The following interview appeared in Comedy Central's Newsletter in September 2000:

Cris Sales Goes Head-To-Head With The Man Who Calls The Bot Shots

Bil Dwyer, BattleBots' bleach-blond answer to Dennis Miller, spent a little time with us to talk about watching robots go at it.

Q: What was your road to BattleBots? How did you get the gig?

BIL DWYER: It was so unglamorous -- every comic in LA auditioned for it, and I got it. And now I get to rub their noses in it! My career has taken this odd sports turn, which I kind of enjoy. It's something I'm good at -- calling robot bouts! I always imagined myself hosting something. If you had asked me years back could I ever picture myself doing play-by -play commentary on robots fighting, I'd say no. It's not that different from stand-up -- you're reacting to what's going on. But I like to slip in a couple of dandies whenever I can...

Q: How has the experience been so far?

BIL: It's been so cool! I think that you just get really caught up in it. I had heard about BattleBots before, but had never seen it. Once you start watching the matches, and getting involved in what goes on and what people are doing it, you get drawn in. There are rivalries, robots you like and don't like -- it's like football season!

Q: You and Sean Salisbury seem to create a real sense of drama in the show --

BIL: I don't think that we were trying to create drama, really, the drama's there. We're two sort of excitable cats, I think. We're somewhat idiotic, Sean and I -- we get caught up in and excited about the fights and you can hear it when we're calling them. It's fun for us. But I have to say, I'd really like to get behind one of those robots and drive one of them!

Q: What was your favorite moment from this go around?

BIL: I gotta say that it had to be when we started getting into what I like to call the "medal round" -- the semi-finals and finals. It was really something, getting to see the buildup to that point. I don't want to blow it for anybody, but there was this near upset in one of the bouts -- three minutes of real robot POWER!

Q: What did you think of the inventors?

BIL: They're all real focused -- it's disarming in a way. They're all designers and stupendous at what they do. They have the world's greatest hobby, and now the whole world gets to see them do it on TV -- come on, that's great! And it's not like they're spending $5,000 bucks on a robot; they do it to see if they can top their opponent, to see if they can win.

Q: Sounds like it's a sport to them --

BIL: Yeah, it is. These guys and gals are real competitors. They run across each other more than once. It's not like they enter one tournament and say, "Okay, well that's enough for me. That was fun..." They do it again and again and again. It's like a football season.

Q: Have you been able to recognize strategies?

BIL: You can pretty much tell from the shapes of the robots. Wedge shapes run at you and try to flip you over. Some of them, you look at and wonder how they can be beaten. But the kill-saws in the arena can cut right through the 61/60 aluminum -- which, mind you, is a term I learned from doing this show. I'm still not sure what it is, I just know it's some mean sh*t.

Q: What do you see as the future of the sport?

BIL: I think that when anything gets too organized, it kind of loses its joy. The future? I think BattleBots will probably get bigger. It introduces people to technology that they never would have understood otherwise. I tell people about it and they ask "Is it animated?" and I say "NO --IT'S REAL ROBOTS!" and they reply "Oh, like with arms and legs like the one in Lost In Space'?" Ugh. And after they watch, they're like "WOW -- I never thought robots could be like that!" And I say, "Well how often do you think about robots anyway -- unless it involves getting a nap in at work!" I think that in the future when robots take over the earth and turn on their creators, that's a real software problem. When you find yourself trapped in your cellar and your robot's trying to get at you through the door, and you call Robots-R-Us service line, they'll say to you, "That's a software problem, Buddy." I'm all for robots -- I don't think they can do everything, but they can certainly fight!

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