(lively music) – Hi, and welcome to Close Up
with The Hollywood Reporter. I’m Lacey Rose, and I’m joined today by Alex Borstein, Natasha Lyonne, Regina Hall, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Maya Rudolph, Jane Fonda, and Tiffany Haddish. – Hey.
(group laughing) – Thanks so much for being here. All right, we’re gonna start off with more of an icebreaker type question. Complete the sentence. I do comedy, because? – It makes me feel good. (group laughing) – I can be with Lily Tomlin. – [Maya] Oh, I wanna say that. – [Jane] Yeah, you do. It’s just the best. – [Maya] Yummy. – It’s who I am. – You took my answer.
– Ah, damn it. – Yeah, I was gonna say it’s ’cause I can’t do anything else.
– It’s all I know how to do. – [Natasha] That’s mine, I
can’t do anything else, yeah. – ‘Cause it would be
pretty dull otherwise, I think, but also ’cause it’s a way in, to then do other things. – Yes, smart. – Oh, that’s good. Yeah.
– Yeah. – I mean, I like to laugh, so it’s fun to… Although, I guess I’m not
laughing when I do it, but. I do do it to laugh. – [Natasha] She said doo-doo. (group laughing) Just saying.
– You caught it. – ‘Cause it’s funny, and it’s a way of disappearing from self. I think sometimes, when things are funny and buoyant, the air gets kinda crackly and you forget what existence is, and that’s always the angle. It’s always the–
– That’s the goal? – [Natasha] The mission. – It takes us further away from death. – Yes, that’s it, that’s it! – The inevitable. – It’s a numbing agent. – Yes, and I like that. – All right, so you guys
are at these sort of peaks in your career, right now. I think we can say that
universally across the table. – Oh, damn.
– It’s downhill. – That’s depressing. – [Lacey] It’s all down hill from here! – It’s all down hill. No, but how much– – I want it to just keep goin’ like this. – Well, maybe it will, but I think the question is, how much sort of pressure do you feel, whether it’s internal or external, to sort of strike while the iron is hot and add other projects and other things? (group laughing) – Oh, my God. I mean, that’s really funny
for me to think about. I’m 81 years old. I left the business for 15 years. Strike while the iron is hot. (group laughing) – Do you, I mean, how do you feel? Do you feel like, I mean, you
have 15 projects lined up, is that you? Is that a drive to– – I’ve always had 15 projects lined up. Y’all just didn’t know about ’em ’cause it was stuff I
was making up on my own. I always make sure I stay busy, no matter what, like, and so, to me, it’s just
like doing regular stuff. Now I just got a little more money, and a few more people know who I am, and my family’s asking me for stuff more, which is the part I hate. Everything else I love. – [Maya] That means you’re successful. – Yeah, when the whole family’s like, because our blood is the same, you should give me your money.
– I was actually gonna ask you for something, to be honest, but I was gonna wait ’til the show ended. – But I don’t even have that much money. That’s the thing.
– I needed a little bit. – What you need? You gotta pay me back by my birthday. – Oh, I gotta pay it back? – [Tiffany] Yeah, you gotta
pay me back by my birthday, or we can’t talk no more. – You got ’til December. – Wow, I know.
– What about you guys? I mean, you have 15
projects as well lined up. How much of that is the
pressure you put on yourself versus the sort of industry wanting to sort of get a piece and stay relevant? – I don’t really. I think my, my bandwidth gets, isn’t that– – Wide?
– Thank you. (group laughing) To do as many as 15, but I do feel like, when I was starting out and
doing Crashing and Fleabag, and then Killing Eve came along, I was like, I have to do this. I will break myself to do this because I know that the impact
it could have on my career, and then I think I’m now
at a stage when I just, for the first time ever, when I think I’m actually
gonna take a step back a bit and go and recharge and think about what I
wanna write about again ’cause I think, when
you’re writing at that rate for that many years, you sort of forget, like, who you are or like, what you wanna write about again. So I think I’m gonna
sort of buckle down again and take a bit of time to think. – I feel that way. I’m not writing, but I feel like, in terms of, I feel very
thick-headed in the sense that it took me until
very recently to realize, oh, you really can get to a place in your career when you can choose more than react to. So I guess if that’s the
peak, then I’ll take it. ‘Cause I like choosing. I don’t like being told what to do. – When did you reach that point? When did you feel the
confidence to be able to say, I don’t wanna do that? – That’s a great question, I don’t know. I mean, I felt very fortunate that because of starting at
Saturday Night Live, I left, I exited with a bit of an army, so I was never really alone if I didn’t want to be. I could call upon a friend
and write something, or I could call upon… You know, I was always happy to, I like playing in groups. I’m not a solo artist. I like to–
– Have a band? – I like to have a band. (group laughing) But I feel like now it’s both quality control, but it’s also about quality of life. Specifically with Forever, Fred and I chose to work with people that we wanted to see every day, or else we didn’t really wanna do it. – I think that makes a lot of sense. Jane, you just mentioned
the career that you’ve had. What have you learned from
how to handle the peaks as well as how to handle the valleys? – Embrace it all, you know? And it doesn’t have to peak
and then be all downhill. It can peak, and then, like, I’m over the hill in a chronological sense, but there’s a whole vista out there that I didn’t anticipate, and so you can reach the peak
and then you can go down, and it can be just as
interesting, you know? And, I just, what other people think are the peaks and valleys, I think it’s a good idea not to pay too much attention to it. – I think people forget that
on the other side of a peak can also be a really amazing plateau. That’s what I feel like. For me, I don’t want to
accumulate any other work. I feel done. I feel like I’ve gotten to
do the best thing I wanna do, and I’m done. I don’t, I don’t–
– What does done mean? – But also no one’s coming to
me with any offers, either, so I wouldn’t know. – ‘Cause I got like three scripts for you. – Yeah, I have no choices, so it’s easy for me to be like, I’m done. But yeah, I feel like, it’s nice to just exist, and I’ve got kids and I really wanna– – Enjoy where you’re at. – Try not to screw ’em up too much. – Good luck with that. – Yeah, I know. But, yeah, plateaus are good. – Plateaus are good. Regina, you’ve said, and
I’m gonna quote you here, “There are lists in Hollywood. “I was on top of one before. “Now I’m on the bottom
of a more difficult one.” I’m hoping you can sort
of expand on that idea, and also sort of describe where you fall on one versus the other. – You know, I think I meant, or what I mean is, with everything, you have
to just enjoy where you are. What’s for you is for you. I think before, when I first started, I thought that you got to
a place where it was done, and you’ve reached–
– What does done look like? – Oh, you’ve reached a level where, you know, people knew you, you were offered films. They were great films, but it’s not in the way that you think. There’s always work, there’s always work. So what happens is, you
have to have an acceptance with wherever, whatever place you’re in because it’s not a destination arrived, if that makes sense. – That makes sense to me, very much so.
– Okay, okay, good. – We’re cool. – All right, that makes me so happy. – No, but it does because I agree with you in that I thought that it would look like what I thought it would look like. – Yes, and then you thought
it’d feel different, that you’d feel settled, like, I mean, you really know.
– Well, the sense of I’ll never get another
job never goes away, I can tell you that.
– That’s exactly what I mean. – And my dad had it until the day he died, and I have it, and it never goes away, and that’s fine. I mean, you know, we’re
in a weird business. We’re very much prey to the going fashion, but fashion changes and
then we can come back, and then we disappear again
and then we come back. One thing I know is that
it’s really important to have a life outside of our work and to have interests outside of our work ’cause otherwise it gets pretty sad. – Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. – To Maya’s point about this place where you’re able to be picky, what are the things at
this stage of your career where you’re like, mmm, just not gonna do that? Whether it’s a type of role, whether it’s a type of project, whether it’s just a line you won’t say. – I have a fantasy about not
working in the summer anymore, but I haven’t quite been able to hit it ’cause then summer pictures come up, and you wanna take ’em ’cause you’re like, what am I doing? I’m looking down the
barrel of an empty summer, but in my fantasy, I arrive at this moment
that we’re describing, and I suddenly say, no more July-August pictures. Because I have so much hair and it gets very hot under it. And especially, in any of these sort of multitasking jobs where you’re also, you’re
writing, directing, producing, acting, and
you’re running around, and you’re sweating, and I
don’t wanna play that game. Yeah, but like a Doctor Zhivago
in the summer I could do, in case anyone’s asking. (group laughing) – What are the things that you just– – You could do Omar.
– You won’t do? – Thanks. – No one’s asked me to
do nudity, so I’m good. – [Natasha] Well. – I wouldn’t, I think I
wouldn’t be naked anymore. – No, I mean– – Right now, Maya, right now. – Well, that’s different, yes. (group laughing)
I feel like… You just literally tugged. – [Natasha] Take it off. – You know what, I am good at saying no. I used to really not, I used to be a lot more passive-aggressive about saying yes and then being unhappy in the face and doing things that
made me feel embarrassed. Even silly things like
when you start to make it especially as a comedy lady, and you get to do like a
fashion spread and they’re like, and now we want you to
fall out of a dumpster while putting your face in a birthday cake in a beautiful gown. And you’re like, okay. And I started learning
to say no, instead of– – You’re extraordinary at saying no. Like, ’cause I feel like there’s such a deep sense of self–
– That’s recent. – Of like, sort of what Jane’s describing of what really matters in life is so concrete and tangible for you that I feel like I really, it’s, you know, it’s backed by something, you know, truly important. – I think it’s backed… I think it’s far more
recent than you realize, just as a personal friend, like, I think you’ve probably
thought that all this time but really I was faking it,
– Yeah. – And I think that in recent years– – Oh, yes.
– I’ve gotten better at it because it’s about self-care and not, I don’t want to feel the anger. Like, I don’t wanna have a shitty day. – Yeah.
– It’s that simple. I used to get mad about, like, I mean, when I first started, nobody wanted to even touch my hair. They were like, “What is that?” (group laughing) And I would be, and then, all the other
black actresses are like, “Don’t you bring your own wigs?” I was like, “No, I don’t know.” My hair was, like, out to here. When I started SNL, they’d put me under wigs and I’d have this big bump in the back ’cause I had to like get
all my hair under there. I just had to figure out
how to get through the day without wanting to cry
or being frustrated, or feeling like an other, and so it was like this
self-care journey for me of just, like, this is how it’s gonna be and I get in and I get out, and I have a pleasant day. And part of that is saying
I don’t wanna do that. But not in a shitty way, just in way that’s like, no. No, that doesn’t work for me. – ‘Cause that is that goal, right? It’s like, to be… Like, I always feel like as
soon as I have a sort of, you know, I have like two modes and sort of what you’re describing of either I’m, you know, I’m happy to be there
and have a sense of that, or I’m in this other mode where, do I think I’m being
punished or something? You know, where, and it
can get so quickly warped. You know, like exhaustion
can really do that. A sense of overwhelm can really do that, where I flip into this other person who’s kind of suddenly being put upon while realizing my dreams. And like, if I can just
see it in real time, I can like, hopefully, self-correct. – [Lacey] Yeah. – But that’s dark when that happens. – Sure.
– Yes it is. – Maya mentioned nudity and I remember listening to you say that you had turned down, Natasha, that you had turned down some roles from a porno.
– From pornos, yes. – You didn’t say no.
– It was a dark period! – You didn’t say no to several. – I’m on Regina’s set for nine days. She knows what happened. – [Regina] She’s got about six in the can. – Post-Slums of Beverly Hills
when you turned down proj, the Buffys and the Dawson’s
Creek type projects, – Some of the great pornos of our time. (group laughing) – Adult films.
– The adult films, yes. – You seemed to talk about that period and said you regret
not taking your clothes off more.
– I do, I stand by those statements, yes.
– Why? What does that mean? – I just feel like sometimes, you know, when I see so many, you know, the greats. We were talking about Barbarella moments ago or something of like, when you really see this kind of, like, somebody who’s able to
be inside of their body and I don’t even mean like
full nudity or anything but I remember Slums of
Beverly Hills, I was like 17 and I was scared to even
just be in my panties. Like I was so, I think, you know, I had such a warped sense of self and fear of outside opinion that I didn’t wanna open
myself up to judgment. So I felt like if I can be this kind of Joe Pesci tough guy persona, then it’s kind of keeping
you at arm’s length of it’s not too close
and there’s something inherently vulnerable about actually, like here is my skin. And so, it felt that maybe
even as a child actor who did not get the role of Curly Sue. – Their loss.
– You know, yeah. It’s important to bring it up but I think maybe it felt like this idea of sort of showing
flesh would then open me to a different form of judgment that was beyond even just
my work and it scared me. And now I look back and I think, you also, you know, you’re hot. You had this nice, little lanky body, you could choose a– – [Regina] That’s the tragedy of youth! – On the beach in the ’90s.
– You don’t know how good you look. – Maya and I went to Hawaii in the ’90s, we had two lanky little tennis playing– – [Regina] And you were
complaining then, weren’t you? – Yeah, visors. We had on big Hunter S. Thompson aviators. We looked so cute. – Boobies up here. Boobies up here.
– Boobies up to here! – That’s why you should be
naked when you’re young. – And that’s why because–
– ‘Cause you wanna have that on film.
– And then, you can do these pictures
where you’re, kind of like, as you’re getting older, it’s not, it becomes about the
character you’re playing, not about the fear of nudity. You become like an actor
who’s just embodying the role in a way that I think I affiliated it with fear too early on to ever sort of shift it and be like, now at 35 is the time for it. Just never made sense afterwards. – Where do the rest of
you sort of stand on, how comfortable are you, yes, you seem like you
have an answer, Tiffany. – I mean, how much they payin’ me? – [Lacey] But is that what it is? – I mean, this is just, I’m just borrowing this flesh suit and I’m gonna give this
back to the Lord anyways. It’s going back to the dirt. Might as well share it. If I can feed my family and whatnots.
– But you haven’t to date. – No, ’cause ain’t nobody came with the right kinda money.
– Tiffany. I have an adult film that’s
gonna lead you straight– – Is it me and Michael B. Jordan? – Yeah, that’s–
– I’m a method actress. (group laughing) Me and Trevor Noah?
– I think it depends on the part. – Trevor Noah, huh?
– I think it depends on the part and what it is.
– I like that. I like that.
– And if it’s, how it’s written, how it’s shot, and if it’s gratuitous
or if it means something. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t do it, it would just depend on what it was and who was directing it, you know what I mean? Like how you, say, the whole… There’s like so many components. – The quality of, what’s the quality of it? If it’s like, if it’s like– – Gratuitous.
– A classy situation, yeah. But if it’s like some
super raunchy, nasty, better be freakin’ hilarious
and I better be gettin’ paid. – By the way, I’m the
idiot that brought it up. I was joking ’cause I’m
all like, nobody asked me, but the truth is like, I don’t feel like, I never really, like I don’t
know how I’m gonna feel about stuff tomorrow or in 20 years. Let’s see, and if it’s terrible, no. But if it makes sense, I’m also still not just
talking about nudity, but since it’s, I’m the little
idiot that brought it up, I don’t know how I’m gonna feel
about something in 20 years. – Like, right now, I don’t
wanna do scary movies. Anything that got
something to do with demons or me getting cut, where
I’m bleeding to death, I don’t wanna do.
– Yeah, but if Jordan Peele called and was like, here’s this amazing story. – Then I’ma be like how
many demons is in it ’cause I’m not fucking with no demons. Period. – For me, I feel like
every day you show up and you’re giving so much of yourself, everywhere and to everybody, and I feel like the one thing that I have is this little, mushy little, pasty white form and it’s mine and I feel like it’s special and I wanna, I’m a filthy slut with the right person. Like I will be, you know, walking around and whipped cream on
the nipples or whatever but in terms of outside and anyone else, I just feel like mm-mm. This is my–
– Maybe we could see you without the whipped cream. – This is my– (group laughing) You gotta have something that feels yours and safe, and special.
– Whipped cream, check. – Michael B. Jordan– – I feel you need to know what it’s for. Like if you know, in the scene sometimes, just what it’s for and
what you’re trying to do ’cause I think if you can’t really tell why you’ve got your tits out, then I think you’re
probably in the wrong scene. ‘Cause I remember saying, really early on, as a young actress, I would
find it really intimidating whenever I saw ’cause you’d
see so many young actors on stage and on screen, movies and stuff, and they’d all have to do it so you knew there was a ticking clock, like if I wanna be an actress, it kinda means I’m gonna have to do that. And then, obviously, the ones
that we’d see all the time are like perfect and gorgeous girls, so there was this kind of like… It’s always like, I’m never gonna do it because it distracts me
as an audience member, and then I’m jumped out of it all the time and I’m thinking about those actors’ bits. But then this play came along. When it said that I had to
have my top off for 20 minutes, I was like, damn! It was really powerful,
what it was in the scene. And not in like, it was really powerful. – Powerful. – But my character taking her top off freaked the other guy
in the scene out so much that he starts behaving
in this terrified way ’cause she’s using it as this power game, and I thought, like, I
know how to play that. I know that I’m playing my nudity rather than just having to look like soft, nice and hot.
– But you’re right. – [Alex] But it does. The audience in that theater moment were also just as freaked out.
– Yeah. – So it is, it does jump. I think maybe that is, I have a, whenever I see someone
else do it, I feel like, “Oh, that’s Julianne Moore’s pussy.” – Yeah, exactly, yeah!
– That’s not the character’s pussy. – And unless there’s a
character in the room going, that’s her pussy. – And I’m, it’s done. – [Maya] When I saw Fleabag, I was like, I wish I could do that. I really wish I could do that. – I felt that way about Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises, in a sauna. I was like, I wish I could do that because that took real cajones. That was, like, fascinating to watch, he’s–
– I couldn’t watch, I just saw nothing else. All I saw was… – There’s some but nudity–
– What is the name of it? I wanna go see it.
– Eastern Promises. – Eastern Promises.
– The Cronenberg. – That’s the movie– – You never showed your tatas?
– (laughing) No! – You didn’t? – No, but this is really
interesting ’cause– – Wait a minute.
– I just cleared up that I’m not naked or nude
at any point in the show. – But I thought you showed
your tatas, you don’t? – Loads of people do,
and the weird thing is, is because I always thought–
– You never did? – No, it was really important
to me that, you know, that I never showed anything.
– You never do. – But because she’s so
candid with her language, it feels like, looking to the-
– It’s just her back? – Just her back and shoulders, and arm, and neck and face. (group laughing)
– Do you do face nudity? – I do face nudity, occasionally. I take my mustache off
for special occasions. (group laughing)
(group chattering) We’re all a bunch of sluts here, right? (group chattering) – That’s really interesting,
– But I always felt like– – And you just made me fall
more deeply in love with you because you’re correct in that, that is what you were telling me. Like, I bought the whole picture
because of your character. And I thought you had great tatas. – Oh, also, a trip to the–
– So you took it to the next level there, I love that. (upbeat music) – Jane, Grace and Frankie, and your movie, Book Club, both portray older, female sexuality which, traditionally,
has only been treated as sort of a joke or ignored
entirely in film and TV. Why haven’t we seen it until
now and why was it important for you to be a part
of a project like this? – Why we haven’t seen it until now? Well, there’s a… Culture doesn’t like people with wrinkles to be talking about sex. – Or just people.
– Kids don’t either, they don’t like to think
about their parents doing it, you know what I mean? – Yeah! – But the fastest growing demographic in the world are older women, and a lot of them are
doing it, very pleasurably. – I wanna learn. – I wrote a book about it, and I know a lot about it, and I gave it to the writers. And when I was in my 40s, I said, before I die, I wanna be part of giving a cultural face to older women. And I can’t tell you how
much feedback Lily and I get from older women who say,
“It’s given me hope.” And not-so-old women saying, “I now see another way forward,” you know? So I think it’s great that we’re doing it and we’re having a blast, actually. – Is the line different
when you’re dealing with older women versus
a 25-year-old woman, in terms of what you can do and how far you can push it?
– Sure! Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t have been talking about vaginal dryness in Barbarella. (group laughing) Or Coming Home. (group chattering) You know, Lily makes vaginal
lubricant out of yams, which I think is jam and
I put it on my toast, and, you know, that kind of thing. We don’t, you know. Yeah! That kind of thing, like, all the issues that happen
when you’re older, like… Vaginal dryness! (group laughing) Problems with erections and
things like that, you know, and so it’s fun to deal with it all. – I just wanna say that you were right, I did you push away. But, Nick, I’ve changed. – You say that.
– No! I mean it. And I’m better for you than whatever age-inappropriate sorority girl you’re having lunch with. – Great, ’cause here she is. – You really only have
two types, don’t you? – Grace, this is Kathleen, my mother. – No. – Then there’s the issues of when you have a younger boyfriend who has low furniture and you can’t get up. (group laughing)
(Tiffany groaning) – That’s now. – How about not being able
to get up off the toilet? Is that, no, you’re too young. – I fall asleep on the toilet. (laughing) It’s horrible. I can’t feel my legs afterward. I be tired, I don’t–
– Are you on your phone that whole time? – No, I’m like, I sit on the toilet and then I’m like (imitates snoring) then it’s
like five in the morning and I’m at that kitchen.
– ‘Cause you have 15 jobs. – You have 15 jobs.
– Eating my eggs. – But, you know, I talk
about this idea a lot of more stories being told. I assume it’s because there are so many places to tell stories– – Absolutely. – Compared to when we were all starting, so there are more people
telling these stories, and every time, we find that there is an eager and hungry audience. That people want to
connect with these stories, and not just because
they’re at the same age but because the more specific, the more exciting and interesting it is. – Sure.
– I heard that so much about Russian Doll, in
that in its specificity, that because of its
specificity, it resonated. – Well, but I would say that
what we’re kind of talking about, in a way, is this
flip that’s happened, right? That’s so profound. Which is, it’s an empowered version of telling our stories, our way, which makes it have possible impact and relatability for the viewer, right? So in other words, it’s not vaginal dryness in a person over 50 as a punchline, it’s with purpose and intent, and that changes everything. – You’ve described Russian Doll as being about a sort of a
metaphorical bottoming out that you have a close relationship to. – Thank you. Peaks and valleys, plateaus.
– Peaks and valleys! – Yeah. – [Lacey] What does that mean to you and why were you ready
to tell that story now? – Well, you know, I
mean the wonderful thing about the valley is there’s no risk there, you know what I mean? I mean, I can remember early on, you know, seeing sort of peaks and thinking, okay! And then, this is it, I guess we’ve arrived. And then you discover, of course, there’s no there, there! You know, these two ladies
I’ve known from round one and, you know, I’m still close with now in, whatever, round two. But it’s also, who cares? I mean, it is a life. We live, we die. Why not sort of talk about
that while we’re here and try to make that a kind of, you know, a human experience? And of course, we love
jokes because they’re funny and they, sort of, relieve suffering. I remember, you know, the great Tyne Daly, told me once, like, “What do you wanna be, kid? “You wanna be in the walking wounded? “Be a soldier. “A plumber goes to work, they plumb. “They come home, they turn on
the TV and that’s your job.” Meaning that there’s a separate
world, which, of course, as a Jew and a Talmud student, I love to be hyper-analytical about what does it all mean and, like, what’s the
plan and what is ambition and what is a life? I definitely wanted to
make a show that, kind of, addressed that in sort
of a sideways stabs. It’s my favorite language.
– Yeah. – It means a lot to me
and something else that also means a lot to me would
be if you would tell me if you think I’m a bad person or maybe I’ve committed
some serious misdeeds. And you could come and
talk to me about that. Tonight would be super hot, okay? For my birthday, tell
me if I’m a bad person. Okay, cool. Thank you.
– Thank you so much, Nadia! I would like to dedicate
this night to Chong, my uncle who also had a
hard time saying thank you. – You’ve obviously been very
open about your struggles, but I’m really curious about
the sort of period right after, as you were trying to work
your way back into Hollywood and you had to be willing to take sort of lesser jobs than
you were capable of, and you had to have friends
sort of vouch for you. How do you ultimately convince
Hollywood to take you back? And obviously you did. – Well, well, thanks gang. (group laughing) I mean, I think that the
simple truth also about, you know, in any conversation
about recovery in general is that the truth is is things take time. We have such a kind of
fantasy about, you know, like I think that the movie 28 Days is inherently sort of
problematic for us as a society. Not that it’s not funny
and a wonderful movie, I’m happy they made it. But it’s dangerous to think that things take, you know, oh, I’m gonna go off,
I’m gonna talk about it. Here I am, cover of Us Weekly. I’m better now, let’s
get back to business. And I do think that additionally, as a woman, as a character actor, people were sort of, you know, it didn’t mean as much
on a box office level that, like, I’d left
and now I was returned. You know, so I think it’s
kind of a slow build. If you just show up, you do the work. You’re kind of on time. It’s kind of like, the day-to-day and… Which is so lucky about
any period of, kind of when you’re describing a kind of an exit. Ultimately, I do think that there is, it’s like we’re all entitled
on some level to like, dropping out at some point, you know. At least, not as sort of,
of the tangible variety, so we can like touch it
and talk about it cleanly, but the truth is, is it
gave me time to sort of re-assimilate as an adult
human being in the arts (Jane clapping)
and figure out who do I wanna be in this game. What do I wanna say? What do I wanna do? What do I care about? – Yeah.
– Well said. – So good.
– That’s fun. You know what I mean? So it’s actually a very lucky thing ’cause now, I’m like, you
know, inspired to keep going, you know what I mean?
– Sure. – Rather than feeling
like, they burnt me out. Now I’m like, now we’re
getting to make our thing. It feels very different. – I think that makes a lot of sense. I wanna talk a little about,
sort of, career navigation. Alex, I’ll start with you. You obviously have spent
many, many years on Family Guy where you’re also a writer and a producer, and have a lot of control over what this character is saying and doing. I’m curious of what it’s like
to then segue into a project like Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, where it’s somebody else’s words? – It’s freeing. I mean, I started writing, actually. – Yeah.
– I’m a little more of a writer than an actor and started doing daytime animation, and then MadTV, which is, it’s kind of like Saturday
Night Live but different. But we wrote, you know, a
lot of our material on that. And then working on Family Guy, I did voices but then also wrote. I wrote for Shameless, like, I’d say I’m probably more of a writer and the writing is the
hardest part of anything. It’s so hard. It’s so taxing that to just act is like, oh my God! This is so great. To just show up and it’s not your problem. But it was, you know, right, I did a project called
Getting On before Maisel, and that was very challenging
’cause it was a comedy, but there was also some drama, and there was a lot of, had to be a little more vulnerable and three dimensional, and so that was challenging. Now the challenge is
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, our scripts are like a hundred pages and there’s so much dialogue, and it has to be exactly word-perfect. You can’t say the dog if it’s that dog. And I’m so bad at it, and it’s so hard. So that’s a huge challenge. (phone ringing) – Hello. – What the fuck are you doing in New York and I’m in the Catskills?
– Oh, I had to come back. – And you didn’t tell me?
– I’m sorry. – I came up here because of you. – I know.
– I looked all over this nightmare
place, trying to find you. I went to bingo, and bunny
hop, and call your face. Nowhere!
– Susie. – I went to the beauty parlor
and the indoor skating rink. A skating rink in the middle of summer. What group of total and complete assholes needs a skating rink in
the middle of summer? How the fuck did these people make it out of the desert to begin with? – And in terms of why that role, I mean I’ve heard you talk about, I don’t wanna do moms. There’s certain things and then you can, sort of write a list of– – I don’t get offered anything. That was the only thing there was to do. I wish I could say something
really interesting, that I turned this down and down. – But there are pieces of it–
– I’ve known Amy for many years, and she
had kinda had me in mind, I think she says. And I had just left the country. I was moving out of the U.S. Kind of done, and she’s like–
– To where? – Yeah, where’d you go?
– Barcelona. (collectively cooing) – You still live partially in Barcelona. – Yeah. And she’s like, “I know this is gonna probably
fuck up your whole life,” “but will you read this?” And then I auditioned for it and then– – But ultimately, what was
it about the character, regardless of what else you had, that made you say, I can do this?
– Flat shoes. – Flat shoes was it.
– Flat shoes, no girdle. I knew it’d be comfortable. She was, yeah, not a mom. – Why is the not a mom
so important to you? I’ve heard you say that–
– Because I do that already. That’s like my real life. I do that every day. – And once you become a mom, then you’re usually assumed
to be a mom as an actor. That’s usually what I get. – I just feel like–
– Oh you’re a mom! You’re gonna play a mom! – Oh yeah. I don’t think I’d be interesting
doing that on camera, and other people’s children, I mean, the worst, right? (Lacey laughs) No, I also just, I’m
uncomfortable with kids on set. I feel terrible that they’re working. It makes me really uncomfortable. – Uh-huh. – I liked that Susie was a
very independent, bizarre, little, like, pit bull. I don’t know. – Sure.
– It just seemed like it would be a fun ride, and it has been–
– And it has. Clearly, yes. – So is Barcelona in your future? You live there?
– I still live there, yeah. – God, that’s smart.
– Lucky you. – It’s in my present. – Good choice. – Phoebe, you obviously, again, you are wearing all different hats. Sometimes, it’s just the writer. Sometimes, it’s writing and acting. Curious, A, how do you make those choices? Where are you most comfortable? And I think I’ve heard
you say with Killing Eve, initially it was very freeing and then all of a sudden, you were like, “I’m kinda jealous, I’d
like to be in this”. – Yeah, I guess, similarly,
at the beginning, no one was giving me acting roles so that, I mean, I just do bit
parts here and there, so I really wanted to play a character that made me excited, so I can’t just put my money
where my mouth was a little bit because I was moaning about it so much, I was like, just write one. And then the play came about, and then that did open loads of doors and then there were other
acting opportunities. It was just really gut. I mean, early on, I would just take jobs. I’d just, you just take the job. Just take the damn job. And then, as writing came along, again, it’s really instinctual with me, and I think I feel the
power of writing something and having that control over it and being able to author a story and know that you’re
inviting an audience in with the promise that I’m
gonna take you on a journey and it’s gonna be worth it, and I think that is a experience I feel like I might have as an actor now, if I
get those bigger roles, but back when I wasn’t,
it was the smaller roles, and I didn’t have that feeling of like, I wanna take people on a journey. So that was really driving
me over the last few years. And then obviously writing
stuff just came along more. – Bond being the latest
thing that comes along. – That was like gut instinct to take that one, yeah.
– Yeah, fair enough. – But, I think actually, you know, acting in Killing Eve, I felt very early on that
it just didn’t feel right and I don’t really know why. I just felt like, I’m not in there, I can’t see it. And then we have
conversations with producers, I sort of spent I think about 15 minutes, trying to turn one of the characters into something I could
play, and she was just, the character was going, ugh! What are you writing my name in? It just felt much more
organic to do it like that. And then, there are times where
they’re having so much fun or, like, you’ve got those amazing actors and you’re kind of on set, you just wanna get involved in it. (mumbles rapidly)
– Sure. – [Phoebe] But it’s just one
of the fun bits, you know, that I think if it was
something like Fleabag, that character comes from the depths of me so that’s a different experience. – I’m curious, on Fleabag, I mean, you’ve talked
a lot about, sort of, when you started with the first season, that it was about this, sort of, you were inspired by the
cynicism you felt in your 20s and a bit of this sort of female rage. What inspired this season? – Well, I was completely convinced, and had said with a great amount of smug, artistic integrity that I would not come back for a second series. But the idea really came from, again, the journey I’m gonna
take the audience on. ‘Cause what was exciting for
me about the first series was I felt like I’m inviting the audience in, ’cause it’s direct address and then by the end
the character is trying to push the audience away. And so I wanted the
audience to feel complicit, and that was a strange story, a strange experience for them. And because she knocks
the camera back at the end of the last series, I was like, well, she doesn’t want them there anymore, she doesn’t want you there, so I can’t, and her guard is down ’cause she admits something
at the end of the series which makes her very ashamed
that her guard’s down, so the idea of bringing
the camera back in and her going like, forget about
that, I’m back again! just felt really false and so, I’m like, so I thought I was gonna leave
it and then I had an idea of how I can play with the form again, and what the camera, what the audience would mean to her again, and what she would mean to the audience, and what that relationship had to be new. ‘Cause it was new for me, coming back to this audience. There’s a slight coyness going like, okay, I know you know everything
about me now, as the character. Whereas the first series was her going, I never want you to find out!” I never want you to find out! And then it the end, it’s like, bleh. And this series begins with her going, “I know you know everything.” So, we’re going on a
different journey together. And when I realized it was, I’m just obsessed with an
audience’s experience of it, of anything. And so when I clicked
into that, I was like, now I’m ready to play her again. – Would you do more? – No, smugly.
(group chattering) You know, I… I probably not really am to say that I would never do another one, but I think I’ve ended this one in a way that she can’t come back. But, never say never. – So you’re a cool priest, are you? – A cool priest?
– Yeah. – No, I’m a big reader with no friends. Are you a cool person? – Oh, I’m a very normal person. – A normal person?
– Yeah, a normal person. – What makes you a normal person? – Well, I don’t believe in God. (painting thudding) – I love it when He does that. – I’ll tell you, I saw the show
and immediately fell in love with you and your show, and then I was very lucky, I was just in New York, and I saw her do it live
at the Soho Theatre. And whatever you think you know is, you’re just phenomenal. It was the best thing I’ve seen. Just such an experience and beautiful. And there’s just one person and a chair. And it’s just so powerful. – Thank you. Thanks for coming. (upbeat music) – Regina, I wanna turn to you. I think one of the things
you’ve talked about with Black Monday is this idea that, that you were excited
not to be the sort of, the joy killer, and there were certain
things about this role that were freeing for you. Can you speak a little bit to that and what made you say yeah? – Well, I think a lot of times, you know, when you have a group of men or whatever, whatever tone the show is, especially it’s comedies, the woman always comes in and says, okay, stop acting silly. And they have all the fun–
– The finger pointing, yes. – And then you’re the wet blanket. – The eye rolling. – Yeah, you’re the wet blanket, and I didn’t, I didn’t want to, that wasn’t even what I was saying though. I wanted to have a character in a show that wasn’t auxiliary
to a husband or a boss. I wanted to have something that was fun, and I always felt like
there were so many worlds that I look at on television, that I watch, that are interesting, and maybe there are no
black people in them and it was like, you know, the themes and periods,
and it’s like, I wouldn’t, and you wanna do something
that’s just like, that’s rich and layered and… Like, your show would be
very difficult to where I would be able to, because that’s just not
the truth of the period and sometimes you wanna do stuff and you have to be honest to
the truth of what was going on at that time or then it doesn’t work. So, I just loved that to be able to be in a period piece, you know, and we can’t go back with so many periods ’cause then we turn into slaves. – It depend on where you at. – It depends on where we
are, but if it’s American and then, you know, you wanna
go to ’60s and it’s, you know. Although there are beautiful
stories within that, but then it’s what
Hollywood is gonna make, so it was great to be
able to be in the ’80s and be successful.
– Uh-huh. – And be in a world that’s, no matter what color you are, a woman who’s Spanish, black, white, they just weren’t in really Wall Street, and they still really aren’t. To represent a demographic that’s not normally present in a world, even today, was fun. But then for her to be
as cunning, as sharp and as wild and unapologetic and kinda, you know,
she’s as gross as the men. She just knows that there
are moments where business has to get taken care
of or it won’t get done. But she’s not judgmental of it, and I liked to be able to do that. – You don’t get it, Mo. Wall Street is not the
rollercoaster, you are. And I’m tired of hanging off the back. I didn’t hate your Blair plan. I hated that you didn’t tell me. Look, I can call my guy. Kurt cut into me right now and stashed all that fat right in his family trust. – Yes. – All you gotta do is give me
the piece of the Jammer Group that I deserve. – (scoffs) This shit again? – Make me your partner, or I gotta go. – I find that most women
who I know are like that. They’re quite fun. Quite delightful and quite smart and dirty, and a little raunchy and, you know, all things, and they’re not just, not you. There’s no raunch in this one! – [Tiffany] It’s me. – It’s definitely not you, Tiffany. You’re a wallflower. But you know, none of the
women here are really, they’re so complex, and I think sometimes we don’t get to show the complexity of who we are and that was just interesting to play. – Sure, I think so. I mean that feels like a
natural segue to our wallflower. (group laughing) Signing on to The Last
OG and starting, yeah, comes right after this
huge breakout success in Girls’ Trip, which
obviously you two did together. You then go into somebody else’s vehicle, and I’m curious again, the question of how do you sort of navigate that? Is it freeing? Is it frustrating? And how do you sort of
find your place in that? – At that time, Girls’
Trip hadn’t come out yet. It hadn’t come out when I took that job, and had I known, like I believed Girls’ Trip was gonna do good, but if I would’ve known known, like somebody’s like, it’s
gon’ make all this money! You ’bout to go like boo-yah! I would’ve been like, well, I’m sorry, guys,
I’m gonna do my own show. I’m gonna do Hollywood Haddish. – [Regina] And you still can. And you still can, well, after the bank. – We’re opening up our bank. Yes, Hall Haddish Federal. ‘Cause I been on YouTube
a lot and I found out that you can open up your own bank. – I like that.
– So we gon’ have our first female, black female-owned bank. All of you guys are welcome to join. – What do I have to do?
– Just give us your money. – Give us your money.
– Yeah, give us. – What is Hollywood–
(group chattering) On a more serious note, what would Hollywood Haddish, I assume there would’ve
been a different name, what would that be? – That would be a really
fun show that would talk, I haven’t seen a show that’s
dealing with female comedians, like the world of female
comedy and how that, navigating in a man’s world, and how it’s such a boys’ club and like, really doing standup,
like for real standup, female standup comics and
how like difficult it is, and how you have to kinda like fight and kinda like fight your
way into that boys’ club and be like, yo I’m just as funny as you, I can be up here just as long as you, I can pack out this theater just as much as you can pack out this theater. Sorry, I’m getting passionate about it. It would be about that
and then trying to have that regular life where
you wanna date and stuff but guys are afraid to date you because they think you’re
gonna talk about ’em on stage, which is like, please,
you not that poppin’, but a lot of guys think they are. They’re special, I don’t know why. But they do. (laughs) Anyways, my show would be
about that and trying to also be, you know, a family member. Trying to be, you know lift up my family. Like, it would be about my life. – That’s comin’. – [Tiffany] Yeah, it
would be about my life. I wrote it already. It’s ready. – You better do it quick,
’cause now that you’ve talked about it.
– I was about to say. – It’s already written. Come on! Let’s go. I just pitched it. Who wants to buy it? – And yet here you are,
in this other show. So when you’re trying to find
yourself in this character, what pieces of you did you bring to her? – I brought my sophisticated
business side to Shay. Also, I brought my ratchet side to her, when I played the younger Shay and also as the older version. – You have a history of
scaring white people. – Why is she doing me like this? I’m rich, bitch! Look at me, look at this dress! This dress $700. You see these shoes? Don’t tell me to be quiet, okay. I got a library card, so do my man. As a matter of fact, we done
done donated a gag of money to this little raggedy library. This is where I live, okay? I been livin’ here for quite some time! Josh, tell him this is my property! That we live here as husband and wife! Tell him! (clapping) – What? Those were actual incidents. – The writers on the show are so good. I would love to like kidnap all of them and use them for everything. – For Hollywood Haddish. – Yeah, for Hollywood Haddish, for everything else I do. But they’re really amazing writers and, so I don’t have to do too much. I don’t have to, like, put, you know, a whole lot of me in it ’cause they already
write it with me in mind. They already make it, they make it so easy for me. – Sure. And Maya, I know in your case, Forever started as you wanted
to do something with Fred, you brought in a showrunner and then you sort of explored ideas. – [Maya] It was actually Natasha’s idea. She said that Fred and
I should play a couple. – [Natasha] I just,
Fred kept talking about the two of them, who I’m
lucky enough to have so much in my life on a daily basis, where we’re talking about, they’re both sayin’ the same thing. I just wanna go to work, have a nice day.
– Yeah, we like to be together – And they love each other so much, they essentially are, you know, married each other’s like, they’re each other’s partners. – We’re comedy married. – But I didn’t have the idea, That’s all, uh– – [Lacey] But how did you
ultimately land on this idea, and I know that sort of
the idea of death was one that you were fascinated by.
– Yeah. It was…
– Yes. – I am. I get more and more fascinated
by it every single day. It really was… The baseline for Fred
and I was let’s make sure we could show up to work together. We love working together. We wrote together for so many years at Saturday Night Live. He’s one of my favorite
people to perform with and then, I’m genuinely just a fan of his. I like, he makes me laugh, and he’s no bullshit. Like, there’s no drama. He doesn’t come in and he’s like, oh my God, I lost my arm last night, like there’s nothing. – [Lacey] Is that what other actors do? – Yes.
– Sometimes. There’s no, We both said, we made a pact. We’re like, we’re grown ups now, and we want to enjoy
work and then go home. Because I think we really did, sketch comedy is a, and
writing sketch comedy and performing what you do is a very intense experience. It was like a six-and-a-half day a week job for me at the time and I burned a little
part of myself out there. And then I just took
everything else with me. So, we really wanted it to be something that we helped create, but really, when we met with Alan Yang, who’s such a prolific and great writer, and a total adult for such a young man, and he said, “I have some ideas.” But we both laughed about it later. We said, you know, so many
people say they have ideas and they send you three,
but he sent like 30. And the one that he sent that we both agreed on, he said, the two of you play ghosts, and that was it. You’re just ghosts. And that was really all it was. Then of course, Alan being Alan, once he really just sent us an outline, it really was about a relationship. I’ve just become so
morbidly curious about death and the more I age, and after I created children, I think a lot more about life and… – You think about there
being the possibility of something beyond it, or the act of dying?
– Yes. I think the possibility
of something beyond it, to be more specific, yeah. I mean, I was a kid when my mom died and so I had a fear of death, growing up, for the majority of my younger life but I also, I realized as an adult, I also had a very large
imagination about the afterlife, and I had a–
– I do too. – Right, so I had, and that’s why we’re both scaredy cats ’cause I was like, oh no,
things are gonna come back, but then, and I know this
sounds, you know, maybe silly, but it really does come from
a place of complete love. I was such a huge Prince fan from like, since I was a little kid and so I realized when he died that his music really was
a huge part of my life and I was really grieving
a large amount of my, of something that I chose for myself, and what helped shape me
and form me musically, but was like just, personally, was gone and it wasn’t coming back, and I wanted more, and I
thought more about like, where is it going? And God, all these people
that we accumulate and love, and these people that
we make on this, like, where the fuck do they all go? And like, wouldn’t it be great if we could hang out with them later? Doesn’t that make it less scary and make it more exciting? That’s what I think about. But then the funny part was
really the idea of the show really was just about the banality of marriage.
– Right. – I think my contact lens fell out. – Oh no. Really?
– It’s not in there. I’m not used to these things. Can’t have gone far.
– Shoot. – Right around here, I’ll find it. – No, no, let me, I’ll look for it. Ugh, it’s so wet down here. Disgusting. (gasps) Oh, wait, is this it? Is it a fingernail? Eww! – Well, it’s a boot rental place so it’s probably a toenail. – Ugh! – First of all, I could
not wait to see your show because I’m obsessed
with you, as you know. But I really try and
avoid reviews of things that I wanna see as well ’cause I hate knowing anything, because that’s not how the
storyteller intended it, for you to know before you see that thing, and I saw this review and I was like, no! And then the first line said, I don’t wanna tell you
what happens in this show, and it really, it was such
a beautiful thing to say. And I realize that now, ’cause then I was like, yes, correct. – We really tried hard, because it needed to be a journey.
– But it’s so worth it, because the twists and the
revelations that the characters go through, we have to be with you. We have to be empathizing
with you in those moments. And the bit when you
realize that you’re dead, and that’s when the panic attack happens, about the banality of it then, and that’s actually, it was just so clever ’cause we’re so supposed
to have that panic attack just before we die, but she’s like, “No!” In a way that, she’s worried that her death is gonna be less exciting than her life, and I just thought that was
such a beautiful and profound, and kind of frightening thing. You gave me a bit of an existential crisis there.
– Yeah. I love that combo of like
the profound and sad, and deeply depressing funny. That’s a nice combo.
– I think that runs through all of our shows actually
at a kind of point. And I think actually, they live so closely, you know, comedy and pain.
– Yes. – But I think that desperation,
that need, is so… – [Lacey] Well, I’m gonna
segue a little bit on, I know you two made a huge splash, I think last year, when you were on the Oscar stage. – It was last year.
– It was last year. I think by the time
you got off that stage, there was already a petition of, we need you to host the Oscars together. I’m curious, if you were to
be asked to do that together is that something you would say yes to, or is hosting the Oscars
at this stage of comedy just a death wish? – I’d say yes. – Yeah, I’d do it with you. – Yeah, easy peasy.
– So there you go. You’re fun. Like, that was the thing that was so nice, was we got on the phone before, right? And I was like, what do you wanna do? And she was like, listen, and you were like, in the middle of, you were like, between parties, changing shoes, changing outfits. We were just like, what do we wanna do that’s
gonna sound like both of us? We’d never met, we’d never worked with each other. I just loved her from afar and then, she was so game, it was like all those tools
that I learned working at Saturday Night Live, like, okay when the host comes in, you gotta like have
something ready for ’em. And she was just like, yeah, whatever. And then like, she’s like, “I’m not gonna take my shoes off, “but you can if you want to.” We were dressing and she was like, “Your toe’s gonna…” Like we just kinda, that’s
the way I like to work. – Yeah.
– And then, we were happy and then–
– We had so much fun. – Yeah.
– It was, we were on the phone for like, what, a hour? And I was like, girl, I’m
still driving, on my way. – But also, like you, Paul had, you had just met Paul and Paul was like–
– Yes! – “She’s amazing!” – [Tiffany] Yeah, I dragged
him to like a music video set, and then everybody was like, “Oh my God! “PTA’s here, oh my God!” – But also, like, didn’t you
go to school in the Valley at some point or something?
– Yeah, I went to El Camino. – So, anybody that’s ever like, lived in the Valley or near the Valley, he’s obsessed with so then he was like, “All right, she’s cool.” – I didn’t even live there. I just caught the bus there.
– Yeah. – Like, everyday. – All right, complete this sentence. I knew I made it in Hollywood, when? – When I did The Arsenio Hall Show, and he picked me up, and I licked his face and
it tasted like Ovaltine. – [Maya] What? It tasted like Ovaltine?
– Yeah, I was like, he doesn’t use foundation,
he uses Ovaltine. – Ooh, maybe it’s like cocoa butter. – It was delicious!
– Do you do it often? – Nope! – It was just something about
him that made you wanna lick his face?
– I always liked him! Like, I still like him. I’ve always had a crush on him. And then, like, for him
to pick me up like that, I was just like, is this real? Yeah. – What about the rest of you guys? Were there moments, where–
– I arrived? – I feel like, well, they made a New Yorker cartoon out of us presenting at the Oscars and I thought that was
really exciting for me. I had it framed. – Really?
– Oh yeah, I had that with, I remember I was gonna go
with something more recent but you’re taking me back to, I remember when Orange Is The New Black, the first season, they did a Mad magazine
spread of us, and I was like, oh, this is real. Like, this is big boy shit, right here. We are Mad magazine caricatures. – That’s big.
– That’s big. – Regina, was there a moment
for you along the way? – You know what makes me feel that way? When you meet people who you admire, and they know your work. That’s a moment when I feel it. Because most of the time, I
don’t expect people to know me. And so when it’s someone I love, you know, the first time I met Maya, and then they go, “I love your work!” That is when I feel like, okay. You know, it’s that.
– Sure. – What about for you Jane? Are there still people–
– I can’t answer it and I don’t know why. I’m wracking my brain.
– Yeah. – I don’t know, maybe it’s because, because I was the daughter
of Henry Fonda, something. I don’t know, but there was a long time. I don’t know what that means or why. – You’re still waiting for it. – Maybe I’m still waiting.
– It’s coming. It’s coming for you, Jane. (group chattering) – It’s so loaded because
it’s a human question, right? It’s like, you don’t
arrive as a, you know, as an actor, where you going? – Well, Jane’s not gonna see what we see when we see Jane, right?
– Right, we can’t see, right. You are Jane.
– I mean, I was thinking, was it when I won my first Oscar? And I don’t even think it was then. I wasn’t–
– There’s a picture of Jane in the trailer for Black Monday, with the moment you won the Oscar, and I was like, I want that hair. Like, there was a big scene in the show, and it was like, because there are moments
for people that resonate at a time, and you’re like, what, and you had a lot of haircuts, and a lotta different styles–
– Hair epiphanies. (group laughing)
– Yes, hair epiphanies! But I think, like she said, it’s very hard for people to know who they are to other people–
– Oh, absolutely! – Because in your skin, you’re very– – Isn’t when you made it, like, what made you feel like, oh, I’m supposed to be here? Like, I always dreamed of
being on that Arsenio Hall Show and then boom, I’m there. Just like, I’m supposed to be here.
– You’re supposed to lick it. (group chattering) – I don’t know, that sounds nasty. – So what are the things at this point, with the confidence that you have, that you push back on? We were with Don the other day and he talked about how your showrunners sort of push it very far, and there are things where
they’re very comfortable and he’s not so comfortable, and yet there are other things when it comes to sort of race, that he’s wildly comfortable with. What are the things where you say, mmm, not gonna say that? – Yeah, we do that. I mean there was a joke,
I think about drugs, and it was about Whitney
Houston, and I just, I was like, I don’t wanna say that. Artists give so much,
you know what I mean? And so, to make fun of what was a challenge and an illness, you know what I mean? And the great thing about our
writers is they were like, “Absolutely, we’ll just
do something else.” – Yeah, I identify with that. I don’t like that kinda, like, low hanging fruit snarky humor. I’m like, there’s so
many real jokes out there and there’s so much funny, weird shit happening all the time. Like, why that? – [Pheobe] To laugh at
the expense of someone. – Let’s not forget that
now we’re working in age where even if you don’t write the show, and you are just simply
hired to say the words, if you say that, they’re going to come
after you, the actor. Right? And it’s going to be on social media and people are gonna
have filthy things to say or people will hold it
against you, probably, because you’re the face of it, as opposed, so I’m just saying, there are so many levels of it now. – I do feel like though, I do feel like some, I don’t, like I don’t, there’s something about that portion, like I don’t know because
that’s someone, they’re… I don’t know, that
doesn’t feel good to me. But I also do like comedy that pushes it. And you know, I don’t like being pre– – Yeah.
– I mean, I feel like with social media, people feel a little afraid to push it and sometimes, I’m like, y’all just gonna have to be mad. I mean, sometimes a joke
is a joke, you know? And there’s room–
– I like that sentence. Y’all just gonna have to be mad. – And they will be, and then hopefully they get over it, move on and be mad at somebody else, ’cause that’s sort of the trajectory. Looking back on your careers, what was the most amusing or frustrating, or horrifying feedback you ever got going up for a part? (group laughing) – Did I get feedback? – Oh you’re still waiting?
– I wanted to play a hooker in The Chapman Report. When I went in to
audition for George Cukor, and he cast me as the frigid widow. (group laughing) – You weren’t hooker material? – I was later in life,
but not at that stage. – Not at that point?
– Wow. – No. – I love that. What about the rest of you? – I don’t remember getting any feedback. – I do. – Uh-oh. – I’ve blocked it. You know what though? I think your agents shield you. – Yeah, I don’t think I
wanna hear the feedback. – You know what I would do? I would put my phone on voice memo, put it in my bag. I do the audition. Walk out the room, leave my bag–
– You nasty! – [Lacey] Really, what would you hear? – Come back, be like, oh I forgot my purse in here. Get my purse. – [Pheobe] Wait, you’ve
actually done that? – Get in the car, then (clearing throat) – Let me look under the table– (group chattering) – They’d be like, “She’s not as urban as
I thought she would be.” – [Maya] I knew that was the word, yeah. – She’s not a, or they would be like, “She’s so ghetto, I just can’t.” “Her boobs aren’t big enough.” “I really think we should
just go with a white girl.” “She’s not, she’s not.” “This role should be changed to white.” “Oh, if her hair was combed better.” – Wait, how many rooms
did you leave it in? – A lot. A lot. It was like my MO. – You two would get into a lot of trouble. – Yeah.
– With each other. I feel like. – You think we’d get into trouble? – Well I’m the opposite, like, you know, have you ever gone to your
own movie in the theater and then you go to the restroom, and people are starting
to talk about the movie. I’ve always been so scared
of what they would say, I wanna let them know that, I’m in here, don’t say anything bad. ‘Cause I wouldn’t wanna hear. – I wanna hear so that I can grow and also, that I can write jokes about it. I can, like, use it to my advantage. (group chattering) I remember I got a “She can’t read. “Like, geez, if she just could read, “it would work, like, she
said every word wrong.” And I’m like, they’re right. So then I started reading out
loud more, practicing more. Like, it helped me in the long run. I mean, some day it hurt my feelings. Sometimes, I’m like, damn, what a bitch! I’m never going back in there again, but–
– But you did, – But I did.
– And you left your bag. (group chattering) – What they should’ve been saying is, she’s so forgetful. This bitch leaves her purse
every time she’s in the room. (group laughing) – Well, it worked. – There is an element of, what you were saying
earlier about period pieces, there is an element of reality. And if we’re doing a political sketch, there are so many people
that can play Michelle Obama. There are so many people that can’t. So I really was relegated to racial roles, as opposed to what I was
normally doing on the show, because I’m a rainbow in here. Like I’m not one thing in here, so that’s the way I write. And those were the
characters that I chose. And then every once in a while, I’d get reminded on the show, like, well, you can’t play Hilary. Why would you play Hilary Clinton? But it wasn’t just that
for me, it was like, I just wanna be the wife sometimes and not have that be the story, but that’s not just SNL, that’s the world. Chris Rock had a funny joke once, I mean, it wasn’t like a standup joke, he just said one time, actually, to my partner, Paul, he was asking, when he was
writing There Will Be Blood, “What are you writing?” and he said, “It’s a period piece.” And Chris was like, “I don’t wanna hear anybody
like you or Scorsese “when they say period piece, “’cause I don’t wanna play
anybody pre-Jackson 5,” right? Because it means that you’re
gonna be playing a slave. Like, it’s always been my dream to, like, period piece, and the hair, and the like, it’s so limited. And that’s the reality of it. So yeah, in the political–
– World. – Sphere. I mean, I was asked to play Obama. I had finished the show and
then I renegotiated my contract and they were like, “Well,
it exists somewhere.” – Really? – Yes, and it was with Obama at the time. It’s really embarrassing. And I, it didn’t work. I also didn’t have an impression. Like, we were all sort of like, fumbling and figuring it out, and he was still running at the time but like, I bound my boobs. I wore my little, tiny
Scott Joplin character wig, and I had a little suit on. And then it was one of those sketches where the real person comes out and tap, tap, tap, I’m the real Obama. And so, he and I were waving together, and I said, and I was like this little, he’s so tall and slender, statuesque and handsome. And I was looking up at him, and I was just laughing. Like, pure humility. And I said, what do you think? And he said, “I don’t
wear a three button suit.” That was it. I was like, I don’t know what
that means but I love you. But also, like–
– And then she licked his face – Why didn’t I lick his face?
– Ovaltine. – Now I know. Like, if I had a time machine, I’d go back.
– Moving forward. – One of the beauties of this is, many of you are in this position where if it’s not there for you, you write it yourself. – That is where we are in general, and I gotta tell you, like, I feel so lucky. – Yeah, its great, I mean–
– I’ve written so many things that I’ve never sold. They just, they’re piled up. But it’s creatively, it keeps you busy. – Oh God, I’m just so jealous. (group chattering) It’s wild that that’s a new era. Not comedy. No, comedy’s the hardest thing of all. – But I feel like, in the sense that like, like I learned a long time ago that I’m not a good solo writer. I have to write with another person, that’s the way I write. And I have to stop
shaming myself for that. I thought that being a writer meant that you went to your office and it was quiet, and you did this and things
came out of your brain, and you were a genius. And I realized, no, I’m a loud person and I have to talk to
you to get the idea out and then that’s, and then
you say something back to me, and that’s how it gets written. And that’s okay, and like, that’s how I wanna do it. – I think that’s really how, what you’re saying is really
how I experience this question of like, how you know
you’ve arrived or something. As this idea of sort of a self-acceptance or like a shamelessness
around this is how I operate and how I function and
this is how I, you know, I can deliver myself at my best, and like, I’m excited about it, you know. And that feels very good, and like, there’s gonna be a space and a hunger for what that content is, is revelatory. I mean it’s a game changer. After so many years of kind
of nobody even caring at all, the idea that you can sort of say this is how I make things and people are open to it and not self-cudgel around
one’s own methods of doing it is game changing. – I love that. Okay, we’re gonna do one last question. For better or for worse, how do you wish you were
more like your character? – Well, in my personal case, I wish I had nine lives and similar to other people
with existential panics in the round table, it’s disconcerting that
there’s conceivably only one, now that it’s finally going pretty okay. – My favorite thing about
your show is that she has these opportunities, over and over, to make a great choice and doesn’t, and I fucking love it. They’re just slightly
different shitty choices and I love it so much because, I think that’s the reality. I think, I’ve always said like, I love the idea of time travel, but not to, like, be able to completely change something because then I wouldn’t be me but to experience a
first of something again ’cause I know it’d still
be a shit, shit choice. But I just wanna get that first, that feeling of the first
time I made that shit choice. – What about for you? What’s the piece of this character that you wish you were more like? – She has a line in the
first season saying, “I don’t mind being alone, “I just do not wanna be insignificant.” And I feel like I’m a
little bit the opposite way. I think, I like to have my kids around me, and my family, and my parents, and my people, and I’m no good solo. I start to spin out. So I wish, I wish I could
be more of a loner, maybe. I mean I’m an aloof cunt, but I don’t want to be alone.
– But, in a group. – [Alex] I wish I could
actually enjoy it more. – [Lacey] I like that. Regina? – Dawn is unapologetic and I like that. In a man’s world, and she’s driven. You know, she’s driven like a man. And sometimes, I don’t
even know what that means, but I think sometimes, when
women are driven, you know, we’re a little apologetic for being, you know, driven. But she’s not, and so there are just things about her, her strength, even when, you know, she
doesn’t have it together, that she still plows through that. That I like. – I think, it is both
for better and for worse, because, I think, Fleabag
says what she thinks, whether it’s to the camera
privately or in real life, she says what she really,
really thinks in the moment, and I think I’m still
learning how to do that. There are so many things
in the way, like fear. Right, it always seems like the more, like you become in the
public sphere as well, you just started checking
yourself all the time because you can hear how people
can fuck with your words, and I think, so that’s why writing for me, and writing these characters
for me is like how I do that. So I write women who don’t give a shit because I’m teaching myself how to be one, and yeah, I feel such a catharsis when I do turn to the camera and just like say that fucking line. And then, oh, it’s just
such an amazing feeling. I’d like to be that way in real life. – [Lacey] I love that. – And your character like, majorly fucked up, publicly? – Oh, yes. – Like that, like I’d wanna watch that, but I’d never wanna see
that in real life, ever. That hurts just to think about. – [Phoebe] Yeah, yeah. – [Lacey] What about you, Maya? For better or worse. – My character is very simple on Forever, and I feel like, I don’t know, there’s something about, I mean as simple as like, her wardrobe is kinda like, like I kept saying saying
when we were creating her, she’s one of those women that has a very specific amount in her closet and it’s all she needs. Like, I wonder what that’s like. It’s a nice… She’s like, it’s like very together. Like one of those girls that
looks clean all the time and she probably smells good. I just, I watch girls like that and I’m fascinated by them. – I get it. What about you, Jane? – Took me a season to come to
care for my character, Grace. I had to go back into therapy
and start Prozac, but– – Why?
– Oh, it’s.. – That’s where the vaginal
dryness is coming from. – Thank you, doctor. – Well, actually, it took me a long time to figure it out ’cause it was, I had a nervous breakdown
during the first season, and I discovered it’s because
the very first episode, our husbands tell us that
they’re gonna leave us after 40 years and marry each other, and that triggered, abandon… Oh, this is not a good
thing to talk about. – No, it is.
– But it, it was big trigger and I didn’t realize that a
character like that could be, you know, in a comedy, could actually trigger
something very profound, and so I love her, and I learned to invite her into the room, and, you know, after the first season, I couldn’t have written
a backstory for her, then I wrote like 30 pages
without ever stopping. But I don’t really want to
have to be anything like her. – But you’ve exp–
– We have too much in common, as it is. (group laughing) – The truth is just
such a joy to listen to, and never fails, thank you. – Specificity. – That’s right. Especially somebody else’s, I don’t mind.
– Yeah, right! – Yes.
– That’s always the best. – And you know, and especially women. We’re not supposed to tell
our truths specifically. It’s very revolutionary. – Nobody told me this.
– It’s like, they gave no shits when women tell their truths specifically. – I’m telling you, I grew, I learned how to be a woman
by watching other women, like, I grew up without a mom so I felt like a female
impersonator my whole life. – Me too, me too.
– Yeah. – Right?
– Hundred percent. – Right, and like, and so that, and I didn’t wanna ask
for the information, so I’d go into my friends’ bathrooms and I’d peak in their
cabinets and be like, oh, that’s facial cream. Okay we’re gonna– – And the other thing is even when you have a mom, like I had my mom but my mom and I are so completely different. My mom didn’t want me to shave my legs. I went to, I was like,
I wanna shave my legs. She didn’t grow hair. She thought it was sexy. I was like, I’m 11-years-old and I look like a man by the legs. I wanna shave ’em! And she didn’t know how
to teach me to do that, you know, ’cause she never had to shave. And so I put baby oil on,
and pulled my skin up, and then we ended up
at the doctor’s office ’cause she told me not to shave. But, you know, there are things when you’re watching television where I could’ve just
asked the white girls at my school ’cause they knew. They were like, “What’d you do that for?” But you know, you learn from other women and it’s kinda like, I think, one of the great things about, about listening to everyone is that you feel like in your
feelings, you’re not alone. And that vibration of feeling
alone makes you feel shameful, and that’s like the lowest
thing that you can feel, but when you hear someone
say, oh, I was scared, or I don’t know what I’m doing, or I’m fucked up. Or, you know what I mean? Or I’m a… What type of cunt was it? – Aloof.
– Aloof! You know what I mean?
– It seems like an oxymoron. – It does, it does. But it works.
– Yet the two meet together. – [Regina] Yes, it’s a perfect puzzle. – It’s a new type of cunt.
– And it’s great, and it’s fascinating, and that’s what I, but that’s what I love about fascinating women is that
they’re all so different. – It was interesting
to hear about the mom, like, my mom’s still with
us and we’re very close but she’s always been just beautiful. This Hungarian queen, you know, this princess. And I felt like, similarly,
I was always imperson- like, I never felt like a real
female because I had that, okay, that spot’s already
taken in our house. I’ll be this other thing. I’ll be this gremlin-y thing.
– I’m a tomboy. All my mother wanted was a girly girl. The big disappointment.
– I thought I was tomboy too, but then I realized later, like all my characters
were like drag queens that I was creating, like amazing, va-va-vaooey, like these like, ideas of ladies and then what I didn’t realize is that this forum that women
inherently have to share and learn from each other
is actually quite normal. I didn’t know to, like, ask other women for advice or opinions ’cause I was embarrassed that
I didn’t have the answers when in reality, like, we
as a gender are different. Women are meant, we are meant to, this is what we do. We share, we talk, we’re meant to be in villages.
– We stayed behind, around the campfire. (group chattering) – I’ll give you mine, here you go. – I was a proper, proper tomboy. I was called Alex, I shaved my head. I had, like, boxer shorts. – Alex?
– I was a boy, until I was about 11.
– Did people think you were a boy?
– Yeah, yeah. – [Jane] They thought I was a boy too. – Yeah, they do that. And did you love it when they did? – Oh, I thought it was a huge compliment. – Yeah, me too. I remember going into like
Gap or something with my mom, and the guy said, “What
does the young man want?” and I was just like, ahh.
– Yeah. – And when I was started
getting hair on my legs, I was like, thank you. And I was so serious about
it and I think it was ’cause I was really
batting against that idea of having to be a girl or
girly, or whatever it was. I just used to be the same.
– Totally healthy. Very healthy reaction. – [Lacey] What about you, Tiffany? For better or for worse, what are– – The better part of my character, Shay, I think is, like, I love how much she, like, I don’t have kids but if I had kids, I probably would love my kids as much as she loves her kids. It’s like, she’s willing
to fight for them. and like, whatever she
gotta do, she gon’ do it to make sure her kids
got whatever they need. I think I would be like that if I had ’em. So I love that about her. How much she loves and
tries to protect them. Like, I protect my animals like that, but. So that’s one thing, and I love her sense of fashion. I do not dress like that. She spends money on clothes, I go to the swap meet. Or I try to, like, get
it, you know, second-hand. But that’s what, that’s, yeah. I feel like her and I been through a lot of the same kinda things, so I can relate to her a lot. But the way that she
protects, I love that. (upbeat music)
– Well, thank you guys all for being part of this conversation. (upbeat music)