"You guys at Cracked keep talking about something called Starship Icarus: what's the deal?"
Let me explain. Isaac Asimov once told me something that has inspired everything we've tried to do here at Cracked: "Science fiction can eat a dick. I don't know who you are, or who Isaac Ass-moff is, and if you keep calling me that I'm going to have Todd run you over with his Camaro. Now get off my lawn, fat-ass, so we can finish smoking this methamphetamine."
Those words have stuck with me throughout my career, and they are the reason I created Starship Icarus, and by "created" I mean I came up with a bizarre idea and other people spent months of rigorous labor bringing it to life at their own expense (this is the second time I've pulled off this trick). In case you've been in a cave for the last year, we're talking about Cracked's upcoming miniseries, debuting Oct. 6. But who are we kidding -- you've seen the billboards, or maybe you caught the 30-second teaser during last year's Super Bowl.
We don't want to brag, but we're confident this four-episode web series will be remembered as simply the most ambitious piece of entertainment ever conceived in the history of human society. The series was created with a simple goal in mind: to make all of the previous great science-fiction classics, from Demolition Man to Timecop, look like splatters of flung monkey shit by comparison.
We've gotten a million questions about this, so I'm going to answer the most common ones now:
1. "What the fuck is this shit? You've got 10 seconds to explain this show to me before I close my browser window, dickwig."
Oddly enough, more than 100 people asked that question, and worded it exactly like that. Well, you know how in Star Trek or Babylon 5 there'd be that scene where a torpedo hits the hull of the Enterprise (or whatever the starship was called in Babylon 5) and there'd be a quick shot of random crew members in the lower decks running around and screaming? We wanted to do a show about those people -- the hundreds of nobodies in the background who keep the ship running so that the pretty people on the bridge can have their high-minded adventures. We wanted to follow the folks who have the shitty jobs, who struggle just to get by (in other words, people like us) as they embark on their own heart-rending, erotic journey, exploring the galaxy and the sensual landscape that is ... each other.
2. "Why are you making such a big deal out of this thing? Aren't there videos on this site, like, every single day? You seem really excited about this. A little ... too excited. What's your game, you two-faced son of a bitch?"
It's just a fun show with cool effects and sets and costumes, Cracked.com's love letter to the sci-fi that raised us. Now, if you're implying that I convinced the production team to spend the entire year's video budget on this unfilmable idea I had, and then had them spend five times that amount promoting it, and that I'll surely be fired if it doesn't get enough traffic, well, that's just ridiculous. Where did you hear that? The fact that you're so ready to believe such lies says more about you than it does me. What's your name?
3. "What the hell is that blue thing I keep seeing in the publicity stills?"
That's Cody, the Cracked video contributor and columnist, after 22 hours in a makeup chair to assume the role of Cody, the alien. But the layers and layers of latex are just one element of his transformation -- we also sent him to a retreat in Cambodia to work with a movement coach for six months to learn the intricate behaviors, mannerisms, and diet of a humanoid alien. Then we hired a linguist to invent an entire alien dialect that Cody then had to spend another year learning so that he would have the correct accent when playing the role (which is performed entirely in English). Yes, as some of you have heard, the makeup caused permanent neurological damage, but he knew what he was getting into. Starship Icarus will outlive all of us.
4. "So how many episodes are there? My time is precious."
Four, and we'll make more if enough people watch it and/or it appears that modern civilization is ready for these ideas. It's like The Matrix, in that you can't just dump all of this information into a society of sleeping brains at once; it would be too much for them to handle. So I guess we're kind of like Morpheus, sitting Neo down and making him eat the semen that the ship's robot ejaculated into his bowl, and urging him to put on the red dress. By the way, this system is the same for all of the Cracked Studios series we've made this year (Adventures in Jedi School; Rom.com; Welcome Back, Potter; Antiheroes; Monkey Sheriff; and XXXNude Oil Wrestling -- ADULTS ONLY HOTXXX). So if you want to see more chapters, tell your friends to watch.
5. "I feel like you're avoiding addressing a lot of the controversy surrounding the production of Starship Icarus. Are you going to talk about #WolfGate or not?"
I'm not avoiding anything. There have been a lot of rumors going around out there and a lot of misinformation. I'm not going to regurgitate the whole tale, because obviously everyone has heard it by now. It's ridiculous how these things get blown out of proportion -- I actually saw a TMZ headline saying that two dozen actors on the Icarus set were "badly mauled" by a "trained gray wolf," and that the wolf had to be "put down." I'm literally rolling my eyes here -- first of all, since when is 21 actors "two dozen"? And a few bites to the hand, forearm, and thigh isn't "badly mauled." As for "trained gray wolf that had to be put down," I don't even know where to start. One, clearly it wasn't trained, and two, we didn't put it down. It escaped.
As for the supposed audio recording going around of my "tantrum" on a phone call with producer Adam Ganser, I'm not even going to dignify that with a response -- the only thing it's evidence of is that anything can be taken out of context. I was under a lot of stress that day, we were into the 23rd week of shooting, and the crew had been going for 26 hours straight trying to get a stunt sequence finished before the owners of the steel mill realized we didn't have a permit. I was, of course, monitoring all of this from afar from my home in Kentucky and, yes, things got a little heated. Things get heated between family. But you hear one audio clip of me saying, "Do it the way I want it done, you sons of bitches," and it makes me sound like some kind of abusive, megalomaniacal control freak. Well, let me just go ahead and release the full transcript, so we can put this to bed once and for all:
AG: Mr. Wong, you have to understand, I've got crew passing out from exhaustion here.
Me: "Of course I understand that, and I respect the work you and the crew are doing. But you need to understand something about the process. Do you know how the pyramids were built?"
AG: I don't see what that has to do with-
Me: The pyramids were built with armies of slaves, pushing 20-ton blocks across the sand, one at a time. They would use logs and lay them in front of the blocks, and the slaves would just roll the blocks over those logs, for miles, over the burning sand. Do you know who you are in that analogy?
AG: (Sigh) The slaves?
Me: No, you're the logs. Now do it the way I want it done, you sons of bitches, because I've gambled all of the 2014 and 2015 production budget on this, and if corporate finds out, I'm taking all of you down with me. I'm an abusive, megalomaniacal control freak, and if I hear one more fucking excuse, you and everyone on set are going to spend an hour in the Wolf Room. And he hasn't been fed in days.
AG: You can't get away with this.
Me: Make it two hours.
Looks a little different now, doesn't it? But, like I said, I'm not going to dignify that with a response.
6. "Is Katy in this? She's my favorite!"
7. "This all sounds amazing, but I can't imagine how much Cracked will charge for this. I'm on a fixed income -- can you tell me what it will cost to download each episode?"
In an era when you can barely find a video on the Internet that doesn't require you to mail $20 to the creator before you're allowed to download it, we have decided to give Starship Icarus away for free. That's right. We've done the math and decided this is an unbeatable business model -- the Internet provides services at tremendous expense, lots of people use them at no charge, and everyone gets rich, forever, just floating on a giant bubble of money. We have no idea why no one has tried this before.
Oct. 6, my friends. That's the day everything changes. Or at least it's a day when you'll be entertained for several minutes.
What does the person who has everything buy for themselves?
Let us pitch you a sitcom ...
Sometimes the follow-up is worse than original headline-grabbing story.
Some people in entertainment don't even bother trying to come up with fresh ideas.