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In the Writer’s Room with Comedian Gareth Reynolds

April 6, 2019

ATM: Express the flow in the writer’s room for FXX’s You’re the Worst.

GR: This is the show where the showrunner is Stephen Falk. He is also the creator and heartbeat of the show. He is good with generating with what is needed and what he wants. A lot of it is getting to know people and how their minds work. This is with a lot of writer’s room, including this show. Ideally, you have a bunch of people bringing different ideas to the table. You are building something that is entertaining. Like on most shows you have someone saying, “Here is what I am thinking.” It just starts with throwing something out there and making each other laugh. With this show, it is about knowing the characters very well so you can service them.

ATM: How long did it take for you to get comfortable and realize it was not personal when getting back red marks and feedback?

GR: In general, with writing you have to get comfortable with not only getting notes from other people but also giving yourself notes. There is nothing better than a good note. A bad note sucks. Sometimes you are like fuck this. Before you go to script you go to outline. You have outlined your script and you have your scenes placed. You have some lines of dialogue. The showrunner, in this case Stephen Falk is updated on this. I there are notes, then they will help you in script. When you go to script, then you have partially giving yourself notes most of the time. “This is not right. This should go here. This should be funnier.” It is all there for better good for the show and script. There are times where you are like this is bullshit. You get comfortable with it in general and for comedy. It always needs work and always can get better. It is easier if this is your attitude. 

ATM: Where is there a part of you in the two episodes The Pillars of Creation and What Money?

GR: The jokes really. The characters in the episode The Pillars of Creations are Vernon, Becca, Paul. This was a weird episode. You do not see the main characters until the very end. You are trying to write in the voice of the characters. You are trying to be true to what you think they sound like. The Vernon is a lunatic who is a joke machine. Becca is arrogant, but also oblivious. Paul is this lovable and nerdish man. The way you have your voice in the script is giving their voices the most fun stuff to say as possible. It is different when writing for the characters like this one, because the characters are so established. You trying to talk in Jimmy’s voice. You are trying to think about what Gretchen would say. Your job is to consistently hit their voice and make it entertaining.

ATM: Do you want the title to reflect the episode or the episode to reflect the title?

GR: You pick the title last. You try to make it a line from your script at the same capacity. You get it out there. You think about what it is something someone says in this episode and try to convey it. What Money is a line in the episode. Everyone is after Jimmy’s money. In Pillars of Creations, it is about stargazing and leans into an assimilation process.

ATM: If the title is picked first, then how would this complicate the moral compass of the episode?

GR: You could never be married to anything. You want to have a theme to your episode. You definitely want to have stuff like this. If you start with your title, then you marry it. As a writer, you have to be flexible enough to abandon every idea. If you have your title first, then you are going into it married and it will never work out.

ATM: So, picking the title at the end is working as a free-spirited person. Kind of like walking into the woods. You do not know what to expect, but you get mesmerized by your surroundings. Like the clouds, sun, or trees. When you walk out of the woods you now get a sense of what you just went through, which can be like just writing on a show.

GR: Yes. There is a lot going on. You are busy. Your focus is split many ways. But then when you walk out done, you remember how great things were. You remember when you were annoyed. You remember the great people. You want to have fun. It is like this.

ATM: In what ways is your focus split into?

GR: You are working on episode five and episode three. You have to come up with jokes for episode four. You are working on multiple things. There are number of things going on. The way a show moves is very quick, and it is kicked into gear. It does not let down for a while.

ATM: So, basically you have to mentally multitask more than what you do in the reality sense. In a metaphoric way your mind is split up into chapters.

GR: Yes. It is like this. In many ways a season is like a book. You are writing different chapters. You always working ways to make things as good as possible. You have talented actors with ideas, you have talents directors who shot it to bring it to life. Talented set designers know what it should look like.

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