First things first, TJ Miller hates the phrase "passion project." It makes him feel like an actor and he's not an actor. He's a comedian.
That being said, The Gorburger Show, Miller's new "talk show" on Comedy Central, is exactly that: a passion project. The show features Miller as the voice of a giant blue alien named Gorburger who invades a Japanese variety show, kills its hosts and enslaves its production crew before stealing the show for himself to help him explore what it means to be a human. Sounds nuts, right? It is, but it's Miller's creative opus.
"This is my Crashing, like Pete Holmes is doing or my Lena Dunham's Girls or [Aziz Ansari's] Master of None," Miller tells TVGuide.com "This is that for me because I've always wanted to be a talk show host. This is an important time to have an a-political talk show host. I'm somebody that is bipartisan just by virtue of not being a human being."
Gorburger began as a Funny or Die short created by the Director Brothers, — Ryan McNeely and Josh Martin — who also write, direct, and executive produce the series. It was originally optioned as pilot to HBO. The premium cabler didn't take the series, but granted Miller and his fellow producers the rights to shop the show to other networks where it found a home at Comedy Central. The eight-episode season is executive produced by Sean Boyle for Funny Or Die and produced by Caviar. Ian Friedman, Rachel Olson and Kellyn Parker are the Executives in Charge of Production for Comedy Central.
After the long road to finding Gorburger a network home, the blue alien will begin his weekly endeavor to discover what it means to be a human. He'll start by interviewing some of pop culture's most fascinating people. The first season's guests include Rob Corddry, Larry King, Tig Notaro, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Reggie Watts. In addition, Gorburger will also go on expeditions to different locations to learn more about the human way of life. His first stop is to a sex toy factory, but he'll explore places like the town dump to find out why mankind throws away so much.
"He is just a fan. Like many Americans, he doesn't want to deal with all the bulls--t. He loves watching and dancing to stuff," Miller explains. "He doesn't want to be in the spotlight. The talk show is almost an annoyance that he has to go through to be able to talk to these people...because the whole point of him being here is understanding and being a part of the human condition."
The show will also explore music in a very different way than other talk shows. Every performance on Gorburger is an original piece composed for the show.
"Every piece of music on Gorburger is a wholly original piece of music. It's a collaboration between two groups that haven't collaborated together yet, like Reggie Watts and Thundercat, or Danny Brown and Health," Miller says. "That's its own sort of thing where, because of who I work with, they really, really know music. They really do. We have some musicians that you wouldn't expect to be on any talk show, much less do a wholly original piece of music for this show."
It's obvious that Miller is having fun with this new persona. Even if he hates to use the phrase passion project, he still has big dreams for Gorburger and what this alien talk show can achieve in a turbulent time in our society.
"I've got high hopes for him," Miller admits. "He loves human beings. I would love [for] human beings to love him. "
The Gorburger Show premieres Sunday, April 9 at 10/9c on Comedy Central.