[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers and R-rated descriptions of male genitalia.]
For the guys of Workaholics, penis humor is second nature. Over seven seasons of the Comedy Central sitcom about three slackers at a mundane corporate job, Anders Holm, Adam Devine, and Blake Anderson spanned the spectrum of dick jokes, but there was one joke they didn’t get to do — the severed penis. Until now.
Netflix’s Game Over, Man!, which debuted last week on the streaming platform, is the first feature film reunites the Workaholics gang and sees Holm, Devine, and Anderson play three slacker hotel maids who are entangled into an assassination plot that leads to the whole hotel being held hostage.
During the fiasco, the hotel’s despicable, misogynist manager, Mitch, played by Daniel Stern, has his penis violently sliced off after making sleazy comments to a deadly assassin who takes a knife to his nether regions. The dismembered appendage makes a surprising return toward the end when Mitch throws it at the assassin, distracting her momentarily and allowing the guys to take her out.
EW spoke to Holm, who also penned the outrageous screenplay, about the process of dismembering a member, getting Netflix on board, and Adam Devine not wearing a prosthetic.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you conjure up the severed penis scene?
ANDERS HOLM: It’s been in there from draft one. We were like, let’s have this smarmy Texas hotel manager who lets the guys get away with stuff because boys will be boys, and it entitles our characters to be who we are in a weird way, where we slack off. And then you have a female manager (Aya Cash) who’s trying to bust her ass and prove herself and be somebody, and he just can’t see past her skirt. So what better way to reward that behavior than by cutting his dick off?
If it’s been in since draft one, it’s preceded the current discussions around the #MeToo movement, but it feels incredibly timely… do you think it plays into that conversation in its own weird way?
Sure, it even resonates more now. At the end of the movie, it was dragging a little bit, and there was a conversation on the table of cutting Aya’s character’s speech at the end to try to get on with the plot, and I’m like, “It is very important.” Not only does this guy’s dick get cut off, but we know that she has her victory as well. It’s not enough that it’s by happenstance he gets his dick cut off and she just survives the night. I was like, “No, that’s unacceptable and she doesn’t even want the promotion that she’s wanted so bad, she’s quitting, she’s moving on, she doesn’t need him anymore.”
How many prosthetics did you go through?
I think there might have been a half-dozen. There was no prosthetic for Adam Devine, I’ll tell you that. That was the real deal. Even his penis, it bounces funny — he’s a funny guy, his penis bounces funny.
At one point, we had decided that we were going to show Adam naked… I think when we first wrote it, we were like, “Maybe we’ll shoot around it because we just had someone get their dick cut off, and now 15 pages later, do we want this?” Yeah, let’s do it, because who cares, it doesn’t matter. If someone goes, “Of course, they’ve got two penises right in the center of the frame in the first half of the movie—” Yeah, okay, we do. Moving on.
Of course you do. What did Netflix have to say?
Netflix were super hands-off. They were great. They read the script, they got it. … You send a script around town, and a lot of people just go, “This is stupid, this is crazy, this is something we can’t make,” and Netflix, who had seen the success of Workaholics on their platform years prior when we had our first and second seasons on there, they got it, and they saw how much our humor resonated. It sounds so corny, but they believed in us and our penises.
What’s the last severed penis you saw in a movie?
One that comes to mind — and it tore my heart out of my chest because we had written this movie at the time — but (2012’s) 21 Jump Street, at the very end I think (a penis) either gets shot off or cut off, and I was like, “Goddamn it, we’ve got this f—ing movie script, if we could just make this goddamn movie, how many other people are going to be cutting off dicks?” Sorry, I get revved up about this.
That’s okay, you’re allowed to get revved up about this.
But that was a real heartbreaker because I was like, “Man, they did it.” And it was very funny, Rob Riggle was the guy it got cut off of, and he’s very funny, and he had his hands handcuffed, and he bent over and picked it up with his mouth, which was very funny. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re late to the party.
Were you able to push the boundaries because it was Netflix and not a traditional movie studio?
Yeah, I think studios right now are in the business of pleasing everybody, which is why they have these big adventure movies with like, spaceships and whatever. As far as comedy goes, if it’s a comedy, it has to be packaged into something bigger. Our movie is packaged into something bigger only because it’s really hard to make a comedy anymore because people can just watch it on their phones. And granted, this ended up being a Netflix movie, we originally wanted it to be in the theaters because we’re in our thirties and that’s how movies were for us growing up, that’s the dream. But as the landscape changes, we see the benefits of Netflix, and it’s been pretty good. There’s no studio that would make this movie how it is. I’m not saying Netflix was like, braver than some studios, but they let us do what we wanted to do, and hopefully, it pays off.
What could we see you guys reunite again on?
The end of the movie tees up for a sequel, and Netflix saw that— and that’s a reshoot; we had originally had a final scene where the guys go back to being hotel maids, and it just didn’t have the victory lap dance that we would have hoped to. … So we cut that, switched it back to us being millionaires on the yacht, tagged on the sequel tee-up for the very, very end, and Netflix approved that, so they must be thinking about it.
Hopefully something in space?
Oh yeah, because if you cut off a dick in space, it’ll just be out there forever.