Sunday, May 16, 2010

End of an Era?: Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Dave Willis

With networks such as Adult Swim and Fox featuring animated programs in prime time, it's safe to say that cartoons aren't just for kids anymore. Co-creator and voice for the characters of Meatwad and Carl Brutananadilewski of Adult Swim's nonsensical cartoon show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," Dave Willis is one of those responsible for never letting audiences get too far away from their Saturday-morning dispositions. Now, Willis and Dana Snyder (voice of Master Shake) are on the road as part of the "Adult Swim Presents Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live Plus Also Some Squidbillies Stuff Live" tour. The event, which features hand-puppet versions of the duo's various characters, is a variety show of sorts that will be making a Thursday-night stop at the State Theatre in Falls Church.

» EXPRESS: Did you ever imagine "Aqua Teen" would become a live entity?
» WILLIS: Actually, that's always what we envisioned. The show started as — [was] seen as — a live show. But then, we were confined by the network to make it into an animated show.
» EXPRESS: Why do you think adult cartoons have become so prevalent in the last decade?
» WILLIS: I think in the last decade, we saw ... an opening and opportunity to do something late-night that didn't involve having to pay a host $20 million a year and a band in the same talk-show late-night scenario.

» EXPRESS: The characters on "Aqua Teen" were originally scripted as crime solvers, but you dropped the concept early. Why did you reference it again in the 100th episode?
» WILLIS: That was a thing that was kind of forced on us by the network. ... But the good news is that after 100 episodes, we've decided that that note was a good note and now we're going back. From now on, they're going to be detectives, every episode. And from now on, the show is called "Aqua Unit Patrol Squad." We're going to destroy the brand. This is the last thing "Aqua Teen" is doing, the last tour.

» State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; Thu. May 13, 8 p.m., $25;

Written by Express contributor Topher Forhecz
Photo courtesy Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live