Dan Harmon is the creator of acclaimed comedy shows like 'Community' and 'Rick and Morty'. He talks about why the move from traditional networks to streaming platforms has been great for tv creators. Harmon also explains why he treats his hugely popular podcast as form of therapy, why internet geek culture needs to grow up and - yes - it turns out he did have a hand in the new Marvel movie 'Dr Strange'.
I like to think of The Soup as like, once you watch this you kind of don't need to watch the rest of American reality shows.
That's right, but the problem is if you don't watch the reality shows then there won't be the shows, and we wouldn't have the clips, and then it's an animal that eats it's own tail.
Of all the different shows that you've lovingly made fun of over the years, which do you reckon makes the greatest contribution to popular culture?
The Feed, probably. What is the greatest contribution? It's hard to say because it's been eleven years.
It's a long time.
Yes, I'm 64.
You don't look a day over 61.
Thankyou very much. When Tyra Banks had her talk show that was very helpful to us. Whitney Houston and her crazy reality show with Bobby Brown... that was a remarkably sad.
With big celebrity deaths...
Oh, this will be fun! Yes! Hilarious.
That's what I was going to ask - how soon is too soon for you? What's the window when you can make jokes about it?
It's not like we have a chart where we say, let's go after Judy Garland now, guys! We try to stay away from sad things and scary things. When celebrities are really going crazy with drugs and stuff, we stay away.
Oh yeah. We see ourselves as a late night chat show monologue. People will ask, what's the latest gossip? And I'm like, I don't know! [Inexplicably, said in an English accent].
Is your audience exclusively people who work in Buckingham Palace?
That was trying to be my Melbourne accent.
The Melbourne accent is weird. They say Malbourne. We don't understand anything they say.
They think they're better than you guys.
Yeah, they definitely do.
I did also want to talk about Community: the journey behind it is as storied as what goes on in front of the camera.
It should have been a reality show.
Would Chevy Chase have been the villain then? Is he as bad as rumours say?
He did not want to be there. If you go to Variety or Hollywood Reporter there's multiple quotes from him saying he doesn't really like the show and doesn't want to be on it. There were times when it was great to have him, but he didn't like the hours. There was a lot of drama behind the scenes. And we would never know if we were going to get picked up or not, every year.
What does that do to a show, when you're constantly on the edge of coming back or not - does it bother you? Is that why you keep doing The Soup?
I keep The Soup because it's fun, and it's with my friends and we have a great time, and I get to go to Australia and be in a strangely lit room with a piano behind me.
We expect you to play it at some point.
Oh, I will. Believe me. I'm going to be doing 'Rhapsody In Blue' in a second. Community was stressful, but you know, you just kind of give it to God and who knows.
There's also talk about Dan Harmon, the creator, delivering scripts late and eventually he was fired, for lack of a better term...
And then rehired.
What was that year like without Dan?
There's a few shows that come around that are created by one person, and they need to be written by that one person. Community was definitely that way. That came out of his brain, and it could really only come out of his brain and when it wasn't coming out of his brain it was not the same. I said, I'm not going to come back to the show which was completely different. It was not our show.
You've also made this move into dramatic acting; you were in Deliver Us From Evil with Eric Bana -
Yes, I was! Eric Bana - what a son of a bitch.
Yes, the worst.
And also the new X-Files. I assume you can just tell us all the secrets?
Yes. Everybody dies.
Because the rumour is that you're the love interest for Scully. Why are you breaking up the greatest couple in television?
We just have a lot of sex.
The X-Files: Tinder edition.
That's right. I play a conservative radio and chat show host, and I believe everything that Mulder believes. Except I made money from it. I would say - how would I say it without getting into trouble? - I am an alien.
I couldn't believe was there. I couldn't believe I was saying their names. I was just like, Scully! Mulder! Wow, I said that out loud. On camera. To the people who are those people!
I'm looking at what Greg Kinnear did, who hosted The Talk Soup before you - have you always wanted to move into dramatic acting?
I took a lot longer to do it. I don't have my Oscar nomination yet.
Give it time...
I always thought Spy Kids 4 was going to be the one.
I thought your cameo in Spider-Man 2 was going to be the one.
Me too. It hs been a career disappointment for me.
I had always wanted to do dramatic and comedic acting, and it was just that comedy was the access point. For whatever reason in Hollywood people go, well that's what you do, you can't do anything else. So Scott Derrickson, the director of Deliver Us From Evil, wrote the role for me and then I had to audition to get it. And that's why the movie was the biggest hit in the history of cinema. We opened against Transformers, which I don't recommend. I don't recommend that. It was great fun andI got to know Eric Bana - he's salt of the earth.
It sounds like a backhanded compliment!
He really is! I mean, for an Australian.
Is there a point at which you will have to say goodbye to The Soup?
I signed a contract in blood, so...
Did Seacrest make you do that?
Yes. He is the devil.
Not like the arch-devil, though.
I still love doing it and I hope the shows are fresh and different. This week's episode is a fake reuinion episode. We got Hayey Joel Osment and Jon Cryer, Connie Souphanousinphone, and we just fight each other the entire time.
Is it as good as the NASCAR episode?
I'm going to say it's even better. If you thought people drink at the Melbourne Cup, or on Anzac Day, you have not been to Talladega. It's an entire society set up of smoked meats and American beer. It's amazing.
Whoever worded you up on Australia, with Melbourne Cup and Anzac Day, has done an excellent job.
I've been here for both.
You have seen us at our worst. I am sorry.
Or your best? BecauseI think a sober Australian is super boring.
Okay. We're going to go drink now.