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The Sklar Brothers break down the taboo of number two with ‘Poop Talk’

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Randy and Jason Sklar, executive producers of the new docu-comedy "Poop Talk." Randy and Jason Sklar, executive producers of the new docu-comedy "Poop Talk." (photo courtesy the Sklar Brothers via Facebook)

The buzz surrounding the latest project from identical twin brother comedians Randy and Jason Sklar, is that the duo have come up with a movie destined for comedy-classic status about a topic largely considered taboo: poop.

“Poop Talk,” a new docu-comedy, opened in select theaters on February 16 and is available now for VOD streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.

The brothers, known for ESPN Classic’s “Cheap Seats” and appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Better Call Saul,” say they were approached with the idea by filmmaker Aaron Feldman.

Initially reluctant, the Sklars changed their minds when they considered a universal truth: Everybody poops. So why is everyone seemingly afraid to talk about it?

The Sklars gathered a gaggle of famous friends (including Kumail Nanjiani, Adam Carolla and Rob Corddry) to unpack our anxieties about fluffy floaters and stinky sinkers, and the results are both enlightening and side-splittingly funny.

Dow: “Poop Talk” is opening against a huge film. Do you guys hope your movie still makes a big splash when it comes out?

Randy Sklar: No, you cannot make the jokes we make! Thanks for having us. Yes, our movie opens opposite “Black Panther.” Shoot! We should have called our movie “Brown Panther.” Darn it! Look, we didn’t set out to make “The Shape of Water.” We set out to make “The Shape of Toilet Water” and I feel like we did it.

On the real, I feel like we really wanted to make a movie that was honest and funny and truthful about why this is something that everybody does yet we just don’t talk about it in our society. It’s still a taboo. We’ve gone so far past what is taboo in other areas that this thing, which is really a marvel - your body functioning the way it should – is still a huge problem for so many people.

When you get comedians talking about the subject, as we do in our film, we feel they’re kind of like amateur anthropologists. They study human behavior the way an anthropologist would and then kind of repurpose it. They are the right people to talk about this subject.

Jason Sklar: Pete Holmes, the star of HBO’s “Crashing,” is so great in this movie and he really makes a great point. Comedians have this bizarre relationship with the audience. If we were a wolf pack, we’d be the alpha-male or alpha-female because we’re standing up in front of the group, and everyone’s focused on us. But the way you get rewarded as comedians, which makes us different from animals, is that they reveal their weakness which makes them more powerful in the eyes of their audience. The comedians in this film were so open to doing that and I think that’s why this is a very human and profound filming moment.

Dow: I’m curious…did anyone say no?

Randy Sklar: Very few said no. We really wanted Sarah Silverman in the movie and she said ‘You guys know how much I love talking about my butt more than anyone else,’ but we were on a tight budget and could only shoot a few times and it didn’t work out with her schedule.

Even the people who were uncomfortable about it, like Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family,” he agreed to talk about why he was uncomfortable with the subject. We were like ‘That’s perfect.’ Every viewpoint is represented in this movie.

Dow: I have found that poop jokes are a good icebreaker when you meet a baby that seems unimpressed. They can maintain a poker face all day until you make a sound they associate with doody. Suddenly, you’re the funniest who ever lived.

Randy Sklar: That’s a great point. On the most basic human level we think it’s funny and that is a big underlying theme in this movie.

Dow: You mentioned that the subject is still kind of a taboo in society at large and some people have real anxiety with the subject. Does the movie get to the root of that anxiety?

Randy Sklar: Jay and I are not the most comfortable poopers in the world. We tell a story in the movie about going to summer sleepaway camp for the first time at age 14. It took me two weeks to go to the bathroom. It was a Jewish summer camp in northern Wisconsin and we were eating tons of Jewish food which is bad for you to begin with. Add not pooping and I’m surprised my entire body didn’t shut down.

What we learn in this movie is that it’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be in their minds. The truth is that your body is really doing wonderful things: Taking nutrients out of your food that you need and then getting rid of the things you don’t need. It’s as simple as that. When you break it down like that, I think this movie does a lot to make people feel not as bad about it.

Jason Sklar: This is not a scatological movie, it’s more of an exploration and a comedy than anything else.

Randy Sklar: Every viewpoint is represented. From the person who says ‘I just don’t like it’ to our friend Jonah Ray, host of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” who says it’s called number two because it’s the second-best thing you can do with your body. What a genius concept!

Dow: Do you guys have a favorite scene in the film?

Jason Sklar: An amazing scene in the film is a story from comedian Brad Williams. He’s a phenomenal comic with a couple of Showtime specials. He’s a dwarf comedian and a great friend of ours.

We were filming at The Improv (NYC comedy mecca). He happened to stop by and didn’t know we were shooting. He proceeded to tell a story that I feel is maybe the centerpiece of the movie. I’m not going to give it away but I’ll tell the beginning of the story. He was in the handicapped stall in a bathroom. His feet didn’t dangle below so nobody knew he was in there. Someone came in and didn’t see him so they turned off the light. I’ll leave you to watch him tell you the rest of that story. It’s phenomenal.

Dow: Did you guys discover a male-female divide when it comes to how the genders handle the subject?

Randy Sklar: Dr. Drew is in the movie and he says that men typically find it funnier. However, the collection of female comedians in the film were very honest. We found that men and women really are not that different in terms of how they feel about it.

Nicole Schreiber shared a story about pooping at a friend’s house when the water started rising. I won’t kill this story because I want you to watch it but the stuff that happens to her? She could have been a man, she could have been a woman. It really unifies us. We’re not that different when you get down to it.

Dow: Who is more open and honest regarding the subject of excrement: America or Europe?

Jason Sklar: For some reason, America has fought the bidet which makes you wonder if we have an unbelievable toilet lobby in this country fighting the bidet. Is this how the oil lobby killed the electric car back in the ‘80s?

Vijay Patel, a great writer and very funny dude, tells a story of a friend of his who asked ‘Why don’t you have a bidet?’ If you have a little poop on your arm, would you just grab a piece of paper and wipe it off? No, you’d get soap and water and you’d wash it off. So he got a bidet and it changed his life. You don’t need a separate toilet, they have these Japanese seat covers that warm the seat and give you a bidet-spray of water. Rob Corddry has one and it’s one of his most prized possessions. You have to wonder why doesn’t America embrace the bidet? It’s so simple.


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