Random Rules: Human Giant
The shufflers: The members of Human Giant—Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer, and Rob Huebel—whose absurdist sketches include a parody of indie-music marketing and an examination of how self-inflicted attack-dog maulings can evoke sympathy. The first season of the trio's MTV show, Human Giant, was just released on DVD; season two begins March 11. For The A.V. Club's first-ever multi-person Random Rules, each comedian supplied an iPod, and all three commented on one another's music.
"Oh Well," Fiona Apple (Scheer's iPod)
Paul Scheer: It's the Jon Byron version of Extraordinary Machine. This is the one I downloaded before the one that was released was out. This reminds me of how nerdy I am—and how hot Fiona Apple is.
The A.V. Club: Is that why you downloaded it?
PS: No, I like Fiona Apple; I think she's actually really good. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I like the Jon Byron version better than the version she actually released.
Aziz Ansari: Is the Jon Byron one different than the Jon Brion one? Is Jon Byron a different producer that worked on it that I didn't read about? [Laughs.] The Jon Byron one is actually the best version. Most people have the regular one, the Jon Brion one, but the John Byron one has just got way more soul.
"Silver Bells," The Supremes (Huebel's iPod)
Rob Huebel: I loaded it up with Christmas music a few months ago to get in the spirit.
AVC: Did it work?
RH: Yeah. I still got the Christmas spirit going right now. Lasted me 'til the end of January, largely due to "Silver Bells." I do like Motown a little bit, but I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan.
AA: C'mon, Rob!
RH: Maybe around Christmastime. I like Christmas songs.
"Arnold Schwarzenegger Calls Gateway Computers" (Scheer's iPod)
PS: It's one of those prank-call things where people use a soundboard to—
AA: It's good you have that on your iPod, because most people will just watch it online or forget about it. But you understand the replay value of that bit. "I'm a cop, you idiot!"
PS: I need to hear some Schwarzenegger, man.
AA: You guys remember when we were doing our 24-hour [MTV] marathon? I don't know if you're familiar with that thing, but it's one of those soundboard things. It just has a bunch of Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes. They'd call the pizza place, and it sounds like Arnold from Kindergarten Cop calling. When we were doing our marathon, we took calls from everywhere, and someone calls in onto the celebrity line that we had. "Hey, guys, Arnold Schwarzenegger's calling." We're like, "What?" They put it on, and, of course, it's some idiot saying, "I'm a cop, you idiot," "Detective John Kimble."
PS: I actually have a lot of that stuff. I found it years ago, and I thought it was the funniest thing. There's a few things on my iPod that have been on there way too long.
AVC: How can you tell when it's time to take it off?
PS: I just did a purge on my iPod and that stayed on, so I guess never, for that one.
"I Love The Dough," The Notorious B.I.G. (Huebel's iPod)
RH: I have a lot of Biggie stuff. But I think I might have been in Las Vegas like a week after [2Pac] got killed. Didn't he get shot in Las Vegas? I feel like I might have been there when that happened. Maybe I was involved.
AA: We all feel like we were there when that happened. Were you really there?
AVC: He was shot in Vegas.
AA: During a boxing match, right?
AVC: What are you trying to tell us, Rob?
RH: I don't know. I guess I'm trying to confess to the murder of 2Pac.
"An Innocent Man," Billy Joel (Scheer's iPod)
PS: [Laughs.] My iPod is on embarrassment mode. I'm from Long Island, so I think it's mandatory to like Billy Joel. When I was a kid, I was like, "Billy Joel is amazing. Isn't he awesome?" Now as I grow up, I'm like, "I don't know why I have this on my iPod." I had every Billy Joel CD; it was ridiculous. I used to have a spinning CD case. You'd just see Billy Joel, Billy Joel, Billy Joel, Billy Joel. River Of Dreams, Концерt, everything. I remember going to The Wiz, which doesn't even exist anymore. It's an old-school electronics outfit. "I got to pick up the new River Of Dreams album, man!" I was there the first day. I was like, "Got it! Aw, man, this is good! How could he not have Liberty DeVitto play the drums on this album?" Liberty is part of Billy Joel's thing; luckily he brought him on tour. I'm way into Billy Joel for no reason. I was really slamming on him, but then my girlfriend was really into Billy Joel, and we saw him in concert like a month ago, and I'm like, "This music's not bad." He does a pretty good concert.
"Trapped Under Ice," Metallica (Ansari's iPod)
AA: I was a big Metallica fan when I was in middle school. In the morning, when I was going to work a lot, I'd be really tired, and Ride The Lightning would wake me up a little bit. They're working on an album with Rick Rubin, right? It's supposed to be really amazing.
PS: That would be great.
AA: That's the one band I never gotten around to seeing live that I would love to see live. That's my favorite thing in the world in that Some Kind Of Monster documentary, where Lars goes and gives his dad some of the St. Anger demos. He's like, "Yeah, we're really excited about this stuff. We think it's some of the best stuff we've ever done." And his dad goes, "No, I don't think it's that good. It doesn't sound that good to me. I hope you change it." So blunt.
"Bawitdaba," Kid Rock (Huebel's iPod)
AA: You have "Bawitdaba" on your iPod still?
RH: Dude, here's the reason: We used to do a wrestling show at the Upright Citizens Brigade [theater]. Paul, you were in that sometimes. It was like a fake wrestling show, and this was the opening song that I would come out to. I was supposed to be the Vince McMahon-type. I owned the league. So I would come out at the beginning to this song. Somehow, this is still in my iPod. But that fucking show was the most unsafe. One time I had my wrists slit open by a tuna can. One of the comedians was doing this bit with a tuna can. She threw tuna all over the stage. So I went up to attack this girl and fake-fight her, and I got flipped. My wrists were slit wide open on stage, and I had to go to the emergency room.
PS: My character on the show was Huebel's archrival. In the final mêlée, I'm beating up Huebel, but his hand is cut open, and I'm hitting him over the back with a Nerf baseball bat repeatedly. He's just bleeding out in the worst way.
RH: That was shitty. I had no insurance and I went to the hospital. It was Friday night in St. Vincent's hospital—really down low on the totem pole. Unless you go in there with a gunshot blast to the face, you're going to be sitting around for a while. I remember hanging out in the emergency room for like three hours, just bleeding. It was crazy.
AVC: Did that ruin Kid Rock for you?
RH: No, Kid Rock ruined Kid Rock for me.
AA: We were right beside him when he and Tommy Lee got into that fight at the [MTV Video Music Awards]. We were definitely taking Kid's side on that.