January 31, 2013 10:35am PT by Aaron Couch
'Legit' Creators Spill Secrets of Their Abrasive Yet Kind Comedy
The men behind FX’s Legit acknowledge there’s a surprising amount of heart behind their new comedy, which centers on a character who is abrasive and self-obsessed but also kind.
In the Jan. 17 series premiere, Jim (Australian comic Jim Jefferies) and his best friend, Steve (Dan Bakkedahl), take Steve’s wheelchair-bound brother Billy (D.J. Qualls) to a Las Vegas brothel so he can have his first (and possibly only) sexual encounter.
Case in point: The episode is based on a true story from Jefferies’ stand-up act, a bit that routinely elicits questions from audience members about how they can do the same thing for a loved one of theirs.
“Parents, brothers and sisters -- those kind of people would walk up to [Jefferies] and say, 'How can I do that for my brother,' ” Legit writer an executive producer Peter O’Fallon told reporters during a conference call. “So, for me, there was a kindness to this incredibly raw, incredibly abrasive and difficult humor. At the core of it was a kind act -- not necessarily heart, but it was a nice thing to do to somebody.”
Jefferies, also a writer and an executive producer on the show, said “it feels very odd” to consider how much of his life is laid out in Legit.
“A lot of these stories are 100 percent true. I’m really raking my life to get each story out,” he said. “They say that when you know a person, you only know the tip of the iceberg and 90 percent of the iceberg is underwater. I think people know 90 percent of me and only 10 percent is underwater.”
Both men praised FX, which is known for making comedies on the cheap in exchange for greater creative control and a bigger backend for its talent. O’Fallon said he’s earning about 10 percent of what he normally does, but he’ll make up for it with the fun he’s having on the show.
Going into the series, Jefferies and O’Fallon were aware that Legit might draw comparison’s to Louis C.K’s lauded FX comedy Louie because it also centers on a stand-up comic's home life. In an effort to differentiate their project, they decided against showing Jefferies’ character performing.
"By not being able to go to a stand-up and have us explain or tell the joke or try to illiterate the story, it makes our job a little bit harder," O'Fallon said, "but I think it makes it ultimately hopefully a more satisfying show."
Off-camera, O’Fallon said his favorite memory from production was arranging a surprise for Nick Daley, an actor with special needs who plays Billy's roommate Rodney on the show. Daley is a big fan of fire trucks, so the show’s medic used his connections with the Los Angeles Fire Department to have one come to the set.
“They dressed him all up,” O’Fallon said. “He got to drive around with the fire truck and do the hose and all that kind of stuff. It was just a really killer moment.”
During the conference call, the duo also revealed guest stars slated to appear include Andy Dick and John Ratzenberger.
Legit airs at 10:30 p.m. Thursdays on FX.