Emily Axford and Brian Murphy are the perfect people to headline a comedy about modern romance. Ax and Murph met years ago at CollegeHumor, started dating and then got married. Emily and Brian star on Pop TV’s “Hot Date,” a comedy that tackles the issues of dating, sex and marriage in today’s world. The show is executive produced by Will Arnett and features cameos from Ben Schwartz, Mena Suvari and Kevin Pollak.
Axford and Murphy chatted with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about their careers in comedy, their relationship, “Hot Date” and why their show is so easy to relate to.
DJ Sixsmith: You two met while working together at CollegeHumor. How did you both get started in the world of comedy?
Brian Murphy: I got my start pretty much at CollegeHumor. CollegeHumor was the first job I had out of college. I was working at a humor magazine in college and working closely with the editor-in-chief Kevin Corrigan, who was a year ahead of me. He started at CollegeHumor in 2007 when he graduated. He was working as a Writer’s Assistant and making copies and answering phones. He got promoted when I graduated and I ended up working at the front desk at CollegeHumor for a couple of years and then worked my way up from there.
Emily Axford: I did improv in college. For a college project one time, I took a bus up from DC to New York City to see the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre with Amy Poehler. Once I saw that I thought that performing comedy was the best. Then when I graduated, I went to New York and studied at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. I was on some teams there and from there that’s how I met Dan Gurewitch, who was writing at CollegeHumor. That’s how I came to be a writer of comedy.
DS: How is your show “Hot Date” different from other shows about modern romance?
EA: We play Murph and Emily and we’re in a relationship and it’s not a will they won’t they, it’s a they are. The whole time we are kind of on the same side. There’s a lot of relationship comedy that pits people in a relationship against each other. I think that our relationship comedy is more us on the same team and getting through it together, which is a fresh perspective on dating. It’s more like a buddy comedy, but with a relationship.
BM: I think shows tend to either be shows where the main character is single and going out on all of these adventures, which is very exciting or its a family comedy where the main characters are married and kind of hate each other. We’ve found a happy middle where we’re living these exciting lives and going out on these adventures, but we’re doing it together.
DS: Murph, what do you like the most about Emily?
BM: I love her funkiness and enthusiasm. The way in which she gets excited about things excites me. We were doing one night shift where we were being pulled by a tow truck, so that I could play an Uber driver and Emily got so excited by the apparatus that was pulling us that she cried tears of joy.
DS: Em, same question for you. What’s your favorite thing about Murph?
EA: I would say my favorite thing about Murph is his adorable grumpiness. He has an ability to be a curmudgeon, but its in a really, really funny way. When we’re shooting late nights, he is adorably grumpy.
DS: Will Arnett is an executive producer of the show. What’s it been like working with him on a professional and personal level?
BM: Will is the best. He was connected to Electus, which is Big Breakfast’s parent company. Big Breakfast is the production studio that we work with on the show. He wanted to get into producing and they passed the script along to him and he really liked it. Since then, he was a great guest star and he’s been great for giving us advice.
EA: It’s been great to have somebody’s comedy who we’ve grown up admiring involved in the project.
DS: There are a lot of great cameos in the show this year. Ben Schwartz and Mena Suvari make appearances. Which cameo stood out the most to you?
EA: I think the cameo that surprises me the most is Mena Suvari. We got her to play a girl who works at a sex shop and is selling us sex toys. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that she would agree to it. She was so funny in it and it was so delightful to work with her.
BM: A lot of our guest stars are great in different ways. Mena was so funny and we had Kevin Pollak, who plays our Dad in our second episode where Emily and I are twins. Ben Schwartz is in this episode coming and we’ve done stuff with him at CollegeHumor. He is always great and he’s a fantastic improviser. The script was a guide for him and then he comes up with a ton of funny stuff.
DS: What do you hope to accomplish with this show?
EA: All I want to accomplish is that I want people to see the show. I’m really excited to hear from people and see what they like and what they relate to. We just loved making it and now we’re getting feedback from people and that is great. The most gratifying thing so far is that different people respond to different characters. That’s really fun to have different people latch on to different characters we play.
BM: We strive to be relatable and even though a lot of our characters are ridiculous, there’s always a grain of truth in everything. The reaction we are looking for the most is “Oh, I dated that person” or “I’ve been in that situation.” We want it to be a cathartic experience.
Pop is a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Lionsgate. Catch a new episode of “Hot Date” tonight at 8pm EST/PST.