Rob Corddry in 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'
Paramount Pictures/MGM
February 19, 2015 7:00 AM EST

The new movie Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (in theaters Feb. 20) isn’t really about history — but that doesn’t mean star Rob Corddry hasn’t had to give some thought to the historical implications of time travel.

And, he says, despite the lure of historic knowledge that could be gleaned from a visit to the distant past, it’s just not worth it. “I’m not going to travel back to the Old West because I’m going to get shot,” he says. “I’m not going to travel back to Medieval days because I’m going to get a disease. I have no interest in it. I feel like I’d be hiding the whole time.”

After all, if you can’t get back to the present alive, all that knowledge would be for naught. The biggest risk he’d take would be to visit New York City at the turn of the 20th century, despite the Gangs of New York-style risk and the chance of getting hit by a carriage. In general, however, his time-travel picks are aimed at knowledge that’s auditory rather than archaeological or anthropological. Much better — and safer — to go back in time to see a concert. “Almost all of the things I would really like to see I realize are music-based,” he admits. In no particular order, here are the top musical moments he’d visit in a time machine:

  • The Beatles playing in Hamburg: “I would love to be in the audience and watch them 12 hours into a set and rocking out to Good Golly Miss Molly,” Corddry says. (But he would definitely stay away from their later concerts, in order to avoid returning to the present only to report that he couldn’t hear because “a chick in a beehive hairdo next to me would not stop yelling.”
  • Jimi Hendrix, at any point in his career: “You hear Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page say that his guitar prowess was otherworldly. For them to say that, there must have been something insane going on when you’re watching it.”
  • New York between 1975 and 1977: Though it was the era of “Ford to City: Drop Dead” that otherwise not-so-great time span also saw the confluence of disco, the birth of punk and the very earliest hip-hop. In one very busy day it would be possible to check out CBGB, Studio 54 and some “DJs scratching a record for the first time.”
  • Robert Johnson in the 1920s: The legendary bluesman was said to have sold his soul to the devil in order to play like that, so there’s no chance it would be boring. “He’s such a mystery,” Corddry says, “that I would like to follow him around and just get an idea of what this guy’s day-to-day was like.”
  • A middle-school dance in the early ’80s: Well, one particular dance. Corddry says he’d like to visit his own 7th-grade dance. “That poor guy, he just wanted to dance with a girl,” he says of his own younger self. “I’d just want to watch it. I would love to observe the reality of it and then compare it to my memories of the experience.”

Read TIME’s review of the first Hot Tub Time Machine, here in the archives: Good, Not-So-Clean Fun

Write to Lily Rothman at

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