At Comic-Con, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick — the grand poobahs behind the Adult Swim series The Venture Bros. — were on hand for 5% hard fact, 95% mirthful digression.
The guys announced that the cartoon will be returning with its fifth season in early 2013, a Halloween special this autumn, and a one-hour episode to bridge Seasons Five and Six. Aziz Ansari, John Hodgman, Gillian Jacobs, Paget Brewster, and Tim Meadows will also provide voices for the fifth season, and J.K. Simmons will lend his commanding pipes to the All Hallows' Eve episode.
Once those details were revealed, the duo moved on to the press roundtables, where — as in past years — the oral history of nothing in particular unfolded with gusto. Here's what we learned?
1. Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick are never mistaken for their doe-eyed creations.
io9: Do extremely confused interviewers ever confuse Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer for "the two Venture Brothers?"
Doc Hammer: Never! Nobody gives a shit about the Venture Brothers! Not the show, the titular characters. We could kill Hank and Dean tomorrow and nobody would care. People would go, "Oh no, you killed the Venture Brothers!" and then go, "Ehhh, fine. It's fine."
Jackson Publick: They confuse us with #21 and #24 a lot more.
Doc Hammer: Since I've been here [at Comic-Con], I was called Jackson twice, but not as in "Hey, Jackson Twice!" I was also called "Doctor Stephen Strange." I can field that.
2. Jackson and Doc were massively enthused to be acknowledged for their fictional prom DJ playlists:
io9: You included "Like A Friend" by Pulp in the fourth season finale of the show. At Radio City Music Hall in April, Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker gave the two of you a shout out in the audience. How did that feel?
DH: I peed a little. I heard they played "Like A Friend" as an encore at the first show and they mentioned us. I gave my ticket to [Jackson's girlfriend] and I sat in a cheap, nosebleed seat. When they gave the shout out at the second show, I was like, "YEEEAAAH!" And everyone was like, "Who the fuck are you?" Nobody in the third-tier balcony gets a shout out! "Sit down, idiot!"
Jackson Publick: "I'm Doctor Stephen Strange!"
3. Is David Bowie's new nemesis a phone call away?
io9: Will you ask Jarvis Cocker to join such rock icons as David Bowie and Iggy Pop as a recurring character on the show?
Jackson Publick: We really should.
Doc Hammer: And he would do it because he's already shouted us out.
Jackson Publick: I would love to use more of their songs!
Doc Hammer: I would like to join their band!
4. In case you were wondering, "none of the characters from the Watchmen comics" will appear in the upcoming Halloween special, which Doc Hammer describes as "incredibly sentimental."
5. Shore Leave fans rejoice! You'll be seeing more of his flamboyant comrades in the upcoming seasons:
Jackson Publick: We expand the background stories of the characters from the OSI. The hardest thing about making up a name for a [fake] G.I. Joe guy is that all of the stupid names are actually taken by G.I. Joes.
Doc Hammer: Every time I come up with one, I think "Oh, this is so ridiculous!" Then I go on Wikipedia to check and they've done that one already. Who knew? The names we came up with are good because the dumb ones are actually G.I. Joe characters. Like "Headshot." That's a hot one!
6. The fifth season is almost done with pre-production and won't be split into two parts like the fourth season — neither will the sixth season. Doc believes that the show's staying power rests in its ability to come out once in a pig's eye:
Doc Hammer: I think there's a magic that we come out every two years or something. With all the other shows, you're just like, "Doctor Who? Who gives a fuck? I don't even know who the Doctor is anymore! He's on every day! I can't watch that, it's on every day! I'm looking forward to The Venture Bros. which I forgot about and my friend is arguing was canceled four years ago!" And then we come out.
7. If they possessed the resources, Doc and Jackson would fund a Bastille Day special starring James Garner, who would inevitably try to fistfight Doc Hammer due to personality conflicts. Doc might have the upper edge due to his "oily, yet feminine" physiology — which Jackson characterized as "a banshee trapped in a magical Russian prison" —but Garner's unerring fists and timeworn flint ("like a seventeen-year-old cat") would win the day. ("You pip, who the hell do you think you are?")
8. Finally, io9 asked Doc Hammer an itching question that was absolutely unusable to every other participant at the press roundtable.
io9: I saw you at the deli by the Gawker office a few months back, but I didn't say hello because you were buying carrot cake. What is your favorite purchase from that deli?
Doc Hammer: Black-and-whites. The Spring Street one?
io9: Yeah, the Spring Street one. It was too early in the morning to bother you.
Doc Hammer: If it's the morning, I'm buying a black-and-white cookie. I consider it the New York State cookie. Every time I buy it, I feel really patriotic. Like a state patriot! And they're always inedible, it's like white cake with too much frosting. But I think to myself, "I'm from New York! I eat this in the morning!"
Jackson Publick: Really? This guy knew a secret about you.
Doc Hammer: I also will get carrot cake...
Jackson Publick: "...but only when I know I'm being watched. Then I get the healthy choice!"
Doc Hammer: I sensed your presence. There was a disturbance in the Force. I sensed you looking at my desserts.
io9: Well, Jackson once compared you to "a unicorn" in the wild, so...
Doc Hammer: You didn't want to touch me and shatter the magical kingdom. The illusion would collapse if you fed me carrot cake and the shimmering things would fall apart and then a guy with a bucket on his head would show up and go [fantasy dwarf voice], "What did you do? You fed him! You've disrupted the magical order of things. We'll have to make him throw up!" [pause] Boy, did we derail everything. We're so sorry.