Stand-up comic/actor Brian Posehn is best known for his work on Just Shoot Me, though he'll remain in nerds' hearts forever for his time spent on Mr. Show. More recently, he's been on tour with the Comedians Of Comedy, and he's appeared as the nerdy gay neighbor on The Sarah Silverman Program. Posehn is also an avowed metal aficionado, which is why The A.V. Club asked him to interview Dethklok, the world's most popular (cartoon) band, as seen on Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse, which skewers and celebrates heavy metal in equal doses. (In a real-world twist, Dethklok's debut, The Dethalbum, jumped onto the Billboard charts in September.) The first season of Metalocalypse just came out on DVD, the second season is airing now, and the fake band—led by creator Brendon Small, who also voices many of the characters—will hit the road for a tour this fall. Posehn recently spoke with lead singer Nathan Explosion and guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf about the joys of brutality.
Brian Posehn: Dethklok is the mightiest metal band of all time, and you got there by selling craploads of CDs and merch, but you guys don't seem to respect your fans. Where would you be without them?
Nathan Explosion: First of all, it's a loaded question. We do respect the fans; we respect the money they give us. But at the end of the day, fans are obnoxious. They discovered the Internet and that's, uh, fans make it, uh—fans fuck it up for themselves by talking. To us. And giving their opinions. I mean, start your own metal band, dude.
BP: So who are Dethklok's fans? How would you describe them?
NE: Dethklok's fans are um, like, horny college co-eds that like to fuck. It's like anybody that likes to fuckin' get it on, you know. Like fat dudes or trannies, or pre-operative trannies. Like Polynesian Hawaiian hookers. Those types. I would say that's our fans. You get the idea.
BP: You've got some guys from the Florida death-metal scene and some guys from Norway in your band. Why does the darkest music in the world come from those two places?
NE: That's a good question, actually. Florida, I don't know. I wanna say it has something to do with Epcot Center being there.
BP: That's where all the anger and the darkness comes from—Epcot?
NE: Yeah, it's just like the Hall Of Presidents thing and the rides just make you go insane with anger. And then Norway's just depressing. I think it's like 50 percent of the population is depressed. And the other 50 percent, they're kind of douchebags. So you're either depressed or just annoying.
BP: So, just depressed douchebags, pretty much?
NE: I don't know. I don't know that much about Norway. But, you know, I know where it is. Kind of. It's Scandinavian to me where it is—meaning I don't know where it is.
BP: But why not Fresno? Are there any other death-metal cities that we don't know about? Places full of depressed douchebags?
NE: I don't know. I think there are places that are more brutal than Norway.
BP: Where's the most brutal place you've been?
NE: San Jose, maybe. There's just, like, Applebee's and, you know, Starbucks and strip malls.
BP: Do you think the next Dethklok might come from San Jose?
NE: It's definitely possible. I think Illinois could breed the next Dethklok. Southern Illinois. Any place that's really humid could breed the next… I mean, that's brutal. The most oppressive thing is the horrible, horrible, muggy weather.
BP: That's where the anger and the darkness comes from?
NE: There's a term called "oppressive weather" that meteorologists use. And when you're sick of being oppressed, you just say "Fuck this, I've had enough! I've gotta start a fuckin' metal band!"
BP: Metallica took a lot of grief for having a therapist in Some Kind Of Monster. How do you guys justify having one?
NE: I don't know if I'm the guy to talk to about that. I mean, one thing is, we learned the tools that we need to function as a band without that guy. We got stickers. We have psychological validation through, uh, giving ourselves presents, and I think that's important.
BP: Do you know what any of that stuff means?
NE: All I know is that if I can have stuff, if I get prizes, then I win.
BP: Have you gotten any flak from fans or other bands for having a therapist?
NE: We don't tell other people. I mean, I guess it got out that we have one, but no—
BP: Everyone knows it.
NE: Once you make a certain amount of money a year, it's in everyone's best interest to keep the machine moving, you know?
BP: Do you read what fans say on the message boards?
NE: Oh, fuck no. Fuck that. No way. I'll get angry. I'll get fuckin' pissed off. It'll ruin my entire day. I logged in as Toki [Wartooth, rhythm guitarist] and just, you know, talked shit about people for a while to get 'em back.
BP: You guys cover things like mythological creatures. Does that come from books? Are you guys readers? Iron Maiden always seemed like readers, but Dethklok… Is there a reader in the band?
NE: There's a lot of people that read books that write music on books. Iron Maiden did a lot of that. They had music about Dune, and I think Slayer wrote a song about Tron.
BP: Yeah, Slayer read some books. Who's the reader in Dethklok?
NE: We watch a lot of YouTube, and that's how we get a lot of our ideas. And most of us, it's just comic books, or we'll talk to people who have read comic books, and they'll kind of paraphrase it for us. We'll get the gist of it, and then we'll go into the studio.
BP: What was the last book you read?
NE: Does blabbermouth.net count as a book?
BP: Yeah, we'll count that.
NE: I was just checking out what was going on with [metal band] Exodus on Blabbermouth, so yeah, that's the last book I read.
BP: You guys are the biggest band in the world, but you've never been at the Grammys or other music-award shows. Why is that?
NE: We've been invited. We forget. People ask me all the time, "How do you become the number-one metal band in the world?" And I say, "Be organized. Know where you're supposed to go, and you'll be on top of everything." You know what? We don't need awards. I mean, we'd like them, but you have to go and pick 'em up, and do a ceremony? Fuck that. What am I gonna do, go down to like, Glendale High School and sit through their fuckin' graduation ceremony so I get a piece of cake? Free cake? Fuck that.
BP: Do you have a lot of tattoos?
NE: I just can't make up my mind. These days it's hard. Everyone's got a tattoo, and they've got kind of similar tattoos, so how do you stand out of a crowd with your tattoo? I would maybe get a Dethklok tattoo, just to push that…
BP: You'd get a tattoo of your own band?
NE: Actually, you know what? You're right. I wouldn't get that. I would get a tattoo of myself, though. Like, somehow, my entire body lengthwise around my bicep.
BP: Skwisgaar, you're the fastest guitarist in the world, and Toki's the second-fastest. Who do you think the third-, fourth-, and fifth-fastest guitarists are?
Skwisgaar Skwigelf: Oh, oh, this is one of that questions that I hates to answer because numbers one, it takes the focus off my fingers and my guitar-playing, and number two, I don't likes to listens to nobodies else.
BP: You don't know who's right behind you? Is it Yngwie Malmsteen, or Michael Angelo Batio?
SS: Michael Angelo is one of the fastest guitars players out there, so I think he mights beat Toki, to be honest. Genius scientists from Harvards are the ones who figured out that I am the fastest guitar players alive. In a think tanks in Harvard University, they figured out. And then they gives Toki the gift of second guitarist fastest. But he's not. He's not very good, no. But maybes Michael Angelos, or Yngwie Malmscreams, maybe…
BP: How do you stay faster than those guys?
SS: Every nights, before I go to bed, I have a long conversations with my hands. I say to them, "Hey, there's hands on lots of people out there that want your jobs!" It's all personal motivations. And treating your hands as two different peoples. Like when you fly on a plane, buy them an extra seat.
BP: So when you guys are out on the road, and you're on the tour bus, what do you watch on DVD to cheer you up or to make you laugh?
NE: One of my favorite shows is Lockdown. You know that show? Lockdown? With the prisons?
BP: Is it funny? It sounds funny.
NE: Oh, it's hilarious. It's like it's a National Geographic show, and some of the best ones are with the ladies in prison. And it's just, it's funny. It's well-written.
BP: So after a rough day, that's what you watch?
NE: After a set, when I'm winding down, I just like to watch women with homemade shivs stabbing each other in the shower. It just makes me laugh.
BP: Should that be on Comedy Central?
NE: It's better than the American Office. The American Office is surprisingly good, but Lockdown is funnier.
BP: Who would win in a one-armed knife fight: Bruce Dickinson or Dio? The singer from Arch Enemy or the singer from Krokus? Pickles or Rick Allen from Def Leppard?
NE: Dio is more wiry and very quick, so maybe he would win. But then again, Bruce Dickinson was a master fencer. But then again, I'm pretty sure Dio is a wizard. But he wouldn't be able to use his wizarding powers in a knife fight, would he? Dickinson would win. Or Dio. It would be a tie. Angela from Arch Enemy would win easily. She's hot and tough. She would even kill me in a knife fight. And if Pickles is sober, he'd win, but if he's been drinking, he'd be knifed and bleed vodka and it would be like an open bar.
BP: You make billions a year. What do you spend it on?
NE: That's the question. What do you do? What do you get? Because you have to. You gotta buy stuff. We all want to get the iPhone, but we're all locked into our plans for the next five or six years, so we got screwed. So no lie, we can buy 'em, but we can't use 'em. Or we'll still have to pay for our regular phone bill, so that's kinda brutal. When you make a certain amount of money, you gotta put it somewhere. Sometimes it's a good tax write-off if you just lose a bunch of money, so I'll invest in, uh, meat infested with mad-cow disease. They made a recall of like 300,000 pounds of beef this week, then I called my stockbroker and I said, "Buy!" Just get it out of your pocket. Put it somewhere.
BP: Toki has diabetes, like Bret Michaels from Rock Of Love. What else do you think Toki and Bret Michaels have in common?
NE: Adult Onset Self-Induced Diabetes, yeah. That's a good question. I think they're both bipolar. Is Bret Michaels? Maybe he's not.
BP: Toki has a full head of hair, so it's not that.
NE: Oh, I see: You're leading the witness. I don't know, you can never really tell when a guy starts wearing one of those do-rags what's going on up there, but Toki's got a full head of hair for now. It's part of being in a metal band; you just gotta make sure you have your hair for the time being. Except for [Dethklok drummer] Pickles. I think they like to wear ladies' underpants when they're by themselves. I'm not sure. That might be true. I know it's true for Toki. I don't know about Bret Michaels. I don't know if this is true of both of them, but I know that Toki was caught fucking a cat once.
BP: All right, we'll just say that Bret Michaels was also caught fucking a cat.
NE: I cannot confirm or deny that. I can only confirm that Toki was, and he was drunk, and we did dress the cat up like a lady.
The A.V. Club: Would you accept an offer to star in Rock Of Love?
BP: Yeah, would you go on there and maybe try to find a lady out of 25 whores that signed up from the Internet?
NE: I would, but I'm kind of involved with a lady right now. Her name is Rebecca Nightrod, and she fell down the stairs and she's in a coma. And I gotta tell you, it's the best relationship I've ever been in. I don't wanna mess that up.
BP: Well, if somebody unplugged Rebecca, would you go on VH1 and try to find a lady?
BP: Or would you try to find more ladies that were in comas?
NE: Yeah! I guess I just like the idea… It's that Lockdown theory: It's really fun to watch ladies fight, you know?
BP: Would your show be 25 women in a coma trying to compete for your love?
NE: No. Here's the rules. I got it. You get, like, 20 ladies—high-class ladies, you know, really well-read—and give them all a bunch of homemade shivs, like a toothbrush that's whittled down to a sharp point. And you put them on a slippery surface, like a bathroom floor. And then you time them. You say, "You've got 45 seconds. Go!"
BP: How do you get 13 half-hour episodes of television out of that?
NE: I would take a big hiatus and probably just rethink the whole season somewhere in the middle.
BP: Your mosh pits must be insane. What's the most brutal thing you've ever seen in a Dethklok pit?
NE: One time I saw a guy fall into a really big plate filled with donkey cum, like on the show Double Dare, but with donkey cum. That was pretty irresponsible for someone to have left it out like that. Another time, there were two guys who ran at each other full force in a mosh pit and exploded their brains and guts and donkey cum onto a bride who had just gotten out of a limousine at that exact moment.
BP: You guys have met kings and presidents and drive-time DJs, so you've met pretty much everybody. Who would you like to meet that you haven't—living, dead, or living dead?
NE: That's a good one. I would like to meet a dead guy. A guy that's like… [Makes dead-guy noise.] Like a fuckin' zombie. I'd like to meet Boris Karloff as The Mummy, and he is a mummy.
BP: So in character, but also dead?
NE: And also an Egyptian mummy.
BP: It's like the actor playing a character, but also he really is an Egyptian mummy?
NE: Yeah, and if I can do that, then I'd also like to meet Boris Karloff coming back to life, and also Frankenstein, uh, you know, reanimated.
BP: The real Frankenstein? Or Boris Karloff in character as Frankenstein?
NE: Dead Boris Karloff, but maybe new arms. Maybe Bela Lugosi's arms sewed on him and then reanimated from lightning.
BP: What would you say to him if you met him?
NE: "How's it going? What are you doing here?" I'd show him the Internet. I'd show him computers and YouTube. See what he has to say about that. I'd play him The Dethalbum. I'd sell him one.
BP: You'd make the reanimated Boris Karloff buy your album?
NE: I would make him get a job and earn his money like a regular grown-up.
BP: And then with that money, you would make him purchase your record.
NE: Yeah, I mean if he's my fucking monster, then he's gotta do what I tell him. I'd get him a job, though. I'd make him mow our lawn. He can buy our CD and support the cause—the cause that brought him back to life.
BP: Your music has summoned mythical ocean creatures; does it have any other powers?
NE: It "allegedly"—my lawyer made me say that—has the power to summon mythical ocean creatures. But we've been told that our music has the power to impregnate nuns with demon babies. And we've been told that our music—allegedly—can change the weather, causing tornados, volcanoes to erupt, and making it really oppressively hot and humid. And make women so horny that they die of horniness. Allegedly.
BP: When you're headlining a festival show in Europe, who do you hate most: hipsters, hippies, or Germans?
NE: We try to hate all of our fans equally, but we really giggle when we see those dildo ironic-T-shirt-wearing hipsters get mutilated. One time, one of those guys got smashed by a 400-pound stage light, and I laughed until I squirted beer through my nose. But don't get me wrong, we hate everybody. Hippies are disgusting lumps of worthless slime. We hate them the most. Or Germans.
AVC: Are Dethklok fans of Brian's work? Have you seen him in anything before?
NE: Yeah, we love that show where you're that guy, uh, with that other blond guy that looks like a lady. But it takes place at a modeling place.
BP: Just Shoot Me.
NE: Yeah! Yeah, that's good.
BP: The lady's David Spade.
NE: Yeah, he looks like Hayley Mills. Love him. He's just adorable. America's sweetheart. We love him. Also, I don't know if you've ever seen this show, the Blue Collar Comedy Special thing? Oh my God, that is great! Are you in that?
BP: No, I'm not a part of Blue Collar Comedy.
NE: You gotta call those guys. Oh my God. Me and Pickles, one time we went out and saw some live comedy. This guy, oh my God it was funny! Dane Cook. It was amazing. How does he do that? How do you go up there and do that?
BP: I'm not anything like Dane Cook. I don't know how he does what he does.
NE: Did you ever see Tourgasm? Oh my God, that's good.
BP: That's what I'm aspiring to.
NE: Yeah, you keep trying. You'll get there.