Between Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, and the Jimmys, the late night talk show landscape is as crowded as ever. Yet, there’s space for each host to co-exist, because while their jobs are similar, they do them in very different ways and have their own enjoyable shticks that give each a reason to stick around. The same could be said for the teams that host all the morning shows, too, but now it’s Ben Schwartz‘s turn and he’s taking his version of late night/morning show schtickery to such an extreme that it may not even be late night.
“It follows a really happy, two co-host [format], almost like an early show,” Ben Schwartz told us about The Earliest Show, a new sketch series on Funny or Die, the first episode of which premieres Thursday, October 27th. “We’re doing this show that takes place late late at night or early early in the morning—those wee hours.”
Co-hosted by Lauren Lapkus, the two work as a bubbly, overly happy pair that’s a slight caricature of the morning talk show format, and while the beginning is cheery, Schwartz—and the first episode itself—suggests that may not be the case for long.
“The very first episode, what’s going to happen is that my girlfriend comes on the air, I propose to her, and she says no, and then I’m absolutely crushed,” Schwartz said. “Then every episode after it is a stage of grief. The second episode is me in denial, then anger, then bargaining, then me depressed, then me accepting it. For me, it’s so exciting because I get to play all these different emotions; I kind of play five or six characters through the whole thing.”
The guest on the first episode is former NBA all-star and current NBA on-air commentator Reggie Miller, and while he wasn’t able to reveal much about who’s coming on the show next, we should be expecting greatness: “We have Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Brad Pitt… no no no, we don’t have any of those. We have incredible guests. I don’t know which ones I’m allowed to talk about, but there are actors I’m enormous fans of, athletes I’m enormous fans of. It was kind of exciting for me as a human being.”
The series is, surprisingly enough, co-produced by Funny Or Die and Cap’n Crunch. (Yes, the cereal.) And it was that pairing, Schwartz explained, that gave him the creative freedom to do something so off-the-wall on the show.
“What was very unusual for brands of this or any nature is they were totally game for this idea of me going through these stages and me improvising and me getting a bunch of comedians in the room and trying to make the funniest thing possible,” he said. “It’s been incredible.”
We couldn’t stop ourselves from asking about Schwartz’s involvement in the next Star Wars film, though,given that he helped voice BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he said that while “they’ve probably figured out an app to do what I did,” he says he, “lucked out with J.J. [Abrams] bringing me in for that one.” He did tell us he’ll have a different and probably more significant role in the next movie, though, although we’re skeptical: “I’m going to play Yoda in the next Star Wars. I’m going to live-action it, I’m going to green myself up. I think it’ll be pretty cool. I’m going to talk normal, and then I’m going make it feel like I just fixed my speech and all that stuff.”
Since that claim is dubious at best, he did give us one real(ish) wish: “A goal of mine would be to be in one of those movies as me… not as Ben Schwartz, but as me playing a character there. You know what? I’d like to play myself.” When we said that might not make sense in the Star Wars universe, he reminded us of the merchandising possibilities: “I mean, I feel like we can make an action figure out of me. My parents would be so excited.”
Featured Image: Funny Or Die