Bob Clendenin on QUICK DRAW's Second Season, and Saying Goodbye to COUGAR TOWN - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Bob Clendenin on QUICK DRAW’s Second Season, and Saying Goodbye to COUGAR TOWN

August 6, 2014 by  


Hulu’s original series, QUICK DRAW, is returning for its second season on Thursday, August 7th, and things are as crazy as ever for the Western improv series: there is a wedding, proposals, disgusting dead bodies, and, of course, more Harvard mentions than you can handle.

To get a little more insight into the series, I spoke with QUICK DRAW star Bob Clendenin (Vernon) about what’s in store for the show’s second season, their unique production style, the escalation of their on-set pranks, saying goodby to Clendenin’s other series, COUGAR TOWN, and more…

What can you tease about the second season of QUICK DRAW?
Bob Clendenin: I think we’ve gotten a lot more ambitious this year than we were last year in terms of the scope of the episodes. There’s a cattle drive, a rodeo, there’s a bear attack, which I think is hilarious. I think [there are] much larger-reaching episodes, which I think people are going to be pretty excited about.

In the first season 2 episode, Vernon is promoted (or demoted) to deputy. How is handling the temporary change in status?
BC: Poor Shank, he resists deputization every time it happens. It’s always going to happen. This year, the hook is Pearl kind of gives him a little wink, and I don’t think Shank gets winked at very often. Whenever that happens, he melts and he’s pretty much butter. That’s what gets him to get along this time.

I’m really loving how Vernon and Hoyle’s relationship is tracking this year. I think Vernon has had a contempt for him, but loves him like a brother. They become more and more inseparable; they bicker, but they’ll do anything for each other. I really like how that relationship has blossomed.

Will there be any sort of romance in his life this year?
BC: There’s not going to be a lot going on. There are a couple of possible nibbles. There’s one hilarious episode where a doctor comes in with a particular cure for female anxiety — historically speaking. So Vernon wants to get in on that.

There’s a couple of episodes that indicate that Vernon has a secret life that’s going on in the cellar. There are dolls, there are all sorts of weird things possible with Vernon that we explore in a couple of episodes.

He does deserve some relief, because he’s had to deal with some pretty gross bodies…
BC: Exactly! If anyone’s earned his anxiety, it’s Vernon.

Which body was the most disturbing one that he had to deal with in season 2?
BC: We get one where body parts have been stitched back together, but on the wrong body. So it’s kind of like a puzzle we need to figure out. That was pretty macabre.

In terms of out in the field stuff, there’s a lot of stuff he does with Hoyle which is a lot of fun. And we find out that Vernon has a past life as a bit of a mercenary. He’s got a lot of secrets, which I like divulging this year.

The show is improv style, but what that means tends to vary per show — sometimes it could mean they let you ad-lib a couple of taes and it’s a hybrid of scripted and improv, while others have the arc of an episode (or season) mapped out, but when it comes to the dialogue, it’s a free-for-all. How much freedom do you have when it comes to dialogue, especially when you’re doing things like revealing tidbits from Vernon’s past?
BC: I’m getting [freedom] — unless it’s really pertinent to a plot point — like, for example, we needed it to come out that Vernon had a past in the Civil War; he knew about munitions. That was important because later on in the episode, that was going to be relevant. But when it comes to, say, Vernon is coming up from the cellar, and we don’t know why he’s down there, I have complete freedom to riff on any possible weirdness that I could have been doing down in the cellar since we’re not going into the cellar to find out what it was. So there is complete freedom unless there is a plot point that hinges on it later in the episode.

[QUICK DRAW co-creators] Nancy [Hower] and John [Lehr (who also plays Hoyle)], they have all the stories beat out, the narrative of each story, so they know what plot points we need to hit. But in terms of the actual dialogue, and how we get there, and whatever the little references or names, we have free range for us to make up on the spot, or for us to change it each time.

As an actor, do you prefer to have that freedom, or does it place extra pressure on you to be hyper-aware of everything and always on?
BC: I love the freedom, and the stakes seem higher, because if something starts to tank, you no longer have the, “Hey, I didn’t write this shit” line, because you did just write that shit. The stakes are a little bit higher, but the rewards are also greater. When you start to really nail stuff, or you come up with some gold, or you’re on a real tear with someone else in a scene, I think the payoff is that much great. The highs and lows are just amplified.

My personal favorite is to make up names of people in the town, and what their occupations are, and what they do, and what their genealogy was. Stuff like that. This year, I came up with a bunch of stuff.

People are always making fun of how unconventional Vernon looks, so I was making up all these animals that might have existed in that time…they don’t exist, they just sound really funny to me. Then they became running gags episodes later, Alison would reference [them], and they became entrenched in the series, which I love.

Do you guys have drinking games for some of the bigger running gags if you’re able to improv them — like, every time John has Hoyle mention Harvard?
BC: [Laughs] I think we would be trashed by about 8:15.

Last year, with the promotional stuff, I think they did make drinks from the era…John and some of the girls would do bits that ran before the episode.

Speaking of the promotional stuff, you’re on social media — are you getting to experience some of the excitement from fans as the season 2 launch approaches?
BC: Yeah. A bunch of people are getting excited about what’s coming up. John is really active and very good about promoting, and so is Hulu. There’s a bit of a groundswell of people who enjoyed the last [season] and are looking forward to what’s happening this year. I think they’re going to be pleasantly rewarded.

During the TCA panel for QUICK DRAW, your co-stars outed you as an on-set prankster. Was there a particular prank you’re proud of from last season?
BC: I never start the fight, but I felt that Alison Dunbar (Honey) in particular threw down the gauntlet by unlocking my phone, and sending texts to people I barely know, saying I was having a nervous breakdown, or that I needed bail money for a crime. I got a text back from a neighbor who I do not know that well who said, “Bob, are you OK? I’m worried.” So I put out these flyers out, but Alison really started the fight.

I may have taken the game to a new level with the flyers I distributed on set, advertising her bachelor party/children’s clown show, but I feel she earned that little bit of revenge.

I don’t even remember doing too much last year, I was pretty responsible. We were all friendly, but nobody got into, “Let’s get him”-kind of mode. So this year, we didn’t get too crazy. John is pretty good — he stays out of it, but he really wants to fuel it a little. He doesn’t want to be [siding] with either party — same with Nancy — but they do want to play minor roles. They would like to be [on the edge] without getting involved in the fracas.

That makes sense. Aside from QUICK DRAW, a lot of TV viewers know you from playing Tom on COUGAR TOWN. As that show’s final season approaches, are you ready to say goodbye to that series, or are you in a bit of denial?
BC: I’m kind of ready. It’s been a really, really fun ride, and that’s another group of people I really love working with. I like how creepy neighbor Tom has worked his way into the group. I like that. But I think most of us will be ready to finish it out. It’ll be hard to leave a show, because it feels like secure work, and I’ll have to go back to the trenches and scramble for my next job, but it’s been a really, really nice ride. I’ll be happy and sad to see it go.

Are you looking forward to QUICK DRAW’s second season? Check out a preview of what’s to come…

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