At the Just For Laughs Chicago festival last week, Rob Corddry showed up with his fellow Childrens' Hospital producers David Wain and Jonathan Stern and co-stars Erinn Hayes and Lake Bell to offer a sneak peek at three episodes of the series that's making the jump from online to TV later this summer on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
It contains the same ridiculous and often outrageous sensibilities as the web series did, with turns from Rob Huebel, Megan Mullally, Henry Winkler, Malin Akerman, Ken Marino and a wide array of guest stars.
Alas, the Childrens' Hospital screening and Q&A took place last Thursday night at the same time as Team Coco was taping a TBS special at a sold-out theater downtown, Aziz Ansari had packed another theater, The Second City's Class of 1979 was putting on a charity reunion performance, and, oh, the NBA's biggest teams, Lakers-Celtics, was down to Game Seven. That still should have left a million Chicagoans to show up at Park West, right? Not quite. There were plenty of empty seats at Park West, which prompted Corddry and his colleagues to start their show on an odd foot, and it just got darker and weirder from there. Before I go on, this is what Corddry had to say to me after the show, in which he explained how Adult Swim is a perfect TV home for Childrens' Hospital and you can tell by his tone how he was feeling.
OK. So, yeah. There were a few more than 15 people there, but the size of the room made it feel much more awkward — well, that, and the decision by the cast to turn the planned audience Q&A into a two-way roast between the cast and the audience.
One actual Q that got an actual A from Corddry: Why the clown-faced makeup? "I hate clowns. I think clowns think that they're funny, but nobody takes themselves more seriously than clowns."
We did get to see three new 11-minute episodes, including "Joke Overload," which guest stars Jeffrey Ross as himself, Clark Duke as a Trekkie and Adam Scott as a Klingon doctor, and Ernie Hudson as a patient; "You Know No One Can Hear You, Right?" with Ed Begley Jr. and Rachael Harris as a couple that wants to abort their teen-aged son; and "Hot Enough For You?" filmed in a noirish tone. And with Henry Winkler on board with the cast as the hospital administrator, the cast decided to serenade Winkler onstage — well, a fake Winkler — by singing the theme to Happy Days with Wain accompanying on guitar. You know what? I do have the last lines of this on video, so why not share it, even if it's not the whole song:
And here's a clip of Corddry in character comparing his show to other medical shows on the TV:
Childrens Hospital begins airing July 11 on Adult Swim with the webisodes playing two at a time for five weeks, with a week off of the schedule along the way before the second season debuts on Aug. 22.