If “Difficult People” is anything like the other shows Amy Poehler has produced, (maybe you’ve heard of those little programs “Parks and Recreation” and “Broad City”) it’s worth skipping a night out for.
Created by comedian Julie Klausner, the show follows the lives of the fictional Julie and pal Billy (Billy Eichner), two sarcastic and slightly bitter 30-somethings with a love for comedy. Their humor — and, by their own judgment, immense talents — were never fully recognized, for which they blame all of New York City.
Julie works as a TV recap writer, while Billy waits tables at a diner owned by their friends Denise (Gabourey Sidibe) and Nate (Derrick Baskin).
“What excites me now, and what I think made this current climate comfortable for this project, is that people really want authenticity,” says Klausner. “There’s a certain auteurship about that that’s exciting.”
Billy Eichner agrees, explaining that viewers want to relate to who they watch. “In early reactions to the show, people felt like they were living vicariously through these characters,” he says. “These are very blunt, honest characters who say how they feel. Sometimes they’re mean and sometimes they’re outrageous and in your face.”
For the series’ other stars, it was the chance to work with Klausner and Eichner, on top of a stellar storyline, that drew them to “Difficult People.”
Cole Escola plays Matthew, a younger co-worker of Billy’s who has everything Billy doesn’t, from clothes to career opportunities. Escola actually met Klausner as a fan years earlier, after a performance. “Everyone involved is like a hero of mine,” he says. “I’ve been listening to [Julie’s] podcast for a long time.”
Viewers can also expect a rotating door of guest stars throughout the show’s eight episodes, from Martin Short to Amy Sedaris to…Debbie Harry?
“I was excited about all the guest stars, but it wasn’t until Debbie Harry came to set that I was completely glued to the floor and speechless,” Klausner gushes.
Co-stars get creative
We asked a few of the other folks on "Difficult People" to describe who they play in just a few sentences.
James Urbaniak: “He is the long-suffering deeply supportive significant other of the unfiltered crazy person.”
Cole Escola: “You know how there’s an awful person and you’re like, how does this person get all of these things? They don’t deserve them. I get to play that.”
Andrea Martin: “Neurosis, narcissism, comedy, over-protection, enabling – what else? – controlling. Everything you want in a mother.”