IFC's push into hilariously wacky original programming continues tonight with the premiere of Bunk, a new improv game show that features a rotating cast of standup comedians competing in bizarro challenges to win prizes that don't matter. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway? meets Double Dare minus the mess. Your handsome host for the proceedings is comedian Kurt Braunohler; we tracked him down to ask him a few questions about what it's like to be a game show host for IFC.
Explain the basic idea of Bunk. Where did it come from?
Bunk is a comedy game show where each week three of my favorite comedians compete in a series of bizarre and meaningless challenges all for my entertainment.
Ethan T. Berlin and Eric Bryant created Bunk. Ethan told me that the inspiration came to him when he and I were both writing for another game show and he was constantly annoyed by how all our funniest ideas wouldn’t make it into the actual game. The simple idea was, “What if we made a game show that was just about being funny, not about winning?” And thus Bunk was born.
How is Bunk better than Wheel of Fortune?
Look who’s trying to start some game show wars! Okay. Bunk is better than Wheel of Fortune because we have a wheel, just like them, but our wheel is purposeless. It doesn’t do anything. It just spins for no reason. Which is nice because it frees our wheel up to really pursue its dream: becoming a professional paddlewheel. But at the same time, Wheel of Fortune beats us in the amount of alcohol that was consumed on set.
How does one become a game show host? Did you go to school for it?
Anyone can become a game show host. It simply requires a giant, narcissistic ego and an inability to do anything else. The closest thing to school I did was looking in the mirror one hundred times a day and repeating, “People should listen to you talk.”
I've heard you don't wear shoes as the host of Bunk? Is that true?
It is true that I do not wear shoes as the host of Bunk. I want Bunk to feel like there’s a slight possibility that a confident homeless man just wondered into the studio and started hosting a game show.
Bunk features comedians as contestants. Tell me about the comics we'll see on the show, and did they have to go through a rigorous audition process?
We’ve got an amazing cast of comedians including Dana Gould, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, Andy Daly, Bobby Moynihan, Kumail Nanjiani, Eugene Mirman, Nicole Parker, Alex Borstein, and many many more! The only audition process was sleeping with me. Not sex. Just sleeping next to me in a bed. It was wonderful. I’m very lonely.
What's one of your favorite challenges on the show?
I think “Break the News to a 5-Year Old” is my favorite today. That challenges features a 5-year-old kid crawling out from inside one of the podiums and then all the contestants have to break a hard life truth to him. Like, “Everyone you currently love will die before you.”
Have any of the show's challenges been rejected because they were too bizarre?
“Compliment That Nazi” was one of my favorite challenges that got cut from the show. We’d show pictures of Nazis to the contestants and everyone had to give them one compliment.
Why should standup comedy fans watch Bunk?
Because it has your favorite standup comedians doing ridiculous things and being very, very funny while doing them.
In proper Bunk style, you'll see I've emailed you a picture of a plant. What is the plant's secret?
It’s cool one-on-one, but in a group it can be a real jerk.