Therapy Studios helps to craft the idiosyncratic brand of comedy behind The Gorburger Show on Comedy Central. Previously produced as a Funny or Die/Warner Music web series, The Gorburger Show features a giant blue space monster (voiced by Silicon Valley’s TJ Miller) who serves as the unlikely host of a Japanese variety show.
All 8 episodes of Gorburger were produced by Caviar and directed by its creators, Ryan McNeely and Josh Martin (aka The Director Brothers). The pair also serves as executive producers, alongside T.J. Miller and Sean Boyle of Funny or Die, and write for the show with Miller and four others.
Gorburger continues a longstanding partnership between The Director Brothers and Therapy Studios. McNeely is a partner of design and vfx company Visual Creatures, which began to operate out of the same space as Therapy in 2010. The companies frequently tackle projects together, with Therapy bringing the editorial, audio and VFX muscle while Visual Creatures focuses on design and animation. Prior collaborations include campaigns for Gamefly, Cap’n Crunch, KIA, and Red Bull, and the HBO show Sonic Highways, which was produced by Therapy Content.
As McNeely and Martin’s live action careers began to take off as The Director Brothers, they continued to foster solid relationships with Therapy’s artists, with both companies growing together in their work over the years. When The Director Brothers created Gorburger for Funny or Die, editor Kristin McCasey cut the first episodes, helping to set the tone for the show. Naturally McCasey was enlisted to cut the TV pilot and by the time Comedy Central picked up the show, it was evident this creative alliance would continue.
With the workflow and trust already in place, The Director Brothers gave McCasey and the other editors a considerable amount of creative freedom at the beginning of the process, inviting them to help craft the jokes and explore the funniest outcomes. “We like to see what they’ll come up with that might have been different from what we were planning or what we initially liked on set,” explains McNeely. “When it comes to comedy, there are so many different ways to make a scene funny, and we don’t ever want to get boxed into what we wrote or anticipated.”
“On Gorburger, this was multiplied times a million because we were working with an animatronic monster that we could make say almost anything through ADR. That means near endless opportunities to changes jokes and make a scene funnier…which is both a blessing and a curse.” With creative free rein, Therapy’s editors could manipulate the order of the shot sequences and rewrite jokes by putting different captions onscreen as placeholders, making Gorburger say whatever they wanted.
McNeely says: “Because of the talk show format of the show, we had a lot of improvisation, so there were so many directions each scene could go. We relied on our editors at Therapy to help steer us in the funniest (or sometimes weirdest) direction possible. After the initial cut, we all worked together to craft the comedy of each scene.”
Along with McCasey, editors Jake Shaver, Sean Ferris, and Luke Lynch each contributed to episodes. Eddie Kim and Brandon Kim manned the audio with impeccable sound design and mixing, and colorist Omar Inguanzo provided the vibrant palette for the series. Flame Artist Geoff Stephenson led the finishing duties with help from Therapy Partner Wren Waters and Rachel Moorer, and the whole circus was wrangled by post supervisor Margaret Ward.
The Gorburger Show premiered on Comedy Central on April 9 at midnight. Episodes will feature guests including Zach Woods and Johnny Pemberton of Silicon Valley, Reggie Watts, Rob Corddry, Larry King, Tig Notaro, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and more.