Adam DeVine has really mastered the art of personal brand building.
Having worked as a stand-up comedian for almost a decade in Los Angeles, the 28-year-old finally hit it big in 2011 with his crude, sophomoric and insanely funny Comedy Central show Workaholics, in which he plays one of a trio of roommates and low-level office workers who find the most idiotic ways to get into the most epic of trouble. An emphasis on sex, drugs, and groins has cemented Devine and his co-stars (and real-life friends) Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, and Kyle Newacheck, over three-plus seasons, as the new kings of frat-boy humor.
As such, DeVine was the no-brainer choice for Funny or Die when they went looking for a star for a new web series, sponsored by Norelco, about — well, here’s DeVine saying it in his own words: “I think they were like, ‘Who will the audience relate to in regards to shaving their pubes? Obviously Adam DeVine, that’s the first thing that comes to mind, let’s get him,’” he jokes. “And I’m like, ‘Hello, a trimmed ballsack, sign me up, I’m on board.’”
The series is a spoof on reality shows, the first of which recalls old-school Cops episodes, DeVine cast as a hustling patrol officer who yells at both a hairy suspect and the trailing camera man while racing to make an arrest.
DeVine spoke with BuzzFeed last week about the web series, as well as Workaholics, his role in Pitch Perfect, and a new movie he has in development with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Did the Workaholics term “tight butthole” result from an improv, or was it a very carefully constructed joke?
DeVine: We came up with that phrase when everyone was saying, “That’s the tits.” And we were like, not all tits are awesome. So we were like, what’s more awesome than tits? And I think Anders was like, “tight butthole.” And we just thought that was funny to say instead of tits, like, “Man, that’s tight butthole.” And so when we were writing the show, we just stuck it in there and figured Comedy Central would make us take it out. And then they were totally absolutely OK with us saying “tight butthole,” and now I have strangers in the streets yelling, “You’re tight butthole, Adam!” And I’m like, “Thanks, man, I’m out with my girlfriend and her family, this is an inappropriate time to scream this at me.”
Would you be OK with the words “tight butthole” written on your tombstone?
DeVine: I would actually be pretty cool with that. “Here lies Adam DeVine, tight butthole. The tight-buttholiest of us all. He kept it tight butthole til the end.”
It’s quite the accomplishment to bring that to the American vernacular.
DeVine: I’m a little worried that when I have kids, when they’re teenagers, I’ll be like, “You can’t do that. You’re wilding out, you can’t go crazy.” And they’ll be like, “I’ve seen Workaholics. I know what you did.” At least with my parents, I only heard stories, and they were like, “No, no, it wasn’t that crazy.” But my kids will be able to look at Workaholics and be like, “No, you’re a fucking maniac, you do not get to tell me what to do.”
They’ve announced a Pitch Perfect sequel. Will that actually end up happening? If so, would you be in it?
DeVine: I don’t know, they haven’t approached me to do it, because my character kind of bounced halfway through the first movie. If they approach me, I’ll think about it. I don’t know if they will, or if they do, if I’ll have time, because I’m doing Workaholics and we’re shooting our own movie — we have Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and Scott Rudin helping us produce it. We’ll try to do that early next year. And I’m doing this other show for Comedy Central called House Party, which is a stand-up show that takes place at this mansion that is my mansion that I’m renting that obviously I don’t have enough money for, and all the stand-ups come over and there’s this giant party. The stand-ups that aren’t on stage are in the party with me, and I’m dealing with what’s happening inside the party as the comics are on stage.
What’s the story with that movie you’re doing with Rogen et al?
DeVine: Well, we’re not really talking about it because we’re doing another draft of the script right now, so everything is sort of moving around and changing a bit, but it’s a big action comedy and it stars the three of us as friends. We’re not the Workaholics guys. It’s really funny, it’s crazy, it’s an awesome adventure and there’s a ton of action. Our favorite movies are all action movies and comedy movies, so it was cool to kind of smash the two worlds together and make a big, awesome action comedy movie.
How long were you working on the script?
DeVine: About a year. We’d been kind of tossing ideas around for a while, but since we write all the episodes of Workaholics and we’re in the room for that and I left to go do Pitch Perfect, and we all kind of left and did different things, it’s been a long process to get that done. But we got a first draft done and everybody loved it, and we’re just sort of retooling a little bit to make it a bit more production-friendly now. We’re excited. Hopefully we’ll get to start shooting that towards the beginning of next year and get that in the can and edit it before we go back to shoot season five of Workaholics last year.
The show is considered a “bro-ish” comedy, but bros get a lot of hate. Are bros misunderstood? Do you feel like you’re speaking on behalf of them?
DeVine: I’ve heard that before, but I know dudes that are rock stars that are cool dudes that love the show that aren’t bros at all, and I know hipster dudes that love the show that aren’t bros at all. The shit we get into is we’re so dumb on the show — we’re not saying, “Being bros is cool, be a bro!” We’re kind of putting it on its head a bit and making fun of the whole thing. My character is super bro-y and I’m kind of making fun of that, Blake is a hipster skateboarder dude and he kind of makes fun of that, and Ders is kind of like the preppy nerdy swimmer dude and he makes fun of that sort of stuff, so we try to cover all the bases and make fun of every bro in every capacity.
You had a little cameo in Community last year. What was that experience like?
DeVine: Dude, it was fun. Everyone at Community was so nice to me, and they were just so cool and Joel McHale’s cool and Gillian Jacobs is the shit. It was fun to play that weirdo stepbrother type character who obviously is kind of a psychopath. I would love to come back; they’ve got more episodes, so if they want Willie Jr. back in the fold, I’m ready. It was a lot of fun.
Did you get to meet Chevy Chase?
DeVine: I did actually, yeah. It was cool because I grew up on all the Vacation movies and stuff. And people say he’s such a dickhead, that it’s a known fact that he’s such an asshole, but he was really nice to me in the few minutes that I met him. So no ill will. What up, Chevy?