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Enrico Rava's 'The Words and the Days'

Trumpeter Enrico Rava is one of Italy's best known and most recorded jazz musicians.

He's a true internationalist, working with players from all around Western Europe. Rava has also played with Americans such as saxophonist Steve Lacy, composer Carla Bley and trombonist Roswell Rudd.

In the 1970s, Rava made some memorable records for the ECM label. Now he's back with the company and one happy results is The Words and the Days.

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Contributor

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Other segments from the episode on March 8, 2007

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, March 8, 2007: Interview with Rob Corddry and Nate Corddry; Review of Enrico Rava's album "The Words and the Days."

Transcript

DATE March 8, 2007 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Brothers Rob and Nate Corddry discuss their careers
as actors and in comedy
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

My guests Rob Corddry and Nate Corddry first became known as correspondents on
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Rob was on the show four years before
leaving last August. His younger brother, Nate, was on for about 10 months.
They each left to work on TV series. Rob's new sitcom, "The Winner,"
premiered on Fox this week. He plays a 32-year-old virgin who still lives at
home with his parents. Nate is one of the stars of the NBC series, "Studio 60
on the Sunset Strip," which is set backstage at a sketch comedy show, like
"Saturday Night Live." Nate plays a writer and actor on the show. We thought
it would be a lot of fun to bring Nate and Rob Corddry together for an
interview.

Rob Corddry, Nate Corddry, welcome to FRESH AIR. You know, for you to both be
actors and to have both appeared on the same show and then have series at the
same time, you'd have to either get along pretty well or be really
competitive. So where do you fall on that scale?

Mr. ROB CORDDRY: Where...

Mr. NATE CORDDRY: It got very quiet.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: You know, we're not competitive yet, but any day now. No,
we're not competitive at all. We're...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: I think if we were twins or something, or if we had similar
looks and did similar work. We have similar sensibilities as actors, but I
think a lot of the times we're kind of auditioning and trying to work in
different areas, so there's a lot of parts of us that are very similar as
actors and comedians, but I think there's a lot of us, a lot of parts of
ourselves that are very different, where we don't compete with each other. So
I think there's some separation, I guess.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: That being said, I did read for Nate's part on "Studio 60."
I did.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: That's true.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: And did not get it. And...

GROSS: Did you really? That's not a joke?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I really did. I really did. I actually made my agent get
me an audition, and they wanted nothing to do with me.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Well, for obvious reasons. Because you're six feet tall,
you know, and...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Too handsome.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right. Right. They wanted more of an awkward-looking guy
with big ears, so I was...

That was funny. We auditioned the same day.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Mm-hmm.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And you went in at like 11 and I went in at like 2 in the
afternoon, or something. It was very bizarre. That was the first.

GROSS: And you both knew that you were each auditioning?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, yeah.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, yeah.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

So I called him really late at night just, you know, and kind of throw him
off. Like a 3 AM call, then call him again at like 7 AM.

GROSS: Make sure he didn't get any sleep.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Exactly. Yeah.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yeah. He drugged me.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: He slipped me a ruffie.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I was a little dizzy for the interview.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yes. Right.

GROSS: How do you see your territory as being different as actors?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, you know, we both sort of came up in different ways.
I started out doing improv and sketch with the Upright Citizens Brigade
Theater in New York. And Nate started at Williamstown. So it's two
completely different tracks.

GROSS: Williamstown is?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: In western Massachusetts.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: It's a regional--it's a summer theater in western Mass on
the campus of Williams College that is a wonderful region theater that offers
a really--like a vast array of training programs for young actors. It won the
Tony a couple of years ago for best regional theater. And lots of film and TV
actors kind of go there in the summer to kind of get away from the business
and, you know, tread the boards again, I guess.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: And to have sandwiches named after them in a local sub
shop.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right. Right.

GROSS: So, Rob...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: The Eric Stoltz is wonderful.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right. The Ned Beatty, a little hammy but good.

GROSS: So, Rob, you started off more in like sketch comedy? And, Nate, you
started more in straight acting?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah. Yeah, I think that's...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yeah. Well, I started off doing really crappy Shakespeare
in Manhattan and realized I wasn't very good at it. But I was always playing
jackasses, basically, and so I just decided to cut out the middle man and, you
know...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: ...be a jackass all the time.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: We both did the Shakespeare tour. This company that is no
longer around, unfortunately, was called The National Shakespeare Company.
Rob did it in...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: '94-'95.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: ...'94-'95. You did the yearlong national tour of "Hamlet"
and "Twelfth Night." And who did you play?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I played Horatio and Andrew Aguecheek.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right.

And I did the local tour, like in 2000, when I was--I had moved to New York
and it was the following fall after I'd moved. And I got the audition
for--they were doing "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet." And it wasn't the
yearlong national tour, it was more of a local tour, but we worked with the
same company. And there was still a guy that was working there that had
worked with both of us. And you were doing "The Daily Show," I think then.
It was early when you started.

GROSS: Now, Nate, did you get on "The Daily Show" because people got to know
you through Rob?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: No. I hadn't met anyone there before I auditioned. But
they had lost--they lost Stephen Colbert, obviously, to his show. And then
they lost someone else. I forget, but they were casting new correspondents,
and Rob was nice enough to go to one of the producers, Ben Carlin, who I think
you've spoken to.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And said, `My brother is auditioning. You should look at
his tape.' And so they saw a bunch of people in New York, and they saw a bunch
of people in Los Angeles. And they saw the tape, and I was lucky enough to
get a call back where you had to kind of, you know, you wear the suit and you
sit at the desk and you actually do a bit with Jon and follow a Teleprompter,
which is a terrifying experience. So it certainly didn't hurt, obviously,
that Rob was already working there. But it was also--I think it was dangerous
for "The Daily Show" to cast me because if it didn't work, it would make them
look really bad. It would make me look really bad as just Rob Corddry's
brother, who is only there because Rob's there. And it would look poorly on
both of us. So there was a lot of, you know, we were keeping our fingers
crossed. And the show was and I was making sure that, you know, like hoping
that it went off, you know, well. Because if it didn't, it would look really
bad.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: But I think, you know, I think it was a success.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guests are Nate Corddry and Rob Corddry.
Rob Corddry was a correspondent on "The Daily Show" for about four years, and
now has his own series called "The Winner" that just premiered on Fox. And
Nate Corddry was more briefly on "The Daily Show," and now is one of the stars
of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

Rob, would you describe the type of character you typically played as a
correspondent on "The Daily Show"?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, it's interesting because characters on "The Daily
Show" are largely audience defined. When Ed Helms and I first started on "The
Daily Show," we just imitated Stephen Colbert for a year or two. I guess the
audience would pick up certain nuances in our performance, and they started
calling me sort of, you know, frattish boor. And the writers started writing
me that way. And so--but I always like to play it as--we're all stupid,
that's the secret to playing a "Daily Show" corespondent is that you're dumb.
But my character had the advantage of knowing he was dumb and didn't care.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: He's very funny.

GROSS: And is that something that you figured out after you started doing it,
like through the kind of feedback you were getting? Or is that the direction
you consciously headed in?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: It's a lot easier to interview these people if you have
this exaggerated unearned confidence, and especially when you know that you're
dumb and you still think you're better than they are.

GROSS: Well, you've interviewed a lot of people where it's hard to tell,
like, what did they know in advance? Particularly earlier in your appearances
on "The Daily Show" before it became quite the phenomenon that it did, did
they know?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Before I made it the show it was? Right. Right.

GROSS: Did they know what was going on? Were they in on the joke? Did they
know there was going to be a joke?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: When I first started, there were researchers and associate
producers who would book the interviews there, who would still say, `We're
with Comedy Central's news program.' That is no longer possible, especially
after the 2004 elections or running up to the 2004 elections when the show
really gained popularity. You know, I never interviewed someone that didn't
know what the show was or had a very close loved one who know what the show
was and would warn them about it.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: So I would start every interview by saying, `Look, you know
the show. You know we're a comedy show, but I'm really going to ask you
about, you know, your opinions or your passion, whatever you're here for. I
want you to speak about it seriously. If I tell you the sky is green, please
correct me and say the sky is blue. Don't try and follow my logic because
we're looking for straight answers. And, unfortunately, I'm the jackass
here.' A lot of times people would be...

GROSS: Right.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: ...and a lot of times people would try and be funny, and
we'd have to sort of steer them away from that. And even at times we'd have
to say, `Look, I think you're a very funny guy, but none of this is going to
make it on the air. Please, just answer my question. Why do you hate gays?'
Or something like that.

GROSS: So what are some of the responses that surprised you the most?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, God! I had one guy--well, speaking of hating gays. I
had--I was speaking to probably the most homophobic person I've ever met in my
life. But he told me that he worked for some family council in Philadelphia,
and he said that he loved gay people. And not only that, he, if they were
drowning, put him in a sea of gay people, and he would breathe life into their
mouths.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: My God!

Mr. R. CORDDRY: And we murdered this guy. We murdered him. And he called
me up the next day and asked me out to lunch, he loved the piece so much.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Oh, my gosh!

GROSS: Now, in addition to your interviews, of course, you did a lot of like
stand-up reports, where you'd like, you know, talk with Jon Stewart and, you
know, report on something. In fact, I want to play one. And this is one that
you did shortly after President Bush had announced that there would be some
kind of investigation into charges, you know, allegations that there was price
fixing and other problems in the oil industry. Do you want to say anything
about this before we hear it?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I don't remember it.

GROSS: Well, a profound...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I spent most of my time there drunk. I'm a functional
alcoholic, barely.

GROSS: OK. Well, this is very funny, so let's hear it.

(Soundbite from "The Daily Show")

Mr. JON STEWART: For more on Bush's aggressive new stance against the oil
companies, we turn to our senior petroleum analyst Rob Corddry.

Rob...

(Soundbite of cheers and applause)

Mr. STEWART: ...the president of the United States didn't...

(Soundbite of cheers and applause)

Mr. STEWART: ...didn't just talk tough today. Rob, the president didn't
just talk tough. He also announced that he was taking this initiative. Take
a look.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm also directing the Department of Justice to
work with the FTC and the Energy Department to conduct inquiries into illegal
manipulation or cheating related to the current gasoline prices.

Mr. STEWART: He announced a query into the inner workings of the oil
industry, a probe, if you will. Tell us, Rob, what will this investigation
entail?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, for certain, it will be a long, arduous process, Jon.
Here's my guess as to how it might proceed. Now, this is the Oval Office
right here. The president plans to leave it, walk down this hallway to the
vice president's office.

Mr. STEWART: Now, let me ask you a question. Rob. What...

(Soundbite of laughter, applause)

Mr. STEWART: What are those black markings? If I may, what are those black
X's represent?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, those are the oil executives who maintain a 24-hour
presence in Cheney's office. Anyway, Jon, the president will then begin the
probe by saying to the oil executives, `Hey, Dave. Lee, how you doing? Good
to see you, Jimbo. You guys been a price fixin'?' And if the answer is yes,
the president will take the appropriate action.

Mr. STEWART: Which would be?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Which would be classified.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(End of soundbites)

GROSS: And that was Rob Corddry with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."

Rob, did you start watching the news differently after you started doing "The
Daily Show"?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, yeah. I started watching the news a lot more, too. I
actually became addicted to it in a way. I was watching like two C-SPANs at
once, you know. And, yeah, and I can't help, I think, I sort of been--you
can't help but watch the news differently. And, you know, in the obvious way,
just with that "Daily Show" sort of slant.

GROSS: Which is in part looking at how news reporters and anchors carry
themselves on TV?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: You know, that's my favorite part about "The Daily Show,"
is making fun of the news people themselves and the trappings of a news
organization, you know, like Fox and CNN and MSNBC. You know, that was
my--right down to the chirons or the news alerts, you know, I mean, that's
some of my favorite most satirizable--I just made that word up--aspects of the
news.

GROSS: My guests are Rob and Nate Corddry, former correspondents for "The
Daily Show," who now star in TV series. Rob stars in the new Fox sitcom "The
Winner." Nate is in the NBC series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guests are Nate and Rob Corddry.
They're brothers. They were both on "The Daily Show." Rob for over four years
and Nate for--how long, Nate?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: About 10 months or so.

GROSS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And now they're each in series. Rob is on the new
series, "The Winner," on Fox. And Nate is on "Studio 60," on NBC.

Nate, you did a really funny story on "The Daily Show" after Cheney shot his
friend in that hunting accident.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: And this one's a real classic. So by that, I mean we played it once
before on our show.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yes, and I was driving my car in Los Angeles listening to
you and Ben Carlin, who you were interviewing, said, `Yeah, this is a piece
from Nate Corddry.' When you said Nate Corddry, I almost drove my car off the
road. I couldn't believe that I was on FRESH AIR.

GROSS: Well, I want to play it now, even though we've heard it once on FRESH
AIR, because it's such an interesting piece. So this is the piece you did
after Cheney shot his friend in a hunting accident.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yes. Right.

GROSS: And you went to a hunting farm.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Preserve.

GROSS: A hunting preserve.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Is what they call them. Yeah.

GROSS: It's operated in a very similar way to the way that the place where
Cheney was hunting operates. And before we hear it, I want you to describe
how this operation works.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: You show up and order your kill, basically. They have
hunting preserves for birds. So you go into this controlled area, like a
field, and then they release the animal in front of you. And then you shoot
them. So everything about what's great about hunting--I think there are great
aspects about hunting. I appreciate what it is. I've never hunted, myself,
but I understand why people love it. All of that is taken out of it. All of
that is removed. So, yeah, you just step up and you order your birds, and
they give you the guns, then drive you out to the field, and you kill them.

GROSS: Let's hear the piece. And this is Nate Corddry.

(Soundbite from "The Daily Show")

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. N. CORDDRY: When the vice president went on a private hunting trip last
month, he took a lot of heat for shooting his friend. But the truth is he's
actually a crack shot who's downed as many as 70 pheasants in a single day.
And he's done it on canned hunts, where birds are raised to be shot. I wanted
to hunt pheasant like the vice president, so I made a reservation at the
Tobacco Stick Hunting Preserve in North Carolina.

Unidentified Man #1: We release birds per order of the customer, and the
customer is able to go to the field and hunt for these birds.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: It's like regular hunting, but with a menu.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Man #1: Quail are $7 each.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: OK.

Man #1: The chucker is $13 each. The pheasant is $16. And we use pointing
dogs for 75 each.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Can I shoot the dog?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Man #1: That would be a very serious issue to shoot the dog.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: So I can't shoot the...

Man #1: Can't shoot the dog.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. N. CORDDRY: I was pretty sure that the vice president would get to
shoot the dog, but 140 pheasant would have to quench my bird lust. But would
my thousand dollars ensure this was better than regular hunting?

Man #1: Well, here the birds are in the field for you. You know they're
there. It's a sure thing. The birds are here. Now, in a wild bird hunt, you
may find birds and you may not find birds.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And who really has time to hunt and track prey anymore?

Man #1: It's a sure thing.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: One thing I've always hated about hunting, the challenge.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. N. CORDDRY: All I needed now was a shooting thingy.

Unidentified Man #2: This is the gun you'll be using.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: I'll be using this gun right here?

Man #2: Yes, you will.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: May I?

Man #2: Yes.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Wow! So for unlimited ammo, do I hit up down, up down,
left right, left right, A-B, A-B, select start?

(Soundbite of applause and laughter)

Man #2: No, you just put...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: I have to reload?

Man #2: Yeah, after your--after 30 shots, you reload again. Just bam, bam,
bam.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Finally, the hunt was on. We tracked our prey to this
barn, where they were hiding in a quail cage. I made my move.

Here we go. I want that guy right there, and this guy and this bitch in the
corner. These two, I want them in a pair.

The birds were placed in a sealed laundry basket. God forbid they get away
and we'd have to spend all day hunting them down. We drove our prey to the
hunting site. Let's just say it was an awkward ride. At long last, the hunt
was on.

(End of soundbite)

GROSS: And that was Nate Corddry on "The Daily Show," doing a sketch after
the vice president shot his friend in a hunting accident.

Was it awkward to basically be doing a sketch with real people? I mean, it's
a kind of Borat-type of thing where, you know...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

GROSS: ...you're in character but everybody else is being real. And it's
like their hunting preserve that you're mocking.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yes! He actually--but he got his due. He actually--the
guy, at the end of the day, he went to my producer, Steve Miller, at the very
end. We had to pay for the guides and the birds. So we were writing him a
check for all of it, and it was something like 3 or $400. And he's like, `A
thousand.' And we're like, `I'm sorry.' He's like, `I'm not signing this
release until I get $1,000.'

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Wow!

Mr. N. CORDDRY: So he was very savvy. He knew exactly what was going on.
But to be--one of the hardest ones was being with the gun with the guy who was
the guide, he was teaching me how to shoot the gun. I don't know if he owned
a television. He might be the only guy left in America who doesn't know what
"The Daily Show" was. And that was really hard. It's hard. It's hard to do.
It's not easy to lower them into your cage, you know, and mock them in a way.
But it's also we're not mocking them personally. We're also mocking, you
know, the kind of their, you know, the world that they live in, I guess. I
don't know...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: No. I was mocking them personally.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right, again...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Absolutely.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: ...how we differ.

GROSS: Rob and Nate Corddry are former correspondents for "The Daily Show
with Jon Stewart." Rob now stars in the new Fox sitcom, "The Winner." Nate is
on NBC's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." The Corddry brothers will be back in
the second half of the show.

I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross, back with brothers Rob and Nate
Corddry. They're both former correspondents for "The Daily Show with Jon
Stewart." Rob was on the show for about four years; Nate for less than a year.
They each left "The Daily Show" when they landed roles in TV series.

Well, you each are in series now, so I want to talk with you about your
series, starting with you Rob because yours is brand-new. It just started on
Fox. It's called "The Winner." Tell us what the premise is.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Oh, it's about--well, it's narrated from the present. The
richest man in Buffalo tells us the story of the days he spent in 1994. He's
sort of an OCD guy who never leaves the house, and the woman of his dreams
comes back into town, and he tries to gain life experience in order to be
worthy of her. Wait. Now, if I had pitched it like that, I would have gotten
kicked out the door. It's really not a bad premise.

GROSS: Well, the pitch, of course, would have to include that he's 32 and
still a virgin.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: He's 32, still a virgin and doesn't--has never held a job
and lives with his parents.

GROSS: And his best friend becomes--the woman who he knew from childhood, who
he always had a crush on, her 14-year-old son becomes his kind of partner in
crime because they're both commiserating about how to make it with girls,
except, you know, one of them is 14 and you're 32. So it's kind of sad and
tragic.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yeah. Well, spiritually my character is 14, and
emotionally. So we--yeah, we really just sort of--we're having the same
experience. And he's actually probably a little bit more advanced than my
character. This arc that we shot--we shot six episodes and this arc is sort
of about Glen finally losing his virginity. I imagine if we get the chance to
do more, we'll tackle other things. It's not all about doing it.

GROSS: Do you have a favorite scene from the six that you've shot so far?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, I--you know what? I love the scene where--I think
the first episode really kicks in when I see Alison for the first time since I
was 14. And for me, it was yesterday. And for her, you know, she barely
remembers anything. So that's sort of--our reunion is probably my favorite
scene.

GROSS: Well, let's hear it.

(Soundbite from "The Winner")

Mr. R. CORDDRY: (As Glen) You look radiant.

Ms. ERINN HAYES: (As Alison) What? Who are you? Why are you in--oh, my
God? Glen Abbott! Glen Abbott, wow! Oh, you look--you look good.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: (As Glen) I just got my hair done.

Ms. HAYES: (As Alison) Oh.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: (As Glen) I said that to you, at the game. Remember?
November 11, 1976. What brings you back?

Ms. HAYES: (As Alison) Uh, well, actually my mother's sick.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: (As Glen) That's so great! You're going to take care of
her. And we're going to be neighbors again.

Ms. HAYES: (As Alison) You still live at home?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: (As Glen) Yeah. Just on week days and some weekends.

(End of soundbite)

GROSS: That's Rob Corddry and Erinn Hayes in a scene from Rob Corddry's new
sitcom on Fox which is called "The Winner."

You were recently on Fox News promoting your new show, "The Winner." And you
said something really, really funny that was actually excerpted on The Daily
Show afterwards. You were on Fox News with a news crawl going by. And it
kind of like--what did you say? I want you to describe what you said.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: I said that the crawl was chaffing my nipples. Because,
you know, the crawl is nipple height.

GROSS: Right.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: And the crawl is something that--you know, I was speaking
earlier about how it's the trappings of those news shows that I hate.

GROSS: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: The crawl is probably--I hate that more than anything
because you're actually--you're getting about 48 hours of news. And there
really isn't even 24 to fill those networks. So I really resent them and what
they did to my nipples. That's true. That's a physical thing, crawling
across the table.

GROSS: You must have known you were going to say that before you...?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yes. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It was actually
suggested to me. I called--when I found out I was going to be on Fox News, I
called a couple of guys at "The Daily Show," Tim Carvell and Jim Margolis, and
I said, `You've got to help me here. They want me to talk about Anna
Nicole...'

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Oh, my God!

Mr. R. CORDDRY: ...and--I forget what else. I blocked--oh, Barack Obama
quitting smoking. And they gave me a bunch of talking points. I wasn't
really prepared for it so I had to get some help from those guys. And I
believe--we were sort of riffing on a bunch of different crawl jokes and, God,
I don't remember whether it was Tim or Jim that gave me that one. I'm going
to air on the side of Tim. He's more of a nipples guy than Jim is.

GROSS: What was the reaction of the woman who was interviewing you at the
time? Because I have to say, most guests on Fox News don't talk about their
nipples.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, I had--I was just on--I was on "Good Day New York"
earlier--no, no. I'm sorry. The--I was on Fox's "Morning Show" earlier, and
I said `pubic hair' before 9 AM. So I was sort of on a roll that day anyway.
But the woman--actually her response was to throw, to transition right to the
Columbine bomb scare, which was inelegant at best.

GROSS: So did you get a lot of response to that?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, you know, apparently at "The Daily Show," and I'm
glad I didn't know this before, when anybody--when any alumni is ever on TV,
they will say it over the PA. So, obviously, somebody announced that Rob
Corddry was going to be on Fox News and everybody watched. So that's what Jon
latched onto apparently. And he said that, you know, once they threw to
Columbine, he said I think we have our--the opening to the show. And also, he
also pointed out that Fox had written a chiron under me that said, `Rob
Corddry,' and then it said his best friend is a 14-year-old boy. Just like
that's that brilliant Fox like subtle undermining, you know. It's so
brilliant. Like the guy who wrote that, comic genius.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: And Jon also pointed that out on the air.

GROSS: My guests are Rob and Nate Corddry, former correspondents for The
Daily Show who now act in TV series. Rob stars in "The Winner." Nate's in
"Studio 60, On The Sunset Strip." We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

GROSS: My guests are Rob and Nate Corddry, two brothers who were former
correspondents for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and are now in TV
series. Rob stars in the new Fox series, "The Winner."

Nate, you're in a relatively new series, "Studio 60, on the Sunset Strip,"
which is a behind-the-scenes at a sketch comedy--at a network TV sketch comedy
show, ie, kind of like "Saturday Night Live."

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Right.

GROSS: It's written and produced by Aaron Sorkin who also did the "West Wing"
and "Sports Night." And he writes these like hyperverbal characters.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yes.

GROSS: What are the scripts like when you get them? I mean, because they are
so hyperverbal.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: They're very thick. They are--they usually don't change.
There are very little changes to when he writes. He writes the script usually
by act. You'll get, you know, a teaser in an Act One. And there are four
acts in the show. And then we'll get an Act Two, an Act Three, an Act Four.
So he writes by acts. He doesn't write the entire thing consecutively, like
in one day, one sitting. He kind of splits it up. So he and the team of
writers kind of combine. And there are very few changes. Once he basically
writes it, unless there's a major change like an actor can't be there or
there's a casting change or something didn't clear the sensors, that script
remains, which I think is unusual. I think a lot of times, you know, a lot of
writers are so hands-on, they're on set all the time, changing words here and
there, and he's not. He's very confident in what he writes, and he
doesn't--there's not a lot of editing that goes on.

GROSS: I want to play a scene from "Studio 60." And this is a scene from one
of the early episodes in which your parents have come to visit. Your parents
are--they're from the Midwest. They don't really keep up with the popular
culture. They don't really watch television. They don't have--they're not
very excited by the fact that you're a writer and an actor on this really
popular sketch comedy show.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: You're giving them a tour of the theater, I think, kind of trying to
impress them with the history here. So here's the scene.

(Soundbite from show "Studio 60")

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) It was a movie theater until November 30, 1941,
exactly one week before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That's when a
fledgling network of radio stations called the National Broadcasting System,
in an effort to compete with its older and better established cousins CBS and
NBC...(unintelligible)...gutted it, keeping all the original architecture and
art deco fixtures and turned it into a broadcast studio for Radio Place. The
most famous of these was a Sunday night series called "Studio 60, Theater of
the Air." After the war, radio gave way to television and, the first show here
was called the "NBS Philco Comedy Hour," which no one has every heard of
because it had the misfortune of being programmed first against the "Colgate
Comedy Hour" and then the "Texas Little Star Theater." Then it was cancelled
after its cast and writing staff were decimated by the black list. In 1959
NBS renamed the theater in honor of its most famous tenant, Andy Addison. It
became "Studio 60."

Unidentified Man #3: We've got a question.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) Yeah.

Man #3: When did you become an interior decorator?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) Dad...

Man #3: Art deco fixtures.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) ...I'm just telling you a story, dad. I'm trying
to take your mind off it, that's what I do.

Unidentified Woman: Can you just like tell us how you put the skits together?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) We don't do skits, mom. It's the one where the
football players dressed up as cheerleaders and think it's weak. Sketches.
Some of the best minds of comedy come together and put on a national
television show that's watched and talked about by millions of people.

Man #3: Don't you talk to your mother like that.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: (As Tom) I'm trying to tell you, you're standing in the
middle of the Paris Opera House of American television.

Man #3: That's swell, Tom. But your little brother is standing in the middle
of Afghanistan!

(End of soundbite)

GROSS: Did you know before the scene that you had a brother who was in
Afghanistan...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Nope.

GROSS: ...and that...

Mr. N. CORDDRY: No. It's so bizarre. Like with a play, there's two acts,
and it's a play and it's written, unless it's a new play and you're changing
things. But that's it. You have the given circumstances. You know your--the
character's background. You have it. It's set. There's nothing to change.
And you have that to work with. But with this medium, and the same with film,
with series television, it's constantly changing. So tomorrow I could find
out, you know, that...

Mr. R. CORDDRY: You've been blind.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: ...yes, that I'm actually blind. So that was--so you never
know. Then you take--but it's written so well, it's not jarring. He knows,
he knows the characters really well. He knows all of us, all of the
characters really well, so he knows what fits and what doesn't. And I'm
so--when I read that script, it was the fifth or sixth episode, and the script
fell out of my hand. I mean, I was so moved by it and so excited that--I
mean, he has a lot of mouths to feed on that show, I guess. There's a lot of
people ahead of me in line, you know, for story lines, whatever. But I was
honored that he would give me something as cool and as meaty as that. And
actually in the next couple of episodes of "Studio 60," there's a lot more of
that stuff. So it's--it was a lot of fun, it was a lot of fun to play. But
my God, it was like a page of dialogue without a break.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yeah, I called Nate right after that ran, and I said, `How
did you do that?'

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And it was a steady cam, too, so there's no editing. I had
to get it all in that one take.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Which is brutal.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: It's terrible.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Brutal.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Brutal, but a lot of fun. A lot of fun to do. And the
actors who played my parents were great. So that was a lot of fun to shoot.

GROSS: It must be odd to meet your parents after you've already shot some
episodes? After you've already gotten a sense of who your character is?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah.

GROSS: Then you meet your parents.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah. Then I meet, yeah--these, who the casting people
thought could pass as my parents, which was kind of hilarious.

GROSS: Yeah.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And actually ended up giving my real parents, our real
parents, came out to Los Angeles a month or so later in separate trips. But I
gave them the same tour. I gave them the tour. And I remember walking down
that hallway and the second floor of the sound stage and going, `My God, dad,
this is really bizarre!'

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Mm-hmm.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: And this was--that was before the episode aired. I'm like
expecting them to turn toward me and tell me that Rob is in a cave in
Afghanistan right now.

GROSS: I hope your parents were more impressed than your characters were.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: They were. They're actually--that's what I tell people
when they mention that episode is that they say--I tell them--but my parents,
our parents are probably the--they can't be--they may be too supportive.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yeah.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: They're--they've always been unbelievably supportive. And
our sisters as well. They are big supporters of ours, even back when Rob was
handing out flyers, you know, on the corner of the street for a day in New
York.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: The details of the Mexican restaurant
with...(unintelligible).

GROSS: Are you both on pins and needles now, not being sure of the future of
the shows, because "The Winner" is new. So, Rob, I'm sure you're not sure yet
whether it's going to be renewed past the first six episodes. And "Studio 60"
is on a hiatus now. I don't know if you're certain whether it's coming back
or not. So, like, are you living with uncertainty right now?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Absolutely. It's--but, you know, it's all part of I guess
like the, you know, move to L.A., to be on a TV show experience. Yeah,
we're--who knows, who knows. And it's a shame we have to sort of at this
point--it's sad that we're rooting for another show's failure for us, for
"Studio 60" to make it, make it on, which sucks and it's a shame. But there's
no way that I could--you know, people ask if I watch the "Black Donnellys"
which is the show that's on Monday nights that took over for us for a couple
of weeks. There's no way I can watch that show, you know, free of--I can't
not judge that show.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Nate, it's amazing.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: No. No!

Mr. R. CORDDRY: It's amazing.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Yeah. Certainly, I mean--we're--we start shooting actually
again tomorrow for the remainder, the last four episodes. So we're going to
shoot the whole season, and they'll be on the air eventually. But whether we
come back, it's very much up in the air. But, you know, we wait and see.

GROSS: And, Rob, what about you?

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Well, I'm just recently, newly on pins and needles because,
you know, we just premiered and we got the numbers back which is an
impenetrable mathematical equation. And I still really haven't gotten a
straight answer on whether we did well or not. I have no idea. And the--I
just really, really, really enjoy doing the show. And I want to keep doing
it.

GROSS: Now, you both did some commercials before "The Daily Show" and before
getting series on television. I want you to each describe a commercial that
you did that you found kind of amusing for the right or wrong reasons.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Great question. That's a great question. You go first.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: OK. I was in a commercial with my friend Carrot Top. His
friends call him Scott. He--it was fascinating. It was one of those 1 (800)_
call ATT commercials. I'd also just like to say dial down the center. People
can't be easier than that. Dial down the center. Free for you, cheap for
them or something. The commercial--the commercial was that he--I'm a tour
guide on a bus, on a double-decker tour bus in New York City and Carrot Top
commandeers the bus and describes the virtues of dialing down the center. And
the commercial was pulled after 9/11 because he commandeered a bus.

GROSS: Oh.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Yes. The terrorists beat Carrot Top. They are stronger.
They are stronger than the power of the Top.

GROSS: Nate, what's one of your commercials you want to describe?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: It's hard to top. But I did actually two--I single
handedly brought down two major corporations. I did a spot for, which was
really a great spot that Aaron Morris directed. It was so cool. It was a
really amazing day. Aaron Morris is this really great, you know, documentary
filmmaker, Oscar winner. And it was for, this is in 2000--I forget when it
was. It was in my first commercials, and it was for Andersen Consulting. And
if you remember Andersen Consulting were--did the books for Enron. So we shot
these ads, and it was like a huge ad campaign. It was huge. It was going to
be international. I was going to buy a boat with this money. And sure
enough, you know, I'm reading the Time's front page, Enron's Andersen
Consulting, you know, indicted, all of this stuff. So the spots were pulled,
obviously. And then like a couple of years later, I did this--if you're in
the commercial business, a great--great ads to get are for drug companies
because they have unlimited resources. So they run your ads like crazy so you
can make a lot of money in residuals. And I booked one. And I was so
excited. And I'm like, `Oh, it's going to run forever,' and I was going to
buy another boat. And it was for Merck. And, sure enough, it was Vioxx. And
that ad never made it to air either. So I've had two close calls. I still
don't own a boat. But, yeah, those were two...(unintelligible).

GROSS: Did you have any that got on?

Mr. N. CORDDRY: I did. I had--I had--I had Xbox--a really funny Xbox
commercial. I had a bunch of commercials from Verizon and a Dunkin' Donuts.
Some of them air, some of them don't. But I was very lucky commercially for a
while. If you're one of those actors in New York or L.A. who can work
commercially and survive and won't have to wait tables, it's a--you can earn a
terrific living. There are a lot of actors that do that are kind of straight
commercial actors and make money at it. So I was very lucky.

GROSS: Well, it's really been fun to talk with you both. So I wish you good
luck with your shows and with everything else. And thank you so much for
coming on FRESH AIR. Thank you.

Mr. R. CORDDRY: Thank you, Terry.

Mr. N. CORDDRY: Thank you, Terry.

GROSS: Rob and Nate Corddry are former correspondents of The Daily Show. Rob
now stars in the new Fox TV sitcom "The Winner." Nate is on NBC's "Studio 60,
On the Sunset Strip," which is currently on hiatus.

Coming up, Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD by the trumpeter
Enrico Rava, one of Italy's best-known musicians.

This is FRESH AIR.

(Announcements)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Review: Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews new CD by Italian
trumpeter Enrico Rava
TERRY GROSS, host:

Trumpeter Enrico Rava is one of Italy's best known and most recorded Jazz
musicians, and a true internationalist working with players from all around
western Europe, as well as Americans like saxophonist Steve Lacy, composer
Carla Blay and trombonist Roswell Rudd.

In the 1970s, Rava recorded some memorable records for the ECM label. Now
he's back with the company. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says it's a happy
homecoming.

(Soundbite from "The Wind")

Mr. KEVIN WHITEHEAD: Russ Freeman's tune, "The Wind," popularized by Chet
Baker and later covered by Mariah Carey. It's from trumpeter Enrico Rava's
CD, "The Words and The Days" on ECM. That label baits almost every record in
a wet wash of studio river, which doesn't always help. But that big echo does
enhance Rava's warm sound and spacious phrasing. It makes him sound fuller
and more imposing. His new album mixes ECM's patented unhurried lyricism with
a few changes of pace like "Echoes of Duke," Rava's angular revamp of
Ellington's loping "Echoes of Harmony."

(Soundbite from "Echoes of Harmony")

Mr. WHITEHEAD: For 10 years now, Enrico Rava's sidekick and foil is a tiny
quintet. His trombonist, Gianluca Petrella. He put out a nice record of his
own on...(unintelligible)...where Rava wisely concentrates on his ravishing
sound in the trumpet's middle register, making a virtue of his limited range a
la Chet Baker. The trombonist is a wide roaming virtuoso. Petrella often
plays notes or whole lines on trombone voiced above the smaller trumpet for an
unusual upside-down blend. It's an idea they may have borrowed from
Ellington.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

Mr. WHITEHEAD: That's lovely and sounds all the more effective contrasted
with the livelier stuff. Happily, the trumpeter and trombonist mesh just as
well when them improvise rings around each other as when they draw aloud a
pretty tune. And drummer Robert Gatto traps, Rava steps into the improvise
section like he's channeling the art ensemble of Chicago's late trumpeter
Western Blue.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

Mr. WHITEHEAD: Thirty years ago Enrico Rava made some terrific records,
alongside the gloriously expressive trombonist Roswell Rudd. To have found a
second perfect partner in Giancula Petrella is almost too much good luck to
hope for. It's like finding true love twice in a lifetime.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

GROSS: Kevin Whitehead teaches English and American Studies at the University
of Kansas. And he's a jazz columnist for e-music.com. He reviewed "The Words
and The Days," the new CD by the Enrico Rava quintet on the ECM label.

(Soundbite of jazz music)

GROSS: You can now download podcast of FRESH AIR on our Web site
freshair.npr.org.

(Credits)

GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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