A sidekick walks into a bar and he meets other sidekicks to commiserate their futility and their lack of superpowers. It may not be a good scene for an action series, but it definitely works as the premise of “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bobby Moynihan’s web series “The Sidecar,” which ran for six episodes late last year. The series is set at a bar called The Sidecar and features a superhero sidekick bartender named The Brick (played by Moynihan) who serves two other sidekicks Bluejay (Chris Gethard) and Fracture (Neil Casey). The trio laments about their failures as sidekicks and hopes for being superheroes someday.
Now it’s back for Geek Week, and this time, the series takes a mockumentary turn to remember one of the sidekicks, Bluejay, who died in the last episode while on his first mission as a superhero. NMR talked to Moynihan about “The Sidecar’s” Geek Week episode and how SNL-like content on YouTube is doing so far.
What’s “The Sidecar” doing for Geek Week?
Bobby Moynihan: It’s a series about a bar called The Sidecar – kind of like “Cheers” – but only superheroes’ sidekicks are allowed to drink in this bar. We did six episodes, and in the last episode, one of our main characters, Blujay, was killed in action. This episode is a documentary/tribute to that character and possibly opening it up to future episodes. It’s a one-off episode where we do a documentary on The Sidecar and what happened in the first series. Hopefully, we’ll get to do more of “The Sidecar” and these fake documentaries. Originally we decided we were going to do six and it was going to be a standalone six-episode season. We’re thinking of doing more, and I’m hoping there’s more to come.
What do these sidekicks have in common?
It’s the fact that they all don’t have very good hours, and in this world, it’s hard for them to find work because the world doesn’t need sidekicks anymore. It’s all about the hero. So it’s just a bunch of sidekicks complaining about their lives at a bar.
How does humanizing these sidekicks appeal to your audience?
I think the comic world is definitely heading in that direction anyway with “The Dark Knight” and “Man of Steel.” We’re at a point now where we can meld the two and kind of take it more serious if it were to happen in real life. I enjoy the thought that these guys are walking around and have these powers but they’re not really helpful. So what do they do with their day? Unfortunately they drink it away at a bar.
Did you watch a lot of “Cheers” growing up?
Of course! I was kid when “Cheers” was on so I watched a lot of it. It was definitely an influence on “The Sidecar,” and it was all for one joke. You remember the character Norm from “Cheers”? Well there’s a character, a sidekick in The Sidecar called Normal Man, and when he comes in the other sidekicks scream “Norm!” He makes an appearance in the new episode. We get to see how all the characters are doing since the last time we saw them and how they’re dealing with the death of Blujay and what happens next.
Now going on the subject of Geek Week, would you consider yourself a geek?
I’ve always been into that comic book culture. I’m a fanboy at heart. I was very into SNL as a kid and very into the Muppets, and there’s certain comic book artists I enjoyed like Jim Lee and J. Scott Campbell. I was into that stuff and, so yeah, I’m still into it now. I’m a 36-year-old boy.
Who was a superhero you looked up to growing up?
I always liked The Hulk. I always like the big guys like The Hulk and The Thing. I don’t know why. I guess it’s the fact that they’re gigantic. I was always a big fan of X-Men and anyone who could fly. Archangel was sweet.
I can see why you like The Hulk because your character in “The Sidecar” is The Brick, a gigantic bartender with brick arms.
Exactly. He’s kind of a mix between The Hulk and The Thing.
How do you think SNL-like content on YouTube is faring so far?
[“Saturday Night Live” creator] Lorne Michaels has Broadway Video, and Above Average Productions is kind of the digital arm of that. It’s kind of their comedy channel on YouTube, and I’ve been working with them. It’s really great because Above Average kind of gives you the freedom to do what you’d like to do. If I went to a TV network, they would be a lot more standoffish on a lot of the stuff. With Above Average, you get to make what you set out to make.
How’s it different from working on a live skit show like “Saturday Night Live”?
It’s not different at all. As far as doing it live, that’s a whole different story, but on SNL we do a lot of pre-taped commercials, commercial parodies, digital shorts and stuff. It’s a lot of the same crew from SNL, and I was lucky enough to get other cast members like Aidy Bryant and a lot of the other funny comedians like Chris Gethard, Neil Casey, Shannon O’Neill to be involved, and it’s kind of everybody comes out and just hangs out. For the first six series they were all written out, and I hired a lot of my friends who are improvisors to make it better. This one for Geek Week is a lot more loose. We were trying to make it look like a documentary. It’s a lot looser and there’s a lot of improvising, but we were lucky to get those guys to hang out and do it. We also got Grizz Chapman from “30 Rock” and that sensation Hannah Minx. It’s a lot of comedians and internet-based comedy people.
Where do you see your web series career going after “The Sidecar”?
It’s fun to do. If you have a quick idea to do a project, I’d definitely love to do more “Sidecar” episodes, and I have a couple of ideas that I’m thinking about, and Above Average is a wonderful creative place to get to do that.
You may also like: