Home Channels Events Toonzone Interviews Loren Bouchard at the “Bob’s Burgers Live!” Event

Toonzone Interviews Loren Bouchard at the “Bob’s Burgers Live!” Event

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Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment

In celebration of the upcoming 100th episode of Bob’s Burgers, Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre hosted a two-night Bob’s Burgers Live!

The night began with a short film directed by Kristen Schaal in which the cast, who are in hilarious and unusual situations, decide to get together to put on an event.

Following this, each cast member performed his or her own stand-up routine. Dan Mintz (Tina) was first up and was followed by John Roberts (Louise), Kristen Schaal (Louise), Eugene Mirman (Gene), and finally H. Jon Benjamin (Bob), decked out in a daredevil-inspired jumpsuit and accompanied by a live band.

Next, series creator and executive producer Loren Bouchard took the stage. He presented three animatics from upcoming episodes, including the 100th episode, in which Bob gets glued to a toilet seat. The cast then joined Bouchard for a table read. With them was Larry Murphy, who plays Teddy, and Rob Huebel, taking over the role of Tina’s imaginary horse friend, who is played by Paul Rudd in the actual episode. The evening concluded with Bouchard taking up a guitar and joining the band and the cast singing The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”, a song that aired in the episode “The Hormone-iums”.

Toon Zone News caught up with Bouchard afterwards for an interview.

H. Jon Benjamin, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment
H. Jon Benjamin, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment

TOONZONE NEWS: The entire cast of Bob’s Burgers is so talented and funny. How did you bring them together?

LOREN BOUCHARD: It’s a combination of knowing some of those folks for a long time. I’ve known Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman for a long time. I’ve known Jon Benjamin for over 20 years. I’ve known Eugene for almost that long. Jon Benjamin, in particular, has been in everything I’ve ever worked on. I don’t know what it’s like to make an animated show without Jon Benjamin doing a voice, and I don’t want to find out. I’ve told him that. I want to be married to him. Professionally.

For the other folks, Kristin has been part of that very close community of people doing stand-up in New York at that time, and so I’d been aware of her and seen her perform and we knew a lot of people in common. It was a no-brainer for me. It was just kind of expanding the circle just a tiny bit. Dan Mintz was recommended by Jon Benjamin because they worked together on something. They were in the writer’s room together, and every time Dan Mintz spoke, everyone laughed. And Jon Benjamin wisely said you should get that guy for voice-over. And John Roberts’ manager at the time was Eugene’s manager, and she just handed me a card with the words “The Tree” written on it and John Roberts’ name. I looked online at The Tree which is him doing that Linda voice. It’s him doing his mom in drag in these live action shorts talking about the Christmas Tree, and it was just so instantly obvious to me that if he was pulling off that character that he would be a fantastic Linda. It was another no-brainer. So generally speaking, I like casting people who know each other and trying to kind of cast within your peer group because I think it can really help. You’re going to spend a lot of time together in the booth, and there’s something nice about having a tight little group like that.

TZN: Was there ever an issue in the beginning having John Roberts or Dan Mintz voice female characters?

LOREN BOUCHARD: At the very beginning, John Roberts was going to be a female and was going to be the only one voicing a female. Dan Mintz was going to play a boy. The reason we switched Dan Mintz’s character to a girl was because the network felt that that character wasn’t quite as fully realized as the other characters, and since we were already doing that with John Roberts and since I have done that in the past in animation, I knew it was a trick I could use. And also, frankly, because of Dan. There’s a quality to Dan Mintz’s voice that suggests that it’s not totally crazy to imagine his voice coming out of a 13-year-old girl. We, as an experiment, pitched Tina with Dan’s voice. It certainly wasn’t a problem. Those guys are performers and I think that they sensed instinctively that this is a great way to leverage the power of animation. We already have adults voicing kids, don’t forget, so we’re mixing things up in almost every case except for Bob.

TZN: You’ve mostly done cable, is being part of Fox’s prime time animation line-up more pressure?

LOREN BOUCHARD: Oh yeah. It’s exactly what you would imagine. You can use an analogy, it’s like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues or anything else that suggests a huge increase in scale. Basically, they spend more money, you employ more people to make the show, it takes longer, you work longer on every episode, and you put it in front of more people. I would say I certainly feel the pressure in terms of the audience but also just in terms of the number of people whose livelihood is affected if you screw up and get canceled. It’s a really horrible experience to get canceled on any show, but if it’s just you and a handful of people working on a small show and you don’t make it, it’s not quite as tragic as a show on Fox where an enormous amount of money is being spent and literally hundreds of people are employed. If you screw up — you don’t connect with your audience or you don’t make yourself funny or whatever crime you’re guilty of and it gets canceled — you feel really, really bad because there’s a lot of people with families who have to go to different jobs. So the pressure’s more. I felt it, I still feel it.

(From Left to Right) Loren Bouchard, John Roberts, H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz, Larry Murphy, and Rob Huebel, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment
(From Left to Right) Loren Bouchard, John Roberts, H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Dan Mintz, Larry Murphy, and Rob Huebel, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment

TZN: Did you ever imagine you’d make it to a hundred episodes?

LOREN BOUCHARD: You know, I was just thinking about this. We did and we didn’t. Here’s what I will say. Right away, when we were starting work on this, everyone knew we were happy. We all were excited about Bob’s Burgers. There wasn’t ever a day when we weren’t all in. The cast, the writing staff, the production staff, we all felt excited about this show. So did we want to succeed and did we in our private moments imagine we getting to a hundred episodes? Yes.

However, I will say this: we did not want to jinx it. You become very superstitious in my experience. We weren’t a hit right out of the gate. We did fine in our first season, in terms of ratings, but it wasn’t obvious that we were going to get picked up. It felt like we could go either way, and that made me feel really, really live-in-the-moment and take nothing for granted. You do not ever want the Cartoon Gods to catch you, I think, being over-confident, so we would probably, carefully, whisper to each other some hopeful thoughts about getting to a hundred episodes back in the beginning. But you don’t say it out loud without knocking on a lot of wood.

TZN: What, if anything, has changed since the first season?

LOREN BOUCHARD: I don’t always see the changes as clearly as the fans, and in a way, I kind of like that. I almost don’t want to sit down and watch all the episodes from beginning to end and see in glaring relief just how much it has changed. In a way, I feel like part of my job is to really stay present, and part of doing that is to really feel like we haven’t changed a thing. I know it’s not true because all shows evolve and change which is, I think, part of the pleasure of watching them and doing them. So I know that it has changed, but in a way, I want to be the least aware of how it has changed. I think sometimes an audience accuses the show of changing when really it’s just that we all got to know the characters better and better. In a funny way, in a perfect world, you could go back to season one and pull out any episode at random and it should play pretty well, for that fan. And actually their memory of it being different is because they were different and they didn’t know the show as well. That’s in a perfect world. I’m not saying that’s true of Bob’s, but I would like it to be.

Loren Bouchard, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment
Loren Bouchard, Photo Courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment

TZN: Over the entire series, do you have a favorite moment that sticks out to you?

LOREN BOUCHARD: No way, man, I’m not going to answer that. Let say it another way, I don’t want to be disloyal to the other moments that stick out to anyone else. I will say that we are having an extraordinary amount of fun making this show. It’s hard work, but it is not ever bad. We have got a behind the scenes existence that I think allows us to make the show that you’ve seen. I think if we were all miserable, the show wouldn’t feel the same way. Every episode feels pretty good making it, so that’s why I don’t want to be disloyal. My favorite moment is always the one we’re having. I always try not to pick favorites.

TZN: How about a favorite song you were able to get on there?

LOREN BOUCHARD: I won’t say favorite. I will say this, I have an incredible appreciation for the fact that we’ve been able to do music. That is an incredible luxury. On top of being able to make the show, being able to write these songs and pour out music and put it into the show and have it feel at home in the show is a great pleasure of doing the show. So one of my favorites, I always go back to Linda singing, “Here goes the hair, there goes the hair”, but maybe I’ve given that answer too many times. Let me think of another one. I guess I really like the song that’s coming up in the hundredth. We decided to put it in sort of late in the game. We had already written and recorded the episode that’s coming up, that’s the 100th episode, that’s going to air at the end of the month called “Glued Where’s My Bob?” and that worked better than perhaps even we hoped it would. Something in Kristen’s voice combined with Bob’s, it’s really nice that that duet worked as well as it did. It’s one of my favorites, for sure.

TZN: Thanks a lot and congratulations on a hundred episodes.

LOREN BOUCHARD: Thank you.

Thanks to Bento Box Entertainment for arranging the interview. The 100th episode of Bob’s Burgers, “Glued, Where’s My Bob?” airs this Sunday, May 22, 2016, on Fox.