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Going Underground w/ Morgan Webb
Thursday, March 26, 2009

When you turn on a traditional newsmagazine show you’re usually subjected to either something political, a reporter attempting to scare you, or a feature story that borders on coma-inducing. In response to this cable TV network G4 has created G4 Underground, a new kind of newsmagazine show that looks to cover everything from ninja schools, to real life superheroes, to urban spelunking. The thirty minute program debuts on Sunday, March 29th (9pm EST), and this week I caught up with host Morgan Webb to find out more about it, including what sparked the idea behind G4 Underground, who some of the unique people are that the show’s initial episodes focus on, and why downtown LA isn’t necessarily the best area to make your nighttime hangout. Oh, and there’s something on amateur porn, too!

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk about G4 Underground. This is G4’s first newsmagazine show, correct?
Morgan Webb: Yeah, and it’s pretty exciting. There are a lot of topics that traditional newsmagazine media outlets are not going to cover because they like to cover things in a more “your children may already be dead!” kind of way whereas we’re not trying to sensationalize, we’re really trying to investigate some of these cool geeky things that are going on and some of the crazy things people are doing.

Adam Bernard: You kinda stole my next question. I was gonna ask how this will be different from a 60 Minutes?
Morgan Webb: I think it’s gonna be topics that people are interested in. Young guys aren’t necessarily gonna watch To Catch a Predator, or “a new disease you may already have!” That’s not necessarily as interesting as going to a ninja school and checking out how people can actually become real life ninjas.

Adam Bernard: Do you have anyone with eyebrows like Andy Rooney?
Morgan Webb: No, but we should get one. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You could wear them.
Morgan Webb: We’d have to get extensions, eyebrow extensions.

Adam Bernard: What were some of the brainstorms that led to the creation of the show?
Morgan Webb: We meet so many interesting people when we’re on X-Play (which Webb co-hosts with Adam Sessler) and Attack of the Show (check out the current issue of BRM for more on AOTS) and there isn’t really an outlet for talking about them and going more in depth because X-Play is a half hour show and Attack of the Show is an hour and they have so much to cover and we do news and updates and everything. We felt it would be nice to take our time and really check out the urban spelunkers, for example, who are crazy by the way, like totally insane. It’s shocking how brave they are and how much they want to just explore what is unseen and I don’t think anyone else would really do a story like that.

Adam Bernard: There are some illegalities with some of the things that you’re covering. Are you ever worried the cops are gonna bust in while you’re filming?
Morgan Webb: That’s an interesting question. Maybe the cops will start following us around. {laughs} I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but now that you brought it up maybe I’ll look behind me once in a while when we’re going on these things.

Adam Bernard: When I saw some of the synopses of the episodes I was just thinking, man, if anyone’s following them they’re ALL in trouble!
Morgan Webb: Yeah, we try to really respect people’s privacy and also when we go into these stories we want to make people really aware and understand that we’re not there to make them look bad, we’re not trying to NARC on them, we just want to know more about this interesting lifestyle that they have and we’re not gonna try and make them look bad, we’re not gonna try and make them look dumb, we’re just gonna explore what they have going on and people can really judge for themselves. People don’t need to be told what they need to be afraid of and what is bad and what is good. I think if you present them with a fair assessment of the people and a situation they can make their own decision and that’s kinda part of the fun.

Adam Bernard: I know you’ve been involved in production before, so while you’re the host of G4 Underground are you also involved in any of the production aspects of it, as well?
Morgan Webb: Yeah, this is something that is really personally exciting for me. I love X-Play and I’m not gonna stop doing X-Play, but I’m so personally interested in every single one of these topics that it was just hard for me to keep my hands off and hard to keep from wanting to be involved.

Adam Bernard: Was G4 Underground partly born from the success of the special G4 did on Silicon Valley Fight Clubs?
Morgan Webb: You know that’s a really interesting point. That show did well. I actually wasn’t involved in it at all, but I thought it was a fantastic show. When you first heard about it you were like “huh, tech fight clubs? I wonder how that’s gonna be?” And when you watch it the reason it’s so good is because it doesn’t say “these guys are crazy and insane.” No one’s looking down on them. You feel like you’re entering their world and that’s what really made it so exciting. I think that totally caught our interest and caught the viewers’ interest, so G4 wanted to expand on that a little bit and say hey, we have a market for this, people want to learn more about this kind of stuff.

Adam Bernard: Your first episode of G4 Underground airs on Sunday, March 29th, what topics will you be covering?
Morgan Webb: Real Life Superheroes and Porn 2.0. Real Life Superheroes is about people who dress up like superheroes, they spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their superhero costumes, and then they walk around fighting crime for real. Like in New York City, they’ll go after drug dealers in Washington Square Park. You gotta have some balls to do that dressed up in a costume. But these are fascinating people and it’s interesting to see what people can do given the internet, some free time and some cash. There’s like a world superhero league on the internet and they care and they want to make an impact on the world and this is the way they found to do it. It’s just a different way of looking at the world and it’s really cool.

Adam Bernard: It’s like a post happy hour Watchmen.
Morgan Webb: {laughs} Yeah, but these people are passionate about fighting crime and this is the way that they can do it.

Adam Bernard: And in the same episode you also have something on porn.
Morgan Webb: Yeah. It’s sort of an exploration. We wanted to look at how you don’t need even a video camera, all you need is a camera that takes video and you can sort of start to make a name for yourself in porn. We talk about how the people next door are getting into it, what kind of social networking tools there are, and how this industry has evolved within really a short period of time.

Adam Bernard: So you go from people who are dressing up in costumes to people who are not dressing up at all. You’re balancing out the clothing.
Morgan Webb: Exactly.

Adam Bernard: The amateur porn industry is crazy because, like you said, I don’t even have a video camera, but I have a digital camera that shoots video.
Morgan Webb: You have everything that it takes. I mean… I don’t know… {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You couldn’t have just stopped at “you have everything that it takes?” Damn. Switching gears significantly, have you had a scariest moment yet while you’ve been filming the show?
Morgan Webb: Well, we filmed some of it in downtown Los Angeles at night and as it gets later and later the citizenry gets less and less respectable and you’re just hanging out there in the streets of downtown Los Angeles kind of like a target. It’s not necessarily scary, but it was sort of that time where things could get scary because people come up, they’re trying to get money by disrupting the shoot, they’re trying to be threatening so you’ll pay them to go away, and those kinds of things. It actually gets pretty hairy, but we have a security guard, so it’s safe, hopefully.

Adam Bernard: Well, you’re not tiny. You’re not a four foot eleven person.
Morgan Webb: Are you calling me Amazonian?

Adam Bernard: No, but you can command some respect.
Morgan Webb: Sure. I guess. I’m not like a wilting flower.

Adam Bernard: I was in LA a couple weeks ago, but it was my first time there. Would the area you’re talking about be comparative to a bad part of Harlem or Brooklyn at three in the morning?
Morgan Webb: You know, the thing about downtown Los Angeles is there’s nothing really there. Most of it’s like warehouses and businesses. There isn’t a lot of housing and there are no liquor stores or restaurants, it’s just nothing, it’s empty, and that’s, of course, why people go there, because they can sleep undisturbed and do whatever they want to do. So it’s not like there are any people living there, it’s just empty, so it doesn’t feel like Harlem or Brooklyn in that respect. It’s just like you and the crackheads. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: Lovely. Finally, since you are also a co-host of X-Play, give me three video games where I might have a shot at beating you.
Morgan Webb: Pssh. Good luck.

Adam Bernard: Oh, whoa, gauntlet thrown!
Morgan Webb: I dunno, what kind of games do you play?

Adam Bernard: Let’s just say I can complete The Legend of Zelda pretty quickly, and Super Mario Brothers. I’m also a wiz at Ms. Pac Man.
Morgan Webb: Dude, I got you.

Editor’s Note – Post-interview I challenged Morgan to a game of Madden. If that game ever happens my video camera will be ready to take it all in and I will have a full report for you on adamsworldblog.com, including what will more than likely be humiliating results for yours truly.

Related Links

Website: g4tv.com/g4underground


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:35 PM  
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