Adult Swim has been making animated shows fun for adults again with the fabulously written Rick and Morty. The talent behind this show is pretty amazing, with Justin Roiland (Adventure Time) and Dan Harmon (Community) at the helm of the creative team. Recently, the hilariously witty Justin took some time out of his insane schedule to chat with me. I have to be honest… I’ve done quite a few interviews over the years, but he quickly became one of my favorites because of his contemplative answers and his overall ease to speak with.
When I say he has an insane schedule, I’m not even kidding. Justin is the Co-Creator, Executive Producer, and the voice of both the title characters, Rick and Morty; goodness, I get tired even reading that. While we were discussing his multiple roles and which is his favorite, he said, “It’s different periods of the production pipeline determines where I spend my time, which in some cases, I end up hopping around to different places. When it’s at its craziest, I don’t have an outside life. To be honest, I don’t ever really think what I’m doing is my favorite at the time because I’m so in the moment, but afterwards, I’d have to say that the writing process is the most fun.”
The passion this guy has for his job is easy to see, especially when Justin also said that getting “a huge stack of art to go through is like Christmas every day.” That kind of happiness is hard to find in a career, and it’s inspiring to see.
Inspiration is hard to harness at times, so I was curious if the ability to bend reality that the animation medium brings helps or hinders his creative process. Justin was pretty open about how he got to where he is today in his writing, which is far from the cautious boy he was when writing in his early days. He admits to being “more cautious with the scope of his story” in the past because whatever he wrote had to be brought to life by him and without the budget he has now.
This humble man credits Dan with helping him with this, because he told him to “disconnect from that for this show” and that whenever he gets that urge “that something is too much, or too grand a vision,” to just ignore it. Now, in respect to this show, he just “wanted it to be without limitations.” What a great outlook to have so that they don’t squash the genius that flows so freely from this team.
Speaking of genius… We discussed his outlook for people who want to pursue a career in his field with a nice view. It’s “never been easier, and yet, there’s never been more competition. I tell everyone the same thing, which is to make stuff as early as you can. I started with comics. I didn’t have knowledge of the programs. All I knew was how to draw and write. Just start small and finish what you start.” I think that’s the case with many of life’s milestones: just start small and work until you’re done.
Don’t let Justin’s wise and easygoing attitude distract you from the hilarity that ensues from Rick and Morty. It’s one of the first animated shows that I’ve laughed at in a long time. It has strong comedic timing, quirky characters, and a story arc that could go on to rival the best of the best. My favorite was the episode where Rick and Morty walked around nude to avoid being monitored by the aliens—it was funny because it was so random. If you are looking for a show that not only makes you laugh, but makes you appreciate the random ironic moments in life, then look no further.
At the end of the interviews, I enjoy asking them a few questions to peek into their lives a bit. Here’s what he had to say:
Favorite TV Show, past or present? ”Farscape.”
If you could guest star on any show? “The Simpsons because I’ve already been on Gravity Falls and Adventure Time.”
What’s on your playlist? ”It’s all over the place. Everything from DMX to Neil Young. Jefferson Airplane, Nirvana.” [I love his smorgasbord of music because like I always say you can’t trust a person whose TV or music selection is based on genre. They usually aren’t very interesting.]
Guilty pleasure? ”Laying around day, play video games all day.” [With his schedule, I don’t blame him taking that opportunity when he gets the chance!]
Unfortunately, that’s all for this interview with Justin Roiland, but please do yourself a favor and tune in to Rick and Morty on Monday nights at 10:30/9:30c.