Talking to Dan St. Germain About His Web Series ‘In Security’
Joining the ranks of Comedy Central’s CC:Studios online series is In Security, an animated show created by and starring comedian Dan St. Germain that follows the uneventful lives of an overnight art museum security crew led the slovenly alcoholic Head of Security Richie. I recently asked St. Germain how his idea for In Security came about, why writing for television helps his standup act, and what other projects he has lined up for the near future.
For those who haven’t seen In Security yet, how would you describe it?
Well it’s an animated web series – it’s the un-Night at the Museum. Ugh, it’s so douchey to describe your own show, you know? [laughs] It’s essentially about people who cannot function in a 9-5 environment, the chaos they create amongst themselves, and how they get through being completely isolated. And of course I’ve always been inspired by – and from an animation standpoint I kind of view it as – a Dr. Katz-meets-Archer, or meets-King of the Hill. I don’t know, it gets goofy and it’s obviously dark and dirty, but there’s also a dryness and slowness to it.
So did you come up with the idea for In Security, or was it a collaboration?
No, I came up with the idea years ago, so I’ve kind of been working on it since then. I was fortunate enough to hook up with [Ugly Americans executive producer] Dan Powell about a year and a half back, and we put together a teaser. Then Comedy Central moved to digital, so I was able to work with Dan on a couple of episodes. It was really great working with him and Omega Darling and Great City.
Who else does voices on the show?
Basically what you see is what you get – it’s Janeane Garofalo, Andre Royo, Yamaneika Saunders, Henry Zebrowski, Andrew Short – a bunch of New York-based comedians. It was great getting to work with all those guys. With such a small cast, you have to make all of your core conflicts between them, because there’s no visitors, no outside world for them.
Why did you want to explore such an isolated world for this show?
Well I really haven’t seen that world explored enough, and I really wanted to view something not just with the experiences I had working as an overnight security guard, but I also wanted to do something about the state I was in right before I quit drinking and have this punk guy who is at the end of it and ready to throw it all away at any moment. And he has Christine, who Janeane plays, being the only voice of reason in there because she has other options. So she gives it a nice touch for the rest of the characters.
How do you think the show benefits from such a short format, as opposed to the more traditional 15-30 minute episode?
There’s stuff you can do in a short form that you can’t do otherwise. I feel like you can get to the point more. There’s definitely more of a slice-of-life sort of feel – instead of drawing everything out you have to get to everything a lot quicker. It’s almost like in a movie script in the first five pages something has got to happen — so for this in the first 30 seconds something big’s gotta happen, then we have a two-minute chunk in the middle where we set everything up, then a resolution maybe at the last minute. It kind of changes the way you write – it makes you get to the point a little bit quicker.
Do you view your writing for television as separate from your standup, or do you see them as overlapping?
I definitely think there’s a lot of overlap with some of the darker stuff in my standup for sure. There are things you can get away with saying in the digital world that you really can’t have on cable – you can be a little bit darker. I do think it echoes a lot of my standup – I try not to be afraid to get as depressing as possible with the show, and I think you can really test that more than you could do in a half-hour show.
You have at least one other project lined up with Comedy Central, right?
Yeah, hopefully this year my show My Dumb Friends with Sean Donnelly will be coming out on Comedy Central Sirius, we’re really excited about that. I developed another script with [Comedy Central] too, we’ll see what happens, but My Dumb Friends will hopefully be coming out within the next two months.
Do you have a more long-term interest in doing more animated series?
Yeah, I mean I’d absolutely love to see this show move to a half hour at some point, but we’ll see. As far as doing animated shows specifically, I’ve always been interested in writing about losers, and whether that’s in a short or long or animated or real-life form, as long as I’m able to explore these people that’ll be pretty great.
You can watch the first two episodes of In Security on CC:Studios. New episodes will be posted every Tuesday.