Rob Corddry, the lord of laid-back self-deprecation, signed off after four years on The Daily Show thusly: By announcing to Jon Stewart that he’d dropped a deuce in the men’s room. And no, the guy who once filmed a segment from inside a toilet bowl had no qualms about going out on that note. “I have to stay true to myself, Jon,” he said to Stewart, back in 2006.
Now, the brain behind the beautifully twisted Children’s Hospital, starring Corddry as a doctor who channeled Pennywise the clown while practicing his unique form of what can loosely be called medicine, is back on our screens, and not a moment too soon during these mostly grim times. That’s him manhandling vehicles in the rebooted Top Gear America. It streams on the MotorTrend app starting January 29 and features the jacked-up stylings of Dax Shepard, Corddry, and British car buff Jethro Bovingdon. They finished shooting the show back in the days when Hollywood was slowly inching back to work, and Corddry was freaked out. Very. very freaked out.
“Now Jethro and Dax and I are podded my default. Dax and Kristen are very welcoming and a fun family to hang out with. They’re really good people. We’ve gotten the families together and it’s been really fun. Their kids are way younger than my kids. Kristen took a real liking to my oldest daughter Sloane. They’re pals. It was really cool,” he says.
Corddry talks to Fatherly about why you’ll never see his daughters Marlo, 12, and Sloane, 14, on one of his shows, and why he’s actually living the dream during COVID.
You guys were one of the first productions to go back to work. That must have been super-relaxing.
It was initially terrifying. I put up quite a resistance. I wanted to get back to the show but — I was one of these guys who stopped leaving the house. I didn’t leave my house for months. It took a while to accept that this was how it was going to happen.
The first day, I wore someone’s helmet that had been wiped down. I made a mistake and learned from that. There’s testing all the time. All the departments are podded together and we’re always outside mostly in the dessert.
Do you collect cars, which you now have to do by default as a co-host of Top Gear?
I’ve got a budding collection. Dax has 17 cars. I don’t call mine a collection. I have a Porsche 911 S, and a 1978 Datsun 280Z, and I just ordered the new Bronco. So I guess three cars would make a collection. Two is a coincidence. Three is a pattern.
So let’s just say my car broke down and I called you for roadside assistance.
I’m handy inside of a car. I’m getting better. I’m not — modern cars especially, they don’t let us under the hood. My Porsche, I can’t get even get to the engine in it. My Datsun, I think I could do a couple of things on it. I’ve been putting together scale models of car engines, ladies. That makes me believe I can build an engine. But you’d be better off calling the experts.
My 12yo and 14yo daughters just played “Junkie Church” by AJJ AND IT WAS THEIR CHOICE.
So my work here is done. Anyone need a cool indie rock dad to whip their dumb kids into shape?#perfectfather @AJJtheBand
— rob corddry (@robcorddry) December 2, 2020
On a different note, I love your dad Tweets. Love them.
Thank you for saying that. They’re such a pleasure to me. So much so that my family will be in conversation and my wife and daughters will say something and will look at me like, ‘You can’t Tweet that.’
Do you pay them for their contributions?
Maybe I should? I feel so proprietary about it. I didn’t even think about it. That’s saying no. They could sue me for intellectual property. A lot of it is their words.
My wife: (peeing) Uh-oh.
My wife: Oh no.
My wife: The toilet seat was wet with chemicals and now my butt is wet with chemicals…
…why are you laughing?
Me: I’m just picturing the awesome tweet
— rob corddry (@robcorddry) August 3, 2020
What does being a dad mean to you?
I don’t know how to quantify it. Sometimes it’s selfish in that I will see something that — not necessarily that she gets from me but we have instilled upon her — that feels pretty good. It’s fun when, hey, I do that too. I love it. This age is the sweet spot for me. We can talk about real things. We joke around. They’re very funny. The baby years could not have happened quicker for me. It’s for the birds.
Do you see your girls becoming actors or comedians?
We made it very clear that I was not going to be putting them in shows or movies or pictures. So they shunned the whole thing, like, ‘Daddy’s job is stupid.’ They never really thought much about it. My youngest daughter is in middle school now and she goes to a tech school but her elective theater. She’s very, very good. She’s very natural. My oldest one is hilarious. She loves standup. She has the rhythms. She’s got a unique sense of humor so I have a feeling it could go that way.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you’re able to safely leave the house?
I want to go to a record store. That’s it. I love staying at home. This is my sweet spot. What are the things that I miss? Going to a bookstore and going to a record store.