As promised, today we present a brief chat with the genius behind the "Dear Aquaman" segment on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, writer/producer (and even sometimes actor!) Ben Stout:
Aquaman Shrine: The first question has to be, who the heck came up with the "Dear Aquaman" idea?
Ben Stout: I originally had an idea for a different self-help piece called "Snorkeling with Tony Robbins." It was a complete failure. Mainly because no one believes Tony Robbins actually exists.
AMS: Why Aquaman? Why not "Dear Spider-Man" or "Dear Batman"?
BS: Well, I must admit I'm a Marvel guy from way back, but "Dear Sub-Mariner" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
AMS: What was Craig's reaction to when you first proposed it?
BS: His first reaction was, "I love it, but I don't actually have mental telepathy, nor can I breath underwater." Once we convinced him that the audience would never know the difference, he agreed to it.
AMS: And Thank Neptune for that. Are there comic book fans on the writing staff?
BS: Yes, but I'm the only one who cops to it.
AMS: How do you decide to keep doing the bit? Do you go solely by audience reaction or do you get mail from viewers?
BS: Well, since Craig refuses to take off the costume when we're not shooting, he kind of forced our hand.
AMS: How much is Craig involved in the writing of the show?
BS: Craig is extremely active in all aspects of writing for the show. In fact, it was his decision to make Aquaman sound just like the MovieFone guy.
AMS: I think that's one of my favorites elements of it. How did you end up writing for the show?
BS: I first worked as an editor, cutting comedy pieces. I started writing more and more, so they eventually made me a writer. Also, I slept with anyone and everyone.
AMS: Think there's any chance you could ever talk some female guest on the show into "Dear Mera"?
BS: Doubtful. But keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by a middle-aged and woefully misshapen Aqualad.
I absolutely love "Dear Aquaman", it's goofy and affectionate at the same time. And if there's ever a new Aquaman animated series, I say get Craig to do the voice.
Thanks to Ben for his time, and special thanks to Tim Schlattmann for assistance with this interview!