Deadbeat Season 3: Tyler Labine on Being Buried Alive, Adding Kal Penn to the Mix, and More
Tyler Labine and Kal Penn
Hulu's freewheeling comedy Deadbeat, about Kevin Pacalioglu (Tyler Labine), a medium with sleuthing—and pot smoking—skills returns for Season 3, appropriately on April 20. This "reset" season, according to Labine, sounds like the wildest one yet, especially with the addition of Kal Penn as Pac's new second-in-command, Clyde.
TV Insider had a long chat with Labine and he revealed to us what's next for Pac, what it is like being buried alive for comedy, and more.
So where do we pick up in Season 3? His rival Camomile (Cat Deeley) is dead … maybe?
Yeah, we don’t know that for sure. The only thing that we know for sure coming into Season 3 is that Pac has been left totally alone. He’s been on the lam and he’s been ditched by everybody—we know that Sue (Lucy DeVito) is gone, but that doesn’t mean anything in our world, really, but Camomile is in the river. Who knows what that means! We know for sure that Roofie (Brandon T. Jackson) is dead. He died in Brazil, I think, on the lam. That’s the joke we’re going with, is that he died. He tried to start some other life in Brazil and ended up dying. So [Pac's] alone, living in a gentleman’s massage parlor. It’s unclear if [he's] an employee or just a resident, or both. It’s really sad. He’s in a bad place, a really bad place.
And he'll meet Clyde (Penn) in Episode 301. What is Clyde's personality like?
Well, let me put it this way: We meet each other in jail. Both of [them], maybe [Pac] more than him, but both of [them] are at rock bottom. [They are] really needing somebody in their lives, not even just for guidance, just to keep them sane and not so super lonely. So Clyde, he’s really a very upbeat, up for anything, stoner. [They're] idiots in two opposite ways. My character is an idiot in a very simple, sweet, dumb kind of way. His character is an idiot in regards to the fact that he will just do anything. He’s not stupid. He’s very, very intelligent. It’s like dealing with a perpetual 17-year-old boy, who is hormonal and up for trying anything that could possibly cause him bodily harm. He’s also the only person who Pac has ever met who has been really into his abilities as a medium, and as a result offers to start a business with Pac and that’s where the friendship begins.
So Pac finally decides to become a legit medium?
Yeah, he just sort of becomes his business partner and helps him put together a web page and organize it - like what Roofie wanted to do in Seasons 1 and 2, but just didn’t have the time to do, or even the desire to do it. This guy and me just come together and it’s like peanut butter and chocolate. I don’t know if I stuck my peanut butter in his chocolate or he stuck his chocolate in my peanut butter, but it tastes good.
Why Kal Penn?
There are some very obvious reasons that people will assume were the forefront of the producers’ minds. Namely, that he is one part of one of the most famous buddy stoner franchises out there, but equal parts too I think that Kal is just one of those guys, much like Clyde actually, who is really game for doing something different. So yeah, it’s a buddy stoner comedy, but it’s a very different character for him. I know that he wanted to try doing some kind of, not that our show is absurd, but it’s sort of absurdist humor. I know that he wanted to try and do some of that stuff, which is fun.
You get used to our show and then a new guy shows up—we’ll just call Kal our new guy for now, he’ll love thatand he shows up, and it kind of puts it in perspective. It’s like, "Oh yeah, this isn’t like a normal show." It’s almost like shooting a cartoon, you know? You can literally drop anvils on people’s heads in our show, and the rhythm is very weird and offbeat, and we’re encouraged to try whatever we want to try, but you kind of forget for awhile. Then he showed up and was like, "This is what I want. This is what I’ve been wanting to do." Just to come to a show where you can throw anything at the wall to see if it sticks, and he took to that environment like, I don’t even know what the expression would be, like a forest on fire? He was very into it. He was burning up the joint.
What should we even expect for this season? Every season's been so wild and different, and you and Kal have been posting some crazy costumes and scenes on Instagram and Twitter.
Well, each episode is sort of a not-so-subtle homage to a film, you know. Like we have our Hangover episode, our Thomas Crown Affair art heist episode—a lot of those crazy costumes you saw are all part of those homages. But yeah, we got put through the ringer this year. I don’t think I’ve ever worked that hard, physically, in my life, doing a lot of crazy stunts and things. At one point we were both strapped in harnesses riding on the back of 15 passenger vans on a fast thru-way. It was pretty dangerous, but it was fun. Kal, on his happiest days would be when it was raining, we had to roll around in our own fake vomit, and the scene was about having diarrhea. That’s his jam. He likes playing make believe. That’s what our show is all about, just playing heavy make-believe.
What crazy guest stars are we going to see this season? I spotted The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand in the trailer.
Yeah, he shows up in the art heist episode, and he’s so fantastic. Efren Ramirez, otherwise known as Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite is in the first episode. Last year we spent a lot of our efforts trying to secure [guest stars], but [this year] we really put our efforts into finding the best actor for the part in each of these episodes. And the bad guy this season, if you could call him that, our “bad guy” is played by this really amazing comedian and actor named Kurt Braunohler. He’s Kristen Schaal’s writing partner, and he’s fairly well known in the comedy circle. He came on and played the "bad guy" and he’s outstanding. He did six or seven episodes.
This season is a big, big reset. It’s a very different approach to the show, which originally in my mind, I thought that was going to be a really terrible idea, but the more we got into it, and now that we’re finished with it, I can safely say that it’s easily our best season. It’s so funny, and weird and different. I’m really happy with it. And it’s fast. It’s a very quick paced show now. It’s witty. You know what I mean? We did a lot of long-arcing storylines in Season 2, that we loved, but this season we just tried to make it a little more streamlined, and try to punch up the humor even more. So, it’s mostly about the jokes. A lot of dick jokes, a lot of fart jokes, I’m naked in 11 out of 13 episodes, that’s a reason to tune in right there. There’s a lot of me literally and figuratively - and back to literally again.
What are some of the stunts you did? There are those crazy superhero costumes, and there’s LARPing at some point?
We did LARPing. I play a centaur, which you would think sounds really cool, but apparently in the LARPing world, that’s like the lowest of the low. Because you’re the spawn of a horse-f----r. So you’re a peasant. You’re worse than a peasant. I had to wear a crazy, crazy rig, a costume with like a five-foot horse’s ass, and I had to run down the streets of New York with that. People don’t know, we don’t tell people what we’re doing, and sometimes they think you’re an insane person, which works well in New York, and they just look at your like, "Oh there’s another crazy New Yorker," but other people, like this woman, saw me walking back to my mark with my costume on, and she’s walking her little five-year-old daughter, and the kid’s looking at me, and I’m looking at the kid, and I look up at the mom and she’s like, "She wants to know if she can ride you." I was like, "No, I’m sorry sweetheart, you can’t ride me. It’s not sturdy enough." And she, the mom, was like super upset. She thought I was some free attraction, like "Come and ride the centaur man!" and then she like grabbed her kid’s hand and walked off like I didn’t feel like it. Not for your kid, some other better kid, maybe.
The superhero costumes were just insanely intricate, especially Kal’s. In the show, this dead vigilante superhero wants us to take a case on for him, he’s this sort of shitty superhero, and we find a couple of his old suits. One of them is really good, one of them is really shitty. Clyde ends up with the really good one, I end up with the really shitty one, of course. But yeah, we had to do a bunch of special stuff with that. There were special flying jump-kicks, and at one point we have a chase sequence where we had both gotten very sick from eating something and along the chase sequence we were both just stopping and shitting and puking in bushes and things. It’s pretty insane. It sounds really gross now that I say it out loud. But that was really great too, we had a bunch of people out on the streets of New York watching me stick my ass into a newspaper machine and pretend to take a shit into it. Yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff. I’m giving away the whole show here.
I got buried alive. They stuck me in a coffin in the ground and I had to punch my way out of it, which was pretty crazy.
You’re not claustrophobic or anything, right? I would hope not.
No, I didn’t think I was. And then I got inside the box. I videotaped myself being buried in the box; I have it on my phone. Once everything got really dark and I couldn’t really hear the director anymore, they were getting really faint, I shut my phone off like, "Well, I better get ready to act." And then I realized, "I’ve got to punch my way out of this wood thing," and then I just started to panic. I just got all panic-y, and I almost called it off. And then I was like "No, calm down. You can do this." and then we did it, and it worked out really well and it f-----g sucks being buried alive. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fairly tolerant, and comfortable man in almost any environment. I thought that would be a piece of cake, and it was not. It did wreak havoc on my psyche for about 30 seconds, and my brain went to all those places, like, "I can’t breathe, I’m gonna die, what if I died in here, what if something goes wrong," Or just started imagining, "What if this was real? What if this was really happening to me? Where the whole crew, this has been one big elaborate ruse, they’ve all decided to pretend I have a TV show for three seasons and then just literally bury me in the back of some park."
Deadbeat Season 3 premieres on Hulu on April 20.