Nearly four years removed from the release of the original surprise hit, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is nearly here. While the goofy time-travel flick mined the ‘80s for comedy gold last time around, the new sequel launches the cast a decade into the future.
With the movie set for theatrical release today, The Urban Daily caught up with actor Craig Robinson (of The Office fame) about his role in the film and why a joke about Jessica Williams taking over The Daily Show was right on time.
“Jessica Williams, first of all, should be the next one up,” Robinson says when asked about a clip that shows Williams in the Daily Show seat in the new movie’s trailer. “How it came about. I do not know. That’s one of the things that they might have been like, ‘We’re trying to get somebody to do this or whatever.’ I’m not sure. That’s a writer question. It’s tripped out. What a coincidence. Or is it?!”
Noticeably, the Williams cameo in the trailer was released just days before Jon Stewart announced his planned departure from the Comedy Central show later this year.
“It [was] not a stretch to think that Stewart was gonna be gone in 2025 when you think about it,” Robinson adds of the inspiration for the joke.
Watch the Williams-friendly preview clip of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 below:
In the new movie, Robinson, who plays the part of Nick Webber, a once down-on-his-luck musician who capitalizes on his knowledge of future music trends, rips off Lisa Loeb’s ‘90s folk pop hit “Stay” and passes it off as his own.
“It was not my choice,” Robinson, an accomplished keyboardist and singer himself, says of the bit. “Steve [Pink] called me and was like, ‘Hey, do you know this song?’ I was kind of familiar with it, but I do know Lisa Loeb. He was like, ‘We’re thinking about getting that in the movie.’ I was like, ‘Oh, that’s awesome.’ I talked to Lisa and it just so happened that last year was the 20th anniversary of that song, which was when the movie was gonna come out. That all worked out nicely. She gets a cameo.”
As for his character stealing the credit for writing the song—kind of like Michael J. Fox wailing out “Johnny B. Goode” in Back To The Future—Robinson explains the angle in that context.
“[Back To The Future] made an impact on me,” he said. “I wanted to be Michael J. Fox. He could do no wrong.He was killing it. Back To The Future, Family Ties. And he looked 15 the whole time…My character, he knows it’s wrong but he also feels like this is the path that he’s taken, so he’s gotta still get out as much music as he can.”
Meanwhile, Robinson’s next career moves will double down on the music-infused comedy approach, bringing along his band The Nasty Delicious for a ride that includes a new NBC pilot based on his own life.
“Music is my partner,” he says. “Yeah, stuff like [hosting the ‘American Comedy Awards.’] We just did this Pepsi campaign on the Internet. The next [thing], I have a sitcom called Mr. Robinson, it’s based on me—well, I used to be a school teacher. And pursuing music and comedy at the same time. It’s kind of very loosely based on that period. So it’s me, my band is featured on the show. We’re doing like silly songs in the nightclub. Yeah, that’s what’s up next. We’ll record down the line.”
For now, Robinson hopes that the improvised nature of the new Hot Tub movie fares as well as the last.
“I don’t think I’m a wrong if I say every scene we improvised something,” he says. “It could be very little. Sometimes we just go and go. That’s another beauty about being with this cast. You could get into a whole improvised conversation where you’re just in the zone and we’re killing it. People throw each other jokes, it’s all good…Like we were talking about with music. I’ll think of stuff that’s funny in my mind, that would never seem to get out because I wasn’t on the set or I didn’t put it down for the stage. So it’s nice to improvise, hopefully this stuff comes around and see what new ways things come out.”
Watch the full (red band) trailer for the movie below: