David Faustino has arrived on the web. Crackle’s new comedy web series Star-ving premieres today, kicking off a riotous look inside the life of the former Married…with Children star’s groveling reality. Ok, so it’s not quite reality. Faustino plays himself of course, only he’s broke, out of work and begging his rich Hollywood pals for money. His longtime friend Corin Nemec (former star of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) is the screwball sidekick looking to ride Faustino’s coattails back to glory. Oh, and he runs a porn shop.
There’s a whole roster of comedic gold on the guest star lineup: Ed Asner (The Closer, The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy); Christina Applegate (Samantha Who); Seth Green (Robot Chicken); Ed O’Neill (Married…with Children, John from Cincinnati); rap star Coolio; Gilbert Gottfried (The Aristocrats); former Growing Pains stars Alan Thicke, Tracey Gold and Jeremy Miller; the infamous Kato Kaelin; and, why not, adult film star Ron Jeremy.
Faustino, Nemec and their friend Todd Bringewatt (co-writer and producer of MySpaceTV’s Rules of The Game) make up FNB Entertainment, the three year-old production company that created the series. We had a chance to talk to the three pals about their first web project and the creative freedoms of having their own web series.
There’s an air of HBO’s Entourage to the series, though with a brilliant awkwardness that would make Larry David proud. In fact, Bringewatt told me they originally had pitched the series as “Curb Your Enthusiasm meets the anti-Entourage.”
Tubefilter: Who came up with this idea?
David Faustino: Todd had written this treatment that was basically what Star-ving is. It was over the top and crazy. When I first read it, it was making us look like total assholes. Then we honed it, shifted a few things around here and there.
Corin Nemec: Once Sam Kass (Emmy-winning writer on Seinfeld) got involved it took it to another level creatively. We pulled some favors and shot a presentation and it ended up finding a home on the web. Sony Pictures Television (Crackle) came to the table productions wise.
Faustino: [Kass] brought in some of his own ideas and humor. We have our and we’re all about the same age, but Sam’s a little bit older than us and has been around a little longer than us and brought his own flavor to it.
Tubefilter: Is there ever a moment you stopped and asked ‘what is this doing to my image?‘
Faustino: If it’s a huge success it’s doesn’t matter. But yes, people are going to be like holy sh*t. Everybody has their own idea about what I’m like anyway. They either think I’m living in this huge castle in the hills and I’ve got like 20 girls sitting there as servants, or they think I’m a drug addict on the street because I was on TV. Everyone has their own pre-conceived notions, we’re just adding some comedy to it…and by the way, I am in a castle with 20 girls.
Tubefilter: So it’s not really exploitation when you’re the ones exploiting yourselves?
Faustino: It’s embracing your demons, embracing what they’re making fun of anyway. I mean the Hollywood community has already made up their minds about what I can and can’t do. So I’m not changing their perceptions. What I’m saying is I’m making fun of myself and look, I can take a joke.
Bringewatt: It’s hard not to respect that especially when done with the kind of charm that David brings to it.
Faustino: We’re allowed to make fun of ourselves because we’re doing it. We’re doing it harder than anyone else could ever do it.
Bringewatt: It’s not cool for someone else to come along and go, ‘Yeah, what you just said about you, take that! You are short and out of work!’
Tubefilter: What kind of outreach are you doing social media wise – do you plan to blog, Twitter, etc. about the show?
Faustino: I’ve become more pro-active with my fans because I need them right now. I’ve started blogging and it’s amazing. When I posted a blog post on my MySpace page the number of comments I got back was astounding, they really want to be a part of it.
Bringewatt: It’s a passion project. Passion is contagious. People really get a sense that’s there something genuine going on here.
Faustino: Even though it’s a little web show—actually because it’s a little web show the amount of work we have to do is greater than [TV]. It’s labor intensive no doubt about it.
Tubefilter: How much creative freedom have you had? Has Sony been pretty good to guys?
Faustino: : They virtually left us alone creatively until final cuts and time issues started coming into it.
Bringewatt: They have the market research that episodes must fit into this time box, but we were able to fit the story we wanted to tell in there.
Faustino: And they’re fans of the show at Sony, which is great.
Bringewatt: Or they’re really good actors.
Tubefilter: What do you guys see happening with the rapid emergence of web television?
Faustino: It’s not going away, it’s only getting bigger. I think personally that TV and the internet will meld in 5-10 years. As long as we can make a living and have some creative freedom and be able to survive, then yes, we’ll keep making more for the web.
Nemec: At the end of the day it’s still going to boil down to content. There’s always going to be a certain level of quality that people care about. Even if the two technologies blend, when your flat screen becomes your computer, it’s all there. What we thought that we could bring to web were actual shows that had a beginning, a middle and an end—the half-hour format in less than 8 minutes. Instead of sketch comedy, it was the three arc structure in short form format.
Three episodes of the 13-ep debut season of Star-ving came out today and new ones drop every Friday on Crackle.com.