After starring on the comedy series Childrens Hospital for nearly a decade, actor Rob Huebel is back for a new adventure. Huebel stars again as Dr. Owen Maestro in the new Netflix spinoff Medical Police, teaming up with his former co-star Erinn Hayes as Dr. Lola Spratt to try and save the world from a global epidemic.
In the same way that Childrens Hospital was an absurdist spoof on medical dramas and TV shows, Medical Police is the same vibe, except it takes on international spy thrillers and action shows. Like Childrens Hospital, Rob Corddry is a co-creator and writer on the series, and many cast members of the original are returning for appearances, including actors like Lake Bell, Malin Ackerman, Ken Marino, and Corddry himself.
“When Netflix came around and wanted to do a spinoff, but make it longer with a slightly different approach, it was an exciting opportunity for us,” Huebel tells Men’s Journal. “It’s an absurd comedy like Childrens, but you don’t need to have seen that series to watch and enjoy this one. And there’s all this fun, wild action as we try to uncover this deep conspiracy.”
Medical Police is now streaming on Netflix.
Huebel spoke with Men’s Journal about the new comedy series Medical Police, juggling comedic and dramatic roles, doing improv, and more.
Men’s Journal: How did the spinoff come together after Childrens Hospital? What’s exciting for you to play that character again on Medical Police?
Rob Huebel: It’s honestly the most fun job. Childrens Hospital was the biggest blast, all the people we were already friends and knew each other, and we did it for a long time and no one fucked with us when we did it. We basically did whatever we wanted and it was just so fun for us. It was really fun to go back into that world and work with all these great people again.
Can you tell us a bit about the show and what your character gets into?
It starts off in the same world as Childrens Hospital, which is in Brazil for some strange reason—that’s always been a joke and it makes no sense. Basically, right away there’s a huge virus outbreak, and my character Owen and Erinn Hayes’ character, Lola, we get recruited by the government to be secret agents to fight and contain the virus. We have a race against the clock and we become action heroes, but of course we’re way out of our league. And of course, hilarity ensues.
What were some fun moments for you behind the scenes filming the series?
We got to do a bunch of stunts and fighting, we had stunt doubles, and I haven’t really had that before. I never really needed it in Childrens, so that was crazy. And there’s just all this wild stuff: Erinn and me with guns and shooting people, falling off of buildings, skydiving stuff, just insane action—and along with it are all these super funny moments with the old cast, like [Rob] Corddry, Ken Marino, Malin Ackerman, Lake Bell and Henry Winkler. It was kind of funny actually, we shot a lot of the show in Croatia. And so the crew from Croatia, they were from Game of Thrones and had come off of working on that. So they were all used to really crazy violence and murder, but they were confused by the comedy of what we were doing because it was so absurd. That was kind of fun to see, they were totally thrown off by it, they clearly were used to a lot more death and stuff from Game of Thrones [laughs].
Is there a lot of improv on the set with the cast?
For sure, but at the same time the writers this season had everything scripted out very specifically. We always give ourselves room to improvise, so if we can get 10 percent more jokes out of improvising, we’ll do that. We know each other really well and know what we each find funny, so we try to mess with that when we can. And on top of that, we got so lucky with guests stars, guys like Craig Robinson, Joel McHale, and Jason Schwartzman, they’re all comedy pros so when you throw those guys into the mix they know how to handle it all. It was like a dream team this season.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and how has it helped you in your career?
People always ask me for advice about comedy and the business, and I usually tell people one of two things: One is ‘Move to New York and get on stage when you can.’ Moving to New York was the best thing that ever happened to me. I moved when I was 25, had no idea how to do anything, no idea how to write or act or perform at all. I got involved in Upright Citizens Brigade right as they were forming, so I got a lot of stage time around then, doing a lot of sketch comedy and writing. There are so many clubs and open mics in New York and you can learn your craft. Now, if that’s not realistic for people, the other advice is: ‘Just to get together with a group of friends and shoot your stuff and put it on the internet.’ These days, you don’t have to go to film school to learn; you can just shoot it and put it on the internet. The internet will tell you if it’s funny right away. Just go and make your own stuff.
This Friday. ‘Medical Police’. Netflix. Tell your dumb friends. pic.twitter.com/Q4Ka4GubzL
— Rob Huebel (@robhuebel) January 8, 2020
What would you say to someone who hasn’t seen Childrens Hospital before about why they should watch Medical Police?
You really don’t need to know anything about Childrens Hospital to watch this new show, and if you want to laugh and see some absurd stuff, Medical Police is for you. Fans of Childrens will probably go in their pants over this show, but even if you haven’t seen it, we have an amazing cast, everyone is hilarious, and it’s just super fun and a super hilarious action-comedy. It unfolds quickly and sucks you in with some absurd jokes and great action moments. It’s worth the binge.
You’re known for your comedy work, but you’ve also done Transparent and some other dramatic roles. Are there other projects that you haven’t done yet that you’re hoping to do?
Definitely. Transparent was such an adventure because it was one of the first kind of dramatic or serious roles I had done. I had previously done the movie The Descendants with George Clooney, and that had some of those elements as well. I actually kind of like to be the sort of funny person within a dramatic thing—I don’t know if I’d want to be the guy who is dying of a brain tumor, but I could be his funny neighbor. I see things like Better Call Saul, which is dramatic but has those funny and serious moments together. One cool project that’s dramatic coming up I got to do is the limited series I Know This Much Is True, which is with Mark Ruffalo on HBO in April. Mark does the heavy lifting, all the dramatic stuff, and I get to be his funny best friend, so that was a blast for me.
You’ve done a lot of memorable guest appearances on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office, among others. What’s your preparation like to come into a group that’s been together for a spot like that for a short time?
It’s great for me to get to jump around on other shows, it’s a real treat to be able to do that, but it’s also a delicate thing. The shows already have their chemistry and you don’t want to come in super cocky and mess with that. My strategy is to come in a little under the radar and be appreciative and of the world they built, and do my own thing. Working on The Office or The League, a lot of times I’m already friends with these people, so that makes it easier. It’s not like I’m coming into Breaking Bad or The Sopranos where the world of the show is super high stakes. Luckily in comedy you can fuck around a little bit and try different jokes. Usually, when I’m hired they want me to improvise a bit, so it’s fun to get to play around like that. When I first did Curb or some of the network shows, I was a bit intimidated, but Larry David was so nice and it helped me just do my thing and be as funny as I could be.
Medical Police is now streaming on Netflix.
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