Kevin Nealon has a special co-host this year for the Funniest Commercials of the Year special on TBS. Fred Willard joined Nealon to tape segments for the show which premieres on Tuesday, December 15 at 10:00 pm ET. I talked with Nealon and Willard about crazy products, rumors and Orson Welles.
Jessica Rae: Funny ideas are turning into real products that we see in commercial everyday. What’s a crazy product idea that you would like to see be turned into a reality?
Kevin Nealon: A crazy product?
Jessica Rae: Yeah, something that maybe you would like to be invented so you can use it everyday.
Kevin Nealon: I always look at things that I think will be antiquated in a couple of years. And for me, because I do stand-up comedy, I look at the microphone and I think, ‘boy there’s got to be a better way to do it than this’. You know, there should be some new product that can amplify your voice… I know we’re going to look back at pictures and see comics holding microphones and think wow that’s – that is old, it’s kind of [like] holding a megaphone.
Fred Willard: It is true, you see it – it hasn’t – the technology hasn’t increased that much from the 20’s. There’s still the microphone. They’re [just] a little more streamlined.
Kevin Nealon: Fred, I’ll tell you what I’d like to see right now is a phone longer battery life.
Fred Willard: And a device in your car that tells you when your tire is going flat or when your battery is about to go down. Because [it’s] surprising when you try to start the car and the battery is dead, or you come out and find out that the tire is slowly being deflated.
I understand they have a device now that tells you where the closest restroom is. I don’t know how they do that, who does that research? That’s an actual product.
Kevin Nealon: Fred, what I have is I have a Port-o-John – I think it’s called. I keep it in my glove compartment. I found it at a pharmacy, so if you’re stuck in traffic or something…
Fred Willard: Yeah?
Kevin Nealon: …you could take that out and so your closest restroom would be in your glove compartment.
Fred Willard: Do you have to pay to use it or is just now that you own it?
Kevin Nealon: You buy it at the pharmacy. It’s a one-time pay thing. But you can only use it once.
Fred Willard: That’s a handy. Or another thing I’d like to [ have invented] is for when you’re stuck in traffic… a device that not only shows you where the traffic is, but answers the question where the hell are all these people coming from.
Kevin Nealon: I think finally the last product I’d like to see is something that you can blow into that’ll tell you if you have bad breath or not because I’ve got a friend that has bad breath and I don’t know how to tell him.
Fred Willard: That’s a good – now there’s a good idea. And Kevin, a subtle hint could be were you talking to me or is my port-a-potty door open?
Jessica Rae: Well these would be pretty interesting holiday presents if they ever got made. Now Fred, did Kevin put you through any kind of initiation process to join him as the co-host for this special?
Fred Willard: They nailed my shoes down to the floor, they stole my trousers and…
Jessica Rae: Oh no.
Fred Willard: I had to go home and…
Kevin Nealon: We nailed his shoes down to the floor but…
Fred Willard: What?
Kevin Nealon: We nailed your shoes to the floor but your feet were in them at the time so that created a problem.
Fred Willard: And I couldn’t complain because it was the first time I’d done the show. (Laughs) No, I was welcomed. I don’t think in a show like this they have time to say, ‘let’s pull a prank on Fred’. It’s kind of the time thing. And it was a very fun day just going from scene to scene in between the commercials and, yeah, it was great fun.
And there were a few adlibs – they treated me quite well.
Jessica Rae: That’s good to hear.
Kevin Nealon: Fred was game – Fred was game for anything in this. He was a real trooper.
Jessica Rae: If you could start a rumor with a little bit of truth about each other what would you say? What would you put out there?
Fred Willard: A rumor with a little bit of truth?
Jessica Rae: Yeah, but exaggerate something.
Fred Willard: Well I think – I think Kevin wanted to play all the parts on this. He wants to be known as the master of disguise. And at the end of the show he wanted to be unveiled… to pull off the moustache, the beard, the spectacles and be treated as more of a serious actor, kind of an Orson Welles approach to the show.
Kevin Nealon: Yeah. That’s right, they want to keep making it funny.
Fred Willard: Yeah. He wanted to make it a dramatic piece but they – I think the powers to be said, ‘no, Kevin, let’s keep it light’ but he wanted to make, like Invaders from Outer Space or Martians, you know, Orson Welles – what Orson Welles did.
Jessica Rae: Interesting. And Kevin?
Kevin Nealon: The rumor for Fred is basically that the same woman that are coming out of the woodwork for Tiger will be coming out of the woodwork for Fred too.
Jessica Rae: Oh, no.
Kevin Nealon: Same ones.
Fred Willard: But in my case literally coming out of the woodwork which is a little scary.
Kevin Nealon: Yeah, they’re basically termites.