Interview: Brett Gelman Talks ‘Inside Job’ and Voicing a Magic Mushroom

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(L-R) Brett Gelman in ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Inside Job’/Netflix

Brett Gelman has made the rounds on film and television. His film work includes Lemon (which he co-wrote) and The Other Guys. On the TV side, he appears in shows such as Stranger Things, Mr. Mercedes, Fleabag, and more. His latest project is a voice role for Netflix’s new adult animated comedy Inside Job. The series follows the employees of Cognito, Inc., an organization responsible for committing the world’s conspiracies. In the show, Gelman voices Magic Myc, a psychic subterranean mushroom.

Ahead of the series premiere, Nerds & Beyond had the chance to chat with Gelman about Inside Job. He discusses what viewers can expect with Myc, his experience working on the show, and more.

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

Nerds & Beyond: What initially drew you to Inside Job and the role of Myc?

Brett Gelman: The writing, and the world that was being created. I just thought it was such a brilliant idea to be making this that is making fun of the deep state. A thing that may or may not exist. [laughs] You know, it’s one way or another. But obviously not in the form of this show. But yeah. I just thought it was a brilliant, brilliant idea. And when they told me I was going to be playing a giant mushroom – I mean how could I say no. How could I say no to that?

Nerds & Beyond: What can viewers look forward to seeing with Myc?

Brett Gelman: Just a lot of really jerky behavior. I mean just like really horrible rudeness. [laughs] Just really rude. And telling it like it is, you know. Telling everybody what the deal is. Speaking the truth! He’s the truth-sayer. But, you know, sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. And sometimes he’s just an asshole. [laughs]

Nerds & Beyond: Yeah, I mean he is an incredibly snarky character, and I feel like he’s in his own world apart from the group, but he also meshes very well with them, I think. Were you able to see or hear how your fellow co-stars performed their characters to make Myc work within that mix, or did you just go for it?

Brett Gelman: No, we did a lot of table reads before the pandemic. This was before the pandemic, so we were able to do table reads together. It was great to the takes that everybody had on everything. It was very helpful.

Nerds & Beyond: You’re no stranger to voiceover work, either. You’ve lent your voice to shows like American Dad and I Heart Arlo, among others. What sets Inside Job apart as far as how you prepared for it and how you approach it?

Brett Gelman: I really – the writing speaks for itself, you know. You settle on a voice…the character is pretty close to my voice, so I didn’t have to do a lot of practicing of another voice. And yeah. I mean, it’s just basically showing up, being funny, do takes until it works.

Nerds & Beyond: Were there any scenes that you just thought were so funny that it took a while to get through them?

Brett Gelman: I mean, they were all pretty equally funny. I don’t really have a favorite. It’s a lot of moments, too, of just like how the episode builds and stuff like that, and the terrible situations that people get through. But I don’t really have a hard time getting through scenes, no matter how funny they are. It’s my job to not break. I’m the one who does the breaking; people are laughing around me, you know what I’m saying? That’s like how it goes. [laughs] I’m the guy that they can’t keep a straight face around. So, I’m egotistical enough to say that, but not enough to clock when that’s happening. But we had a blast. When you’re recording, though, you’re not with the other actors. You’re by yourself. So, it’s not like we’re in a group.

Nerds & Beyond: You also have several writing credits under your belt. If you ever had the opportunity to write an episode for Inside Job, would you?

Brett Gelman: I wouldn’t. [laughs] I love this show, but it’s not really the type of thing that I write. So, I wouldn’t. I mean I could lie to you right now and tell you that I would, but no, I wouldn’t do that. I only write my own original things.

Nerds & Beyond: If the show continues in a second season, what’s something you’d like to explore further with Myc and the show in general?

Brett Gelman: I’d love to see like an inter-romantic relationship. And I would love the show to just keep pushing the envelope and digging deep. You know, it’s wild when we first started doing this show – which was like in the midst of the Trump presidency – and now that we’re out of that, you know, I think that that anxiety that’s fueling a lot of the show, that it would be very interesting to see that like general anxiety over everything has just taken over. So to delve deeper into that in a funny way, and give people a little bit of relief through humor.

Nerds & Beyond: This show really does jam every possible government conspiracy theory into it, both in overt and more subtle ways. Do you have a favorite one that pops up either as a central plotline or in a background detail?

Brett Gelman: I mean, just that the deep state exists on the level that it does, and that everything is planned.

Nerds & Beyond: One of my favorite aspects about this show is just how absurd it can be at times. What has your experience been like being a part of something that really leans into that but also does have something to say?

Brett Gelman: Oh my god, it’s the best. To really take how we’re all feeling and what we’re all experiencing, and then put that through an absurdist lens just really – it’s always just very exciting to do. Just like it harkens back to a lot of the comedy, too, I grew up loving – from Mel Brooks to Monty Python. And The Simpsons. It very much to me was reminding me a lot of like The Simpsons from the ‘90s, where it was like – really to me like the peak and doing a lot of absurd social commentary. Not that it’s bad now. I mean, The Simpsons are amazing. I should say The Simpsons overall, you know, and what that is able to do as far as social commentary. But then have you care about characters and just laugh your ass off.

Nerds & Beyond: What do you hope viewers take away from Myc and the show?

Brett Gelman: Just that it heals a lot of the anxiety that people are feeling, due to all the many problems and the tightrope that we are now walking on as human beings. But I think that it also reveals that we’ve always been walking that tightrope, at least since the beginning of the 20th century. So, I think a lot of people will chuckle and maybe think about it in a constructive way, too.

Nerds & Beyond: Finally, since we are a nerdy site, we like to ask this of the people we interview: What is something you like to nerd out to in your spare time?

Brett Gelman: I mean – I don’t know like what I would call…I’m just not a nerd. [laughs] No disrespect. I like stuff that nerds like, you know. I dig comic books, and I dig, I guess like…do nerds dig streetwear? I do love, and I do respect comic book art a great deal. I respect video games as an art as well. But do I get immersed in that in my spare time? No. I don’t really have spare time, to be honest. [laughs] But I love all – I loved Squid Game. I watched Squid Game in a day. It was amazing. So, that was like nerding out. It sort of was, you know, when you binge something in one day, watch eight hours of television. I mean, what can be nerdier than that.

Nerds & Beyond: Do you have anything else you want to add?

Brett Gelman: No. [laughs] But hey, keep your eyes open. Keep your eyes open, and your ears open, and listen before you speak. It’s okay to think before we speak.

Thank you to Brett for taking the time to speak with us! Make sure to catch him as Myc in Inside Job. Read our review of the series here.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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