Mon. Jun 14th, 2021

For this show, you’re not only playing the lead character, but you’re also writing it. Were the scripts and jokes ever evolving when you were filming? Were there moments that were improvised?

We tried to be pretty flexible in the moment while filming. Also, we could be pretty brutal with ourselves if we felt something was not working. You want to make sure that you get what’s on the page — get a version of it that works at least — but then, if you have an instinct that it’s not working, I think you do have to be brave enough to pitch another idea in the moment. That didn’t happen a lot, but there were just a few lines that definitely sounded weird coming out of someone’s mouth.

Also, Joe [Hampson], my co-writer, was on set all the time standing next to the monitor and he’s really good at throwing out suggestions and new lines. Also, Luke Snellin, our director, was really good with that too. And then, of course, Lisa Kudrow improvised a couple of great lines. It was really fun. So yeah, it’s a combination of being open enough to people’s improvised contributions, and then also you work so hard on the scripts that you do want to get those lines in too.

BuzzFeed: Were Mae’s stand-up comedy routines all scripted too?

Yeah, they were all scripted. I hope I’m a better comic than Mae. Mae, the character, is sort of trying to find their voice. So, they were all scripted, but [the routines] were all trying to move the narrative forward in some way or show where Mae is at in their head. I will say it’s really disconcerting to purposely bomb. To film a scene where you’re bombing a set and all the extras are there in the audience, like with a dry cough and just crickets. You want to try to fill the silence with a joke, but you can’t.

BuzzFeed: Like in Season 2 when Mae is telling the hot dog story and the jokes just aren’t landing.

Yes! That’s a true story too. There was a wire in my hot dog. I think about it all the time and no one finds it as interesting as me, but I love it.

Lisa Kudrow is obviously a massive comedic actor to have on the show playing your mom. Did you write the part for her? How did she join Feel Good?

We wrote it with her in mind, but never dreaming that she would even read the script. It’s just easier, I think, to write when you have a person in mind. It’s easier to find the voice of that character that way. So, we definitely kept saying, “Someone like Lisa Kudrow,” because I’m a huge fan of The Comeback. I love it. I loved tonally how they occasionally earn these really emotional moments, but it’s also so ridiculous in other parts. It can turn on a dime and really get you choked up, and Lisa is a master at that. So, that’s exactly what we wanted on Feel Good too. We kept sort of referencing her and then our casting director was like, “Let’s just send her the scripts,” and then right away she wanted to make it work. We couldn’t believe it.

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