It doesn't have to be Sunday to be a Funday.
"You're the Worst" is back for a new season, and Aya Cash is promising that her depression-suffering character, Gretchen, won't be the one with the darkest storyline this time around.
If that setup didn't sound appropriately hilarious, be sure that it is -- the edgy FXX sitcom has become a critical darling and a cult obsession for the way it flirts with deep, dark, and very real-feeling neuroses and character flaws amid some of the most outrageously cutting comedy on TV, as well as slicing and dicing up the L.A. hipster culture -- something that Cash has no problem doing, even while enthusiastically accepting the hipster label in her own life, as she reveals in her chat with Moviefone.
Moviefone: The dark stuff's not all on you this time! That must have been a little bit of a relief, although that had to be great to play.
Aya Cash: I mean, it was so much fun. As a selfish actor you're like, "I want it about me all the time." But as someone who loves our show, and loves my cast members, I'm glad that it's going to be a season that really explores some of the darker elements of everybody else, and Gretchen's on the up.
I'm glad that Gretchen's stuff is still there, though. The show never would have dropped it.
Of course. Yeah.
And especially the material in the beginning of the new season, with Samira Wiley playing her therapist. You must have been having a blast.
Yeah, she's just a lovely human being. And, of course, I'm a fan of hers from "Orange [Is the New Black]." It was totally dreamy and fun.
When Gretchen kicks into her sort of id mode, is there something freeing about that for you as an actor? Do you get to release a lot of stuff that most people don't get to?
Yeah, I mean, Gretchen gets to live out a lot of fantasies, both fun and f*cked up, so there's both and that's always really enjoyable to play. In some ways, I would love to be like Gretchen, and in some ways, I thank God I'm not!
In Season 3, I love how the show gets even bolder and bolder in the choices and the territory that it goes into. For you, what was particularly exciting this time around? And what was -- in a good way -- shocking that you got to try?
You know, I really like all the therapy stuff, and I've enjoyed sort of being around for Jimmy -- I think it's been fun to try to negotiate both supporting Jimmy and running the other direction when he needs support. I think that stuff is really fun.
I don't know if I get shocked by anything on this show. There's nothing that makes me go [gasps] or, "oh my God." Even the depression arc, when I read it, just sort of made sense immediately. Not that I was expecting it in any way, but it just made sense. Yeah, I'm not really shocked. I just saw the first two episodes, the rough cuts. I was a little shocked by the sex in it. Even though I shot it. I was like, "Oh yeah -- that. Jesus Christ."
The show started on that note --
-- and then you kind of tabled it for a bit.
I think it's totally necessary. If anything shocked me, it was my white, pasty leg up in the air. That's all.
Do you get big nerves about those scenes?
Oh yeah! No, it's horrible. It's not, like, a fun experience. But it's not terrible.
Everybody's respectful and lovely and all that. But yeah, the anticipation's horrible. You think about that day and you're like, "I don't want to. I don't want to..."
Obsessing over everything you eat for 24 to 48 hours before the shoot...
Oh no, I don't do that. I eat whatever I want. But as Jimmy says, "Nobody wanna."
The show struck a positive note with viewers with your storyline about Gretchen's struggles with depression last season. In your real life, people came up to you, stopped you, shared their own stories with you. Tell me what that mean to you to have those encounters.
I mean, it's great. You forget, as an actor, you do a job, and that job comes out, and then you live your life. You don't go around walking around every day thinking, I'm affecting people. I'm having some sort of impact. You just do your job, and then you forget that you're an actor walking down the street.
So when someone comes up to you and is like, "Hey, I saw it. I saw the show and it meant so much to me. And my boyfriend is struggling with depression, or I am, or my mom, and it helped me understand and it gave me empathy." That's so incredible. I just feel like, Wow. I feel so lucky I get to do a job where that happens. You know?
You do other jobs and people are like, "Oh my God, I hate that show. You were great, but I hate that show." Or you don't get any feedback. You don't know anything. It's just really ... I felt very lucky.
I love that after establishing Sunday Funday, you guys are going to mess with it this season. Now that the mainstream world has discovered it and embraced it, you're like, "Oh no you don't."
Yeah, screw that!
Why rest on your laurels? Why say, "Well, that worked great last season -- let's just do that over and over again." You get bored. It's like, I saw "Chef's Table" recently, about Alinea. Have you seen "Chef's Table"? It's on Netflix. It's a docu-series about different chefs. There's this guy who does Alinea in Chicago. He, like, shuts down the restaurant. He's like a huge hit. In the middle of it, he shuts down the restaurant to, like, start over. That's what creativity is. That's what you need to do ... Whatever your opinions are about that move. It's like, that's what people who are engaged creatively want to do.
You've got to just kill all your darlings and start over and try to create new, and hopefully it gets even better. And sometimes you fail, too, and that's a part of the process, and that's okay. But I'd rather watch something fail big than just watch something go along the lines it's always gone. So I enjoy that from a writing perspective.
How participatory are you in East L.A. hipster culture that this show shines a little fun-poking light on?
Completely. I love good food, I love Matcha tea. I like music and art. I enjoy all that stuff. I have very little judgment about the word "hipster," except the overuse of it. It's like, okay, I don't think it's a movement. It's just people of a certain age who are engaged in culture, fashion, music, and food. And I don't mind being sent up. I don't mind being like winked at about it. It's a part of what it is. We're all in scenes.
Look, I like the east side. It's more my scene than, say, West Hollywood, where women are wearing a full face of makeup at eight in the morning. That's another scene. There are scenes everywhere, so I don't mind being a part of both making fun of, and being a part of that scene. Even though I don't live on the east side. I mean, I live in New York. I live in Brooklyn. Close enough.
Have you had that realization where something happens in the show and you're like, "that's me"?
Yes and no. I don't know. It's almost, like, too integrated into my life. None of it feels unfamiliar, and therefore, it's probably all making fun of me and my friends. All the people that I work with, we're all sort of in the same boat.
One thing that's happened over the last couple years is people would ask me, what's my favorite TV comedy right now? I would say, "You're the Worst" And they'd be, like, "Oh, where can I watch that?" Now when I say, "You're the Worst," they say, "I love that show!" People have discovered it, and you've got a nice slow build. What has that meant for you to see the audience find the show?
It's been cool. Again, I don't have the experience of like, "Oh, everybody knows this show." It's not in the overall cultural conversation in terms of, like, an ABC show that's 20 million viewers, or an "Empire." We're not in that conversation on that level. Even, I'd say, I hear a lot more about "Broad City," or "Girls." Those are the shows that sort of enter that broader cultural conversation on a bigger level.
I like the fact that it feels like we're kind of a cult show, because everybody who loves it loves it with a passion, and is very supportive and truly loves it. It doesn't feel like a lot of people are watching because they think they should watch it. It feels like people watch and they're like, "Ooh, I love this. I'm going to stick with this, and I'm going to feel like it's mine, because not everyone knows about it."
And I don't mind that. As long as they keep us on the air, I'm cool. We don't ever need to be ginormous. As long as they keep letting us do it, I feel great about that. I think, if you don't know about it, all right.
There's something special when all four of you are in a scene. Those scenes tend to pop most of all. Tell me about that, from your perspective.
I don't think it's a secret that we're all pretty good friends. But obviously we weren't when we were cast; we didn't know each other very well. So I think it's casting and chemistry. We're all so completely different, that, when we get together, it's like we fill, like we make a full circle. Individually, or two in a scene, it's great. But, like, suddenly, when you have all four different kinds of energy, it really shines, and I like that.
And if, for example, if Kether [Donohue] and I were similar, or if Desmin [Borges] and I were more similar, it might not have that effect. It's kind of like you need all the colors to make the one color makes sense. We're a color wheel.
I want to help your cause with this music that you and Chris Geere recorded of "New Phone, Who Dis?" in the scene that got cut to make it fully viewable and even downloadable for the show's fans, so tell me the backstory and what we can do to get this seen by people!
In Episode 1, obviously, we see Kether is not at the concert. And Sam's like, "Where is that girl?" And so Jimmy and I get up and sing the chorus of "New Phone, Who Dis? that Kether, as Lindsay, normally sings, and I thought we did a very good job. So I would like it to be seen. We all sing on set all the time. You're going to see Chris sing for real.
Does Season 3 get a little more musical?
Not, like ... we don't do a musical episode, but Jimmy does sing, and he is really actually a very good singer. We can all sing -- which is not that we're all meant for Broadway, but we can all sing, so it's fun to be able to show that. So he sings a song this season.
The energy and the tension whenever Sam's in a room with Gretchen is pretty fun. Tell me about playing off of that and what you get from Brandon Mychal Smith to play with.
I mean, he's just genius. I think all those boys are super talented. The only reason you don't see them in everything is because they all have other jobs. So it's hard to get them. But I think all three of them are so, so funny. And again, it's that energy thing, right? They're all really different, so they all bring a really different energy to the table, and I love scenes with the three of them.
And you're going to see more of that dynamic. Yeah, and I love the relationship between Gretchen and the rappers. They love each other. There's, like, a real love between them, even though they treat each other like sh*t and make fun of each other. There's just deep love there. That's why there's no offense to anything. Like, I feel like Gretchen would call Sam in a crisis and know they'd have her back.
We're learning where we need to be more sensitive and where we need to control what we say out loud and in social media. But you get to deliver some of the most brilliantly crafted insults. Tell me the joy of going to a mean, dark place.
Yeah, it's super fun! I just picture Trump's face.
It's fun to be mean. There's a huge confidence in being mean. That can be fun in a way. And I'm not actually hurting anyone, so that's much better. The problem with being mean is someone gets hurt.
"You're the Worst" Season 3 premieres August 31st on FXX.