Former MTV VJ turned ironic rapper turned Larry David aspirant Simon Rex spoke with !! omg blog !! a few nights ago about his new show REX. The pilot, written and directed by Guy Shalem, has been making the Internet rounds (we posted it last week) and I think it’s only a matter of time before it gets picked up by a network (Simon’s hoping for Showtime). It’s funny, in a scripted reality show sort of way (Simon compares it to Curb Your Enthusiasm and calls it the anti-Entourage), and features stellar performances from a diverse cast including Simon’s ex-girlfriend Jaime Pressly and fresh-faced funny man Jeffrey Aaron.
For those of you who only know Simon from THOSE movies, REX is a good chance to take him seriously as a comic actor. Read our full Q&A with Simon Rex after the jump.
Hi Simon. Where are you right now?
I’m just hanging out in my hotel room, eating candy.
Hi-Chew. It’s a Japanese candy you can only buy at Japanese stores. I like them.
!! omg blog !! isn’t the only blog who posted and loved the pilot of REX. Are you guys still riding the wave of blog love?
Pretty much, just anticipating what’s going to happen next. We’re really attached to the show, it’s like our baby.
Was the show your idea?
Guy Shalem was the creator/director/producer. He called me up, we sat down together and talked about ideas for a show; for a Curb Your Enthusiasm-like show, exaggerating and making fun of my life. Like an Anti-Entourage. It’s like Entourage, except instead of the guy who always gets the girl, it’s the opposite. It’s a character you can root for. We also wanted to show the real side of Hollywood.
Is there a script?
It’s all improv, there’s not one line written in the show. It’s like, you come in the room, you see your ex-girlfriend, you’re caught in the middle of it, then GO. I think improv is way more interesting to watch and way funner to do as an actor. At least I think so. A lot of times as an actor when you have lines, it’s harder to be natural. It’s easier to do it [improv style].
Everyone knows you used to date Paris Hilton and Jaime Pressly who both star in the pilot. Did you have any sort of pre-existing relationship with Lance Bass?
I had met him, but I didn’t know him, so it was really weird that I got tasked with getting him. I tracked him down, got his number, hit him up. ‘”What’s going on? I’m doing this show, we can’t pay you a dime. Are you interested?” He was such a good sport. He didn’t need to do that. He came down. Not only did he come down, we threw down.
I loved the actor who played your controversy consultant.
That’s Jeffrey Aaron, you probably haven’t heard of him yet, but you will. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon, he’s a Shakespearean-trained actor. The director saw him during a comedy show we did together and thought he would be perfect for [REX].
If you could have your choice of any network to pick up your show, which would it be?
Showtime would be the best place for it, because it would be kind of “screw you” to Entourage. It’s a Hollywood-based show, it’s the anti-Entourage. On Showtime you could swear and do some of the content you couldn’t do on other cable programs. I could also see it on USA or even AMC; they have Mad Men.
Honestly in this day and age, as long as it gets on the air, people will find it, but I think Showtime would be good because I want the freedom to curse and do all the dirty content that makes the show what it is.
Are you really two years sober?
No, it’s just a funny thing to do [for the show] because everyone in Hollywood is either on drugs or in rehab. I actually went sober for a month on a bet with my friends. During shooting I was sober the whole time so I decided to make it part of my character. I think it would be funny in future episodes if I went into rehab or something.
[The show] is my life exaggerated. Everything in the show is not reality. I’m not that desperate for work, I’ve got three movies coming out, I’ve got a nice house. The director just thought It would be funny to show this side of Hollywood.
I guess your MTV days seem like ancient history.
It was literally 17 years ago. The subplot is more about Hollywood. The angle is funny, that the [porn movies] were all part of this plan to make me famous, but it’s not the focus of the show.
Did Kurt Loder, John Norris, or any other gay MTV news anchor ever flirt with you?
I never got to hang out with them even though we were there at the same time. I would be doing the younger stuff, they would be in NYC doing the news. Some of the older stuff. I was the young guy there. I think I met each of them literally once. They both seemed like cool guys.
Do you ever get unusual or pervy fan mail?
When I worked at MTV, I would get fan mail sent to MTV. The weird ones I got were from convicts in prison. Those are the scary ones because they might really kill me. Surprisingly I haven’t anything gotten anything too creepy. I’ve gotten comments on the street.
You get snide comments, like when I was with Paris, “Oh there’s the porn couple.” It’s so high school that sort of thing. Or people will tell me what other people say about me, like I’d be hanging with a chick, like on a date, and she would say “this guy was talking smack about you.” You get those negative comments from other guys who are trying to get in a girl’s pants, maybe someone I’ve dated.
You have a sense of humor about the porn tapes.
I have to have a sense of humor. It’s kind of funny. It is what it is.
What are your favorite blogs?
If Sarah Silverman did one, it would be her. I like her Twitter.