TCA Summer Press Tour Day 5 Quotes: Bill Hader's Origin Story, MTV's 'Broad City' With a Blonde

Plus, Billy Eichner on the dangers of recognizability and CBS' 'Search Party' embraces unlikeability.
Courtesy of Viacom International Inc./MTV
MTV's 'Mary + Jane'

Sunday's centerpiece panel at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour was probably the send-off panel for SundanceTV's Rectify, one of TV's best shows starting its final season this October. Our full coverage of that panel is here.

The rest of the cable day was dominated by comedies, with MTV introducing two new comedies, TBS delivering a pair and even IFC paneling one new comedy and the second season of the terrific Documentary Now!

Plus, we got to see Lady Mary from Downton Abbey doing some very bad things in Michelle Dockery's TNT drama Good Behavior.

Some of Sunday's highlight quotes:

*** Documentary Now! co-creators Bill Hader and Fred Armisen were asked a banal question about when they first knew they were funny. Hader replied first: "I knew when I was funny when I was a kid I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And there was the Oral Roberts University, you know, which ... had these huge praying hands in front of it. And my grandmother from Chicago was in town, and she was very suspicious of this, you know. And she’s driving by, and she goes, 'What the hell are those?' And I said, 'Oh, at midnight they clap.' And I was 4. And my mom and dad laughed really hard at that. And then they put me on the road. And I made no money for years, just the 'clap kid' and all." It'd be almost impossible to relate the entirety of Armisen's story, but it began with, "I grew up in a very rough part of Brazil, the favelas. You know, we would attack each other, just you’re 2 years old, and you’re just beating each other up for food." [More from the Documentary Now! panel.]

*** Nicole Byer of MTV's Loosely Exactly Nicole had a good press tour visit, including recounting her real-life experiences doing auditions and being asked to do line readings that were "more black." She recalled, "There really isn’t, like, any different perception. It’s just one, and it’s sassy, and there’s, like, code words. That’s different. They’ll be like, 'Can you be more urban?' 'Can you have more edge?' 'Can you sass it up?' And I’ve had one casting director who was literally like, 'I need you to be as black as possible.' And then she was like, 'If you go too black, I’ll bring you back.' And I was like, 'What does that mean?' Like, 'If I pull out a knife and, like, shank you, like, is that too far?' So, yeah, I don’t deal with that too much now. But in the beginning, I was auditioning and what-not. It was every audition I went on. Someone said, 'Sad.' Oh, it’s so sad. But look at me now." [Full Loosely Exactly Nicole panel coverage.]

*** We haven't seen more than a scene of IFC's Stan Against Evil, which stars John C. McGinley, so we let Dana Gould spend a while as film critic, offering such wisdom as, "[To] clarify, my favorite horror movie is An American Werewolf in London, and my favorite whore movie is Pretty Woman" and "[It’s] the same director for every episode. And we had a team, Jack Bishop and Justin Nijm, and they worked with a really wonderful director of photography oddly named Tim Burton but, unlike the real Tim Burton, knows what a second act is." Zing. [More on how Stan Against Evil isn't Ash vs. Evil Dead.]

*** MTV's Mary + Jane feels a lot like MTV's attempt to get its own Broad City, or so I figured after watching two episodes. Creators Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Can't Hardly Wait) disagreed. "I mean, one of our girls is blonde. It's a huge difference," Elfont clarified. Broad City also doesn't have a theme song by Snoop Dogg.

*** The peril of Bill Eichner's increased popularity is increased recognition and with it the potential to lose the spontaneity that makes Billy on the Street work. He explained: "I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing when someone recognizes me, and if they do, I might take them off camera, but I tend not to want that person on the show. You know, I think for the most part it works better when someone doesn’t know who I am. Once in a while maybe I can spin someone recognizing me into something funny, but for the most part, we’re out on the street. It’s very public. People might know, be able to guess where we’re going to be one day, but once we’re there, I can see in someone’s eye, for the most part, if they know who I am. At some point during their interaction, it does become clear to me this person knows and is trying to get on the show, and I’ll cut it short and move on. Although, I’m grateful for their support."

*** TBS' Search Party is one of the most interesting comedies I've seen for this press tour. I'm describing it as a single-cam comedy version of L’Avventura, the story of an awful group of self-obsessed New Yorkers who find something new to obsess over when somebody they vaguely knew in college goes missing. They're seemingly dreadful, but that's part of the point. Executive producer Michael Showalter argued, "I think the question of them as good people is part of the question of the whole show. It’s part of what is, I think, challenging in a good way about the show as a whole, which is, what defines a good person and how, as individuals, do we choose what kind of people we want to be, and what is that journey like? And I think that’s specifically true when you are young and when you are kind of figuring it out. And so I think that, like, in the writing of this show, the goodness or not goodness of a character was actually something we talked about a lot, and so I think, in a way, the ambiguity about it is what, hopefully, will be something that people talk about when they see the show, which is, are these good characters? Are they bad? Do I like them? Do I not like them? How will they turn out? How will they change over the course of this season?" [More on TBS' ambitious Search Party roll-out plans.]

*** If Mary + Jane is different for Broad City because of one variation in hair color, Michelle Dockery's Good Behavior character, an addict, con artist and thief, must be four times different from Lady Mary on Downton Abbey. As Dockery said, "I think Letty finds it hard to sort of exist as normal people do. I think she finds she gets bored very, very easily, and the dressing up part of it and becoming another character within the character is also the addiction. It’s the high, you know, following people and being someone else to escape the pain or who she who she really is. And that has been really fun to play. It’s character within character, which is a dream for an actor. I have four different wigs. They all have different names."

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