If you haven’t started watching Hulu’s “Difficult People” yet, then you are missing out on this year’s funniest new show.
The show stars Julie Klausner as Julie Kessler and Billy Eichner as Billy Epstein. They are best friends and struggling comedians who are bitter and angry that they haven’t had their big break into show business yet.
Both Klausner and Eichner, real life best friends, have seen their careers take off in recent years. For Eichner, it was “Billy On The Street” (Klausner is a writer on the show). For Klausner, her first big gateway to success came in the form of her podcast “How Was Your Week?“
“Having a podcast is so helpful to me as a creator because it really gave me that permission I needed to put something out or put something down that wasn’t perfect yet. I have a big problem with editing myself and I don’t like to do a rough draft of something. I like to do a polished draft of everything … but I have to let go of the expectation that my first draft is my last draft in order to get better as a writer and even in some cases it’s just to be productive.” Klausner told Tech Insider. “And when I started doing my podcast I wasn’t a stand up, and I’m not a stand up but it really gave me the freedom that I definitely needed at the time to speak out loud and sort of follow my mind where it went and explore ideas that were kind of half ideas that just occurred to me on the way of telling another story and the kind of entertain the possibility of staying with them a little while.”
Podcasting has helped her sort through her ideas better.
“I could give myself the freedom that a lot of people get as improvisers with my show and in the course of that, I was able to discover so much more than I would have sitting in front of my computer waiting for some great idea to take form and then writing it down word for perfect word and having a paragraph of greatness in front of me.” Klausner said.
So far, Klausner has recorded 206 episodes of “How Was Your Week?” In her own words, that gives her 850 hours of her “creating and writing on [her] feet.”
Klausner launched “How Was York Week?” in 2011. Each episode begins with a monologue that can go on for over 20 minutes. The monologue is typically followed by an interview. Some past guests include Patton Oswalt, Joan Rivers, and Julianne Moore.
During her monologues, Klausner covers everything from politics to pop culture to her personal life. Klausner goes in with a surprisingly bare bones plan for each of her monologues, turning a few bullet points into eloquent tirades.
“I just have a list of topics,” Klausner said. “So, if you were to see what I have in front of me before I go into the monologue it’s really just a list of one or two words on each item. But I know what my point of view is before I sit down and start talking, I just don’t have any of that written out.”
Meanwhile, many of the stories and jokes Klausner has told on the show eventually end up on “Difficult People.” Her podcast is like the rough draft with “Difficult People” being the more polished product. Of course, those scripts go through a few more drafts in before actually making it to air.
“There’s just so much on the show that I take from my real life that I’m so lucky to have a record of. And that’s all from my podcast.” Klausner said.
One example was the idea of bottling and selling water from library water fountains, which became a hilarious plotline during the “Difficult People” pilot.
Like a lot of comedians who use the supposed safe space of comedy clubs to work out new material, podcasters can use this medium, which is usually free for listeners, to let their thoughts run wild. This is changing comedy for the better.
“You do it because you really want to do it and people don’t want to pay for it and so they don’t expect to pay for it and that brings its own challenges with the model of, well, you know, other things that people will pay for. I do think that kids today now personally understand that if you want to be paid to do something, you have to do it for free for a while.” Klausner said.
You can catch “Difficult People” right now on Hulu. New episodes of “How Was Your Week?” debut every Friday.
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