Comedian Doug Benson loves movies and loves to make fun of movies.
He regularly poked fun at pop culture on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and his popular podcast “Doug Loves Movies” features movie stars like Michael Cera and John Lithgow, and directors such as Edgar Wright on a weekly basis. His short-lived Comedy Central show “The Benson Interruption” spun off into a podcast as well, but recently he’s turned it into an in-theater event where Benson and a couple of his comedian friends poke fun at a movie in front of a live audience.
Ed Helms, Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis have been recent guests, although it is still a surprise who will be appearing with Benson today at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet in Kansas City as he “interrupts” “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life” and Sunday for “Bad Boys 2” and “Freddy vs. Jason.” We caught up with Benson on the road to find out more about The Benson Movie Interruption.
You’ve interrupted an enormous amount of movies so far in theaters all over the country. Any count on how many? How long have you been doing this?
I have no idea how many times I’ve interrupted a movie. It started a few years ago at a theater in L.A. that does lots of cool stuff called The Cinefamily. Then I started doing it at comedy and music festivals, even Bonnaroo. And now I’m going to do ‘em at every Alamo Drafthouse in the country because it’s my favorite theater chain. And the one that asked.
What makes a better Benson Movie Interruption: A bad movie you love or a bad movie you hate?
I like interrupting movies that are not terrible, but are silly enough to make fun of without getting mean about it. The “Fast and Furious” movies are perfect. Almost anything with Tom Cruise or Patrick Swayze in it. “Roadhouse” is the gold standard of movies to interrupt. A not great movie that is still incredibly compelling.
Now that you find yourself watching movies for the sake of interrupting, how have your moviegoing habits changed?
I get bored quicker when watching a movie without a microphone in my hand. I’m like, why can’t I interrupt this? I walked out of a movie recently because I knew it was perfect to interrupt but I didn’t want to sit through the whole thing twice.
Have you ever interrupted a movie with one of its stars/crew in attendance?
Yeah, Elisabeth Shue was a good sport and helped me interrupt two of her movies: “Piranha 3D” and a crazy monkey movie she did a long time ago called “Link.” Adam Scott was there for “Piranha 3D” and also did “Torque.” Which was like “Fast and Furious” but with motorcycles. Which is perfect for interrupting!
How much of a typical Movie Interruption is scripted and how much is improvised?
It’s entirely improvised. Me and two or three comedians just reacting to the movie as we watch it.
What do you and your pals do to prepare for a Movie Interruption?
Nothing. We just show up ready to watch the movie like everybody else. Sometimes we’ve seen the movie before, sometimes we haven’t. I like interrupting movies that are 10 years old, because that’s long enough that I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened and it will be fresh to me again. But let’s face it, I forget stuff that happened in movies I saw last week!
Have you ever interrupted your documentary “Super High Me”? How hard/easy would it be to make fun of your own film?
I haven’t done it yet, but I probably will. I’ve got plenty of critical things to say about myself.
Your podcast “Doug Loves Movies” has popularized a movie trivia game you created called The Leonard Maltin Game. How many of your guests take it super-seriously and beg you to come on just for a chance to play again? Would you call fellow comedian Paul F. Tompkins the undisputed champion?
Guests either love playing the game or they don’t give a damn. And either way, that is fun to me. Paul Tompkins is great at it, and very competitive, but the best players in my opinion are Samm Levine, Jon Hamm and Paul Scheer. Edgar Wright is great at it too. He’ll be on again soon to promote his new movie “The World’s End.”
Why interrupt “Bad Boys II” and “Freddy vs. Jason”? What makes those movies prime candidates for scorn/laughs?
Anything with a 2 in the title is probably a good movie to interrupt. Because they are usually stale copies of the original. And a showdown between two horror movies icons, one of whom does not speak? Seems like the perfect opportunity to get a lot of wise cracks in. “My mask is too tight,” “Overall I’m a good dresser,” and “Can someone tell me where the ice rink is?” are some of the things we could say on Jason’s behalf.
Have you ever been to Lawrence, and if so, what were your impressions of the city?
I have been there. I played a club downtown, the name of which I can’t remember. But I had a blast. Would love to do it again. Call my agent and set it up!