Kyle Newacheck’s drug-dealing character Karl is perhaps the most irresponsible person on Workaholics, no small distinction on a show that takes the slacker-comedy genre to new heights. But in real life, Newacheck juggles a lot of responsibilities, with his duties as director, co-writer and costar of the Comedy Central series.
At 29, he has also directed episodes of NBC’s Parks and Recreation and Community, gigs which have given him the chance to work with comedy icons including Chevy Chase and Amy Poehler.
“It’s very intimidating on the creative side, because there are not a lot of people that are the same age as me,” Newacheck tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Like [Parks and Rec‘s] Nick Offerman — I think this dude’s one of the funniest guys on planet Earth."
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In a conversation with THR, the writer-director also shared his thoughts on breaking into film and why his Workaholics costars Blake Anderson, Anders Holm and Adam DeVine are able to make him laugh “beyond recovery.”
The Hollywood Reporter: As a director, how do you manage all the chaos that is Workaholics?
Kyle Newacheck: You really have to embrace the chaos. It’s navigating the chaos and pointing it in different directions. I try to listen to everybody’s ideas, and if somebody thinks something is funny, then I’m into it. And if I think it’s funny, they’re into it.
THR: The show is incredibly fun to watch – but I imagine on set you have deadlines and have to keep an eye on the clock. How do you manage to get everything done without stifling the fun?
KN: We have a lot of control on the set, so it’s great. We go into every show with a really solid script, because it’s hard to improv story. But sometimes the way a writer will write a joke is not the same way an actor will say a joke. Sometimes when people come in and they’re trying to do the script exactly, I’ll tell them, "Throw it out and say this joke how you would say this joke.”
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THR: You have an order for two more seasons from Comedy Central. Do you think of stories coming a year from now or just focus on the moment?
KN: I have the fact that we’re going to be responsible for another 26 episodes of Workaholics in my brain. I’m always thinking, “What happens if Ders does this? What happens if Blake does this? Is Blake going to go back into the theater? Is Ders going to run for city counsel? Is Karl going to get a sex change?” It’s very fun to drive around and think about the possibilities. What happens if the guys throw a party on their roof and it collapses?
THR: I know you are working with the guys on writing a movie for them to star in. Can you offer any updates on that?
KN: It’s undergoing rewrites right now. It’s definitely moving, and we’re all very excited to do it. It’s an action-comedy, and it’s going to be really badass and super funny. We’re keeping a lot of it under wraps. I think I can say if you like Workaholics, you’re going to like this movie.
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THR: How does Workaholics translate to working with the casts of Parks and Rec or Community?
KN: [The Workaholics guys] have always been able to crack me up beyond recovery. With most people and most comedians — like on Parks — they just want to talk and find the funniest thing. Working with those guys has allowed me to work with Chevy Chase.
THR: What was that like?
KN: He’s an interesting comedian, and he was really fun to work with. Once we started talking about comedy and learning to find where the comedy was coming from, then there was no problem, because we all share that goal. Working with Amy Poehler on Parks and Rec — it was a dream. She used to crack me up all the time, and here I am talking with her about the script and discussing jokes.
THR: Is it intimidating working with older, more established comedians?
KN: It’s very intimidating on the creative side, because there are not a lot of people that are the same age as me. Like Nick Offerman — I think this dude’s one of the funniest guys on planet Earth. It’s also kind of hard on the crew side, because I roll in to direct and all of these dads are just staring at me, probably thinking, “Like this little mother f—er knows what he’s doing.” [Laughs] My whole goal is to let everyone know I’m there for the comedy.
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THR: What is it like playing Karl on Workaholics?
KN: Karl is across-the-board weird. Whatever we need him to do, he can do. That lets me play a lot of different emotions and almost different characters within one character.
THR: Of the Workaholics episodes yet to air this season, which are you most excited for the fans to see?
KN: Our last episode this season is something that I’m very proud of. It was a really fun episode to shoot. I was able to really do my thing directorially. It’s a very stylized episode, and it really made me want to be a movie director.
Workaholics airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/ 9p.m. CT on Comedy Central.