June Diane Raphael and her husband, Paul Scheer, make fun of bad Hollywood movies. They're also in them, occasionally, but why should that stop the mockery?
The couple's wildly popular podcast, How Did This Get Made, co-hosted with actor Jason Mantzoukas, attracts some 150,000 listeners per episode. It was also the readers' choice for best podcast in L.A. Weekly's 2012 Web Awards.
Over the course of an hour, films with bloated budgets and underconsidered plots — think Twilight, Wild Wild West and Barb Wire — get thoroughly dissected, their bad acting, garish set design and gaping plot holes pondered with great seriousness.
"We have a really joyful appreciation for bad movies," Raphael says.
Nevertheless, they don't plan to dedicate episodes to 2009's critically maligned Year One, in which she starred, nor campy bloodfest Pirahna 3-D, which featured Scheer.
"If I were not in it, I'm sure we would talk about Pirahna 3-D," he adds. "But it's just too much navel-gazing."
Scheer, 36, is among the funniest breakout stars of the Los Angeles–to–New York Upright Citizens Brigade universe. He comes across as the kind of guy who can laugh at himself. His butt-of-all-jokes character on FX fantasy-football comedy The League is a plastic surgeon who favors Ed Hardy duds. With a Letterman-sized gap between his front teeth and a bald dome, he seems an unlikely match for the modelesque Raphael, 32, also a Long Island native. After all, her appearance this fall in a small red dress on The Late Late Show — to promote her Adult Swim series NTSF:SD:SUV:: — left host Craig Ferguson stammering.
Truth be told, Raphael didn't pay Scheer much attention the first time they met. Unshaven in a ball cap and gym shorts, he recalls the story from their rented Los Feliz apartment, which Raphael jokingly calls "the house that basic cable built."
In January 2004, the artistic director of Manhattan's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre brought Scheer in to offer tips to Raphael and writing partner Casey Wilson on how to improve their show. But, Scheer recalls, Raphael completely ignored him.
"I have no recollection of that," insists Raphael, fashionable in gray jeans and a blousy button-down. In fact, she says, when she later took him out to lunch to thank him for his help, he ordered only water.
Perhaps because both were initially dating other people, their courtship developed slowly. They had dinner on one of those " 'Is this a date?' dates," Scheer recollects, but the party was crashed when two of their friends showed up, and they all went out dancing to '80s music.
"It was January and surprisingly warm," Scheer continues, "so we walked home together, and when I got to June's apartment, she went in for the kiss." Still believing they were in the "friend zone," he was confused, but he quickly got his head in the game.
Shortly after Hollywood's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre opened in 2005, the couple left New York to make their home in L.A. "That was enough of a safety blanket for me," Scheer says, adding: "June was already going and I didn't want to lose her."
In 2009, they married in a smallish affair at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. A Jack Nicholson impersonator was Paul's best man, and Raphael recalls looking "fine as hell."
They've since become increasing entwined in one another's professional lives. Scheer is the creator of NTSF:SD:SUV::, which is short for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle and parodies police procedurals like NCIS. Raphael, meanwhile, wrote (with Wilson) a Sundance-selected comedy called Ass Backwards, due out this year, in which Alicia Silverstone and Scheer also appear.
"I think we work together quite well," Raphael says. But a church/state separation is nonetheless critical: "I'd never want us to feel, when we're going out to dinner, that we have to talk about a project."
Scheer gets recognized sometimes; he was a regular on Best Week Ever in the mid-aughts and also starred in MTV's cult hit Human Giant.
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But, like his wife, he appears quite happy to keep one foot in Hollywood and the other in underground comedy, and will take on most any project that interests him, regardless of the money. "But," he adds, "if someone said, 'You wanna be in Green Lantern 2?' I'd say, 'Yeah, that'd be great.' "
Just don't expect him to do a podcast about it.