IFC's 'Gigi' Team on Turning David Krumholtz Into a Jewish Grandma: "He's a Very Handsome Woman"

"Portions of our show are reality-based, so I really have to convince people that I'm her," the actor said of the extensive makeup process.

If David Krumholtz wasn't a morning person, he sure isn't now that he's starring on the new IFC comedy Gigi.

"I start my mornings bitter," he said with a laugh at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Friday.

On the half-hour comedy, which Krumholtz also exec produces, he stars as a 76-year-old Jewish grandmother named Gertrude "Gigi" Rotblum. To get into character, the Numb3rs alum undergoes four and a half hours of makeup every day.

"It's pretty lengthy and meticulous process," he said. "Portions of our show are reality-based, so I really have to convince people that I'm her."

The concept originally came from Krumholtz's longtime friend Ricky Mabe, who also co-produces the series and co-stars. Mabe wanted a friend who could play an old Jewish grandmother to read the weather for a website — the idea grew from there.

"He was the first person that I called because, to be honest, from an acting point of view, David, out of my friends, is the best actor," said Mabe. "He's really funny and people don’t give him the credit for being funny."

It also helps that, as Rabe noted, "he's a very handsome woman."

Krumholtz said the character, in looks and in personality, is a tribute to his late grandma. "My grandmother passed away a little bit too young and would make Gigi blush. She was quite the spirit," he said. "I haven’t seen her since she passed, so my first reaction was to get a little teary eyed."

However, Krumholtz and the rest of the crew quickly embraced his alter ego. "We do like Gigi better than we like David," said showrunner Tim Gibbons.

Much like his grandmother, who "liked to mess with people," much of the show sees Gigi out in the world. The show follows Gigi after she's come into a great deal of money and embraces a new lease on life. "She wants to fall back in love with those experiences and also find love for herself," said Krumholtz.

While some episodes are fairly innocent — Gigi is determined to get her 9-year-old grandson to call her — others are, well, not. In one, she accidentally discovers Internet porn. In another, Krumholtz went into a real art class with real students and was sketched in the nude. The only change he had to make to his body? Paint bigger nipples.

Krumholtz admitted he had a tough time dropping the character at the end of the day, even after the makeup was off. He said, "It's more fun being her."

Gigi premieres on Oct. 1 at 10:30 p.m. on IFC.

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