NYCC Interview: Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, creators of The Venture Bros.

Ask any fan of Adult Swim's The Venture Bros. and they will tell you this: it has been a long time since we saw a new season of The Venture Bros. Yes, we were treated to the one-shot mockumentary episode "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy" and its music video climax "Jacket" last August. But some of us were hoping for a little more following their amazing fourth season finale in November 2010. Well, boy and girl adventurers, we are in luck -- ahead of the fifth season's arrival in early 2013, we will be getting A Very Venture Halloween on Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 PM!

After a smashing panel, which featured vocal wonders Michael Sinterniklaas (and all of his hair), Paul Boocock, and a kickass sizzle reel, I caught up with show creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick to see if I could dig some more information out of them after asking them politely to stay a scoach later than they were planning.

So, thanks so much for hanging out! We know that you’re working on fifth and sixth seasons. Has there ever been any talk of anything full-length for theaters?

Doc Hammer: Once in awhile, yes. Nothing too serious. We play "Dream World" with it, but someone will try to talk us out of it.

Jackson Publick: At one point, I think around when the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie was coming out, there was maybe the most serious talk anybody had because they went, “Yeah. We probably only have the cred and the money to make one more, and it really should be you guys. Your show is the most suited to a feature length and that kind of visual experience." That was right about when we had been greenlit for seasons three and four. We were making season three and I said, “Well, let us make it between seasons three and four because that’ll be the best time. And season three will make people go see that, and that will make people go see season four." They said, “Nah, nah, you should make the shows we ordered first, and then we’ll talk." And then of course, it took us, like, three years to make those seasons, and it was never really spoken of again. But we keep getting to do longer episodes.

Doc: [Execs] will happily talk about it, but [they paint] this very grim picture of putting out a movie.

Jackson: [They're] not wrong.

Doc: [They're] not wrong at all. You put all this work into it and it’s all based on opening night. It’s just a movie. If it rains that night, you’re out a million dollars.

Jackson: All this stupid stuff [could happen] that makes a million dollars go down.

Doc: The reality of it is not as much fun as the idea of having a movie out there. With the straight-to-DVD thing, who knows?

You have video-on-demand, it’s accessible.

Doc: Exactly. Something for Netflix or whatever the fuck is there whenever we get around to it. Whatever that crap is.

The kids love it. Have you ever considered crossing over with another show?

Doc: I thought you asked me if me if I ever dipped in cross dressing. [Laughs] And the answer is no, I love men’s clothing. This season, we are kind of getting a little hand from the Robot Chicken people, but in a way that you’re not expecting, but you’ll really love it.

Jackson: We’ve talked with them before about actually officially doing a special together where they stop-motion-animate our characters.

Doc: I still want to. I love those guys.

Jackson: We write for their show. We all are crazy making our shows, and we never quite think of a place to do it or a great idea.

Doc: It might happen some time. It’s four very busy people.

Jackson: Yeah.

Cool! So, did everything go according to plan when you were writing? Or did something happen to the story?

Doc: Oh, it did not go according to plan! It never goes according to plan! We had all these ideas that we wanted to get into the season, and then the season just happened.

Jackson: And then production starts and we haven’t actually finished enough scripts, so then you’re really writing under the gun. Yeah, I think we gave short shrift to some things that we really meant to care more about.

Doc: It’s only so many episodes and so many minutes.

Jackson: What actually would have been our finale is now going to be its own special. There was a story too big, we ran out of episodes. We literally ran out of episodes. So we were like, oh well, shoot, that’s the ninth script. But we want to make this one a big, long one, and we couldn’t actually get the money to do extra episodes, but we already had a slot open for a special next year or something.

Is there anything in particular that got cut that really devastated you, that you thought, "I can’t believe we can’t do this"?

Doc: Sure those happen, like with the Revenge Society... We had all these ideas, we still have them and we’ll move forward with them, but you can’t just drop it in the middle of the scenes and not follow through, so we just kept leaving it out until we could do with it what we wanted, and it never occurs.

Jackson: Sometimes we do, and we’re always dropping hints about things that we may or may not pick up later. We’re always building scaffolding around things, and then sometimes not doing the work.

Doc: Yeah, sometimes when the blankets come down, the scaffolding... it's nothing.

Jackson: Sometimes it will take two seasons before some character comes back. And it’s not because we wrote him out for two seasons, it's because we forgot to write for him for two seasons.

Doc: And couldn’t fit him in the other stories that we had going.

Jackson: And odds are, he was in two or three other episodes that he got cut from, or whatever. I cut one joke this year that I still hate myself for, the one you love.

Doc: I love that joke! That was why I love this script! I laughed out loud for that joke. And I also knew that you and I would be the only people thinking that was the funniest thing on the planet.

Jackson: My favorite joke in a script I wrote, I really liked writing. There was just no room for the scene that it was in anymore.

Doc: And it wasn't really a part of the scene.

Jackson: And I couldn’t put it in any other character’s mouth. It had to be a Hank line. I was so bummed about it. [Ed. note: I am bummed that I have no idea what this inside joke is.]

Doc: Maybe you would have shanked it, just think of it that way. In the booth? Yeah, you would have shanked it.

Jackson: Oh, stop it! [Laughs]

Doc: That would have been funny.

I’ll go through these last questions really quick. Will Dean ever have sex?

Doc: Watch the show!

Got it! Has Brock ever got anyone pregnant?

Jackson: Oh, totally. [Laughs]

Doc: We’ve expressed that on the show before, and we’ll keep expressing it. Brock uses protection when he remembers.

Oh good. Good for him!

Doc: And usually if she’s totally filthy.

And this is the absolute last question: Twins seem to run in the Venture family. There’s Hank and Dean, there’s Rusty and Jonas. Is there any chance that we could ever meet Jonas Sr.’s twin, if there is one?

Doc: We do work with twins, we work with teams, and we work with murdering one of them. So will more twins happen? Of course. Will we see old Jonas Sr.? Sure. Or does he have a twin? Not yet.

Jackson: [Laughs]

Doc: You know. It’s such an assumption that you’re making that we can’t even say no! Who knows?

Jackson: We haven’t written that yet, but we haven’t not written that yet either.

Doc: Yeah.

Jackson: If you actually look into the box, it affects the experiment, so...

Doc: Yeah.

I want to thank Doc and Jackson for granting me a few extra moments this weekend and for ending on a Schrödinger's cat reference! Make sure to catch A Very Venture Halloween on Sunday, October 28 at 11:30 PM EST on Adult Swim, and watch this space for news on the new season!


  1. I will not be satisfied with anything less than a 3 hour (4 and a half extended director’s cut on DVD) live-action Venture Brothers movie.  With an R rating and a Led Zepplin soundtrack.  By Christmas.

  2. My girlfriend and I were kicking around casting ideas for a Venture Bros live-action movie a few weeks back. Here were our choices: 

    Brock — Patrick Warburton, obviously. 
    Jonas Jr — Peter Dinklage, almost as obviously. 
    Rusty Venture — She leaned towards Bryan Cranston, I was thinking more of Kurtwood Smith. 
    The Monarch — Eddie Izzard. 
    Henchmen 21 and 24 — Jack Black and Ray Romano. 

    We never came up with anyone satisfactory for Dr Girlfriend; our best idea was Christina Hendricks with Harvey Fierstein’s voice dubbed in. 

    1. These are all perfect! I might change Henchman 21 to Kevin Smith, since 24 said he looked like Kevin Smith, but also because Smith is more of a sad-sack nerd type like 21 seems to be, rather than the wacky type of Jack Black.

      Eddie Izzard as The Monarch is inspired. Now I’m trying to think of others for Jefferson Twilight (is Samuel L Jackson too big a dream?), Al, Sgt. Hatred, Pete White, Orpheus, etc. I like this game.

  3. Man, I can’t believe there are only five comments on this.

    I’m wearing my Venture Bros t-shirt right now. I’m also doing a happy dance.

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