Can you believe we’re coming up on the season finale of Childrens Hospital already!? Perhaps it is because the episodes are only fifteen minutes long, still timed for the web it seems but airing now on Adult Swim, but they go by far too quickly. We didn’t want to let the finale pass without acknowledging the brilliance that came out in this season’s episodes– from the old-timey play the gang put on to the undercover work in a children’s psych ward, to the adult bar mitzvah and the fact that Valerie revealed herself to really be a man last season but still carried on this year as herself, as if nothing had happened. So we caught up with Rob Huebel to reminisce a bit, but also to look ahead to what’s to come next year.
LA TV Insider Examiner: Now that the third season has aired, let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite moments or scenes from within.
Rob Huebel: Well, the last episode that aired [“Party Down”] was really fun to do for me because it’s the one where I go and find my parents to go to find my foreskin because I get jealous of Ken Marino’s character, and that one was really fun to do because Stephen Root [who played my dad], I just think that guy is super funny and fun to work with. And then there’s the reveal that my mom is Chinese for no reason. But I also always love shooting with Nick Offerman– he’s so funny– and we got to do the one with the Make-A-Wish kid where the kid has unlimited wishes. Nick is really fun to do stuff with because he loves to improvise stuff, and I love to do that, too, so I think it’s really great.
So speaking of Nick, you’d want to bring him back next season, it seems.
R.H.: I’m actually working on a script for next season right now– I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it– but you know how I used to be a cop with Nick’s character before 9/11? And then 9/11 happened, and I was like ‘Forget it; I’m going to go be a doctor.’ But I’m writing an episode for next season right now where I’m going to go back on the force. I’ve got to get back into the cop game. So I think me and Nick, we’re going to join forces again.
He doesn’t know it yet.
R.H.: [Laughs] Yeah, but I’m pretty psyched about that for next season.
Is there anything else you want to explore about your character of Dr. Owen Maestro that you didn’t get to thus far?
R.H.: I don’t think it will happen, but I wish I could explore my relationship with my mom. You only got to see her for two seconds, but I like that she’s Chinese.
Right. Are you adopted? What exactly is going on there?
R.H.: These are all important back story things that everyone is dying to know! [Laughs] I love that basically all of our characters have so little character development and so little back story…anything can happen because we say it happens. There are no rules to break because the show is fifteen minutes long and we can make anything we want to happen happen.
But we imagine that would be freeing as a writer and as an actor.
R.H.: That’s one of the most fun things– pitching episode ideas. That’s sort of where we are right now is pitching new episodes for next season, and it’s so fun because I just think all of the new characters are so fun, and it can be hospital based or it can be something completely different. One of the coolest episodes, I thought, which was just completely weird, was that play episode– that old timey play. It was such a weird departure from the normal show…for the people that really like the show, and for the fans of the show, it’s a fun little thing to be able to go and do for fifteen minutes.
Definitely, and the season finale is a big episode for fans, too, because it’s revisiting the beloved “Newsreaders” interview, and everybody has pretty different characters between who they are as characters in Childrens Hospital and who they are revealed to be as actors behind those characters, seen in the interview. But yours might be the most drastic. Even if just because of his look.
R.H.: I don’t think that was my choice. I think originally it was either Corddry or one of the other writers; they thought it would be really funny to play an over-the-top gay character, and then to have that character’s name be Rob Huebel. Everyone else has a fake name…they all have these really cool fake names, and they can play these different characters, but they thought it would be really great if my character was super duper gay, and his name was Rob Huebel. So yeah, I get to grow a big fake mustache, and I basically get to yell at my assistant and terrorize her a little bit so that’s always fun. But the finale this time is great because we get to see all of the spin-off shows.
And which is your favorite?
R.H.: Well, mine I like a lot because mine is “Doctors With Borders.” You only see a very short clip of it but it’s basically that I want to know where we should not be going because I don’t want to be in danger. I want to stay where it’s super safe and not put our necks out for other people.
And then I think Erinn Hayes’ character, Lola, I think her spin-off is, like “Dr. Mole People Doctor” where she goes down into the subway and tends to mole people down there, which I actually think would be a great show. I wouldn’t be surprised if the networks were paying attention to this, and you’ll see a lot of these shows on television next fall.
Well, it is development season, so I think the timing is perfect. But when you play “Rob Huebel” here, do you actually insert real details of yourself in scenes?
R.H.: One of my favorite parts of the finale is there’s a little dog in it, and he does this trick where he picks up his bowl in his mouth and he stands up on his hind legs. And his bowl says “Cornelius,” which is the name of my dog, and my dog is with me on set all the time. He’s a big German Shepard, and so that’s a little tribute.
But you didn’t use him; it’s a different dog in the show itself, so basically your dog is going to be pissed now because he’s not getting money.
R.H.: Well, when he watches the show he’ll see that I gave him a shout out, so I think he’ll be pretty psyched.
Okay, nice. Every season you guys step it up and go to new heights, and this time a new location. And over the summer your main hospital that you guys film at was torn down, so what are you planning in terms of explaining this or simply making the show work somewhere else?
R.H.: I don’t know what the plan is! We might have to shoot the next season in outer space or something like that.
Or you could just go back to Brazil. I know the girls were bummed they couldn’t go with you this year.
R.H.: We should go to Brazil. That was actually some of the fun stuff, too, going back to your first question. That was such a brief moment in the show– there’s about twenty seconds of Brazil footage– but that was a really fun shoot because Corddry and Ken Marino and myself flew down there, and you know, it takes twenty-four hours to fly down there; it takes forever! And then we shot for one day, turned around and came back, so it was the longest [prep] for the most obscure joke, but it was a lot of fun to get to go down to Brazil.
We’re sure you’ll get the budget to go back. We don’t see anything wrong with that.
R.H.: Next season, I’m pitching that we do the whole thing in outer space, or we just move everybody– the cast and crew– down to Brazil. We might build in this joke every season where we say something like ‘Man, I’m so pissed off about this, blah blah blah; let’s go outside and get a blank.’ And whatever that blank is is some sort of ethnic food that would force us to go to another country.
Oh, so you could go somewhere different each time.
R.H.: Yeah, let’s go get some Japanese food, and then we’re in Japan.
Obviously that might mess with your other roles, and speaking of, I have to ask: are you able to return to Happy Endings now that it has been renewed or was your guest spot there a one-off?
R.H.: I would love to do more Happy Endings! I’m friends with a lot of guys on that show, and I think that show is really funny, but I have no idea what their plans are for the second season. I had a great time doing it, and I would love to do more. I want to recur on Modern Family, too!
That, too. That was such a nice surprise.
R.H.: In the season finale, I was Ty Burrell’s arch rival from college, and that show is such a great show, too. I’d love to pop back up on there.
We imagine Huebel may have his a little hands full breaking all-new, even wackier stories for Childrens Hospital season four and scouting for that new hospital location first, but we hope someone important at ABC may stumble upon this and consider dropping him back into their comedies. Or if not the two he was on last year, how about new sitcom Man Up! co-starring none other than “Newsreaders” own host, Mather Zickel??
Childrens Hospital will air its third season finale on September 1st at midnight, only on Adult Swim.
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