Bars have become a dangerous place for Adam DeVine after the unexpected success of “Workaholics.”
DeVine plays the narcissistic, loudmouth telemarketer/partier Adam Demamp, and because of the copious amount of drugs his character does on the show, whenever he runs into fans they only seem interested in getting him plastered.
“When I go out to bars dudes are like, ‘I’ma buy you a shot.’” DeVine said. “I’m like, ‘How about a beer first?’”
Too much drinking is a problem DeVine’s character struggles with on the show, but in real life that’s the least of his worries.
The first time anyone ever recognized him from “Workaholics,” they used one of the show’s burgeoning catch phrases in the completely wrong context. In the show, “tight butthole” means something is cool, and “loose butthole” means something is not. This particular fan didn’t seem to grasp that.
“I’m stopped at a stoplight, as people normally are, and this guy walks across the street and looks at me and goes, ‘Adam.’ So I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s up man?’ And then he goes, ‘You’ve got a tight butthole man … You’re butthole is tight.’” DeVine said. “Then everybody is just staring at me like he knows the tightness or looseness of my actual butthole. Which I’m gonna go on the record and say I’m almost positive the guy didn’t.”
DeVine’s first brush with fame proved a little awkward, but nothing could compare with the initially pleasant gift he received at a concert.
“This girl made me cupcakes, and I was like, ‘Oh, kickass. Thanks for the cupcakes,’” DeVine said. “Then I went home and found a lock of her hair in the cupcakes … like she wanted me to devour her hair or something bizarro.”
Those occasionally quirky encounters with fans are a small price to pay for the show’s other benefits, such as partying like arena rock stars with The Black Keys and filming a cameo for the new season of “Arrested Development,” where the guys will play ticket takers for an airline. DeVine describes his character in the show as “totally inept” and a “huge idiot,” not unlike his character on “Workaholics,” which is not unlike who he is off the screen.
“I’m actually dumber than the character,” he joked, before reconsidering. “The core of the person is pretty close. Like I’m a little bit of a maniac, you know. Blake [Anderson] is a little bit of a sweetheart and Ders [Anders Holm] is a little uptight.”
DeVine thinks he’d be dead if he resembled his character on the show any more closely.
“Adam Demamp wouldn’t survive in the real world — he’s just chugging stuff that you’re not supposed to chug; and jumping off things you’re not supposed to jump off of; and falling off things that you’re not supposed to fall off of,” DeVine said. “He lives a very dangerous, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.”
No matter how exaggerated, there is definitely more than a kernel of truth in the show. During the first season, Blake, Adam and Kyle Newacheck, who directs the bulk of the episodes and plays the wonk-eyed drug dealer, Karl, actually lived in the house they shot the show in. And before getting their break with “Workaholics,” DeVine and Holm actually worked as telemarketers. Holm did political fundraising and DeVine sold steaks, steak knives and various other worthless products.
Needless to say, many of their ideas come from real-life experiences.
The third love of Adam’s life from season one, Chelsea Niederdeppe, is based on the actual third love of his life, Chelsea — although Niederdeppe is one of DeVine’s best friend’s last name he used because “it’s such a kickass last name.”
The episode “Checkpoint Gnarly” is actually the story of his buddy who drank a few beers, pulled up to a DUI checkpoint and bolted into the nearest bushes, leaving his car completely abandoned.
In “Booger Nights,” which premiered Wednesday, Adam and the guys try to roast one of their coworkers. The problem is no one thinks they’re funny. When watching that episode, it’s hard not to think about the guys’ humble beginnings, making Internet videos that nobody watched as the sketch comedy group Mail Order Comedy.
“Kyle, Blake and myself were roommates for like seven years,” DeVine said. “Even though we were across the country from each other when we were kids, we all have very similar tastes in music and movies and that’s why we were immediately such best friends.”
DeVine grew up and went to high school in Omaha, Neb., before moving to California because of the Jack Black and Colin Hanks movie “Orange County.”
“In the movie, Colin Hanks is like, ‘I want to go to Stanford. I can’t go to this community college, it’s horseshit.’ Then they show where they are living and it’s just hot babes in bikinis,” DeVine recalled. “I was like, I wanna go to that community college. So I moved from Omaha to Orange County and went to that community college.”
On the first day of improv class at Orange Coast College, DeVine met Blake, which led to the creation of Mail Order Comedy and eventually snowballed into a series on Comedy Central.
“I’m like, ‘This dude with the little fro is really funny — we should be writing partners.’ And then he introduced me to Kyle and we started making videos together,” DeVine said. “Then two years later I met Ders at the Second City, which is like an improv school in LA, and from then on we’ve just been making videos together.”
Ders helped Mail Order Comedy bring “Workaholics” to Comedy Central by bringing more professionalism to the group. Ders really wanted to use the videos to do something bigger, and the only way to do that was to take everything more seriously. So the guys started conducting pitch meetings once a week to present ideas.
“That doesn’t mean we weren’t drunk when we were doing our pitch meetings,” Devine said, but the group brought in better ideas and it’s all been, for lack of a better word, “tight butthole” ever since.