A few months ago, the good folks at Paramount Pictures asked if I’d be interested in interviewing the cast from their then-upcoming comedy, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.”
Though I hadn’t seen the previous installment of the gripping ‘Hot Tub’ saga, it was too much to turn down a chance to chat with ‘Tub’ stars Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and, most exciting for me, Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott.
Though Scott is widely known for portraying Ben on the just-ended NBC sitcom, my fandom for his work stems from his podcast “U Talkin’ U2 to Me?,” a “comprehensive and encyclopedic compendium of all things U2,” according to co-host Scott Aukerman.
The PR at Paramount had other ideas, however; the studio connected Scott and his HTTM 2 co-stars in a giant conference call with college newspapers’ A&E departments across the country, as wide-ranging as the Emerson College Entertainment Monthly in Boston to the Pepperdine University Graphic in Malibu. We all listened and slowly realized that this supposed interview was a farce in which each journalist got the exclusive privilege of asking one question each.
Just one question. Maybe two if we move fast enough through the phone call and we have time to go around again.
So, naturally, I gave up on taking it seriously. To make matters worse, some amateur journalist out there must have left their speakerphone on, as the entire phone call was echoey and impossible to hear for most everyone.
Here’s a real transcript (provided by Paramount’s PR) of what went down between Scott and I during that phone call.
Scene 1: Taking attendance
Female: Fordham University?
Me: University of Minnesota?
Female: No, Fordham.
Female: OK. So, no, Fordham.
Me: I’m sorry, I’m actually I’m calling from the University of Minnesota.
Female: Oh, I’m taking attendance. So, just sit tight until I get to your school.
Me: Oh, OK.
So far I’ve proven myself to have the excellent telephone conduct skills I talk of on my resume. Let’s see how the call progresses:
Scene 2: talking to Adam Scott, AKA, no one can hear anything anyone says
(Paramount PR): Up next is the University of Minnesota.
Me: Hi, my question is actually for Adam. So, Adam, first of all, I got to say I am
a huge, huge fan of “U Talkin' U2 To Me?” so thanks for doing that.
Adam Scott: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Me: And I got to say I actually wrote a pretty negative-in-the-spirit-of-trying-to-be-funny review of Songs of Innocence when it came out but you know yours and Scott’s perspective really made me reconsider and I’m writing a new review. But my question is, will you and Scott be putting out an ep about talking HTTM 2 on “U Talkin' U2 To Me?”
Adam Scott: What?
(Paramount PR): Hey, if you guys – if anybody is on the speaker phone, if you could please pick up your receiver because we’re getting a lot of echo here and that usually happens when you guys are (on speakerphone) on your end.
Me: Sorry about that, I’m not on speaker phone. My question is, will you and Scott be putting out an ep of “U Talkin' U2 To Me?” where you can analyze HTTM 2?
Adam Scott: Will we analyze – why do we – sorry, we analyze what?
Me: Will you guys analyze Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
Adam Scott: Oh. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think, we don’t have any plans right now. We do episodes just kind of when we feel like it. We’re going to do something that’s (steadfast) but beyond that we don’t really have anything planned.
Me: Well, good luck.
Adam Scott: But maybe we will, that’s a good idea. We’ll do an episode that’s all Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
(Paramount PR): Great. Up next let’s go to Arizona State University.
Male: (Go Wildcats).
It was a beautiful conversation, and I thank Paramount for the opportunity shout at Adam Scott over the phone repeatedly for an embarrassing five minutes.