It’s a premise so absurd it’s destined to be a hit on Adult Swim’s weird and wondrous programming block. With an eyepatch, hi-top fade, neck tattoos, a dangly earring made out of a bullet and an outfit so bright it can be seen from outer space, there’s no mistaking Neon Joe for any other fighter of the paranormal.
Viewers will get to know a lot more about Jon Glaser’s mystery man clad in highlighter hues when “Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter” stalks its way onto Adult Swim on Dec. 7. The series also marks Glaser’s return to Adult Swim after the more subdued (if only where the palette is concerned) “Delocated.”
Ahead of “Neon Joe’s” premiere, star and creator Glaser was joined by castmates Scott Adsit, Steve Little, Steve Cirbus and Stephanie March for a series of roundtable interviews at New York Comic Con. Here are nine things we learned about this curious miniseries.
1. The title is surprisingly self-explanatory
Glaser broke it down: “The show is about a guy that wears neon and hunts werewolves. … The neon for him is like reverse camouflage, where he just wants to be out in plain view and let these creatures know, ‘I’m here. Deal with it. I’m not hiding.'”
2. “Neon Joe” is a “Delocated” reunion
Of course Glaser fronted the live-action “Delocated” before playing his new show’s title lycanthrope slayer. Adsit, who portrayed a Dog Food Executive in an episode of “Delocated,” now plays “Neon Joe’s” simple-minded but eager tavern owner. And Glaser was pleased to tell us Cirbus, who “played the muscly Russian tough guy” in “Delocated,” joined “Neon Joe” as Sherriff Dalton.
Cirbus himself explained how his small-town sheriff calls in Glaser’s eccentric “gun for hire,” saying, “Garrity, Vermont, has had a recent horrific murder and it leads us to investigate the possibility that it was done by something other than a human. … [Neon Joe] rolls into town to rid our small town of the werewolf terror. … Throughout the course of the season, Neon Joe and I work very closely with one another to try to find this motherfucker.”
3. The series began as a bit on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
“I just wanted to do something stupid for the interview and just to amuse myself,” Glaser explained of his February 2013 appearance on the talk show to promote the “Delocated” finale. “So I took two pieces of clothing that I owned — one was a neon [yellow] hoodie and knit cap from American Apparel and another was a pair of Coors Light sweatpants. These are both things I owned for comedy bits that I’d done live on stage in shows in New York. I arbitrarily paired them and wore that on the show and I said, ‘I’m really sad that “Delocated” is done, but I’m really excited about my new project. It’s called “Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter,” and I’m dressed as the character right now. And that’s really all we have right now. But we’re excited about where we could go.’ The Coors Light pants was the whole silver bullet joke, and that’s an old joke that’s been done. It was an arbitrary joke. There was no show. There was no idea for a show. There was nothing.”
4. It was just a gag — until Adult Swim called
“I had a history with Adult Swim,” Glaser said. “I remember at the time thinking, I could see them maybe going, ‘I know that’s a joke, but it sounds funny. It’s a funny name for a show.’ And that’s kind of what happened. They just said, ‘Could that be something?'”
Glaser penned a pilot, which executives liked enough to fund its production. From there, Glaser and his team were asked to write five more episodes. And if that goes well, “Hopefully there’ll be more.”
5. “Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter” pulls influence from “Jaws”
“It has a ‘Jaws’ feel in that it takes place in this small town in New England and this creature is causing havoc,” Glaser shared. “And the people in the town are not sure how to deal with it. They don’t want to close down their businesses.”
But that’s not all. “30 Rock” veteran Adsit teased that the pilot draws from an iconic moment from the Steven Spielberg classic. While he wouldn’t say specifically what, you can see from the NYCC-exclusive trailer below that Joe delivers a playful parody of Quint’s classic speech.
6. The tone is serious
Glaser thought the key to this comedy was taking a ludicrous plot and treating it seriously, so the gore and monster effects are “as realistic as possible.” Adding some heft to their drama is Neon Joe’s self-proclaimed “straight man” Stephanie March, who’s played the no-nonsense Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for more than a decade.
March suspected her audition costume choice helped her land the role of the town’s mayor, saying, “I was wearing a T-shirt that had a werewolf on it, completely unintentionally, and I think that worked in my favor.” Yet she concurred that the show’s tone is somewhat somber, saying, “It’s an epic drama for our hero.”
Steve Little of “Eastbound & Down” hinted that some of the hero’s drama involves his character, janitor Cleve Menu. “I look up to Neon Joe,” he said. “Neon Joe first shows up at the town meeting. Episode 1, that’s where I meet him. He takes me under his wing. I want to be a werewolf hunter, too. He’s the father I never had. It’s emotional — probably Adult Swim’s most emotional show.”
7. It’s also dumb
And that’s according to Glaser, who assures that his show is “as dumb as possible,” clarifying, “I use the words ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ a lot, and that to me just means funny. I think it sounds obnoxious to say ‘Yeah, that’s really funny!'”
Adsit added, “You can’t predict where it’s going to go, and it goes to very strange places. But it’s all very silly, and Jon will say stupid as well. It’s not though. It’s really smart silly. The places it goes is very emotionally driven and human, but it’s all curtained in this ridiculousness.”
8. The show has spawned its own comic
“Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter” the comic was a collaborative effort between Glaser, who wrote it, and artists Tom Mandrake and Jan Duursema. Adsit described it as a “prequel”; Glaser called it an “origin story” — one that includes some goodies that were cut from the pilot. Both Adsit and Glaser agree it’s a pretty stellar bit of promotional material.
9. Neon Joe is peak Glaser
“If you find Jon Glaser funny, this is the show to watch because — in my opinion — this is him at his funniest,” Adsit insisted. “He’s playing a really confident asshole, and he does that really really well. But then he’s also got this human side to him, so he’s created this character that on its surface… is just a sketch character. But it sustains and he’s really really funny in it.”
“Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter” will air over five consecutive nights on Adult Swim, beginning Dec. 7.
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