Remember all those years ago when I was an unknown film critic, trying to make my way in this hypercritical world? Well, that hasn’t changed in the slightest. However, I am less unknown enough that the Sklar brothers (the hyper-talented executive producers of the upcoming documentary Poop Talk— in theatres and VOD on Friday, February 16, 2018) have agreed to inaugurate a new section on 123WTF! Ladies and gents, I present WTF Did They Say– The Interviews!
What is Poop Talk? What is Poop Talk, indeed. Poop Talk is an opportunity for real actors — like Kumail Nanjiani, Aisha Tyler, Eric Stonestreet… Dr. Drew (to name but a few)– to drop some jokes in the annals of toilet humour. But it is so much more! Read on to discover just how much.
[There I was, sitting in a restroom stall, getting a load off my mind while FaceTiming with an ex I’d recently dumped when, suddenly, the doors to the stalls on both sides of me simultaneously creaked closed before the latches fell into their locked positions.
Horror of horrors! How could I be expected to discharge my burden knowing I was stuck between two gents, like crunchy Nutella in a whole-wheat sandwich? To make matters worse, you know me, I’m always full of it! Trapped as I was between these literal arseholes, I could feel the feel the noose of my intestine closing in, choking off any outlet for relief.
“Hey,” one of the blokes said.
Brilliant, I thought. Not only am I wedged in here like a g-string on a Kardashian, but now they’re going to talk! I’m going to be more backed up than a Los Angeles freeway on the eve of a 3-day weekend!
“What?” the bloke on the other side of me answered.
“Why are Saint Pauly’s reviews shit?”
“I dunno, why are Saint Pauly’s interviews shit?”
“Because they’re too long, rather dark, and most of them stink!”
But the joke was on them because I recognised their laughter! I was book-ended between none other than Randy and Jason, the famous Sklar twins!
Fortifying my constitution, I decided I’d had enough of their crap and was going to let them have it!]
Saint Pauly: Ha! I’d wager you didn’t know I’m the one in here with you! Now you’ve gone and stepped in it, haven’t you? Since I have you as a captive audience, we’re going to do that interview I’ve always dreamt of, whether you like it or not.
[The silence on each side, save for the settling of stomachs and the occasional kerplunk, told me I had them right where I wanted them.]
Saint Pauly: Jason? Are you on me left or right? Jason, how would you describe your brother Randy?
Jason Sklar: I would describe Randy as incredibly handsome [because twin]– a thoughtful, funny, and, at times, overly-emotionally unstable guy.
Saint Pauly: Randy? Are you going to take that sitting down? What do you have to say about Jason?
Randy Sklar: I would describe Jason as just another white guy who does comedy.
Saint Pauly: Right you are! You can’t swing a dead mic without hitting a whitey making a fool of himself. It’s like a rap battle in Utah ’round here. And while we’re on the subject of shite, when’s the last time you ‘dropped off the kids at the pool’?
Randy: This morning and it was beautiful. I drink a cup of coffee every morning so it comes out like clockwork. Every morning is like the last 15 minutes of the show Hoarders.
Saint Pauly: You have a professional crew come in to clean you up?
Randy: You just want to get everything out of your house and on to your lawn. Get all the rabbits out of the walls.
Saint Pauly: Ah, so that’s what you call it in the States. Here we just say, ‘grow a monkey’s tail’. Which obviously you’re aware of because here you are, ‘outing the truths’ in tandem, as it were. Not unlike your comedy, in fact, though the results are clearly not the same. How did your duo come about?
Ambiguous Sklar: We were huge fans of comedy and realised that we both wanted to do it together. Our father was funny with people —
Saint Pauly: Yes, mine as well, only not in the comedic sense.
Sklar brothers: — and so we always saw the value of making people laugh, so it was ingrained in us. Once we saw what comedians did, we both wanted to do it.
Saint Pauly: Snort cocaine and try not to cry yourself to sleep? But why do that together?
Sklar brothers: It was never a question as to whether or not we’d do it together. It was kind of all we knew from the start.
Saint Pauly: Sure, you say that in the private confines of your own stall, but is it really all sunshine and coffee cleansing when one works with one’s alter ego?
Sklar brothers: The advantages are many. You have someone on the same page as you, you have someone who cares about the work in the same way as you, and you have someone who is there to pick up the lack without asking any questions.
Saint Pauly: Okay, but what are the turds in the punch bowl?
Sklar brothers: The limitations are that at times we feel like we can’t go out for just any role, or that splitting us up may hurt the overall of what we would like to try and achieve. At times it feels working together can make us less nimble.
Saint Pauly: Speaking of doing it together… which is your favourite series among the following: Grey’s Anatomy, It’s Sunny in Philadelphia, Better Call Saul, CSI, Law & Order, and Entourage?
[N.B. I’ve chosen these specific series as the boys have all appeared in them together.]
Sklar brothers: Oh my god, that’s like asking which is your favourite child. We love Sunny because it was so irreverent and they let us improv a bunch. Better Call Saul was a real treat to do, and we worried that us being in the show would take us out of the reality of watching the show. Because we are such huge fans. But luckily it didn’t.
Saint Pauly: ‘Worried that being in the show would take you out of the reality of watching the show’? Ooh, I guess your poo doesn’t stink! [N.B. Actually, it doesn’t. I mean, I’m right there in the loo with them and I can’t smell anything coming from either side.] But seriously, you are never not working! TV cameos, TV series (Cheap Seats), radio (NPR, KPCC), film (Citizen Toxie), Web series (Back on Topps, Held Up), podcast (Sklarbro Country), and cable stars (Rome on Showtime)… Do you like to keep busy so you don’t have to spend time with your wives?
Sklar brothers: Haha, no. We love our families and honestly wish we didn’t have to hustle so hard. Let’s hope this poop doc makes us all rich so we can kick back and annoy our families by hanging out TOO much.
Saint Pauly: Yes, well, that shouldn’t be too hard, should it? But while we tiptoe around your poop doc, which is laugh-out-loud funny by the way, what does it take to be as hilarious as you lot?
Sklar brothers: First of all, you said it, not us.
Saint Pauly: To be fair, I think there might just be an echo in here. But go on, then, spit it out!
Sklar brothers: We’ve worked really hard, but we love doing this. Gagging around with our buddies, like we did on Poop Talk, it’s what we live for and so when you are passion about something you love like this, it comes through.
Saint Pauly: Moving like a bowel onto the documentary, is there a new and creative way to answer the question: How did you get the idea to make a documentary about people discussing poop?
Sklar brothers: The idea was originally our film’s director Aaron Feldman’s. He came to us and wanted us to help him make a movie about the history of poop.
Saint Pauly: Like when was it invented and what not?
Sklar brothers: We weren’t sure initially if we could pull off that movie.
Saint Pauly: No kidding!
Sklar brothers: But we came back to him and said that we would love to make an honest and funny movie with many comedians talking honestly about poop and our hang ups around pooping. In our eyes, we wanted use pooping as a window into our collective soul.
Saint Pauly: But the jokes! My god! I seriously laughed out loud an amazing number of times watching this film. How were you able to make this funny shit?
Sklar brothers: We are thrilled that the film made you laugh out loud.
Saint Pauly: I’d have wet myself if it weren’t a documentary about defecating.
Sklar brothers: We knew we’d get lots of funny out of these people because they are all so talented and amazing. We were beyond excited once we sat down with them and started to hear their stories and their theories.
Saint Pauly: Yes! The stars! How did you get the celebrities on board for this project? What did you say in your email to make them give a shit, so to speak?
Sklar brothers: We leaned on our relationships with these amazing folks, and the work we have done in our career. We told them that this is an opportunity to be funny and real and we promised we would make sure they would be proud of this film.
Saint Pauly: When you were mixing all of this crap, what jumped out at you in terms of similarities and differences amongst the stories? How much of it was, “Same shit, different day”?
Sklar brothers: Across the board there was a lot of shame. But there was a willingness to share, no matter what the attitude was towards pooping. As far as differences, you need only look to Jonah Ray and Steve Agee for two polar opposite attitudes towards pooping.
Saint Pauly: Regarding those interviewed, who thought they were too good for this shit?
Sklar brothers: Dame Judy Dench turned us down.
Saint Pauly: Really? I’d heard she never turned anyone down…
Sklar brothers: That was shocker.
Saint Pauly: I am quite shocked, to be honest. But you know what we call her around here!
Sklar brothers: Around the bathroom she’s known as Dame Judy Stench.
Saint Pauly: So you’ve been there with her, as well! She might not be the right audience for the film, though. What do you tell those anal retentive types who begin freaking out when you mention the subject of the film? How do you reassure them that the film is actually quite enjoyable?
Sklar brothers: We tell people that this is not a scatological romp through the world of poop.
Saint Pauly: Good thing! That could be quite messy on the trainers. What then, pray, are you trying to do?
Sklar brothers: This is an attempt to have an open and honest and funny discussion about the subject. Yes, we also tell some amazing poo stories, but the stories themselves are rarely about the act of pooping. They are usually more about the person and their circumstances.
Saint Pauly: But surely this film isn’t for everyone…
Sklar brothers: This film is for everyone. Well okay, maybe not kids under 12. But pretty much everyone else. As Pete Holmes so beautifully said in the film, we want people to feel like they’ve had an emotional movement throughout this film.
Saint Pauly: What kind of movements did you have whilst making the film?
Sklar brothers: We loved learning new things about people we have known for decades. Also we loved opening ourselves up and changing our own attitudes to pooping throughout this process.
Saint Pauly: So filming was fun? Did you not film in a toilet?
Sklar brothers: Filming was a lot of fun. Most of the time we were biting our lips and trying not to ruin people’s stories by laughing. We filmed at the Hollywood Improv, and at friend’s offices, and at Randy’s house.
Saint Pauly: So, you did film in a toilet! Just teasing, mate. Sounds pretty friendly, though, yes?
Sklar brothers: We loosened up our subjects simply by talking to them as friends. We were not cold documentarians coming in from somewhere else and we connected with our friends and that made things loose and easy.
Saint Pauly: Loose and easy is what you want when you make this sort of documentary, innit. Just like the rumours flying around about Poop Talk! Now look, I know we agreed we’d steer clear of the subject during this interview, but I’ve got to ask and I know you won’t get up and walk out because you’re sitting on the toilet, aren’t you? So here goes, how do you respond to the blossoming conspiracy theory that this ‘load of crap’ is a CSI plot? After all, Jason & Randy, Eric Stonestreet and Aisha Tyler have all appeared on CSI episodes–not to mention Eric and Aisha had recurring roles!
Sklar brothers: No one died during the filming of this doc. So that ends the CSI theory right there.
Saint Pauly: Or does it? Regardless, I’ve dropped a lot of shitty puns so far in this interview. Care to make me feel better by sharing any of your own?
Sklar brothers: We really wanted to call the movie The Brown Panther.
Saint Pauly: See! That’s the kind of thing that makes people want to get more of you! Where can your fans do that?
Saint Pauly: And, speaking of poop, what have you got in the pipeline?
Sklar brothers: We have a new audio book coming out in the next two months on audible.com called Sklar and Stripes.
Saint Pauly: Ohh, do you join the army? Design a flag? Buy a zebra?
Sklar brothers: It’s a 10 chapter series that follows us for a year as we go to 10 cities and try to write 10 minutes of comedy about each city while we are there for a few days. It’s about the comedic process, it’s about what it’s like to be in these cities, and it’s also about America during the first year of the Trump Administration. We cannot wait for this to come out.
Saint Pauly: I know the feeling! I can’t wait for some of my friends to come out. But that’s another problem. To conclude, before we wrap this thing up in a toilet paper bow, can you tell us something totally WTF in honour of the 123WTF?
Sklar brothers: When we were 18 we went to see a magic show at 2pm with our parents in Las Vegas, and the Magician asked for all the kids to come up from the crowd and he did a huge trick that involved doves. Then, before the kids were even off the stage, he started on the next trick which involved topless women. That was totally WTF!
Saint Pauly: I bet you couldn’t see the forest for all of the wood!
Sadly, as that last joke stank as badly as what we’d long since deposited in the bowls, our haemorrhoids got the best of us and we decided to wipe out and leave. I thanked the brothers for their kindness as we emerged from the stalls but, and it’s a giant ‘but’, we did not look each other in the eyes or shake hands. This was a public toilet, after all, and we are civilised men.
Which, tragically, brings this interview to an end. Let me just remind you that, to my great chagrin, the Sklar brothers and myself were never together in a men’s toilet or any other toilet or any real place, for that matter. Our entire interview was conducted via email and, though I changed a lot of my crap up to make it more interesting, I left the lads’ words exactly as they’d written them, because why tamper with perfection?
To conclude, I wish to thank the Sklar brothers for according me time from their busy promotional schedules for this interview, and remember to watch Poop Talk in theatres and VOD on Friday, February 16, 2018.