Today Melissa sits down with Jordan BLum and talks in depth about MODOK, premiering on Hulu May 21, and the comic book MODOK: Head Games, which is available now. We also chatted about him being a writer on Community and American Dad.
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Jordan Blum – Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show. I’m excited. I get to chat with writer and producer of hit shows such as community and American dad be very talented. Mr. Jordan bloom. Welcome to the show.
Jordan Blum: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Melissa: Yeah, I’m excited. You’re here. How are
Jordan Blum: you doing tonight?
I do and well, we are, we are in the middle of, of post wrapping it up on a MODOK so we can get it to you as soon as possible. So a little exhausted, but finding that inner strength to talk even more about it.
Melissa: Right. I hear ya. Yeah, you’re in that press release. Tour thing now. So you’re probably like, okay, can I just
Jordan Blum: get some sleep now?
I mean, look it, I’m a Marvel comics fan, a huge comic nerd. So I will always be willing and excited to talk more about Moda. Awesome.
Melissa: Well, we’ll just jump right into that then that one’s awesome. So it’s, it’s coming out May 21st on Hulu. So, and it’s [00:01:00] based on the. Marvel character, obviously for those listeners who may not be familiar, give us a little brief you know, description of what Modocs the bouts and yeah.
And what the character is about.
Jordan Blum: MODOK the show or MODOK the more the comic version or a little both. Well,
Melissa: yeah, a little bit of both. We’ll start with a show and then we can, we can definitely get into the
Jordan Blum: comic book as well. Sure. So the show is about. MODOK who runs is a super villain who runs an evil organization called aim.
That’s hell bent on taking over the world and, and building this scientific utopia. And MODOK for years has, has attempted this and, and has failed miserably. He’s not, he’s not Dr. Doom. He’s, he’s a little more of a, a, B or C Lester, but he would never admit that though. It drives him insane. And.
He’s finally run, aim into the ground and they’re going to have to shutter their doors and close shop and a. Google like a tech company swoops in and says, [00:02:00] Hey, you know, we love what you guys are about. You know, you have some of the most brilliant, mad scientists working here. You know, we’re happy to kind of, purchase you and keep you afloat.
As long as you just give us a, a cool little tablet, we can sell it. Christmas and you guys just keep doing you, you know, keep trying to kill Ironman and, you know, take them to whatever we’re not going to interfere. And Botox is like, this is great. You know, I have, I have funding to keep. Keep my my dream alive, my organization.
So he says yes, and it ends up being the exact opposite of that. Suddenly he has to answer to a board and, and HR, and it’s this kind of Silicon Valley tech company vibe infiltrates his, his, you know, much more arch super-villain compound. And it’s about this guy losing control, this control, freak, losing control of his company.
And then. On the other side of that, we find out that when Murdoch leaves AME or, you know, hovers out of that captain America panel he [00:03:00] goes home to New Jersey, to a family that we’ve created for him. And things are kind of on the rocks too with, with his relationship with his wife and, and there’s some kind of issues with the rest of the family.
And, and very early on, he is asked to move out. And suddenly he’s lost his company. He’s lost his family and, and this ego maniacal supervillain has to kind of figure out what’s important to him and how he’s going to get these things back. And it’s a a midlife crisis for super-villain.
Melissa: Wow. Now does his wife and family know that he’s a super villain?
Jordan Blum: Yes, they’re very flexible ethically and morally. It’s just what dad does. You know, like you’re going to change the world, go do that. I mean, sure. You’re going to have to, you know, level cities and, and destroy the earth MIT’s heroes to do it, but, you know, we respect your dreams
Melissa: which is kind of an interesting dichotomy considering that, you know, you worked on American dad who was like the complete.
Opposite, you know, they’re just like the CIA agent. And how fun was it for you to be able to read a villain this time
Jordan Blum: around? Oh, I mean, it’s [00:04:00] great. Cause it’s, you know, you can go a lot darker with it. And of course, you know, Murdoch makes a lot of decisions that maybe most people would do. But I think, you know, the goal of the show was that you invest in him and you kind of understand where he’s coming from and that, you know, even though he is a giant floating head that shoots laser beams and disintegrates people.
He’s, he’s just a guy who’s kind of driven to prove himself and kind of make his Mark on the world. And, and you know, you’re seeing him struggle to connect with family and coworkers and, and it, you know, I think at the end of the day, it’s a very. Relatable human story for the kind of character who he is.
So that was kind of the goal was to, you know, I think they always say like, you know, every great villain thinks he’s the hero of, of his story. So we kind of took that approach with no doc as
Melissa: well. Nice. Yeah. I love that. I’ve used that one a lot, actually. So how closely does it follow, like the, and we’ll get [00:05:00] into like your version of the comic book as well, but I know like the original incarnation of Murdoch does your show follow anything similar to that at all?
Or is this completely fresh new take?
Jordan Blum: Well, you know, the world we’re, we’re setting this in is a little more comedic and satirical and. Okay. You know, I think kind of similarly how, like the Harley Quinn show is, is a lot sillier than, you know, the, the actual DC comics and you know, so we’re, we’re, we’re closer to that kind of toner or you’re Rick and Morty, but it’s still the MODOK, you know, you’ve come to love from the comics or the video games or whatever.
He’s, he’s still this very. Arch big menacing, super villain. You know, we, we play him a little goofy here and funnier, but, you know, aim is there. And, and a lot of the other characters from the comics, like the super in his rival Monica rapid Cine there. They’re all pulled from there and a lot of his rivals and kind of bigger Marvel characters show up.
So, you know, it’s all the kind of trappings of the comic, but, you know, it allows us to kind of [00:06:00] explore parts of his life that just we haven’t seen yet, which is his family life or the more kind of mundane, bureaucratic nonsense. He has to deal with that aim. So, you know, we w we start at the comics and then we kind of, you know, Divert from
Okay. And you mentioned Ironman, so you will be addressing the rivalry, or I guess it’s a rivalry of sorts with, with Tony stark slash Ironman.
Jordan Blum: When does this come out?
Melissa: This can come out whenever you’d like it to,
Jordan Blum: It was just kind of, we are revealing that iron man is in the show at wonder con a week from Saturday.
We can hold
Melissa: off until
Jordan Blum: then. Okay. Because then I’m happy to talk about it because they just wanted to do a big announcement for that. Absolutely. So if you want me to get back into it yes. Wonderment or, sorry, not wonder, man. Iron man. Let me start again. Yes. Iron man will be there to be a huge thorn in MODOK side.
I think mostly because Murdoch’s furious that Ironman won’t admit that they [00:07:00] are our drivers. I think iron man is shooting for a little higher than MODOK and I think it drives Moda crazy that Ironman does not see him as the threat. MODOK sees himself to be.
Melissa: Right. And from what I understand, it’s, it’s kind of his fault that Murdoch is the way he is correct.
Right. Is that kind of the backstory you’re going with?
Jordan Blum: We don’t, we don’t pull too much from that area, you know? There’s, there’s kind of been like competing origins for for Murdoch and we even added a little to it in our comic, but You know, we Monarch has, has been experimented on and is, is the way he is, but we don’t kind of dive too much into the origins.
In the show, we get one little scene that kind of shows the Genesis, the birth of the super villain in a very young moment in his life. And then beyond that, it’s kind of immediate Rez, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re picking up, he’s been doing this for years and he’s kind of, that’s part of the story too, is he, he’s lost his way a bit, you know, he’s lost sight of the goal and, and why he does what he does.
And he’s kind of gotten more fixated on like, all right, I want to, [00:08:00] you know, get a black hole gun and. And shoot to Tony stark and do another dimension as opposed to like, Oh yeah. Didn’t you actually want to make a difference and like change the world by conquering it. So we play a lot with that of, of, you know, sometimes you, you.
You’re still kind of fixated on your goals that you actually lose sight of them along the way. And I think that that speaks to, to me sometimes. And I think a lot of other people that you, you believe you have this life path, you know, set out in front of you and you know, like life changes and sometimes you gotta let go of those goals or sometimes, you know, you lose the passion for them and you gotta kind of figure out what, what is the thing that drives you?
Melissa: no, it’s definitely relatable. Everyone can obviously out relate to that. So that’s cool that you’re kind of taking about route and making it appeal to a wider audience, as far as like, you know, we all live a good super villain, but are you going to be showing, you know, sides of his character, whether it’s moments where we’re like, Oh, maybe he’s not that bad.
[00:09:00] Jordan Blum: Yeah, cause I think he’s still at the end of the day, you know, trying to be a decent dad, trying to be a husband, trying to be a boss that people respect and look up to he’s fails at it a lot miserably. But there’s, there’s fun relationships that, that play on that. And I think, you know, one that I love is, is his relationship to his son.
Lou, who’s played by Ben Schwartz. Where Lou is this like real kind of weirdo, which is saying something in a family of people with giant heads. Yeah. Lou actually looks very human. And you know, he just marches to the beat of his own drum. And, but he has this like unearned confidence that drives. MODOK insane.
Cause MODOK is super self-conscious and he’s Eddy super in his own head, you know, so huge heads. That’s not that hard, but like he’s, but he’s, he’s one of those people that he, like, he very much cares about the way. You know, people see him, so he cannot understand that his son is like this. And he’s, he’s always trying to kind of like tamp down his, his [00:10:00] weirdness in a way to protect him because he’s like, well, I was made fun of and ridiculed, you know, my whole life.
I’m trying to save you from that. But he can’t see that his son actually just likes who he is, you know? And it’s happy being this outcast. We are now. It was like, those are fun dynamics that I think, you know, you get to play with that again. That’s a very true trait of Murdoch and the Murdoch we’ve seen.
Many incarnations, but it’s a way to kind of explore that through his family life.
Melissa: Yeah. And then getting into the comic book, which is MODOK head games. Now that is a project you’ve, you’ve written with panels, Walt. And so how did, how did you two end up hooking up in this project and, and putting this together and like, is that a continuation of the show or is it its own thing?
Jordan Blum: Yeah. Well, so, so Pat and I. Go back many years ago, working on different pilots and stuff and have become friends over the year. So when. Marble asked for the show or had asked us to kind of pitch we, we, we developed the whole thing together. So patent is also a co-creator on the show and the voice of [00:11:00] doc.
And so after we had finished the show together Marvel approached us about doing a comic and we had no interest in kind of just adapting our series. Our series is not set in the six one six Marvel universe. Uh it’s it’s its own universe and it’s our own kind of take on the character. So if we were going to do a comic, we wanted to do one about.
The one from the comics, the one who’s been there since, you know, Jack Kirby and Stanley created them in the sixties. And the thing about MODOK, which is really fun. If you go back and kind of read all his appearances, these is a really flexible character. Sometimes you can be this, this kind of monstrous villain, you know, who’s actually kind of terrifying.
Other times he’s played more comedic in comics. Like. One pool. And so he, he, to me, he’s like Batman, where you can do all these different interpretations. Right. You can have like Adam West Batman and you can have a Christopher Nolan, Batman, or a Frank Miller Batman, or you know, Saturday morning cartoon brave and the bold Batman.
So I think MODOK [00:12:00] works well. In that, like, as long as you get the voice, right. I think, and the attitude and obviously the, the design. You can kind of do different versions of him, but we really wanted to do the comics one. So we were like, well, would it be, you know, like our show doesn’t make sense in the comic.
World. What if that was the story? What if it was the comics Modocs suddenly having memories of this life. He never lived as this dad in the suburbs with, with this family that the family from our show. And it would drive that MODOK insane because that’s like, it wouldn’t compute. Right? Like how does that factor into me to take over the world?
So we thought that would be like a really cool. Mystery to launch the series and it’s about MODOK going, like someone tampering with me. What are these memories who did this to me? And it takes them on this, this journey through his own comic book history. So we were able to kind of go back and, and bring characters like Ironman and Gwenpool and the serpent society and other people he’s kind of.
Come across in his, in his long [00:13:00] history in comics where he’s trying to find answers to who he is and, and what, what these memories mean and, and, and exploring that through his own comic history.
Melissa: Yeah. Cause you, yeah, you tend to forget, you know, that he is the computer, somebody programmed him or is continuing to program him or maybe he sentience, you know, that’s an interesting, did you address that as well?
Like, and I know you can’t give too much away by are any of the storylines. Really heavy on that as far as, you know, how is the operating, is he being controlled as he in, in control
Jordan Blum: himself? Well, it wasn’t the show. We use it for a lot of good jokes, I think is his computer brain to me is a little dated.
It’s more like a windows 95 kind of version of a computer, but so it doesn’t always work as well as he wants it to. But in the comics we, we gave it a voice. You know, there’s lots of these. Different voices to Moda. There’s this guy, George Tarleton, who he was before he was turned into MODOK, who was this kind of a [00:14:00] janitor at AME who was kind of forced into this experiment and turned into the supercomputer.
And then, you know, there’s, MODOK the villain who pontificates and wants everyone to respect him. And then there’s this killing machine, computer brain. So in the comic, what we did is we kind of gave different. Voices and fonts, whether it’s in the captions or in his dialogue where there’s all these competing voices in his head, you know, that there’s a lot to MODOK.
So even there’s, there’s a self-doubt that’s even creeping in as the story progresses and gave that its own voice. The letterer, you know, did a fantastic job giving each one a distinct like identity and personality in it. So we, and the other thing we leaned into was, you know, some people might say, Oh, MODOK every time we see them, these kinds of different.
That’s inconsistent. And we were like, well, what if, what if it’s not? Cause this character Modocs been assassinated and killed and revived more times than like any other, you hear, like, he might have great beat at this point. And so we were like, well, that makes [00:15:00] sense, right? That like, he’s, he’s a computer brain, so he’s kind of rebooted every time.
So he’s a little different, he’s a little off. And that would explain why he doesn’t remember, you know, these memories or maybe how they got in there. So we kind of leaned into it for the story.
Melissa: no, that makes a lot of sense because if you look at things like Westworld, right. When they have the hosts and every time they would take them offline, for example, and then they’d bring them back and reprogram them to remember whatever they wanted them to remember.
So it’s kind of like that kind of a concept.
Jordan Blum: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s that thing where, you know, machines just aren’t as dependable as we want them to and they, and they mess up and, you know, and I think. That’s a fun flaw to play with, you know, as a, as a character in that, like is the problem that someone do something to him or is the problem inside of him and, you know, and, and that you can be tampered with, and he can’t.
Trust, you know, his own memories. It’s a really fun, I think storytelling device.
Melissa: Yeah. No, absolutely. And the art is really amazing as well. You’ve got Callie Hamner [00:16:00] too. Who did the art? Is that that’s correct.
Jordan Blum: He did the covers. Kelly did the covers and I geeked out because I’m. A huge fan of his work.
You know, he created the second blue beetle. Who’s just a fantastic character. He’s got such a great design sense. So he was doing covers for us. And then Scott hepper is doing the interiors and Scott is just an unbelievably talented he brings such an energy and kind of zaniness to the story. You know, I wouldn’t call our comic a comedy book, but we do have comedy in it.
And that’s a really hard thing to do in comics. Right. It doesn’t translate always because comedy is about pacing, right. And so hard to kind of sell a joke, the timing of a joke. And Scott’s just an incredible at executing that and, and, and really doing amazing, you know, facial expressions and, and layouts and stuff that really sell the jokes and the action, you know, I’ve, I’ve.
Gotten [00:17:00] a few pages from him because they just, I need to put them on my wall so I can look at them everyday. They’re just so gorgeous. It’s, it’s been the best experience. It’s such a fun process to move from, from TV to comics because you know, TV takes forever and comics is so immediate, so it would be the best feeling in the world to write the script, send it off.
And then a month later, you’re, you’re looking at the pages and they’re coming in, you know, each day it’s, it’s like Christmas every day. It’s unbelievable.
Melissa: That’s cool. And as far as the collaborative process went, are you doing like the panels first and then they’re doing the art based on that or vice versa or both?
Jordan Blum: Yeah. Well, we, you know, I don’t think we have the confidence in ourselves to do the Marvel method. Cause we were kind of learning on the job a little bit to patent had done a lot more comics than I had previously. So we we, we scripted it, but we always, you know, I think. The goal is like, let’s make Scott look good.
Or, or if there’s a better way to do this, Scott go with it. You know, it was always the caveat kind of written everyone. Like [00:18:00] here’s how we kind of see it. But also if you see the different way, you know, you’re going to make this look incredible. So just, just do your thing. So I think that’s. W we weren’t ever slavish to our scripts with him.
It was more of a suggestion. And then, you know, he could, you could do his own thing. And I think that’s the fun of comics is TV is such a writers’ medium where, you know, you’re really. In control of it. And you’re there for the entire process, whether, you know, you’re writing it or on set or, you know, recording actors, if any animation or store looking at storyboards, all that kind of stuff, you see it all the way through.
Whereas comics, it’s a, it’s an artist medium. And you know, it was really. Fun to kind of put our egos aside and go, like, let’s just write the book, the best comment we can for Scott and just let Scott go. Cause you know, Scott’s the star here and he’s going to make this thing, you know, be something special.
So I really liked that part of the process and the collaborative nature of it, of, of getting on the phone and [00:19:00] talking through the issue with him and patent and, and, you know, just kind of bouncing ideas off and starting to figure out what he likes to draw and try and write towards that.
Melissa: That’s cool.
Like a comradery, you know, of sorts and a big team effort. Totally. Yeah. Did you face any challenges at all? Like when you were, you know, because any, you have a TV background and you know, you’re doing this comic and it’s based on, you know, a character that already exists and and you’ve got the show version as well.
Were there any challenges at all? Any stressful moments?
Jordan Blum: I think just, you know, there’s we were nervous. To overwrite. I think a lot of people who come from TV into comics tend to write like super dialogue, heavy stuff, and you end up just taking away from the art. And I think the first time you see.
The lettering pass. You see how big the bubbles are. And you’re like, Oh my God, let’s cut that. We don’t need that line. Like art says the whole thing, you know? So I think it was just more learning to trust the process and getting out of our own ways and just be willing to like, you [00:20:00] know, realize like, Oh, you know, we don’t, we, we don’t need characters to speak that they’re, it’s, it’s totally coming across in the drawings and, and that, and I think also.
You know, I’m as, as someone who is a reader, who’s at the comic shop every Wednesday, you know, I always I can be skeptical sometimes if I feel like someone’s just trying to. You know, forced their way into comics from the other side, from, from the, from the television or movie industry, or, you know, trying to cash in and just turn their screenplay into a comic or, you know, not do the work maybe.
Oh yeah. I’ll just
Melissa: use their name.
Jordan Blum: Yeah. Use her name and just not spend the time to learn the medium cause they’re very different. And I think the idea that if you can write one, you can write the other is, is, is absolute bullshit. And like you. You have to completely use a different side of your brain and write specifically for this art form.
So I, you know, even though this was my first comic, I feel like this is something I’ve always wanted to do. And I’ve [00:21:00] been reading up on it and reading other writers scripts. And I have a lot of friends who are comic writers and, you know, kind of, consulted with them and read a lot of their scripts and, and just made sure that.
We were really embracing comics versus just trying to do what we do in, in TV.
Melissa: Right. And do you, do you think that you are enjoying, I know I hate to make you choose, but do you like to do comics more so than television or, or is it sort of just completely different and I mean, what do you, what do you really enjoy doing out of the two?
Like what your
Jordan Blum: passion. Well, I love, I love television and it is my job to say anything negative about it. Comics are so much more fun because it’s just, like I said, it’s more immediate. It’s, it’s, you’re only working with a few people. You’re getting it back so quickly and then you can hold it in your hand, you know, a few months later versus kind of waiting month years, you know, for, for TV stuff to come out.
And I just think that there’s, there’s a lot of freedom to it. I think that the fun of [00:22:00] writing comics is. You don’t have to worry. About like writing something that’s four quadrant or, or you holding, you need to hold the hand of your audience, right. To usher them into this crazy world. You’re writing comics for people who speak the language, who, who know this so well that you can just jump into the insanity, like right out of the gate.
And you don’t and you can build off the years of continuity and what people know of the characters. You don’t have to spend a whole issue introducing everyone to who Ironman is, right? Like you can just, you can just get into it and, and people are more willing to let you experiment, I think, and, and take bigger risks because.
At the end of the day, it’s, it’s, it’s a less of a financial risk, right? If you’re giving me millions of dollars to make a show, it better connect with a lot of people and not lose anyone, but like, look, if you want to do a super weird comic, you know, you’re not going to lose as much money on it. If for some [00:23:00] reason you fall on your face.
So I love the freedom there where you don’t feel as obligated, you know, to, to play it. Maybe a safe.
Melissa: Yeah, well, and I’ve heard many creators talk about, you know, the quote unquote Marvel, you know, the vault or whatever, the, the, all the character that has existed forever, that when you’re creating a comic on that universe, you know, you can reach back and pick, you know, certain characters to be in your current incarnation.
Are there any characters that you would like to have in Murdoch that aren’t currently in it?
Jordan Blum: Well, we, we have a few X-Men characters and and they’re kind of more on the. Periphery, but like, I would have loved to have written that X men themselves into the show or the fantastic four when we were working on the show, the rights were just starting to kind of revert back.
So we were able to use a few kind of more, maybe more obscure characters or villains or, you know, but like Wolverine does not appear [00:24:00] in MODOK in, in full form. But that would be amazing if he did. So I think some of those kinds of characters but you know, that being said a lot of the other ones that we did use our huge kind of a list characters that, you know, from the movies and comics and stuff.
So we, we really weren’t told no too often there’d be a very random or obscure character that they’d have a weird rights issue or something like we wanted to use stilt, man. Who was from Daredevil. And I think there was a Daredevil issue there. That was like a no. And then, you know, we’d ask for. You know, a guy who’s on tons of lunchboxes and action figures and like, Oh yeah, he’s fine.
You can use him. Yeah. Yeah.
Melissa: He’s like more common. So, yeah. That’s interesting. Do you think they’ll ever be a live action, you know, Murdoch or Or have him featured in any of the, you know, and I know you can’t say too much, but have him featured in any of the up know coming MCU type franchise films that [00:25:00] are happening.
Jordan Blum: they don’t tell me anything secret. Am I, I couldn’t, I don’t know what’s going to happen in winter soldier and Falcon you’d guess is as good as mine,
Melissa: except that it might break HBO, but,
Jordan Blum: But they let’s see. Yeah. You know, I would love to, like, that would be amazing to see a live action mode.
Like I don’t know how they would do it, but it would, I would I, there, I’m sure they’re up for the challenge. I hope they would cast Patton. I think he would be a great live action. MODOK just keep it, keep it consistent. But You know, he’s he, Monarch is having a Renaissance right now. He’s he’s the villain of the vendor’s video game that just came out.
He’s got his own Lego set. Just came out another action figure. We got our comment in the show. It’s a good time for Modocs. So why not? Let’s bring them to the area.
Melissa: That’s right. Yeah. He actually seems like the perfect shape for Lego.
Jordan Blum: Yes. Lego or Funko. He’s essentially a living Funko doll. Yeah.
Melissa: Or bobblehead or something would be cool too.
It seems like, you know, you’re drawn [00:26:00] to just like looking back at some of the other things you’ve done and what are currently doing. You tend to be drawn to like shows with EDA humor and satire and sarcasm. So what is it about that style? I mean, is that just something that happens naturally or did you, you know, you prefer to work on projects where you can just.
Really have a huge comedic influence on,
Jordan Blum: Well I think yeah, started off in comedy and kind of bounced around, but there again, like, especially adult animation there’s just this freedom, like in comics that you can really do anything. And and I think sometimes like comedy is, is the best way to, to kind of get at honesty.
And, and, and, and dig into these kind of emotional stories. I love being able to you know, kind of build these insane, crazy worlds and have, you know, stories that are obviously driven by the comedy, but, but ultimately surprised you with how emotional they are or how relatable they are. [00:27:00] And I think.
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really fun to surprise your audience in that way, where they think they know where the episodes going or what the tone of the show is, and then you can kind of subvert it. And I think obviously, you know, it’s, it’s a great time to be in a writer’s room where you’re with you know, the funniest people you could find and you’re all making each other laugh.
Like it’s, it’s such a pleasure to write comedy. I mean, what a, what a fun job to just. Try and make your friends laugh all day, you know, and then put it in a script. But again, I think it’s a great way to yeah. Explore who these people are, you know, and, and kind of push it to the absurd without losing, you know, what makes them human.
Melissa: Yeah. And you’re still currently working on American dad, right?
Jordan Blum: No American dad to-do MODOK a few years ago, so I have not. Written for the show, but I had the best time writing for that show. That staff is incredible. Some of the funniest people I’ve ever met and it’s such a, a great show to [00:28:00] write for.
I love the characters on that show. And, and the cast was incredible. So it was, it was, you know, I was on it for a very long time and I’ve nothing but incredible memories for me.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s the, show’s hilarious. And it’s so over the top and it just it’s that like belly laughing, you know what I mean?
Where you just find yourself laughing out loud, but what was it like working with with Seth McFarland?
Jordan Blum: CEP is like, you know, he, I think he’s a genius, especially in voice acting. I don’t think he gets enough credit. For his, his performances as a voice actor. I think everyone knows him as like the creator of this, the creator of that, you know?
But I was always blown away at table reads where he would come in cold having not read the script and bounce back and forth from Stan and Roger switching voices, having conversations with himself, nail every joke on his first try. And it would be the same [00:29:00] recording him, you know, he would get it in one or two takes.
He’s he’s, he’s a brilliant voice actor. And I was always just blown away. That was talent.
Melissa: Wow. And that just makes your job easier and more fun.
Jordan Blum: Yeah. He makes every joke funnier. We ha we don’t have to try as hard.
Melissa: Yeah. And then on the, you know, you also were in the writing writers room ad community as well, which is another hilarious show.
And you have Joel McHale, who is his comedic timing is great as well. Was he kind of similar as far as, you know, comedic timing and just coming up with things off the script?
Jordan Blum: Yeah. I mean, Joel, like, I feel like he almost comes at it. Like an athlete, almost like he’s one of the greatest comedic athletes I’ve ever seen in that like our episode was called it was the Meow Meow beans one.
And it was this app that takes over the school and, and there’s everyone kind of gets kind of separated into their different groups based on their ratings, everything. It, it gets really crazy, [00:30:00] very fast and there was a huge. Or actually it’s a small segment of the episode, but he’s, he’s, it’s a talent show kind of thing where he is doing up, but it’s like standup directed at this new society that is formed overnight based on this app.
So it’s like nonsense, but it’s, it’s, it’s skewering, you know, kind of stand up cliches and he did, he must have done. Like a three hour set that maybe got edited down to like three minutes or something, but like take after, take after take. And he just brought this energy to it. That was like, it was, it was unbelievable.
I was exhausted. I wasn’t even doing anything. I was just sitting at the monitor, you know, watching him go. And it’s like, yeah, it was like two in the morning. And he’s just making everyone on set. Laugh their asses off. And like, to me, you know, it’s one thing to be funny. It’s like another, to be able to commit to it so hard that you bring it every time and that you’re willing to just like [00:31:00] go all in.
And I think that was really impressive on Joel’s
Melissa: Yeah, that’s amazing ability to have that, you know, that improv and like the stamina, like is that just keep going all night long. I’d love to see a Memorial
Jordan Blum: and like come up with new things that were constantly making us laugh. Like he wasn’t just reciting lines.
He was improvising and, and changing it every time. And it was
Melissa: cool. What a cool experience. And now, also that actually brings me to another question. So, and especially in pertaining to. You know, Modocs, that’s your current show? That’s coming out soon and. When you are writing and then you have the voice actors, do you ever get inspired by the actors themselves?
You know, like maybe you’re going to go in one direction with the script and then, you know, an actor improvises and you’re like, Oh, I like that. Is that ever happen?
Jordan Blum: Yeah, absolutely. Well I was lucky, you know, for MODOK Patton was there and, and. I was saying like, we would just pitch lines and then he [00:32:00] would say them, right.
You would know if it worked or not. Cause Modocs right there. Modocs telling me the joke. It was always amazing. And then, you know, there were definitely especially after we had cast the show, you know, with animation, you can kind of do rewrites as, as, as the process progresses, do you have animatics and colors and all that stuff?
So I remember, you know, we have John Daley Playing the super and this was kind of written a little differently previous to him coming on and And once he came on and he was so like unpredictable and, and have this kind of manic energy that we, we, we changed the voice of the character and the script even a bit, and just started adding more things that would kind of showcase, you know, his ability to kind of go all over the place.
And, and it’s really, he’s so funny. So, and we would just kind of let him go in the booth and then. Kind of reworked the scenes around that. And a lot of the actors, you know, Ben Schwartz is an amazing improviser and I think that influenced a ton of, of, of [00:33:00] Lou’s character. And, and then we, you know, Amy Garcia who plays Jodi Murdoch’s wife on the show her and Pat, and played so off each other, we will get them in the booth together, you know, and kind of just build off of that.
You know, you really want to pull from the actors, you know, Melissa numero. Who plays Melissa on the show, her her, her take on that character, the attitude you know, originally she was a little more, a little more arch, but Melissa brought so much, so much humanity to it that we started to work that into the script that kind of beneath this, this queen bee teenager is, is this, you know, girl who’s hurting a little bit and dealing with stuff.
So, you know, we, we pulled from, from all of their performances Beck Bennett who plays one of the villains on the show? Austin
Melissa: who’s no, he’s I love him on SNL. He’s so great.
Jordan Blum: It’s incredible. And so he’s kind of the foil to MODOK he’s he’s he’s the face of the corporation that buys, buys up aim and drives.
Melissa: Oh, Oh, that’s so fitting for him. I don’t, I can just see him playing that.
Jordan Blum: He, he [00:34:00] played it so passive aggressive, where everything is delivered in a smile that I think we just kept pushing him to go further with it. And that kind of reflected in the writing as well. So really all of the whole cast, you know, really influenced, I think, you know, once you, once you hear them and they bring the characters to life, they infuse it with so much that you want to just kind of.
Add to that and build it around it. So we were able to change the scripts to fit that.
Melissa: That’s cool. Now how many episodes can we expect for the season one?
Jordan Blum: It’s going to be 10 episodes and they all drop at once. So you can just binge the whole thing. Just a drink. Drink a lot of coffee and just stay up
Melissa: all night while through all of them.
Yeah. Yeah. I know. I hate when there’s certain streamings shows that they make you wait every week and I’m like, no, if it’s a streaming, I’m supposed to be able to binge watch it.
Jordan Blum: I know I’m torn because I like with Wanda vision. Right. I feel like that was a big, big one that, that. Became kind of like water cooler [00:35:00] talk, you know, I missed that a little bit, cause it felt like we were all sharing the experience.
You know, we were all talking about the same thing. I think. I love the ability to be invested in a show and just binge it and like consume it as one story. But it, it, it feels a little less, like you’re always just recommending it to someone who hasn’t seen it yet, versus Paul talking about this one thing that has all of our attention.
So I think there’s, there’s strengths and weaknesses to both sides, but you know, I can’t tell which one I liked more.
Melissa: Yeah. I know it’s hard. I would want a vision. I actually waited for all to be done, so I could just binge watch it because a lot of those shows too, like there’s so many nuances, right.
You know, with, with that storyline specifically. And I was afraid that if I waited. You know, too long, I would miss something and have to, you know what I mean? And, but it was so hard because everybody was talking about it online. How did you
Jordan Blum: roll? He did want the spoilers.
Melissa: It was so hard. I don’t know, just see, you know, that graphic of Wanda vision.
I would just scroll really fast. And, and the funny thing is Kendrick and Casey and [00:36:00] John from the show, our show we’re doing a weekly. You know, recap episodes. I couldn’t listen to that either. And I’m like, nobody tells me anything. Please keep it out of the group,
Jordan Blum: but you gotta be in like a little bubble.
Melissa: Yeah, exactly. But no, it was definitely worth the wait. It was a, it was a great you know, it was a good show. I think it was, so you said there’s 10 episodes. We can binge them all at once. And are you are you in the cast and the crew, do you have anything special planned for the premiere at all?
Jordan Blum: I wish I, maybe I feel like a zoom chat, but yeah, I think we’ve talked about watching some of the episodes together and it’s been fun. So we had to do a lot of press and stuff. So, you know, the cast recorded this so long ago that we kind of needed to refresh them a little bit. So I’ve actually been able to do that a bit.
Amy Garcia loves to watch so w we’ll we’ll zoom watch a few episodes together, which is really, really fun and you know, patent and I have have. Watched them a million times, very fresh for us. Yeah, I think we’re, you know, we’re all like, okay, as soon as we get [00:37:00] vaccinated and everyone feels safe, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do a barbecue.
And you know, we keep talking about like, we’re gonna, we gotta get together. This is crazy. It’s so weird that like, We only see each other at like virtual panels.
Melissa: It’s the most bizarre thing ever. Yeah. I just, I mean, there’s no more, I’m sure there will be again, but no premieres, no red carpet stuff, you know, that’s gotta be strange for everyone in that industry.
Jordan Blum: Yeah. I was heartbroken to know Comic-Con cause I’ve been going for years and I was like, ah, this is my, this is my year. And I did the panel for American dad and stuff, but I was like, this is my show. It’s going to have a presence there. It’s going to be amazing. It was like, you know what? I think there’s bigger problems in the world, but I’m going to quietly.
Yeah. Have a little pity party for myself. Yeah. And he deserved
Melissa: that. Yeah. Sorry. Well, you say you’re doing the wonder con virtually. Are you, are you doing any of the other ones at all? I think San Diego having a virtual one. Yeah.
Jordan Blum: I think they’re going to do another virtual one this year. I think so, you know, usually you kind of do like building up to the [00:38:00] show.
So I dunno, we’ll see. Maybe we’ll do a San Diego one as well to kind of come together to talk about it. After everyone’s seen it, it’s been really weird. We’ve done two PA two in New York comic con, and now we’re doing wonder con and it’s like, it’s weird to do all these panels where you can’t really spoil anything.
So we’re kind of talking about a show. No one’s seen and hoping people get excited about it. It’s a little harder. To talk about something when would know and seed it. So we’re excited. I would love to do one after it comes out.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, I think it happened, I mean next year, obviously I think by that time, most people be vaccinated and, you know, be flying and traveling again.
Hopefully. I think that’d be great. Cause there’ll be this like buildup, you know, cause everyone will have watched, you know, the season and then you got to go promote it. You know next year, hopefully.
Jordan Blum: Yeah, absolutely. That’ll be, I mean, that’s the most fun too, when you can talk to people about the show and see what they responded to.
I, American dad was weird in that. It has like millions of people watch it, but it doesn’t have that like fan base that like, you know, [00:39:00] since it’s like, it’s, their families is not as vocal, they’re kind of more casual viewers, you know, fine. You know, a lot of people be like, this is my favorite show to put on and get high and fall asleep too.
And I was like, Hey, you know, like for sure. So we, we, there was no feedback, you know, there wasn’t like, we had no idea if people like the show or not, except when we would do. Conventions and we would do signings and stuff, and then people come up and tell you what they respond to. And like, that was the coolest part was just hearing, Oh, you know, you liked that thing or, or you responded to that.
We can write more of that. You know, it was like, it was a very weird show in that it was popular, but no one talks to me. It’s
Melissa: very true. Actually. I had never thought about that before, but it is this like cult-like following. Yeah. Well, it also be interesting to see you know, how much like Murdoch cosplay, there’ll be.
You know, that’d be kind of cool to. To see if that starts popping up with the conventions.
Jordan Blum: I hope so, especially so it’s a Murdoch’s daughter, Melissa who played by almost [00:40:00] familiar is, is a MODOK. She looks like him. So she is, but even though she’s a giant floating head, she’s like the most popular girl in school and every wants to data and the design for her, they did such a good job with where she’s kind of dazzled her hover chair and she’s like dressed like a hip teenager.
So I would love to see Melissa’s in the future.
Melissa: Oh, that’d be so fun. And the, the comment book is available now to purchase,
Jordan Blum: right? Yeah. The first three issues are out and then the final issue comes out in April.
Melissa: Okay, cool. So it’s going to be just a four, four issues. Yeah. Nice, awesome. Well, it sounds amazing.
I can’t wait to see it. And I can’t wait to have you back on so we can actually talk more about it once it’s been shown and there’s no spoilers, you know,
Jordan Blum: I would love that. So I don’t have to kind of step around it and only talk in vague things like it’s emotional and funny. I can actually talk to you about details about the show.
That would be wonderful.
Melissa: Like Subutex. Yeah, totally. Yeah. No, thanks for coming on. You know, for [00:41:00] everyone listening, check out MODOK on Hulu streaming May 21st and then MODOK head games is available now. Everywhere comics are sold. Yeah. Sorry. I’m in bloom. Thank you so much for being here
Jordan Blum: today. This was so much fun.
Thank you for having me. Awesome.
Melissa: Hold on one sec.