Jon Glaser And The Neon Glory of Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter

The second season of Neon Joe debuts this month and we get to dive in deep with Jon Glaser on the set of the comedy series.

Jon Glaser is one of the most absurd, unpredictable comedians working on television right now. Whether it’s through the meticulously silly series that he’s created and starred in, like Delocated and Jon Glaser Loves Gear, or his memorable roles in more mainstream productions like Parks and Recreation or Girls, Glaser always stands out. It’s that same distinct talent that allows him to be capable of creating a series that is so fundamentally ridiculous that its name can be Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter.

Neon Joe’s first season pitted Joe against werewolves and a deadly robot/cyborg hybrid known as cybots, but this year considerably mixes things up for the neon-clad hero. Joe now finds himself retired and trying to turn his back on his werewolf hunting ways. I had the tremendous fortune of being invited to the set of Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter earlier this season to talk shop with Glaser himself. In honor of the new season premiering later this month, here’s a hefty taste of what to expect from season two! He-yump!

So the first season of this show ends with Joe saying that for the first time he’s got no plan and doesn’t know what he’s up to next. That gives you a lot of freedom on where to start this season. Was it hard to decide what direction you wanted to go in? 

JON GLASER: Not really, because we sort of planted that seed with him saying, “Maybe I’ll go and follow my dreams,” while he’s holding that photo of the bar. So yeah, we left things where Joe is maybe going to go and open this dream bar and that’s where this season begins. 

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The Oahu Joe stuff is really the only hint from last season at where things might be heading, so that’s exciting to get some follow through there.

Pretty early on we somehow came up with the idea of this place called Oahu Joe’s. It just made us laugh so hard. There are all of those stupid places out there like Tommy Bahama, so why wouldn’t he also have his own line of Hawaii-themed whatever?

At the same time, the first season gives a lot of resolution for Joe’s character, both in terms of the stuff with his father, but also leaving Garrity. Obviously “Werewolf Hunter” is still in the title of the show, but a lot of his journey is over with now.

Pretty much. It opens up a whole new set of things to play with. Even though there is a lot of resolution in the first season, there’s still a lot from Joe’s past that comes back. Some pretty major stuff. So even though his goal of getting revenge on his dad is completed, there’s still a lot from his history that he wasn’t expecting to come up. 

It’s a whole new cast this time, too. It was a bit of a shame to have assembled this great cast last year and then say goodbye to it. We went back and forth a lot. It definitely felt like he still shouldn’t be in that town. He’s literally leaving—although I could see that being a joke. “I’m back!” We decided that he’d leave though. We went back and forth about using old people, but we ultimately felt it would feel more organic if we just started over. They’re all new characters that we meet in the show. The only returning cast member is Cleve [Steve Little], who we learn has sort of followed Joe to help him run his bar. But other than that, it’s all new!

Yeah, it must be such a bummer to leave all of that stuff behind, but getting to dig into all of this new stuff for Joe must be really exciting, too. 

It cuts both ways. It’s really a shame to not use those guys, but the new people involved are really wonderful. There’s a rival werewolf hunter this year. Basically people start coming to Joe’s bar and learn about his past and part of that involves this rival werewolf hunter that shows up. Last year we sort of alluded to Joe’s long-lost love. We learn a lot more about that character, too. Those are the two big driving forces of the season. On top of that there’s also for sure other werewolves involved this year…

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Let’s talk more about that rival werewolf hunter. Does he have some other color designated to his persona, too?

His name is Plaid Jeff. 

Is that for real?

I’m serious.

That’s so good.

Plaid Jeff. He’s played by Godfrey. He’s a lot more stylish of a guy. He’s an idea that we had back in season one. It just seemed cool to have like a rival werewolf hunter. We never used it though and were still in love with it so it seemed good to roll around now. So Plaid Jeff shows up. He’s really Hollywood. Joe’s more of a subdued guy. He’s very minimalist and leads a sparse lifestyle. Plaid Jeff’s the opposite. He’s all about having things. He’s all about celebrity. He shows up out of nowhere to sort of rubs stuff in Joe’s face. I just love the name Plaid Jeff! I also liked the idea of there being other werewolf hunters out there and that it’s more of a national sort of thing. Plaid Jeff’s American, but we talked about maybe making him British or from somewhere else.

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The first season does such a good job at introducing the world and these characters that it’s nice to hear that you’re sort of push those boundaries further and dig deeper into this universe.

Yeah, it’s nice to see! We made this comic book back in season one and we’re doing another one this year. It’ll probably be another standalone sort of thing that sort of picks up where season one left off and teases the new season. Maybe there will be a bunch of touches from the first episode that are in there to give you a taste of it. It’s just cool that it’s a story that sort of makes sense to lend itself to a comic, as opposed to something like Delocated. And it was just cool to get to make a comic book!

And you got to premiere it at Comic Con, no less!

Yeah! It was pretty ideal, plus, DC is behind it so what’s not to love?

That cybot stuff from the first season was great and it ends on a note where you could continue telling that story if you wanted to. Are they back at all, or is new stuff we’re dealing with?

It’s all new monsters. There are new creatures. New entities in addition to werewolves. We kind of talked about exploring the cybot stuff a little more, but just decided with everything else changing that this should be new too. Maybe they’ll pop back up in a season three…

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Was it your idea to continue with that consecutive miniseries approach? It worked so well for you guys before, so why mess with that?

Pretty much. Originally it was the network wanting to do the miniseries approach because it just kind of felt right for this idea. But yeah, it’s kind of fun to have it all air over the course of a week. It makes it feel like an event. It’s cool. 

It builds urgency, too. Like there’s a lot of stuff that’s ending on cliffhangers.

Well it’s very soap opera-like. One of the things that Mike Lazzo, the head of Adult Swim, liked about it—and as do I—it feels very much like a soap opera. All of the stupidity and the melodrama of it all is a lot of fun to do. Which I think then too also lends itself to this miniseries angle.

I love the recurring gag in your shows about Paul Rudd getting killed, but this is actually a series where a zombie version of Paul Rudd wreaking havoc actually wouldn’t be out of place. It’d make for a great one-off special, Neon Joe Vs. Zombie Paul

He could return as a zombie and then immediately get killed again. Season three. It sounds like we’ve got a lot of killer stuff coming up in season three here!

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I still think it’s funny that this character originated from a stage gag you’d do. When working on the show now do you ever have moments where you can’t believe how far this has gone?

It’s one of my favorite things about the show. It wasn’t even a stage gag though. It was a combination of two separate stage bits that I did when I was on Jimmy Fallon promoting the Delocated finale. So it wasn’t like I had even been workshopping Neon Joe. Neon Joe didn’t exist. I just took two arbitrary characters and paired their wardrobe together. I was really just trying to think of something that would amuse myself and randomly grabbed these Coors Light pants and neon green hoodie that I had. Then just made it all up. There was literally zero prep. 

And now it’s a show.

And now it’s a show. It’s for sure one of my favorite things about it all.

What are you most excited about in this new season?

I’m just excited that it’s a completely different story. I think it feels very different from the first season. I think that’s good, so it doesn’t just feel like more of the same thing. That’s part of way we did new characters, new town, and all that. A lot of the ideas are really ridiculous, absurd, and funny. It looks great and John Lee is directing.

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Awesome. That’s so nice that he’s been with you and that you’ve had this relationship with PFFR for so long now. There must be such an extraordinary shorthand when shooting.

It makes a big difference. The other thing that’s very nice about this season of the show, as well as last season, that wasn’t as present with Delocated, is that it’s very cinematic. It’s a one-camera shoot. So even from just a cinematic perspective I’m really proud of the show. And I love that there’s all of these beautiful, accomplished shots and talents revolving around such a supremely silly concept. That’s the show though. We ground it in drama and it’s funny for how serious it takes itself. 

Just another neat thing too is that we get to see Joe is a lot of different outfits this time around. Last season it was basically just that “hero” outfit for the bulk of the season. But now he’s retired from the game so he’s in lot of stupid, funny stuff. 

The second episode is also all in prison, which was very cool to do and is really different. There’s a lot of cool stuff that happens and the show goes in some interesting tangents because of the people from Joe’s past that show up. Obviously he does something that gets him put into prison, and he figures some way to get out too…

But I’d also just say to get excited for more werewolves, more supernatural stuff, there’s a Nazi shinhead gang that shows up in the prison, an Elon Musk-type billionaire, Cleve gets a girlfriend, a military officer that’s involved with Joe. Get ready for it!

Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter’s second season airs consecutively on Adult Swim from Monday, May 22nd to Friday, May 26th at midnight.

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