CS Interview: Open a Cold One with Brews Brothers Creators Greg and Jeff Schaffer
If you’re tired of the current drama plaguing the world right now, then kick back for some good ole fashioned raunchy fun in the new Netflix comedy Brews Brothers, which debuts April 10 on the streaming platform. The show hails from brothers Jeff and Greg Schaffer, the former of which created the hit FX comedy series The League; the latter of which produced and wrote for shows such as That ’70s Show and Notes From the Underbelly, among others.
Luckily, Jeff and Greg were kind enough to speak with ComingSoon.net about their new show and touched on everything from beer making to Carmen Flood’s crazy African Safari audition.
Here’s the official synopsis for Brews Brothers per Netflix: “Two rival brothers must work together to keep their brewery in business, but shenanigans keep foaming up their company with chaos.” The series stars Alan Aisenberg, Mike Castle, and Carmen Flood.
ComingSoon.net: I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk to me about your new show, Brew’s Brothers. I watched the trailer and as a huge fan of The League, this looks like my kind of show.
Jeff: When Greg came up with the idea for the show and told me about it, I was really interested. I was like, “Oh, for me this is the logical progression from The League,” because what’s more popular than football? Beer. That’s the one thing people like more than football. We have also assembled a really funny cast — sort of the next class of great young improvisers. So, if you’re fans of The League, you’re going to love this.
Greg: We can’t wait for everyone out there to meet this group. You know, the scripts can only take it so far, and we have a lot of fun and it’s fun to write them, but the actors bring a little something extra to it. They’re hilarious.
ComingSoon.net: So, you talk about coming up with the idea for Brew’s Brothers, but was there a specific moment where you were maybe chugging a beer and came up with the concept?
Greg: You know, we joke about it, but I’ve been researching this project my whole life — at least my whole adult life. We were all pretty good on the consumption side of it. It’s hard to believe there hasn’t been a show about craft brewery. Breweries really have replaced bars pretty much throughout the country. So, it was kind of inspired by one of the local breweries in LA in our neighborhood. And it just happened to be in Van Nuys. Yes, there may have been an autobody shop and a strip club near the brewery. And we thought, wow, that’s quite an idea for a show, to have a brewery next to those places. It’s a happy story in that the brewery that inspired the show is still around and doing very very well in Van Nuys. But we decided to set the show there and kind of watched the two estranged brothers —
Jeff: The ideas was — just to go back to Van Nuys — what if we did a show about a brewery in the worst possible place for a brewery? Next to an autobody shop and next to them is a sex shop selling sex toys, which is like a high-end erotic dispensary. Who would ever — it’s like the first thing we say about a restaurant or business is location, location, location. They didn’t even get one location right.
ComingSoon.net: Even though this is an out-and-out comedy, is there still a desire to inform the audience about the world of breweries and beer making?
Greg: Absolutely! It’s a really good point and I think we were lucky enough to shoot in an actual brewery in downtown LA and we made sure to even include — the actors, like us, were good on the consumption side — but before we started shooting we basically went to beer school and we had some great helpers from the brewery Iron Triangle where they taught everyone the ins and outs of, you know, how to clean the taps and really pour a beer properly, depending on what type of style it is just so the actors were very comfortable doing it. And then we actually also made beer there, so we really — some of the transitions in-between the scenes are almost chef’s table-like, if you will. Except showing the brewing process. We definitely wanted to make that as authentic as possible.
And you could say this is even kind of an arc for the show itself. You can’t help but root for these two idiots as they stumble along trying to save their own brewery. There’s a little bit of that — you’re certainly learning about craft breweries in general and the business side of it too while these guys do idiotic things.
Jeff: It was very important to us that it felt like a real brewery in the real world. The other breweries that that talk about are all real local breweries. Frankly, this arena — craft brewery — someone sort of needs to take the piss out of it. Everybody and their dumb uncles is talking about how this beer is hoppy or it isn’t hoppy like it’s just — it’s enough.
Greg: It’s ripe for comedy. We used to joke about it. You used to go to a bar just to get drunk and hang out. Now you gotta listen to one of your idiot friends pontificate about, yeah, some hops and the IPA. Meanwhile, I say all this and the more I research the more I realize I’ve become one of these assholes.
ComingSoon.net: So, you’re like one of those wine stewards except with beer now, right?
Jeff: There’s actually a name for it. We talk about it in the show. One of our characters is — a beer Somalia is called a Cicerone.
Greg: Yeah, it’s a running theme in the show.
ComingSoon.net: That’s interesting. Are you guys considering opening a brewery with this newfound knowledge?
Greg: It’s funny, oh go ahead Jeff.
Jeff: I was going to say, the brewery we got to shoot in was amazing. And it just went out of business, but they left everything. We wanted to shoot in a working brewery, but a working brewery aren’t gonna let us shoot five days a week, 12 hours a day. And even if they were going to let us shoot, they’re not going to turn off all of their machinery so it would be super loud. We lucked out when we found this one brewery that had all of its equipment and they basically left the lights on for us.
We joked about or said the smartest thing we should do is buy the darned brewery and just open up a real Rodman’s.
Greg: We did joke about it. Not that this is completely autobiographical, but I’m not sure how successful Jeff and I could be running an actual brewery or restaurant or something in the real world.
Jeff: Two weeks. Tops. And that’s without us not doing the dumb things the guys in the brewery are doing. Like putting psychedelic drugs in the beer, or their own urine. Even if we just played it straight we’d be out of business in two weeks.
ComingSoon.net: Ok, so you’ve said this isn’t inspired by true events, but is there some inkling of truth behind these two brothers and their conflict?
Jeff: Let’s just say when Greg was pitching me the idea for the show I was immediately intrigued. And not just because the arrogant, jackass older brother was an homage to me.
Greg: Yes. And let’s just say that as the younger brother, just like Wilhelm is the younger brother, I may be working through some things with this show. You could call it my therapy. There are a couple of fraternal flashbacks we have on the show and let’s just say — there’s one in the second episode where we learn that Adam actually peed in Wilhelm’s bed without him knowing so eight-year old Wilhelm would think he was an eight-year old bed wetter. That is one hundred percent based on a true story.
Jeff: Yeah, that might’ve happened.
Greg: Just when you think that kind of stuff is put on TV as a joke, you realize no, no, no, I’ve lived with that.
Jeff: He’s working through some issues, for sure.
ComingSoon.net: You guys have a terrific brand of humor. At what point did you realize your brand of comedy would play to the masses?
Jeff: When you’re making a show, you write funny scripts with funny stories and then you try to get the funniest actors. It’s all about, what’s the funniest version of this story or this show? For Brew’s Brothers, I think, first day on set, watching our actors improvise with each other and screw around with each other — they were having so much fun. And we were having so much fun. You start thinking, people are really going to enjoy this. It’s, right now especially, people are having a bad day, week, month —
Jeff: People can sit back and enjoy some good, clean, filthy fun.
Greg: That’s kind of what we’re hoping. As shitty and dark as things can be right now, it’s still important to get out and get some exercise and hopefully get out and laugh a little bit. We would love people to just crack open a beer or three and have a little escapism.
We never thought the actual escapism would be going to a bar or brewery. We just wanted people to be jealous by going, Oh, look at that beer! It looks so good! But now people will be jealous because there are actual human beings other than family at a brewery.
ComingSoon.net: You touched on the cast briefly. What led you guys to cast Alan Aisenberg, Mike Castle and Carmen Flood?
Jeff: For the brothers, it was very important that they were great together. The heart of the show is their dynamic. So, we never auditioned anyone solo. We always auditioned one brother with another brother, because the dynamic was so important.
Greg: When it comes to Carmen, she just nailed it. It’s such a great story. Carmen had just graduated from college. She gave a great first audition. But when it came time for callbacks, she wasn’t available. We found out her grandmother had taken her out on a college graduation trip on an African Safari. Low and behold, she ended up doing her callback from an African Safari and her grandmother reading the other side of the script — the side about, oh my God, dongs, penises, this and that. We really should have cast her grandmother as well just for taking that on. But she was amazing.
Jeff: Graduated from college and now is a lead on a television show. She literally has paid no dues. But you know what? She doesn’t need to. She’s great.
ComingSoon.net: What is the one thing you want people to take away from Brew’s Brothers?
Jeff: I guess I would say this show is built to be fun. We know everyone’s stuck in isolation right now, but we want you to watch and drink along with our guys. Turn the whole show into a big drinking game. Everyone should drink together alone and just enjoy the show. It’s really funny.
Greg: The escapism is what it is. Drinking alone together — I know we’ve all had enough Facetime and Zooms now, whether it’s for work meetings or just to catch up with family and friends. Even though that wasn’t the intention, just the idea of taking a little break and having some fun and opening a cold one is really all we could hope for out of the show. This is the way that I know Jeff and I can actually give back. We can’t do what all the amazing health workers are doing, but if we can make a couple of people smile and make the day a little better then, well, we’ve done our job.