Here's What You Can Expect From The Next Season Of 'Difficult People'
Hulu’s original series Difficult People is a work of casually abrasive genius. The show was created by Julie Klausner, longtime writer, podcaster, and brilliant Real Housewives recapper, and Billy Eichner, the extremely loud comedian—if you live in New York, you may have seen him running around screaming about pop culture for his other, equally fantastic series, Billy on the Street. Difficult People follows less successful versions of Julie and Billy as they yell, fight, insult children, and generally display no patience in a world that increasingly demands fake niceties. We love it.
This weekend, the cast and creative team behind the series gave us a glimpse at this the new season’s antics with a table reading at Vulture Festival. Eichner, Klausner, and the rest of the cast were joined by producer Amy Poehler for live performance of the third episode of season 1, which premieres this July. Here’s what we learned about the upcoming season:
1. If you can’t believe that season one of the show held back in any way (R. Kelly jokes and all) then prepare yourself for season two. The show has cut any inhibitions loose, and leaned much further into its abrasive humor. Klausner and Eichner’s love and distain for pop culture is still at the forefront; much of the reading skewed viral charity stunts, leading the duo on a quest to find a celebrity victim for their own humiliating variation on the ice-bucket challenge. The volume of hijinks has also gleefully increased, with an abundance of plot threads that weaved together that recappers will have a field day digging into (unless of course you’re following professional recapper Julie’s recapping advice in the episode, which is that recaps are always about yourself).
I just dumped a huge bucket of ice on my cat! YOU'RE WELCOME LOU GEHRIG.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 18, 2014
2. The use of guest appearances on Difficult People is always top notch, less stunt casting than actors coming in and playing wild and truly fun characters. Last season’s guest stars got to drop in and give a host of inspired performances, including Fred Armisen and Amy Sedaris, who thankfully will be reprising their roles this season. Season two will bring an even bigger boat load of appearances, including Joel McHale, Debbie Harry, Method Man, a handful of Real Housewives of New York, Tina Fey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julianne Moore, and yes, even Ken Burns.
Two big guests made an appearance at the table reading. Broadway actress/Smash star Megan Hilty was on deck, playing a psychology patient with OCD whose disorder gets taken advantage of by Julie’s mother Marilyn, a narcissistic therapist. The legendary Nathan Lane also turned up: he plays himself, becoming the target of Julie and Billy’s humiliating charity challenge. Both copped to being huge fans of the show, with Hilty revealing that she stalked Eichner and Klausner on Twitter for a chance to appear. She professed that she’d be willing to do anything, including cleaning the floors… which is exactly what she ends up doing in the episode.
3. The show will continue to be a beacon for unique LGBT representation, introducing new characters and going further to explore the lives and romances of gay men who aren’t just sidekicks that Eichner refers to as “nosey neighbors.” Season two introduces Lola (Shakina Nayfack) a transgender coworker of Billy’s at a café—who also happens to be a committed 9/11 truther. Nayfack is a welcome voice to the chorus of disharmony, instantly clashing with Billy and dropping conspiracy theory mottos like “jet fuels can’t melt steel beams” with a deadpan intensity. Eichner also revealed that season two will play more with Billy’s love life, with the table read episode featuring a date with a deaf man that’s complicated by a scheming interpreter played by comedian John Early.
4. We’ll thankfully be seeing even more of series MVPs Andrea Martin and Cole Escola. The extended season two trailer gave glimpse of Escola’s centerpiece moment referencing the Oscar-winning film Birdman, and he stopped the reading with a single line that was so unabashedly nasty that Nathan Lane lost it before it was even delivered. Andrea Martin continues to be a seasoned comedic force, as well as a means of support for the series. Later in the Q&A portion of the event, as Klausner and Eichner praised Amy Poehler for her advocacy for show and for them, Poehler referred to the support she had received from Martin early in her career.
5. Difficult People will be continue to be difficult. It’s an abrasive, genius comedy, and from this reading, it’s clear that the show is growing into itself. And as per Klausner’s master plan to include a Kevin Spacey joke in every script, there was at least one Spacey-related quip during the reading. When asked how they calibrate what’s the “right amount” of fun to poke at something, Klausner quickly responded, “what’s calibration?” while Eichner clarified by adding “until we get sued, it’s the right amount.”
Stay tuned to Milk for more comedic masterminds.
Images via ‘Difficult People.’ Illustration by Kathryn Chadason.