You look dapper as always.
You, Christopher Nolan and Sam Raimi are among the few great studio directors who wear suits to work. What do you think he projects when you’re on set?
I always say I’m the captain of the ship. I’m lucky to have gotten the captaincy on something. I know that if I ever get on a boat and the captain is wearing sweatpants, I’m going to get off the boat. My dad owned an army surplus store, and every day of his life he was in a suit and tie, in the back warehouse and moving boxes and stuff. For me, it’s always been, when you’re in charge, you wear a suit. But I also look terrible in casual clothes. There’s also a bit of ego in there.
It’s also just good style.
I firmly believe that the clothes you wear are the calling card of the world. Like it or not, people make a decision about you when they see you within seven seconds. It’s either you say “This is how I want to present myself” or you say “I’m going to work very hard to convince them that I’m not what they see”, but why not simplify things from the start will ? I guess apparently I say I’m a banker or something. I’m not sure why I adopted this, but it’s all I have.
Captain of the ship. I can see that.
Thanks very much. As long as I don’t beach the ship, then…
I would trust you if I got on the boat.
I’m going around those icebergs.
With “Minx,” it’s another feel-good show you’ve worked on that shows points of view that we don’t always see. Like “Freaks and Geeks,” are you looking for comedies that might make some viewers feel less alone?
I appreciate that, because it’s – one of our company’s goals is to make sure that everything is ultimately in good spirits. That it’s super fun and you learn from it and feel something about it, but it’s in a good mood. It doesn’t end like, “The world sucks and the people are terrible.” I have no interest in spreading this message to the world. I always say that I want the things that I do to end up feeling like a party, a little, which seems a little trivial, but just for you to have fun, even if it’s dark.
You’re like, “Oh my god,” you’re scared, or it’s getting really weird, at the end of the day, you’re like, “Oh, that was fun. The music is fun. And it’s fun to watch at .” We have our costumes and our sets and everything and just this beautiful cast that we have. That’s all I ever wanted to do, that’s what I tried to do with “Freaks and Geeks” all those years ago. Then when Ellen Rapoport brought us this one, I was like, “Oh, this is the next manifestation of this world, in a much more adult way.”
And still comforting in some ways. Have you found, especially after confinement and in recent years, studios looking for more comedies to do?
I’m hesitant right now if they’re actively looking for it, but I think they’re starting to realize that we need more. Because I think we went through, over the last five years, to be quite honest – even six years now – a period where I think people were more ready to fight. I think for some reason comedy felt too frivolous for them for a while. I don’t like it, but that’s what I got. People get a little hostile about a comedy trailer. Like, “Oh, what are they trying to shoot at us? We want to fight.” That’s why a lot of ‘Game of Thrones’, all that kind of stuff, there’s a lot of conflict.
Evasion can also be important. During lockdown, a few good laughs meant a lot.
I feel, and I felt it coming and maybe the pandemic really helped push it back, we’re just like, ‘Oh, can we just have a good time please? It’s all so heavy now.” As a comedian, I’m just like, “Oh, please bring it back.” Because all of us in comedy, we’re just trying to show you a good time. Try to make yourself happy and feel less alone. I love what you said earlier about the show that made you not feel alone, because I was an only child, for me TV was my friend, and I loved shows that had a laugh track, to which everyone is like “Oh”. But I loved it. It meant that I was not alone.
I remember when “The Jetsons” had a laugh track and I watched it every day after school, and then one day, for some reason, Hanna-Barbera took all the laugh tracks out of it. I was sitting at home and it turned on and it was no laughing matter. I was like, “Wait, what happened? Are the jokes bomb? Where did the audience go?” It always struck me, like, “Let’s make it fun, so you’re going somewhere with a group of friends that you like to hang out with every week.”
Do you think the laugh bits come down to the execution? “The IT Crowd” does it well, for example.
Oh my God. Totally. I think British comedy is excellent in this area. Also, because I know usually they tend to have a real audience there, but otherwise I know they’re going to steal another show that had an audience and it’s just explosive. It’s funny. Chuck Lorre is really good at that, drawing the crowd. Looks like the crowd is there and it’s fun and let’s enjoy things with other people. I just can’t wait until we can get back to theaters and sit with people.