First Comics News: What exactly is “Highly Gifted”?
Daniel Lehrer: It’s an animated show based on our years being sent to a highly gifted magnet in a bigger tougher high school where we basically learned the extremely important lesson that knowledge is NOT power.
1st: How did you and Jeremy get various comedians and Kesha to be a part of “Highly Gifted”?
Daniel: We were fortunate that a lot of the actors that we liked seemed to really respond to the scripts.
1st: Will people be laughing as they watch “Highly Gifted”?
Daniel: Only if they have a sense of humor.
1st: What is the creative process behind “Highly Gifted”?
Daniel: It was initially written for Maker Studios, who wanted 2 minute shorts. So right off the bat we had our little straight jackets custom tailored by the buyer. After that, we wrote the shorts, cast for talent, and then had a blast in the voice booth with incredibly talented people like Ron Funches, Kesha, Josh Brener, and Nat Faxon.
1st: Are your Instagram cartoons for anyone or are they of a more mature nature?
Daniel: Well, they’re peppered with genitalia. I believe genitalia are for everyone.
1st: How would you describe your sense of humor?
Daniel: I probably wouldn’t since describing your sense of humor is never funny, but I will just for you. I would say it’s witty and urbane without being at all elusive and basically just generally awesome. But that’s just my opinion.
1st: Do you like to use celebrities in your cartoons?
Daniel: Yes, but with a sort of wary eye over my own shoulder. Instagram gives us instant metrics and feedback on likes and comments and engagement. It’s pretty powerful stuff. The danger as a creator is actually listening to it. If you did, you’d just end up with a celebrity parody account.
1st: What is the creation process to create a cartoon?
Daniel: Squabble with brother. Get a coffee. Return to office. Squabble some more. Have an idea while squabbling. Draw it up. Get another coffee.
1st: How does one become a cartoonist?
Daniel: Basically by getting super annoyed at executives who say things like “Can you dial it up? Can you dial it back? Can you dial it left? Can you target 18-23 year old Norwegian women?” Here we have our own demographic. Our audience. Our stupidity. No compromises.
1st: When you work with Jeremy is it at all like working with another you or do you two have different personalities?
Daniel: I’m going to say we have two different personalities because I’d like to read that later in print.
1st: What can fans buy from your online shop?
Daniel: A phone case with a picture of Kanye having sex with Kanye, taken from our “Kanyesutra” cartoon. A pillow with a pair of breasts in Groucho Marx glasses. A poster of “Chick Norris.” A T-shirt with a “Filet Minion.” You know, the usual stuff.
1st: What was it like growing up with Jeremy?
Daniel: I’ll let you know when we grow up.
1st: Do you still read “The Far Side” comic strips?
Daniel: They’re the best. I still think they’re the apex of single panel cartoons ever. The most imaginative, the most unexpected, the greatest sense of a world and voice. In short, no, I don’t.
1st: Anything to say to those who enjoy your work?
Daniel: Yes. You are clearly people of extraordinary refinement and taste. Congratulations.