Sand Blasters

* Editor's Note This is a longer version of our interview with the Corddy brothers than ran in the July issue of Boston magazine.

Former Daily Show correspondents Rob and Nate Corddry grew up “aggressively middle class” in Weymouth, their summers a blur of baseball, shoveling toxic waste (we’ll get to that later), and a deep, unwavering aversion to sand and surf. Last fall, both landed plum TV gigs within a few weeks of each other: Nate on NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Rob as titular character The Winner for Fox. (Our parents’ notion of how Hollywood works,” says Nate, “must be so skewed.”) Their respective shows were critically acclaimed then unceremoniously dumped by their networks—arming the brothers with the perfect excuse to spend the summer months lazing by the shore, just like they did back in the good old days in Weymouth. Well…back in the old days, anyway.

What are your favorite summer memories?

Nate: Summers for me were Wiffle Ball. I’d get up at seven in the morning and play Wiffle Ball all day with my friend Rich. We built a mini Fenway Park in his backyard, painted a scoreboard and hung numbers on it n’ shit. Then we vacationed in Maryland, that’s where my father’s family was from. Mostly we took the train, which was awesome. I loved that. Just listening to music the whole way down and eating hot dogs and M&M’s. To this day, whenever I get on the train I still get hot dogs and M&M’s, I just add like 15 Budweisers to it.

Rob: I had this friend whose family owned the Boston Motel in town. The BoMo. We would hang at the pool all day then go into the really dark and sleezy restaurant to get hamburgers. At night, another friend and I would take his ‘65 Mustang shit box to Nantasket beach, open the hood, and stand in front of the car, eating fried clams and trying to pick up girls.

Did that work?

Rob: What would you do if you saw two guys sitting in front of a beat up 1965 Mustang trying to look cool?


Rob: Exactly.

So how long before you caught on?

Rob: Oh, years. Six, maybe.

You guys are seven years apart. Seven years is a whole lot when you’re kids.

Rob: We just unearthed this home movie of me and my friends, and Nate kind of bouncing around in front of the camera, like trying to get the attention. And you could see me, at least in the video, acting very quiet and reserved. Saying [in his best Massachusetts accent] “Nathan, get outta heah! Nathan, stop! Don’t touch the cam-ra!”

Nate: I was the little brother who would not go home. I’d try to play with the neighborhood kids, whether it was kick the can or capture the flashlight or whatever. I’d always try to weasel my way in.

Rob: And then at the end of the video you could see way, way, way in the background is Nathan, literally kicking the dirt like Charlie Brown like “Why am I such a blockhead?”

What were car trips like?

Rob: If my mother was feeling particularly thrifty we’d drive… but mostly we took the Amtrak, which was awesome. Just listening to music the whole way down and eating hot dogs and M&M’s. I still love taking the train. I still get hot dogs and M&M’s, I just add like 15 Budweisers to it.

Nate: It’s better to drink on a train then on a plane.

Rob: No, I get wasted every time I fly.

Nate: You aren’t drunk; you’re just dehydrated.

Rob: The layover, I’m at Chili’s Too.

Your sister has a five year old and a two year old. Do they watch your shows?

Rob: No, but they have seen us on TV. My sister’s been quick to point out that they don’t think it’s a big deal—they think everyone’s on TV.

I hear Nate’s afraid of roller coasters.

Nate: I’m not a big roller coaster fan, yeah.

Rob: Our mother was probably afraid of roller coasters. We spent most of our childhood being afraid of whatever our mother was afraid of. She was afraid of the beach. She was afraid of getting water in her face, so we were afraid of getting water in our faces for a good–How old are you now, Nate? 30?

Nate: We were never a beach family. Hated the beach.

You can’t hate the beach. What about swimming?

Nate: Miserable! We were in Boy Scouts, and the hardest merit badge was the lifesaving one. You actually had to go out and save our instructor—Mike Smith—who was about 200 pounds. And if you used the wrong move he would dunk you under and drown you. It was terrifying! I would have diarrhea all week just fearing that afternoon. You have to be able to swim a mile in order to pass. It took me three years.

What about now? The beaches in LA are pretty nice.

Rob: My wife said the same thing just last week. But I’ve always lived close to the beach. Technically, I’m farther away from the beach now than I have ever been, so you know what? Fuck it! I hate the beach, it sucks.

Nate: It’s like the lobby of a casino. The dregs of society.

Rob: Here’s where Nate and I part ways: Lobby of a casino? About my favorite place in the world.

You do realize the theme of this cover is “Best Beaches.”

Nate: Screaming kids, and it’s packed, hot, and everyone’s sweaty. I enjoy, like, sunsets and looking at the ocean, but I don’t like parking, walking, humanity—ugh, awful. And the preparation!

Rob: I’m a Bald-American and it hurts my head! I don’t look good in sunscreen.

So you don’t bother?

Rob: Well, I already know I’ll die of cancer. I just don’t know what kind it’s going to be. One summer during college I worked for Clean Harbors in Southie cleaning up toxic waste, and I spent most of my time not taking safety precautions. The minute the foreman would leave we would all take off our Tyvek suits and shovel PCBs with our bare hands.

Nate: How are you still walking today?

Rob: Everything past sophomore year of college is just borrowed time. I had a child, too. How’d I manage that? I figured that I was done.

What other summer jobs did you have?

Nate: I washed dogs. I worked at Mount Auburn Cemetery. I planted flowers and my buddy washed the stones.

Rob: He killed a dog!

[Nate looks incredulous]

Rob: The dog had its own shit going on, it probably wasn’t 100% healthy, but you washed the dog and ….

Nate: I may or may not have killed a dog. I worked at a dog washing shop for a summer; we got $2 a dog, paid in cash at the end of the day. It was in a basement with a big tub and the dogs would snap at you, “grrrrr.” They had a drying room, with industrial blowers and heaters. The dogs would sit there and, you know, it’s July, and one of the last days I worked there this Doberman Pinscher died in the drying room.

Rob: We should note that Nate still says “room” with a Boston accent: “rum.”

Nate: I have a lot of words. When I’m talking fast, apostrophes are everywhere.

Rob: I worked construction one summer, after my first day they found out I was useless. So they had me painting houses instead—the inside of houses, not even the outside. Then I worked at Clean Harbors.

Nate: And I worked Sundays at Bradlees. I was a cashier. I delivered papers for the Patriot Ledger. Rob did, too. One of our neighbors told me I’d ring her doorbell every Thursday. And she’d be like, “how much is it?” And I’d say, “It’s $3. 25—plus tip.”

Rob: He would see me go out collecting, and he must have been, like, that’s the easiest thing in the world! Go to people’s houses and knock on the door and say, “collecting!” and get money. “Collecting for what?” “I don’t know. Collecting! Just give me money!”

Nate: I was a rascal.

What do you do when you go home?

Nate: Fenway, always. Even in the winter, just to drive by and admire it. And my friends and I go to Buff’s pub in Newton for wings. Best wings you’ll have in your life. Buff’s for wings, Bukowski’s for beer.

Rob: In Weymouth I always go to That’s Italian Too for an Italian sub. The best sandwich I’ve had in my life.

Nate: I get pizza at Denly Gardens.

Rob: I err on the side of Frank’s pizza.

Nate: It’s Denly’s…Frank’s is a little too terrible.

Rob: Frank makes a solid New York slice. Denly’s is a soggy cracker with a little tomato sauce.

Nate: I’ll soggy cracker you.

Rob: Do not soggy cracker me! I will note be soggy crackered.

Now that both your shows were…

Rob: What? Hilarious? Genius?

…Um, canceled. Now that you’re looking at some free time this summer, maybe you’ll give the beach a shot?

Rob: Nope. Actually, I’m spending a week at the beach in San Diego with my wife’s family. Looking forward to seeing them. Not looking forward to the beach part. But I like a nice hotel pool.

Rob Corddry stars with Jessica Alba, Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, and Live Schreiber in The Ten, out next month, and as the best friend of Ben Stiller’s character in the new Farrelly brothers film, The Heartbreak Kid, due out in October. He is currently writing the script for The Donor, a comedy about a sperm donor whose children come looking for him. Nate Corddry will next play F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s production of Villa America, opening July 11.