Brian D. Unger is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and commentator.
• Scott Aukerman (Scott Aukerman is an Emmy Award-winning American writer, actor, comedian, television personality,...)
• Baratunde Thurston (Baratunde Rafiq Thurston is a writer, comedian, and entrepreneur mixing cutting-edge technology w...)
• Reggie Watts (Reginald Lucien Frank Roger "Reggie" Watts is an American comedian and musician. Watts's improvis...)» All Comedian Interviews
Hey everyone, it's Brian Unger.
I have a schizophrenic career. My new show, Time Traveling With Brian Unger, premiers tonight at 10 PM Eastern on Travel Channel.
It is a computer-enhanced, fun-filled history lesson.
It's not your high school teacher's history class.
Victoria's helping me today over the phone, since I'm in sunny Los Angeles. AMA!
Update: You know, I'm grateful that anyone has watched any of the million things I've done. So thank you to all of those viewers. So think of me as the sign on a Blockbuster video projects - "if you liked these projects, you'll like this one, too!"
It airs 10 PM Eastern tonight on Travel Channel. Come time traveling with me, won't you?
Now, let's say you and I go toe-to-toe on bird law and see who comes out the victor?
I accept your challenge! Sounds like a duel to me!
I loved "How the States got their Shapes," great show! Shame it got cancelled. Anyway, I have a Sunny related question. Would you come back on the show in a later season if they asked you and What's it like working with the cast and crew?
The lawyer character has got to be my favorite side character in the entire series, and your performance is always spot on!
Well, I will just tell you right now, you are the first to know. I am coming back this season. They just called me last week.
And I would drop everything, at any time, to come back and do another episode. And the gang knows that.
If you had to give a name to “The Lawyer,” what would it be?
Well, clearly, it would have to be a name with Jewish ancestry, because Danny DeVito tends to scream at me when I walk in, to highlight my character's Hebrew faith...
I would say Norman... hmmm... Norman Schwartz.
Let's say that you've learned your lesson now, and I've learned a little lesson, and we'll call it even, and I will respectfully decline the duel.
I accept this peaceful resolution.
You are a gentle-person.
Plus, I'm a terrible shot.
I accept your challenge.
Pistols? Swords? Or paintball?
By the time this is over, we're actually going to be dueling.
What's it like working on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ?
I'd have to say INCREDIBLY easy. Fun, warm, hospitable... creatively unrestrained...the gang is every bit as sweet, warm and cordial as you imagine.
I love season one of "How The States...".
Anyways of doing a followup to the first episode on water? It seems even more relevant now.
Sadly, the show has been cancelled.
For a number of reasons.
Mostly that have to do with History channel not wanting to go any further with the concept. I thought we had a few more seasons in us. I wish the case were different, but I feel like Travel Channel is really committed to this idea of time traveling - it has a lot to do with history, and geography, so I hope you enjoy this new series just as much.
I loved How the States Got Their Shapes! What was the funniest or strangest thing to happen on set of that show?
I think the funniest thing for us was the number of times people drew a very accurate phallus when they were asked to draw Florida.
It was like we were Beavis & Butthead and his gang, when it happened.
We ALWAYS thought it was funny. Through a year of shooting.
What I learned through filming is that any island or peninsula has a very eccentric population.
I am a student at Ohio University and was on the cast of a show called Fridays Live for a couple of years. Legend has it that you were also a cast member during your time here, although the show was apparently much different than the 30 minute SNL-knockoff it is now. Is it true you were on the show? and if so, what was it like?
I was on the show. And the show was a collection of video-pieces, like field pieces, and there was very little scrutiny or supervision, and I got into a LOT of trouble for a religious satire I did on the giant cross in Nelsonville, OH.
You’ve been apart of a lot of different projects throughout the years, is there something that you haven’t gotten a chance to do yet that you’ve always wanted to do?
And with a lot of these projects, would you say you actively sought them out or the opportunity to do it presented itself to you?
Hmm. Very good questions.
Is there something that I haven't gotten a chance to do yet that I've always wanted to do?
The answer to that is: NO. I've had a great run. And I've done everything I wanted to do. I know that it sounds silly, but I've done news, comedy, acted (some of it live, some of it taped).
And EVERYTHING you want to do has a difficulty coming to fruition. The things you end up doing are typically things that present themselves to you. Don't let anybody else fool you on that one.
AMAZING. You just made my week!
Who knew some Jew Lawyer could make me so happy?
Thank you so much! I'm so flattered!
If you ever need any legal advice - please don't call me.
I'll definitely call you if I need any legal advice, thanks for the tip! Man, I can't believe I found a lawyer that doesn't even charge!
I said I would NOT give you legal advice if you needed it. So...
I gotchya, howabout I sweeten the deal a little bit, bring by my friend Saaandy?
Just so you know: I'm not a real lawyer.
I'm glad you're keeping at it, Brian. You're a great host and I wish you good luck with your new show. I'll definitely check it out.
Thanks for answering my questions. I appreciate it.
Thank you! Great questions!
So, Im really surprised to find out you're from Dayton, Ohio.
How often do you make it back to town? If ever?
Everyone knows the Wright Brothers and Martin Sheen, why not the famous Brian Unger?
You know, I've been bitter about that for a long, long time. My name needs to be right up there alongside the Wright brothers.
I don't make it back there very often. But my family lives near Columbus, Ohio and I make it back there quite often. Mostly for the Cincinnati Chili. They have Cincinnati Chili in Columbus, too. I usually come back for the Skyline Chili.
How do you keep landing these documentary roles while also showing up in shows like It's Always Sunny?
I think it's because I started out in news, and segued out to comedy? There used to be a dividing line, a creative "Berlin Wall" between the two... and I think the Daily Show said the world "Tear down this wall."
And now you can do both. You can do informational shows, AND comedy, and nobody cares.
In Time Traveling, how/where did you find a balance between entertainment and telling a good story, and staying true to historical fact?
Historical fact is the priority.
The visuals - even the computer-animated VFX - are accurate. If you see these images occur, they are true to where things played out. Sometimes you are confined by history, and you have to just obey it, when you're telling it. Even when you'd like to transcend it for the sake of better storytelling.
That's why we did over 36 segments for the show that premiers tonight. Not all history is created equal, so if you don't like one, there's another one right behind it you might enjoy.
Looking up this show it seems pretty interesting.
What type of research did you go through in preparation for this project?
Lots of books.
Lots of academic articles.
Lots of live interviews - pre-interviews, or phones with experts.
We do have an unofficial time machine, and it's a Dodge Caravan. It's what we rent, when we get to town. And if Dodge were smart, they would sponsor us.
I'm a history guy. You're a history guy.
Favorite time period in history/favorite era?
Mine would be Heian Japan or the Renaissance in Italy. I would love to hear about yours and why.
Well, I would like to go back to the time wherein I lost my keys. That would be a good time to go back to.
Other than that - it sounds very cliche, but I would like to spend a few weeks as a fly on the wall in Abraham Lincoln's study.
Also, you sound like a smart history guy. You've got heat in the history department.
did you watch any movies to prepare?
No, I did not.
Wait, I did!
I watched one. I think I watched TOMBSTONE. And I enjoyed seeing how wrong it was about history. Hollywood has done its part in getting history wrong.
But every time ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER is on, I have to drop everything to watch it. That, and POINT BREAK.
Brian, do you think that Reading Ron ever really recovered after watching Travis Junior drop that cat in the outdoor A/C fan?
I think he continued a downward spiral into drug addiction. I think he wound up in jail.
I think he was assaulted, and then discharged, and then went through rehab, and is now working at a 7/11 somewhere.
Did you enjoy history in school?
Is this a project you've wanted to do for a while?
I took history like any kid did in school? With a sort of... dispassionate kind of connection that was momentarily transcended by a really good teacher who could really tell stories well.
And is this project something I wanted to do for a long time? Not really. I thought my history days had ended with "How the States Got their Shapes" until producers brought this opportunity to me. And I jumped at it. I felt like I wasn't done, you know? It felt like there was more to do. And this is kind of a continuation of a fascination that I have with American history.
Thanks for the reply and I'm looking forward to your new show! Now I gotta see if I can find that clip anywhere on our servers...
Good luck with that! I have it on 3/4 inch. But I don't think there's a machine in America that exists to play the tape.
But ask Keith Newman. Who used to teach there.
What's your favorite type of cake?
Oh, that's a great question.
Probably the best question today.
I like a nice, delicious... there's a cake, it's SusieCakes in Los Angeles. It's called "Celebration Cake." It's white vanilla cake with green buttercream frosting with colorful sprinkles all over it.
It's so Midwest, and so right down the middle, but it's Fan-TASTIC.
My favorite cake.
What is your best road trip memory?
Um... I think it was when I was with the Daily Show, and I was interviewing someone, and midway through the interview, they caught on I was making fun of them, and they threatened to murder me with a really big knife?
And I asked to be excused, and I drove right to the airport, and got on a plane, and flew back to New York.
Because I thought I was going to be killed.
The guy totally deserved the mocking. He had built a giant suit to withstand a grizzly bear attack in Canada. He wanted to be the first person to observe a grizzly bear in hibernation, inSIDE the den.
If you've never seen the documentary called GRIZZLY MAN, run, or stream, or do whatever you can to get your hands on it, because it's fucking brilliant. And the entire man's story is told in that documentary.
Hi Brian, what do you think is the most interesting little known fact that you've discovered while making your new series?
That very few people know ANYTHING about the towns in which they live.
I think we have - and this is not a terrible thing - but we have a lot of ignorance about our own history. Like, what's across the street? What used to be there? Why something is important.
Awww thanks. :)
Not too smart, just passionate about it. hehehe.
Well, I tend to think of history as really old news. Or "news of the dead!"
what are your favorite movies?
Well, this will sound so pretentious: but I don't have any favorite movies, or music, or books. I love everything, for the most part. I'm very terrible at discernment. I think there are a lot of bad movies, and a lot of bad music, and a lot of bad books, but I like to sort of appreciate everything. My Netflix queue and my music list on my iTunes is a perfect example of just how indecisive I am. I like all food, too! I'm terrible!
best place you visited for the show??
I'm gonna say, right now, Key West, because I got to swim with really fancy-looking fish and eat well, drink well, and it was the first place we had great weather all year long. Our biggest challenge this year was weather.