already gone through it. And someone else is coming up behind you. So, it—you know. When people reach out to me on, like, Instagram or Twitter or whatever, I just try to be as open about it as I can, because it was so scary for us. And all you—all you are looking for is, like, someone to tell you that things are gonna be okay.

jesse

A family member of mine had two very premature children that—the first around the time in her pregnancy that your wife had your baby and because she—my family member was preeclamptic and, in fact, nearly died— [Rob makes an “oof” sound.] —in the process of having the baby. And the babies are—the kids are both doing great, now.

rob

Yeah.

jesse

And then, you know, the—with the second child, because of her preeclampsia—and the first, they had the baby on purpose early to keep my family member safe. And one of the milestones that I remember from those girls growing up—and they’re both, like, preschool age, now—was the point at which… there was no longer two ages being kept. [Rob agrees.] An age from the day they were born and an age from the day that their—they were scheduled to be born.

rob

Yeah. Yeah, it’s real. Like, my daughter was supposed to be born on December the 28th, but she was born on September the 28th. And so, there—you know, that adjustment, that adjusted age, you have to factor that in for the first, like, few years because people are dealing with them as though they are [laughing] one age, but they’re really this other age, you know. And then, eventually, that line becomes blurry and blurry. Thankfully. And then it just kind of melts away and then you’re like, “Oh, they’re—now they’re just this age. But, yeah. That is something I remember so vividly of just, like, having to explain that to everybody. You know, like, “Well, she’s this age, but she’s actually this age.” You know. Just to doctors and therapists and stuff like that that you’re dealing with. But yeah, I mean, the human body is bananas. [Laughs.] I mean, that’s an understatement. But, like, it’s just crazy to watch. Like, I picked—I picked our daughter up from preschool today and she, like, ran over to me and she’s like laughing and talking about some bug that they were all laughing at, outside, or something. “Stupid bugs.” [Jesse chuckles.] And it’s just like—it’s just weird. Sometimes I just look at her and I’m like—‘cause I know how she started. And it’s just—it blows my mind into, like—into oblivion to think about it. Like, that you can go from something that is so tiny and fragile and, like, just barely hanging on to life, to just like—keep going, keep going, keep going—and, like, and then you just keep going and going and then you become this full-on person with, like, opinions. And, you know, now she’s, like, making jokes about stuff. You know? And like cracking us up and then, like, when she goes to bed at night, my wife and I are, like, so tired. And, like, pour a giant glass of wine [laughs] and, like, sit on the couch. But, like, my wife will say—like, all the time my wife will say, like, “Isn’t it weird that she’s ours? Like it’s so weird.”

jesse

I think, sometimes, when I see a picture of my family member’s kids, you know, on Facebook—they live in a different coast than I do, so I don’t get to see them in person that much, but I think—like, if something that my family member told me is, you know, if… this kid had been born when I was born—you know, I was born in 1981 and it’s not like I was born 1000 years ago—but if this kid had been born the year that I was born, I wouldn’t… get to look at… [Rob agrees.] A healthy four-year-old.

rob

Yeah, the—obviously, I mean, medicine is just—you know. Expanding and doing all of these awesome things, like, as such an exponential rate. But, like, yeah we had—I remember [laughs]—I remember when we brought our daughter home. We were having work done on our house, and the contractor was like—you know, this big, burly guy who had a beard that would rival your beard, Jesse. [Jesse laughs.] I mean, you guys should have a beard fight. I don’t know if people know Jesse’s beard, right now, but it is—it is aggressive. Um—[chuckling] no, it’s awesome. But, uh—so this guy was like, [gutturally] “Oh yeah, I was a preemie! I was born like, uuh, 28 weeks or something.” And I was like, “Oh? Really, man? That’s so cool.” And he’s like, [gutturally] “Yeah. I was—yeah, but back when I was born, my mom didn’t—when I came home, they put me in a shoebox, and they would put me behind the stove to keep me warm.” And I was like, “For real?!” Like—and he was like, “Yeah!” Like, he grew up in Minnesota or somewhere and I was just like—man. Like, life can just fight. Like, it’s just amazing, like, how the human [laughs]—humans will just fight. They’re fighters, you know.

jesse

Do you feel like having gone through something like that has affected the way that you approach the rest of your life?

rob

Yeah. Yes. [Beat.] And, um… you know. It sort of puts everything in perspective, you know? And whatever it is—like, I feel like everybody’s—you know, they say everybody’s going through something and so I just try to remember that, now. I just try to—I think I’m more aware of that, maybe? That, like, “Oh, I went through this. There are other people that are going through this, right now. And there are people, right now, at the hospital—that are in NICUs all over the country—that are going through this. So, if I—if anyone hears this or knows anyone that’s—that this might give them some encouragement, like, I love that I have that thing, now. The, like, “My wife and I have that thing. We have that thing that we can be maybe of some little help or encouragement to somebody else.” ‘Cause, before, I didn’t have that. Like, I was just a guy doing my thing and making comedy and trying to, you know, be funny in movies, and stuff. But I didn’t have, like, a thing that was, like, “Oh! I can actually connect with you about a real-life thing and I might be able to encourage you, in some way.” So now, like, we have that. You know. And I think if you look at your life like that or if you look at the, like, those hard things—how can I try to use that as a way to be helpful to the people behind me that are going through that, also. And I mean, you know, you have stuff like that, too—where, whatever it is that is in—specific to your family or your kids or your marriage or your—something that you went through at work, you know whatever. Everyone has or will go through something that’s, like, going to give you your thing that you can help the person behind you. You can throw a rope down to them and be like, “Grab on! ‘Cause, like, I can—I can hopefully give you a little bit of hope.” You know?

jesse

Rob, I really love your show, Medical Police, which is a show in which you play [laughing] a doctor who becomes a doctor policeman. [Rob agrees.] And travels the world, doctor-policing in the style of a television procedural show.

rob

Cop Doctor. Or Doctor Cop. What—I can’t even remember. Yeah. Medical—Police Medical. Medical Police, that’s it. Medical Police.

jesse

And I don’t want to, uh [laughs]—I wanna—I’m just gonna play, just to—as a sort of, like, eating a cracker when you’re doing a wine tasting, or something— [Rob agrees.] I’m gonna play one more stupid clip from your stupid show that I love.

rob

Please!

jesse

Before we go. You and your partner, Dr. Lola Spratt, have apprehended someone that you thought was a terrorist. And shot and killed him. And then they figure out—or they shot him—I think they shoot him in the arm.

crosstalk

Rob: Yeah, we shot him in the arm. Jesse: He’s not quite dead.

rob

Yeah, he’s not dead. He’s hanging on.

jesse

And then you realize that there’s this whole other explanation for all the clues that you thought were for sure the reason that he was definitely the guy.

sound effect

Music swells and fades.

clip

Hassim: [In tears.] What a terrible day this has turned out to be! Lola: Um. I feel that we may have really messed up on that one. Owen: Yeah, I’m with you. Hassim: [Sobbing.] Lola: Hassim! Um, [Owen and Lola chuckle awkwardly]—yeah, this is kind of funny. Owen: This is very funny. Lola: Um—you know, we actually thought you were a terrorist! Owen: [Laughs forcedly.] Hassim: Because I’m Muslim. Lola: No!

clip

Owen: What? No! Lola: No! Owen: N-no! Lola: Oh my god. No. If anything, in spite of that fact. No. Trust us, we have had precisely that conversation. Yeah. Owen: Absolutely! Lola: Yeah. Owen: And! We’re also not suggesting that there is a simple, one-size-fits all solution for these problems. Lola: No. No. Hassim: This is the kind of dialogue we should all be having. Owen: Thank you!

clip

Lola: And that’s exactly what we’ve been saying. [The sound of an ambulance siren getting nearer.] Hassim: I agree, I agree, I agree. Owen: Thank you. Lola: It’s a—it’s a give and take. Owen: It is a give and take. It’s a give and take. Lola: It’s a—everybody. It’s a—you know. It’s a whole stack. Owen: It’s a give and take for all of us. Speaker 1: [Yells.] Owen: Hi, hi. Lola: Hey. Owen: Um, thank god. Listen, so, uh—we shot him. But we also saved his life. Lola: Mm-hm. Owen: So, it kind of evens out.

sound effect

Music swells and fades

rob

That’s what cop doctors do. [Jesse laughs in the background.] You can shoot someone and then you just patch them up. Move on down the road.

jesse

Rob, thank you for—thank you for your candor talking with me, today. And thanks for this great show that—its high-spirited stupidity will bring great warmth and comfort to many people’s lives.

rob

[Laughs.] Thanks, Jesse. I’m a big fan and I love doing the show. Thanks for having me.

jesse

Rob Huebel. Medical Police is so funny. I cannot even—I cannot—I cannot tell you how funny Medical Police is. It is full of laughs. I can’t wait for you to see it. It’s streaming right now, on Netflix.

music

Upbeat music interspersed with the sound of a cheering crowd.

jesse

That’s the end of another episode of Bullseye. Bullseye is produced at MaximumFun.org world headquarters, overlooking MacArthur Park, here in beautiful Los Angeles, California—where there was a film shoot, in the park! Not an uncommon occurrence. A lot of great movies have been shot in MacArthur Park. The subject of this one? Two guys wearing matching grey track suits, both wearing bright red shoes with identically styled bears and man-buns. Then, later one, they changed into leopard print. Our show is produced by speaking into microphones. Our producer is Kevin Ferguson. Jesus Ambrosio is our associate producer. We get help from Casey O’Brien, who I just saw with a giant electric piano, in the office. Our production fellows are Jordan Kauwling and Melisa Dueñas. Our interstitial music is by Dan Wally, also known as DJW. Though, who knows! Maybe Casey’s gunning for his job! Our theme song is by The Go! Team. Our thanks to them and their label, Memphis Industries, for letting us use it. And one last thing! We have done almost two decades of Bullseye and the show that proceeded it, The Sound of Young America. We had Human Giant on when Human Giant was new! Rob Huebel’s MTV sketch group. You can find that interview on our Bullseye page, at MaximumFun.org. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Just search for Bullseye with Jesse Thorn and keep up with the show there. And I think that’s about it. Just remember: all great radio hosts have a signature sign off.

promo

Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

If you would like to pitch a guest for Bullseye, please CLICK HERE. You can also follow Bullseye on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. For more about Bullseye and to see a list of stations that carry it, please click here.

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