Duncan Trussell is an actor and comedian, but you likely know him as the host of the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast. He's also the co-creator of the new Netflix series Midnight Gospel, a trippy cartoon that explores “existential questions about life, death, and everything in between” by combining the audio from his podcast series with Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward's animated storytelling.
In Inverse's review of the show, Jake Kleinman describes it as “unlike anything I've seen before. It might also be the weirdest experiment yet in the age of streaming entertainment.” But more on that later, because Duncan Trussell has a lot to say.
Before doing a live performance from Dune, Trussell joins Inverse Happy Hour to reveal everything he knows about a Season 2 renewal (including the possibility of a Joe Rogan appearance), the podcast interviews he would love to turn into future episodes (spoiler alert: there’s a lot), the inspiration for that freaky clown episode, the highs and lows of fatherhood — “your heart gets blown open” — and his thoughts on what exactly is happening over at Area 51.
“I'm a big fan of conspiracy theories, not as fact but as emergent folklore, at the very least, and a fair reflection of the zeitgeist in a certain way, or kind of shadow reflection of what happens when people don't have all the data,” he tells Inverse.
Below are the highlights from Inverse Happy Hour with Duncan Trussell, but check out the full interview and reading in the video above.
On how Pendleton Ward got involved withThe Midnight Gospel— “Pendleton was listening to my podcast in the early days. And he reached out to me because he had an idea, like the seed of an idea that grew into Midnight Gospel. And that first conversation with him happened over coffee, and then at the end of that he told me that he didn't have time to make the show. And then it was years later that he reached out again and said, ‘Let's start. Let's work on it for real.’”
“There's so much more in that world, and we just barely scratched the surface of it.”
On Season 2 of The Midnight Gospel— “[Netflix is] super excited about the reception it's getting. Midnight Gospel is... I don't think it's like any other show. And, you know, Netflix is Netflix. They're like, We don't know about Season 2 yet either way, and they're masters of not indicating anything one way or the other. And I get it because if they kind of hint to you that there's gonna be another season, then that's gonna trigger a whole bunch of shit. But then, on the other hand, they indicate that maybe they're not. They're just really good at maintaining a kind of neutrality regarding it.”
“But there's so much more in that world, and we just barely scratched the surface of it, so I would love to make a million more episodes of Midnight Gospel because we only covered the very, very basic world, and we didn't really get into some of the other stuff that's going on in the Ribbon, which to me is really, really exciting. I just really want to tell that story.”
On the UFO videos released by the government— “Here’s a cool story about this. I was on stage in Arlington, Virginia, at the Arlington Drafthouse, and I was just, you know, rambling up there. And so I was talking about those UFO videos, and I get a DM on Instagram from someone who's in the audience and they're like, ‘Hey, just so you know, I work in the branch of—’ I think it’s the Navy that investigates shit like that. ‘We had to investigate it because it was a leak. And we had to look into it.’ And he's like, ‘We don't know what that is.’”
“We had to look into it. We don't know what that is.”
“I think I was up there saying what most people were saying, like, Oh, that's an experimental drone or something that they're using; there's no way. And again, that's always the right answer. Like the odds of those things being from another galaxy or from another dimension are infinitesimally smaller than at some terrestrial base technology that people are experimenting. And it would make sense that you would want to test your own technology with, like, pilots who don't know what the fuck it is. It makes sense to like just see, can they pick it up on radar? Can they track it? Anyway, that's what I thought. And this guy, he said, ‘No, we don't know what it is? We have no idea, just no idea what the hell that is.’ But people have been seeing them for a long time.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.
A huge thanks to Trussell for joining us!