'Kimmy Schmidt's' Robert Carlock: "Interviews You Have With Writers Are … To Make Sure They're Not Crazy"

"It is kind of amazing how people can blow it, and reveal that they're crazy."

"[Ellie Kemper's] name was floated to us as someone to develop for, and it was the first name that kind of popped for us," said Robert Carlock of the development process for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. "We met with her and she just confirmed our sense of who we thought she was onscreen, and that's a weird thing to be able to communicate and to have any intelligence behind it. And she has a lot," the show creator explained during The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Showrunner Roundtable.

Along with his Kimmy partner, Tina Fey, Carlock is adamant about being completely hands-on throughout his productions. "We're always, or some close representative of us, is always on the floor, someone who knows the script and knows our intention, and their job is to make sure the directors and the actors understand what we're trying to say."

He went on to talk about how interesting it is to be a showrunner, the one in charge, rather than just a writer in the room. He finds interviewing a writing staff as part of his role a mind-blowing experience. "The interviews you have with writers are mainly, from my experience, to make sure they're not crazy. And it is kind of amazing how people can blow it, and reveal that they're crazy."

Carlock joined fellow comedy showrunners Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Jay Duplass (Togetherness), 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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