If you’re not watching Comedy Central’s hilarious new animated show Moonbeam City, you’re doing Wednesday nights wrong. The show centers on the tomfoolery of a horndog detective with a heart of gold named Dazzle Novak (voiced by Rob Lowe). VH1 Big In 2015 With Entertainment Weekly honoree Elizabeth Banks lends her pipes alongside Rob as the fire-breathing police chief Pizzaz Miller. And if that’s not star-studded enough, Kate Mara and Will Forte also have LOL-worthy roles on the show. Like I said, you’re doing Wednesday nights incorrectly if this isn’t in your queue.
The brains behind this neon circus is Scott Gairdner, who worked as a writer for Funny or Die and Conan before creating Dazzle’s world. We caught up with Scott a few weeks ago about the show—it returns tonight at 10:30 p.m./9:30c after South Park on CC—and he gave us the dish on his star-studded cast and an unexpected anecdote about Snoop Dogg. Intrigued? You should be.
How did you come up with the concept for Moonbeam City?
I’ve just always loved anything that kind of fuses the ’80s and the future together, and I just thought that’d be a neat aesthetic to try to do something in. And then sort of marrying it with this art style that I knew from nail salon windows and laundromats—the sort pale, angular, hyper-glamorous people. It just seemed like that would be a really fun world to play in, and combine with the very stupid, inane comedy.
What is the difference between Dazzle and a character like Archer?
I think, while Dazzle is a partier and a womanizer and he’s not great at his job, I think there’s a tender, sensitive side to Dazzle that maybe you don’t see with other boorish animated characters. So I think, where you’ve seen other kind of asshole animated characters, I think there’s a tender, yearning, angsty side to Dazzle that places him perfectly in this ’80s dream-iverse that we’re creating.
Which cast member do you think is most likely to bring food into the recording booth?
Will Forte was recording with us; we’d record with him from like 8 in the morning from 8-10, right before he would go shoot the last season of Last Man on Earth. So, he would come armed with just copious amounts of coffee, and understandably so. He was certainly the most caffeinated member of the cast. So if coffee counts as food, it was Will Forte.
Which cast member do you think would most likely act like his or her character outside of the recording booth?
I think Dazzle is sort of a reflection of young Rob Lowe, pre-enlightened Rob Lowe. I never met young Rob Lowe, but it’s kind of our fantastic version of what he might have been from ages 20-25. I feel like there’s probably parallels between Dazzle and young Rob Lowe. But please let me clarify, young Rob Lowe, as opposed to current Rob Lowe.
Which cast member would most likely show up really early for a session?
I know that we have Adam West on the show in a couple of weeks. He was there, to my horror, he was there way before I showed up. And I felt like a real unprofessional jackass, to walk into the lobby of Titmouse (animation studio), and there’s Adam West, sitting calmly with his beautiful wife.
What is something about Elizabeth Banks fans would be surprised to know?
She’s just kind of a beast, in terms of energy and on-point and nails it the first. I guess her fans would not be surprised about that. She would just barrel through and do four episodes at a time, and not rushing through it. She’s so good.
What is something about Rob Lowe that fans would be surprised to know?
This guy’s an avid fisher, avid surfer, avid sailor, a man of the sea. We tried to get him, tried to hold him down on land in the recording studio as long as we could but as soon as we he was out of there, straight to the sea. He’s a son of Poseidon, that one.
Can you tell us a funny or bizarre story about your time working on Funny or Die?
I’m sort of a stiff fellow, and I was sent on the same trip to Las Vegas to direct Snoop Dogg. The piece just wasn’t really working. It was kind of flat. We were sort of stuck on some lines. We weren’t really jelling. You could tell there was no energy, and Snoop could feel it. I think he just said, “Man, it feels tense I here. Who wants some of this?” and held up a blunt. I’m really not at ease with marijuana, but I thought, “Okay, this is all up to me. I ’gotta take one for the team to get on the same page as this man.” So, I joined him. I tried to do it as little as I could, so I could still be competent and direct the thing. But he caught me and saw it wasn’t a very good hit. He made me do it again, and it didn’t quite kick in until right when we were done, so I was able to make it through the thing relatively confidently. But yeah. smoking blunts with Snoop: That’s an experience you don’t get every day.