Comedian Jason Nash will try just about anything to get our attention. In his podcast Guys With Feeling, recorded with a live audience in his basement, his style of humor often draws from the friction between hanging with his ‘guys’ and his life a husband and dad. In one episode, he rails against his wife’s request for 2% milk when he can only find 1% at the store. Passive aggressive notes fly and chaos ensues.
When Jason Nash couldn’t get his hippie wanna-be guru character, The Shaman, out of his head, it was time to find him a home. He created a new web series to give The Shaman a place to spout spiritual mumbo-jumbo and drive everyone around him crazy. The Shaman has been picked up by Atom and will premiere later this Spring on Atom.com. Imagine this shirtless sage as your new roommate and get ready for a wild ride.
Tubefilter asked Jason Nash about his Shaman, behind the scenes of creating the web series, and what his wife really thinks about the comedian in her house.
Tubefilter: When did you first create The Shaman character? What was your inspiration for this shirtless wonder?
Jason Nash: I used to love watching Val Kilmer in The Doors prance around shirtless as Jim Morrison. He’s great and ridiculous at the same time. I just started to think how awesome would that be to say things in your lower register like “The dawn is coming, but only the snake knows when…” and think you’re the shit. I wish I was that person, but I am so not.
Tubefilter: How did The Shaman score his own series?
JN: I was like, “Damn it. I’m poor and my career is in the toilet. Zack Galifianakis and Demetri Martin are way more successful than me. I better try and do something. I know, I’ll make an internet show that pays me nothing!”
I called my director friend Mike Blieden, who at the time was working with superstars like Kanye West and Fiona Apple, and asked him to sit down. I said, “Mike, how would he like direct a web show for a character Saturday Night Live turned down?” Then, Donick Cary who created Lil’ Bush saw the pilot we made and helped me sell it to Lou Wallach at Comedy Central/Atom.
Tubefilter: Talk about the process of filming the series. How did you assemble the right team to tell this story?
JN: Mike Blieden, Matt Price, and I were in a sketch group, but we stopped when Mike decided he didn’t want to perform anymore. Luckily, he got really good at directing so I brought him the script and he made it happen.
Then I needed a producing partner, so I called my other friend Paul Stephan who was doing nothing with his life. I mean, really nothing. A full day for this guy is making himself a frothy cappuccino and arguing with me how he thinks Superbad isn’t funny. But Paul did an awesome job. He figured out a way to shoot 50 pages in six days. Our company Inter-Global Mega is producing sketches with Dave Koechner and the new Funny Or Die show for HBO.
Then my friends Pete Bumgarner and Neil Mahoney edited it. Pete’s really good at editing. Sometimes when I go over there he starts talking technical stuff as if I understand what the heck he’s saying. He’s all “4:3 aspect ratio” and “processing DV at 720i.” Usually, I just nod my head, and wait until he starts talking about Flight of the Conchords and jump back in on the conversation.
I also needed a love interest and I have always been attracted to Blieden’s wife Erin Gibson, so I thought this would be a good way to make out with her. Erin is super hot, great in her web show Roommating and has always been way into me. (Ed. Note: See “Banned from YouTube, Roommating Goes Live August 27th”)
I wrote a full on sex scene for the Shaman and her and when Erin read it she was like, “Absolutely not!” But I could tell she was just protecting Mike’s feelings. Maybe in Season 2.
We also got some great guest stars this year: Richard Simmons, the Sklar Brothers, Laura Silverman, Nick Kroll, Matt Walsh, Lizzy Cooperman, Andy Daly, Hal Rudnick, Brian Huskey and Mara Cary.
Tubefilter: Matt Price plays your straight man in The Shaman. You have also worked with him on Guys With Feelings. Why do you think you have that chemistry with him? Where does it come from?
JN: I emailed Matt Price to let him answer this question as me…
Nash, “Well, I come from the Ron Stetson school of acting, and what I learned from Ron during my time working in his classes is that if you want to be an actor, you have to be a giver. And Matt Price is a giver. He gives his heart and soul into each project. Whether it’s on The West Wing where he played a car salesman to his latest work on the new TNT show, Men of a Certain Age where he plays a car salesman, Matt is always finding the nuances of his character. And because I can trust him, he creates an atmosphere where I am allowed to be the best Shaman I can be. Which, frankly, at the end of the day is way more important than what Matt does. I mean, the series is called The Shaman, and I’m the Shaman. He’s just…whatever his character’s name was. Matt, I think. Yeah, we didn’t even change his name.”
Tubefilter: On Guys With Feeling you spend a lot of time telling private things about your wife. Do you ever think you will take it too far and really piss her off?
JN: She decided a long time ago to not listen to the podcast. This could be so I have the freedom to say salacious things, but more likely it’s because she’s super self-centered and could care less about what I am up too. Don’t worry she won’t read this either.
Tubefilter: How would she feel if The Shaman came home one day instead of Jason?
JN: She’d be like, “Jason stop doing that stock hippie character. It’s fucking annoying.” And then she would yell at me about how I put the wrong color socks on my two year old.
Tubefilter What are some of your favorite web series?
JN: The best web series is The Michael Showalter Showalter on College Humor. Showalter is a genius. It’s a fake Charlie Rose style talk show where he gets mad at his guests each week (Paul Rudd, David Cross etc.)
I also love the Sklar Brothers show Back On Topps which is going into its second season. I love the guy who plays their stalker. He is really good. And handsome. (Nash plays the Sklar’s stalker).
Tubefilter: Who is your all time favorite comedian?
JN: In no order…Stella, Chris Rock, Janeane Garafalo, Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Zack Galifianakis, Demetri Martin, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, David Cross, Jon Glaser, Jon Benjamin.
Tubefilter: What is next for the Shaman? Will he open a school, healing center, juice bar?
JN: Well, the Shaman lives in LA now so I heard he’s giving dog massage at Runyon Canyon, consulting on Entrouage for a storyline where Turtle tries to retain his chi and working on an album of inaudible chants.
Tubefilter: What’s next for Jason Nash?
JN: I just started doing standup and that’s going very well. My first standup EP is called “The Darkest Heart” and you can get it on my website guyswithfeelings.com. It’s mostly about how my wife drives me crazy, and, no, I don’t plan on letting her listen to it.