A.D. Miles likes getting nasty
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Though comedian A.D. Miles has been associated with a lot of bigger-budget productions—Wet Hot American Summer, Dog Bites Man, Reno 911, Role Models—he owes a lot of his own success to the Internet. After becoming the head writer for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Miles wrote and directed the fake Internet soap opera Horrible People, appeared in several episodes of Wainy Days, and released a new online series, Hot Sluts. Ahead of his Bentzen Ball performances, Miles chatted with The A.V. Club about not noticing the big changes in late-night television, his nasty stand-up habits, and why carpentry is like cooking.
The A.V. Club: Late night is going through a lot of change with Fallon taking over for Conan, and Conan taking over for Leno. Is it an exciting time to be working?
A.D. Miles: I don’t think about it that much. It’s such a monumental task to put on a show every night that it’s all I have time to think about. Some of those things feel like they’ve been going on for years, and the direction that it’s all going. It’s just so big. I could wring my hands over it every night, “Where is it all headed?” But at the end of the day, I’m like, “Oh yeah, hope it all works out!”
AVC: Do you think the Internet has changed the way late-night comedy television is written?
ADM: I only have my very limited experience to go on, but since the show’s inception we’ve always had an eye on how things will play online. There are certain things that we feel will play better online than in front of a live audience, but we go ahead and make it anyway because that’s just as important to us. Things can live a lot longer online, so I think that when you’re writing stuff for the show, there’s always the thought of how it will look if it’s just a clip that people are passing around. I mean, ultimately if you think about it, you’re just trying to be funny no matter what form it is.
AVC: Your experience has been mostly in online media. Is it something you fell into, or was it done out of necessity?
ADM: I love it. Most comedians spend their career looking for a job. That’s what’s so great about the online stuff, it’s giving people a chance to make something and get it out there. You can make something for online and it’s a much more realized vision than just writing a script, sending it in, and hoping for the best. I did it by choice—a bunch of people I was working with, like Joe Lo Truglio and Jon Stern, were all looking for a way to get something made. I don’t know that people could do that before the online stuff came along.
AVC: TV, the Internet, and stand-up seem like totally different genres. Is there an essence of your writing style that comes through in all three?
ADM: A lot of it comes from trying to surprise the audience. When I do stand-up, I tend to be nastier than you might expect. It’s a surprise. I think that may be where most of my comedy comes from. The same goes for all of it. I think that with late-night, all the shows are pretty similar in that the audience knows what to expect. I think some of the best stuff comes where the rules completely stop mattering and the whole sketch goes off in a completely different direction and makes a left-hand turn that no one saw coming.
AVC: Is that what D.C. can expect from your stand-up routine?
ADM: There are things that I can’t do during my day job. I’ll admit it’s a huge crutch, but I do get some sort of delight in being a little crude. Mostly it’s just stories and stupidity. It’s probably the most fun I have with anything related to comedy.
AVC: What about the fun that doesn’t relate to comedy?
ADM: I build furniture. Usually things I need: a lamp, a bed, a coffee table, an entertainment center. Rather than go out and buy some crappy thing from Ikea, I just try to make it. I think carpentry is a lot like cooking—you start by teaching yourself and reading books. You can come out of it being really good or at least mildly proficient.