I recently spoke with actor and writer Nick Mundy, who co-wrote and starred in Comedy Central’s new “Nothing To Report” web series with Chris Jericho. Mundy is a huge wrestling fan, and in addition to talking about “Nothing to Report,” we discussed the current wrestling scene, the current product, how to book Brock Lesnar‘s return, NXT and more. Below is the full interview:
With your interviews that you’ve been doing for Screen Junkies, did they start with Pain & Gain or had you been doing those before?
“I’ve never done a junket interview in my life, that was part of the appeal. I’ve never interviewed anyone in my life. I’m a big Rock fan, but a movie Rock fan. He’s a great wrestler, but I was always a Stone Cold and a Mick Foley guy. I thought he was the best heel. They sent me to Miami to interview the Rock. It was part bit, part real life, but I was a total spaz for three days. People are like ‘what outlet are you with’ and I’m like ‘I’m just here to meet the Rock.’ I was standing up and cheering during the movie while reviewers were just like ‘uh huh, this movie is interesting, I don’t know if it’s that great.’ Every time I interviewed a cast member they were like he’s doing the worst interviews of my life. The head of Paramount said the same thing. Then I finally kind of smiled and broke character and she was like ‘have you been doing a bit and acting like a weirdo all weekend? Well that’s fun, you should have told us and we could have planned it better,’ but that would have ruined the whole bit. I was invited back the next year, so nobody had a problem with it. No one knew. Everyone thought I was a giant weirdo except Ken Jeong. He figured it out.”
What about Mark Wahlberg?
“Oh no, he really wanted to punch me. I apologized. I don’t ever want to be one of those guys who makes someone look stupid. I want to make me look stupid. I’m just a fan, I love all these people. He wanted to punch me in the face. Pain & Gain was one of my favorite movies. The Rock didn’t know it was a bit until he saw the video a couple of weeks later. He loved it, and now he invites me to all the junkets. “
We got sent that video, and one of my writers said I had to watch it. I was dying watching it. It’s even funnier now knowing that he wasn’t in on it.
“The thing is, all three bits are true. In the Hercules bit, he called up the guy that used to bully me, he called up my prom date. They’re my friends, but I did bully him and he did bully me and I went to prom with my friend. And they knew I was calling with someone, but they had no idea it was with Dwayne. That turned out great. There are people who will go along with the bit, but he’s talking to 400 people in a day. He probably didn’t know what the bit was, figured it out and went along with it. He turned himself into the Rock, and referred to himself as the Rock.”
Did you start watching in the Attitude Era?
“My first wrestling pay-per-view was WrestleMania V. My first vivid memory of watching wrestling with my grandpa was ‘MegaPowers explode’ on Saturday Night’s Main Event. I was a huge Hart Foundation guy, and the Rockers. Since then on and off. Big in the 90’s, I was an internet guy. I had a members.zoom/dustyrhodes page. I was big into the Attitude era. The Daniel Bryan run got me back in to it, and CM Punk and the WWENetwork, too. So they did their job.”
Do you think there are things in the product now that they could incorporate from past eras that can get more people watching?
“I feel like more people are watching here in Los Angeles, or maybe it’s the comedy community. I’ve been getting WrestleMania for the last six years, but people actually came over to watch it this year. I thought that was different. More people are either talking about it or getting into it. I think NXT is perfect, the perfect amount of wrestling. I realize you probably can’t do that with Raw or Smackdown. There are just so many good wrestlers there—Ziggler, The Shield, Daniel Bryan. There’s so many great wrestlers, the stories just need to be more grounded and have repercussions. Say what you will aboutVince Russo, but he had a story booked for the whole undercard. That Stardust/Goldust feud should have been a three pay-per-view arch. Miz and Mizdow should have been a three pay-per-view arch. They need to stop this everyone wins, everyone loses. Every four months the tag team division gets awesome. I love Cesaro & Tyson Kidd, they’re awesome. I love New Day playing heels. There’s all this stuff, it just needs to mean more. I don’t mean people giving birth to hands.”
There was a lot of crap in the Attitude era, too.
“Jericho even came out and said that. He said as great as some of the stuff in the Attitude era was, there was a lot of sh-t, too.”
The Rock has transcended the business in a lot of ways. What’s it like when you’re talking to him, does it seem like success has changed him at all?
“I don’t really have a touchstone to compare it to. I’ve seen him interact with everyone and with me. He seems to try to care to an individual basis. He wants to make everyone feel important. I think that’s his personality. He even tweeted me on my birthday Saturday. I don’t even know how he found out about it. He’s a genuinely good dude who works his ass off, and more people should try to be like him. He’s just a really good guy that kind of took a liking to me for some reason. I know that’s such a benign thing to say, but he’s a great person. I never hear a bad thing about him.
“I did these weird interviews with WWE guys for Screen Junkies, and this project withChris Jericho for almost a year. Wrestlers are good dudes, and they’re funny, and they have improve skills. I think now that Dwayne was doing stuff, Chris Jericho is doing stuff, Punk auditioned for Ninja Turtles. I think they have skills the TV industry needs, and should be taken more seriously. It’s not like Suburban Commando, they’re real actors. They could have just been dicks to me, but they’re all great. Watch the WWE videos and how much they engage me, and the Mark Wahlberg video where they’re just staring me down and don’t want to do anything fun.”
You talked about your web series with Chris Jericho “Nothing to Report” that you co-wrote. Was he involved from the beginning?
“I co-wrote the show with the director Clint Gage and my other partner Ryan Truly, who plays Hawk. We sold it to Comedy Central around December of 2013, and then as we started writing we started to have meetings about casting. The first name they brought up was Chris Jericho, and we were like ‘yes.’ It fits because he dresses like what a cop looks like to be cool. Tight jeans, vests, spends more time on his hair than you could possibly know. We spent an hour doing bits and were like ‘oh, this is going to be great.’ While we didn’t write it with him in mind, it seems like we did. He was able to take what we wrote and make it his effortlessly. Wrestlers don’t want to look stupid because they have a persona they’re trying to convey, but Chris had no problem not looking cool. We do some stupid stuff, we’re in our underwear half the time. Granted, he looks a lot better than I do. He’s smart, hard-working, a great guy. Both The Rock and Chris Jericho are self-aware of who they are, and I think that’s why they transcend wrestling. They’re smart guys who are humble. Working with Chris is great and we’ve become pals, but he won’t admit it. It’s great, hopefully we get to do more. I think he’s fantastic.”
I was a Lethal Weapon fan, and if I were to do a spoof I probably wouldn’t think of Jericho but when you see it, it’s perfect.
“I couldn’t think of another person to play that part, if we could pick anyone, we wouldn’t want anyone but Chris. We’re huge Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, buddy cop fans. We weren’t trying to necessarily spoof it, but make a deconstruction of ‘what are these guys actually like when they’re not being heroes,’ and they’re pretty screwed up characters. It’s fun to play with. But he was utterly fantastic.”
Is the series done, will there be more coming?
“The way Comedy Central treats these series’ are like backdoor pilots. Based on the response, which has been well, we could do another 6, we could go straight to series. Their numbers are very comparable to their top views after two weeks. It’s doing well, hopefully we get to do more. It’d be really cool to do a TV series out of it.”
Have you ever thought about trying out for the WWE creative team?
“I think that’s a younger man’s game. I thought about it back when I was single. I’m engaged now, and the career is taking off a little bit. I joke about it being the new Kerouac thing now, ‘I gave up my life and started traveling with the WWE.’ I’ve started to meet some of the guys over there and they’re great. Matt McCarthy is a pal of mine, he’s great. I think they have too many writers over there anyway. It’s hard to fathom WWE. I’m not trying to dog WWE, but it’s not like you’re seeing innovative stuff in the storylines week after week.
“The writers want to do other things. I think we’re in a transition period, and we know what the future could look like with NXT, not just with the wrestlers, but how things are operated. That makes me hopeful, perhaps we’ll see how things go. I think the right guy’s the champion. I think they’re doing a lot of things right, it’s just about tightening the bolts.”
As a writer, how would you book Brock Lesnar coming back?
“I don’t want him to be a champion again. I’d have him try to take on Seth Rollins at Summerslam, have Lesnar beat the sh-t out of him, Rollins cheats the hell out of him, cheap shot and win. That will solidify Seth Rollins as a Ric Flair-type heel that gets out of everything. I’d set up Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose for next year, and turn Lesnar heel the only way he can be, by setting up him vs. Daniel Bryan for WrestleMania. That’s the match I want to see, and have Daniel Bryan win.”
“That’s a fun match. I don’t know how great it would be. Or do you do the mixed tag, or do you have Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon. I’d do the mixed tag personally. You could do a lot of smoke and mirrors as a mixed tag.
“Couldn’t you do Sasha Banks and Ronda Rousey, though? And if she loses, who gives a sh-t? And It’s Stephanie and The Rock in their corners. Sasha Banks is going to be huge. All of these girls from NXT will destroy. I don’t think NXT is a minor leagues, I think it’s another brand.”