Jay Duplass on 'Togetherness' Characters: "Everything Is Something From Our Lives"

"My brother [Mark Duplass] and I have always been trying to get to a truthfulness and a simplicity about our storytelling that is really analogous to life — how things happen in real life."

"I come at [showrunning] from such a microcosmic approach," Togetherness co-creator Jay Duplass said during The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Showrunner Roundtable. "When I look up into the world and out of my little lens, people just seem to be excited about drama and comedy being completely blended."

"Sadness is totally tied to comedy," he added.

Working with brother Mark Duplass, the duo's style lends itself toward a melancholic comedic realism. Jay notes, "[We] have always been trying to get to a truthfulness and a simplicity about our storytelling that is really analogous to life."

This necessity for truth makes everyone in their lives "fair game." He says his family members "kind of know that their stories will come up. Everything [on the show] is something from our lives."

It can be strange to present such raw, autobiographical material out to the public in this way, Jay explained. "It is interesting to see something that you've done show up, and then people talk about it on Twitter, and they judge it, and they also laugh, and there's arguments about it. To see people arguing about how you operate in your life is a really interesting thing."

Duplass joined fellow comedy showrunners Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Robert Carlock (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Steve Levitan (Modern Family) and Alec Berg (Silicon Valley) for the Roundtable, where the writer-producers discussed the profound impact of their shows on their respective demographics.

The full Comedy Showrunner Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter when it premieres Sunday, Sept. 6, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sundance TV and HollywoodReporter.com.

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