Hoping to snag a Hot Date? Look no further.
POP TV’s Hot Date is the latest web series to successfully make the leap to cable television. Executive-produced by Will Arnett, the sketch comedy — based on the CollegeHumor series of the same name — chronicles the hilarious idiosyncrasies of dating, sex and marriage in 10 episodes premiering Wednesday. (Check out an exclusive sneak peek above.)
The series stars real-life husband-and-wife duo Emily Axford and Brian K. Murphy as heightened versions of themselves, just like on the web series, which has garnered more than 100 million views.
Axford and Murphy will also play multiple other couples, and Arnett, 47, will make recurring appearances throughout the season, along with guest stars including Ben Schwartz, Mena Suvari and Kevin Pollak.
PEOPLE recently caught up with Arnett, Axford and Murphy, and the trio dished on everything from how they got together to where they get their inspiration for Hot Date material.
“I was fans of Murph and Emily and what they were doing over at CollegeHumor, and it just made sense,” said Arnett. “They obviously have such big comedic voices, and I wanted to be part of them taking that to a longer format and letting them take the ball and run with it — which they did in such a glorious way. They’ve created a show that’s very unique, and it kind of reminds me of a lot of shows that I used to love from days of yore.”
“It’s like a mix between [The Tracey Ullman Show] and Mr. Show in that they introduced these characters, but there is a driving narrative at the spine of it, which is really Emily and Murph going off and visiting different scenarios,” he added. “But also constantly moving forward in telling their stories, not just in a sketch format, but really digging into these characters — and it’s very satisfying in that way. When they lock onto something that’s funny about a character or a situation, they come back to it and really dig it out, and that’s really cool.”
Arnett is set to play podcast host Sam Keurig, and one of the things he did in preparation for the role was — you guessed it — listen to podcasts.
“I’m not a huge podcast listener, but I was like, ‘All right, I’ve really got to listen to some,’ ” he said. “Because there is that cadence, which is partially glorious and also partially super annoying. I was just trying to get to that sweet spot.”
“The theme of the episode is kind of, ‘Where have my friends gone?’ ” revealed Murphy. “It’s the idea that it’s kind of hard to make friends as an adult. Will is the host of a mystery podcast and he’s searching for where all of his friends went, and it’s sort of revealed that maybe he’s a little bit of a jerk.”
So where do Axford and Murphy get their comedic inspiration? From their “hot mess friends,” said Axford with a laugh.
“Our characters that are real hot messes and go on these crazy, awful dates, we end up having to pull that [material] from other people,” said Murphy. “Our own stories that we do as the main narrative arc end up being the things that are pulled from our real life, like Emily refusing to go to the doctor and drinking mushroom tea instead.”
“My friend had an ongoing thing that she was telling me about and I was like, ‘This is a nightmare,’ ” said Axford. “Then I showed her the sketch that I wrote based off of it and she loved it. She was so pumped.”
At its core, the series explores the social mores of the dating scene — and, as Arnett admits, the “pitfalls” that come with it.
“I think that no matter who you are — and this is going to sound corny, potentially — but just as human beings, it’s a weird thing, navigating all of that stuff,” he said. “And one of the great things that Emily and Murph really kind of touch on is that it’s really just about characters and personalities. People are different, and they highlight those differences by bringing forth, in an extreme way, certain characteristics that are represented by different characters.”
“There are a ton of pitfalls [in dating],” he said. “The fact that anybody can actually be in a relationship for a long time with another human being can be pretty amazing, considering how different everybody is from each other.”
Hot Date premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on POP TV.