BY JOSH CHESLER
“It’s just like The Apprentice, but it’s all celebrities you know from your childhood — people like Boy George,” Paul Scheer says when asked about his latest show. “We’re just trying to keep it fun, you know?”
“We’ve got the singer from Poison, Omarosa and I don’t know who else,” Rob Huebel adds. "Although Schwarzenegger just quit, so ...”
As it turns out, NBC hasn’t turned over control of The Celebrity Apprentice to Scheer and Huebel (just yet, at least), but the comedic duo does have a brand-new, bite-size web series called Drive Share that’s probably even more relatable than getting fired by an angry boss.
“Our show is a lot like The Apprentice, but it’s in the back of an Uber or a Lyft, so it’s awesome,” Huebel jokes. “It’s basically a sketch comedy show in the back of an Uber — although we both deleted the apps because we know they’re dicks. We’ve taken a million of these rides and had to share these weirdos’ cars with them, and sometimes it goes well and sometimes it does not go well.”
“A lot of times, you’re just inspired by what’s around you,” Scheer adds. “Everyone has been in a taxi or Uber or Lyft, and everyone has had an uncomfortable or slightly weird experience. There’s something funny about confining two people in a car like that. It’s like a very long elevator ride in that there’s no escape in that moment, so it’s a great place for a sketch show to happen.
“A lot of these rides are just a heightening of our own experiences, and then sometimes it’s just the craziest ideas we could come up with — like we were talking about Uber Eats, and what if Uber Eats just became a lobster tank that came to your house,” Scheer continues. “When you see the show, there are all these normal rides that are just two people talking or a couple getting a divorce, but there are also ones with time travel and ghosts, or in the world of Mad Max.”
But what really sets Drive Share apart from so many other series (comedy or not) is the model Scheer and Huebel used for the first batch of sketches. Instead of putting together a handful of scenes to create a weekly half-hour show, the duo released a new five-minute-or-so bit every weekday for six weeks, with the idea of people watching it on their phones at some point during the day rather than relying on a TV or computer. To make Drive Share even easier for casual fans to check out, every episode is simply available online through Go90 rather than forcing people to sign up for a new service or subscription.
“I feel like a lot of online content providers are just trying to create half-hour shows, and I thought this was cool because it’s something a little bit different,” Scheer says. “This idea of a show fit perfectly in bite-sized chunks, so it was a fun way of taking an idea that could work as a 30-minute show but worked better like this.”
“The thing I like about this platform is that you don’t have to do anything different or subscribe to anything,” Huebel adds. “I feel like people’s habits are sort of ingrained now. You either have Netflix or Hulu or you don’t. We thought it was cool to do something where anyone could watch it on their phones wherever and whenever they want.”
Of course, with the internet chock-full of funny content, coming up with 30 attention-grabbing and hilarious episodes for Drive Share’s first ride could strain even veteran comedians. Thankfully, Huebel and Scheer were able to enlist the help of their friends and comedians they've met through their previous ventures — from stand-up to Adult Swim classics like Childrens Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV to the sitcom adored by a million fantasy football bros, The League— to ensure that every episode was just the right brand of ridiculous comedy.
“We’re lucky that at this point in our careers, we’re friends with most of the comedy world out here,” Huebel says. “If we can throw people a little bit of money to do a sketch on a show for an hour, it’s pretty easy to get a great group of people. We have everyone from Jason Mantzoukas to Andrew Daly to Scott Aukerman on it, so it makes our job really easy.”
“What made it appealing for us was that we were shooting so many of them that we could write stuff to people’s strengths,” Scheer says. “We challenged ourselves to write for the people we wanted to work with, and we got to bring in so many of our friends. Everybody just got a two-page document with a beginning, middle, end, and some ideas for jokes and character ideas. Then people got in there and we’d just let the cameras roll. Whenever you give someone the chance to really get in and have fun, they want to do it. The real challenge was in editing, because we’d have 25 to 30 minutes and have to cut it down.”
The free-flowing, improv-like nature of Drive Share shows the type of chemistry that’s held great comedy together for generations, and the mobile-minded miniature format (an episode makes the pair’s Adult Swim ventures feel like The Lord of the Rings) and easy accessibility could certainly be the wave of the future. But if sketch comedy set in the back of a rideshare isn’t your thing, Huebel and Scheer have one other reason you should (or shouldn’t) tune in.
“Three words: full frontal nudity,” Huebel deadpans. “Sure, you’ve got your porn sites that are straight-up porn — like YouPorn and XVideos — but with this, you’re watching a sketch comedy show and then all of a sudden it’s just fucking beavers and bushes. It’s unbelievable to do this level of nudity.”