Talk Nerdy With Us recently participated in a conference call with You’re the Worst stars Chris Geere and Aya Cash. Season 2 of YTW premieres tonight at 10:30 pm Eastern and Pacific time on FXX. Read our interview with Chris and Aya below.
Really loving the show this season. Can you talk about how your characters have developed this season, basically how they’ve been written differently at all this season from the first season?
Chris Geere: Miss Cash.
Aya Cash: You see how we like to pass off questions to each other? So I am now a divorcee with two kids, as you know. I think you’re going to see a real continuation of what you saw in Season 1. Obviously the writers know us a little better and I think play to our strengths. You’re going to get a lot of great “Jimmy” speeches delivered dexterously by Chris Geere.
Chris Geere: Why, thank you.
Aya Cash: But I think you’ll see a real continuation of what you saw before but also some surprises and some – there’ll be some reveals about our characters kind of back-story and what they’ve dealt with before they were in a relationship. You’ll see Jimmy’s family.
Chris Geere: Mm-hmm.
Aya Cash: That’s all I can tell you.
How about you, Jimmy? Anything?
Chris Geere: Would you like me to answer as well? Yes. Well basically, yes, as I said a continuation of the tone that we kind of set last year but Stephen has apparently so much faith in us that he’s put us in the – in darker territory as well so we – you know, there’s many opportunities. The same comedy is there, even I believe is better and the one-liners are there and the guests are there, are fantastic this year, but I think as actors and as characters we’ve been put in positions that are even more uncomfortable than the first season. And yes, it’s been a wondrous experience.
My favorite comedic scene of the series thus far comes from this season’s second episode when you guys go around the mall and kind of goof around. But I found this so funny because I think we’re all kind of guilty of playing games like that with our friends or our significant others. Have you guys done something like that when you’re in a mall or what’s perhaps the worst or funniest you guys have done like that?
Chris Geere: When we were filming that whole sequence which we were in this mall for I think – was it two days, Aya, we were there or was it just one?
Aya Cash: It felt like two. I think it might have been just one, I can’t remember.
Chris Geere: I think – yes. I think it was just one but there were so many different kind of parts to it, especially the montage that we felt like we were there forever, but it was – actually it reminded me all day of when I was 15 and used to go to the mall on a Saturday with my friends and just goof around and I think that’s a really endearing quality of both of these people who are, you know, a publicist and a novelist going to the mall and mucking around, basically. So, yes, that was – it was – that’s what the show is all about and that it can – we can have something as kind of mindlessly, you know, comedic like that and then five minutes later they’re pouring their hearts out to each other about something. So that’s a privilege for us to play.
Aya Cash: We’ve actually behaved like teenagers as actors on the day. I got my keys taken away from my scooter because I wouldn’t stop driving it around. And we ate – we were introducing Chris to the joys of American eating. He had Cinnabon for the first time and Wetzel’s Pretzels. I mean we ended up just eating so much crap that day.
Chris Geere: And there’s a thing called an Orange Julius, which I’d never tried before which had more sugar in it than anything I’ve ever had in my life.
So, it looks like the big challenge early on is the cohabitation aspect of relationships. So I want to know how did – you know, Aya and Chris, your own cohabitation experiences help you inform the experience of Jimmy and Gretchen?
Chris Geere: Yes, I think it’s the biggest step that a couple can make. It’s a huge kind of compromise in putting your lives together like that. And yes, I found it very difficult in that I was always allowed to leave my wet towel on the bed after a shower when I lived on my own but when I moved in with my now wife that seemed to be problem. So that was my experience from that kind of thing. But with Jimmy and Gretchen I think Jimmy’s such a selfish guy that this is doubly hard for him to find space for her in his life and that’s where we really explore that in the first couple of episodes and make a joke out of it with a trash can – it had trash bags in the corner and everything. But, the whole how it works in the end with, you know, that compromise and everything is great. I’m really glad that they portrayed it that way.
Aya Cash: Yes, I like to eat in bed. My husband doesn’t like that. And he also – when we first moved in together he would walk around and he would touch anything that was mine and be like “What’s this? Where does this go?” and finally I said “It’s my stuff. It lives here now.” So I think everyone can identify with that. And I think what Chris is saying is true that it’s actually the biggest step in a relationship. I think even more so than marriage. Marriage is much more of a psychological step, but in terms of the reality of how your life changes with someone, moving in is even bigger.
Chris Geere: Yes, you realize once you’ve moved in with someone after a couple of weeks that you’re going to have to give up on a certain part of your life, your previous life, that independence and that doing whatever you want whenever you want to do it. To give that up for anyone is very tricky, but for these two, you know, self-absorbed people it’s doubly hard.
It’s very rare that, you know, stars of an American television show are not as well-known, so congratulations there, and if you could talk about kind of what – how did you guys get this or how did you make that leap? And then now that you’re more established on this show, are you getting offers for like other projects and are you being sent scripts and what are you looking for in those scripts?
Aya Cash: So I mean I think this business is for 99% of people who are like Chris and I – which means we’re not 21 and we’ve been in the business for a long time – it’s a very slow burn. I consider every job to be sort of a crazy miracle and I’ve stopped waitressing about six years ago which I think is the biggest miracle. And so I think it’s a slow burn. You start to build relationships and trust the casting directors and the studios. I had met Stephen a year or two before. I had a meeting with him and we got along so when I walked into the room he had a sense of who I was as a human as well as an actor and I think it’s just a slow build of those relationships if you’re not an immediately famous person. In terms of offers, I have no offers, I have no job, but what I’ve started to do – so there’s a fantasy in this business that you get a job that suddenly changes your life and makes everything easy, which is just not true. I mean it may be true for if you starred in Hunger Games but – so I’ve started to develop my own work and look into producing. So I’m working on developing a script right now based on my mother’s book that a writer has written and I am just – I am learning as I go, but I think that the truth is if you want to make interesting things happen in your career you have to do them yourself as opposed to wait around for people to offer you things. So that’s what I’m doing.
Chris Geere: Yes, I thought – when I left drama school I always thought that the way that it worked is that you’re looking for this overnight success and to become a big name in your first couple of projects and you become a household name in a couple of years and you’re a gazillionaire by year three, but that’s a ridiculous way of thinking. What you can really tell when you’re on set for You’re the Worst is that all of us have had many jobs under our belt, but what this has brought about – and all of us had been out of work for periods of time as well and we have many stories to share on success and non-success, but what this has done is kind of – we all feel like – well I feel like that I’m just earning my stripes a little bit rather than having hit and got the golden ticket which is, you know, your career is very long and this will always be one of, if not my favorite job, I’ve ever done and that’s one of the reasons for that. In terms of the next job, yes, I mean there are lots of great, great scripts out there but what Stephen has done is set the bar so high that I’m now aware of bad writing a little bit more than I was before because as a huge fan of romantic comedy before I’ve always enjoyed reading them but now I’ve noticed after working with Stephen and working on his scripts is that there is a formula to romantic comedies that I believe now has got a little bit stale and needs a bit of shake-up, and there are some brilliant ones out there but there’s still some terrible ones out there and I think what this job has taught me is that I can decipher the good and the bad a bit more now because I know what a good project is because of Stephen and the writers from the show.
Aya Cash: I think the idea of success, this idea of if you haven’t heard of someone, like if this miracle – I just think that that’s the fantasy that needs to be dispelled because there’s just so many people working in this business who you’ve probably never heard of but who are, you know, able to make a living and able to sort of create for years and maybe never get sort of recognition, and our show has a small audience and a great audience, but it’s a small audience and there’s probably people who would still be like – you know, who is Aya Cash and Chris Geere, and in many ways I don’t mind that. I think if you want to be in this gig for a long, long time, staying under the radar is fine and still fighting for jobs it’s just the reality.
Do you guys have dream roles that you dream about or directors you want to work with or franchises you’d love to be a part of?
Chris Geere: I have always wanted, since being a young boy, then becoming an actor to even now would love to have a go at the Doctor in Doctor Who. That’s what my kind of dream role would be. James Bond and Doctor Who.
Aya Cash: My dreams are definitely smaller. I like to have – that’s amazing. I want to be James Bond and Doctor Who. Can I just take your answer? I like working on new plays and new things, so my sort of dream role is to have someone who I believe in write me my dream role and that’s what I used to find exciting. I’d love Bruce Norris to write me a play. I’d love Stephen Falk or any of the writers to write me a show once here the work is done. So it’s basically I’d just – the people who I respect and think are great are the people who I want to create new work with, usually.
There’s a real kind of pivotal moment in the first two episodes where Gretchen kind of stands up for herself and makes sure that she’s not swallowed up by Jimmy’s life. Talk about, you know, working up to that scene and are there going to be moments, more moments like that for Gretchen and kind of respond to that from Jimmy’s side?
Aya Cash: You know, it’s so funny – I was realizing, actually Kether pointed it out, is that Lindsay often says something, that’s what sort of puts a seed in Gretchen’s mind and then Gretchen sort of does what Lindsay says and it’s never commented on and that’s sort of happened throughout the season and it’s sort of an interesting aspect of their friendship and I think that she doesn’t – she stands up for herself after Lindsay says like, “You have to claim your faith and get all up in those crevasses.” And so I think that’s interesting. And then I think, yes, that scene, like every sort of scene, you just sort of play in the context of where you’re at but I like the fact that Gretchen is standing up for her needs and saying, “This is what I want in this relationship.” They’re constantly trying to figure out how to define and how to enact their relationship that they have generally tried to avoid. So I feel like it’s like one step in her saying like, “Actually we are in a relationship and I need this,” and that’s a big step forward for them.
Chris Geere: Yes, I think the same thing as Lindsay and Gretchen. I think Edgar’s kind of the person who always gives, “Give me that,” that we’ve been blinded by the truth in the past, and yes, that same brilliantly put seeds of thought that make them kind of, you know, think differently about a situation, but I think ultimately when Gretchen does stand up to Jimmy it makes him respect her and that respect in turn comes from the feelings, the love he has for her. So yes, that’s how they progress and it unfolds brilliantly and what you see in the first couple of episodes is just a small insight into what happens later on in the series which is a huge compromise between them all.
How much of your own personality do you guys bring in to the character when you guys play Gretchen and Jimmy?
Chris Geere: I think a lot – I think if I was asked that question at the end of last season I would say, “Oh I’m – Oh, Jimmy’s nothing like me and it’s nice to be angry at points and – because I’m so reserved,” and that actually that’s rubbish because this year I’ve realized that I am an awful lot like him in some points. Yes, maybe I wouldn’t say everything in the way that he does, especially so articulately, but I think he’s a representation of what most people are like. They have feelings and those feelings need to come out, somehow, at times and that’s been a joy to play because sometimes you question whether someone would do that. Would someone behave that way? Would some say things the way that they do? But the truth is that these characters would do that. And so – and Stephen’s written it that way and he’s wholeheartedly, you know, for a reason written every single word, so we just play that with truth and that’s – you know, there are a couple of episodes this year especially when my family arrive where I was given the opportunity to fully – in one of Jimmy’s monologues – reveal to the audience the way he behaves the way that he does and I’ll be interested to see how the audience and you guys respond to that because there are a lot of demons that have made him behave the way that he has done across the last two seasons and it might be sympathy or empathy connected with all this afterwards, but for me that was great to play.
Aya Cash: I think that I am similar to Gretchen in terms of her bluntness and her sort of darker sense of humor and weariness of the world, but I’m also very different from Gretchen in that I crave stability and home and I’ve been in a relationship for 10 years and I’m very much a nester and like to stay inside. I’m not necessarily like out partying…
Chris Geere: You don’t take cocaine everyday.
Aya Cash: No. Never done cocaine, never done cocaine. One of the few things I haven’t done, but I’ve never done cocaine. You know, so there are some vast differences, but it’s fun to sort of play out that fantasy life and we all, you know – especially as someone who’s been in a relationship for 10 years and lived sort of a very low-key existence, you know, there were points in my life where I’ve been like, “Oh, I’m missing out. I wish I did this. I wish I did that,” and in some ways that’s the joy of being an actor is I could sort of play out these little fantasies in a character. So, there’s some similarities but then – but on the surface our lives look very, very different.
What’ll be going on with Jimmy and Gretchen in terms of – along with Edgar and Lindsay, like with the friends? Like how does Edgar feel with the cohabitation and what’s going to be going on with Lindsay in terms of you guys?
Chris Geere: Well I think initially he’s upset of the amount of noise and mess that they’re making, but pretty soon Edgar gets embroiled in his own story and his own life and things going on. So I think he cares a lot less which is probably better for him but not so much for the fantasy of Jimmy.
Aya Cash: Yes, I think – I mean Lindsay had such a great part in Season 1 from where she starts out and where she ends and you’ll see her sort of continuing her spiral. And again, I was just sort of saying in their friendship you’ll see a lot more sort of her planting seeds in Gretchen. They discuss feminism again. It’s – their friendship, I think you’ll see even more of their friendship this season and, you know, both Lindsay and Edgar are very much supporters of Jimmy and Gretchen in terms of their relationship but what makes them so wonderful is they really could be the stars of their own lives as well. They really aren’t just sidekicks and you’ll see their sort of story lines played out in bigger ways this season.
You guys seem to have a real solid collection, all of you, Desmin and Kether, and you guys, and obviously you and Kether have got – you know, hang out in your spare time. I see, you know, posts on Twitter and such. How important is it for you guys to be like friends off the show and how does – I mean how integral is that to your lives?
Aya Cash: I think it’s really important and I think it happened so naturally last year and felt like such a gift because, you know, we’ve all done jobs and you’re like, “Yes, I love them,” and then you never talk to them again after the job and we all really appreciate and enjoy each other and it’s become a very important part and it’s when our lives take over sometimes and we’re not able to connect, it makes us very, very sad. So we all try to really maintain those friendships and it’s not necessarily a total conscious like, we must hang out because it’s important to the show; t’s we must hang out because we’re really good friends and when we don’t get to see each other or don’t get to connect it’s not fun.
Chris Geere: Yes.
Aya Cash: So, you know, and I think that on many – many people’s comments about all four of our chemistry and I don’t know if that is there if they’re not friends. You hear of people like hating each other on shows and it still comes off okay, but I don’t know how I would do that.
Chris Geere: Yes. I really don’t think that works. I think you have to respect and love each other, and we’ve come from the same place of feeling so fortunate to get this job in the first place, for it to continue and in turn to have any success let alone, you know, the amazing support that we’ve had, we just feel so humble and kind of – and grateful the whole time that we can share that with each other and when we get together out of work it’s wonderful. As I said it’s never for any other reason but that we enjoy each other’s company and we – of course we want the show to work more than anything but we don’t get together because we have to make the show work, but we get together because we choose to. And as Aya says, you know, when we make the transition back into our other life, there is a huge hole missing and that’s why we can’t wait to see each other at the premier.
Aya Cash: Yes, I think success of a show is not just like whether or not it’s good, for me. Like a successful job is also a job that I enjoy going to work with people who I enjoy, and so it wouldn’t be such a successful show in my mind if everyone loved it that we hated each other.
Chris Geere: Yes.
There’s a great quote from the show that talks about how Gretchen and Jimmy’s relationship is only going to end one way and I think it says something along the lines of whether it’s two weeks or 20 years there’s like a horrible sadness, pain coming their way and they’re inviting it in. Do you think that people who are like maybe not right for each other can still have a lasting relationship, or do you just think that we take these leaps of faith with people for like maybe self-betterment or maybe in the hope that they’ll perhaps change?
Aya Cash: I actually think Jimmy and Gretchen are right for each other. I think the point of that sort of speech is not that they’re wrong for each other, it’s that nobody can possibly make a relationship work in this day and age. I mean some of this is very realistic. We live in a culture of divorce, I mean – and of quick, easy casual sex with Kinder and – Kinder or whatever they are. You know, so I feel like it’s more a comment on that than, like, why would we even try? Not that they’re not right for each other. I think the truth is that you can only learn some things in relationship with another person and sometimes that’s friendship and often that is romantic love because it is the thing that demands the most of you and therefore there’s only certain things you can learn about yourself when you are in a romantic relationship. And that’s not to say – so I think there’s a sort of idea which is actually what my husband said to me when we were deciding to get married or not. I never believed in marriage really, and he said, “Look, even if it doesn’t work out, I will have wanted to have been married to you. Like let’s try this thing and see if it works, and it’s not to say we’ll just get out of it so easy, but it’s – who knows what will happen?” And that’s the realistic approach and in some ways I think that’s more romantic. And I think the thing with Jimmy and Gretchen is they’re going into something that they believe will end badly but it’s worth it to go through the journey together even if it doesn’t work out and I think that’s actually like the most romantic thing that they could do.
Chris Geere: Yes. I love that. That’s brilliantly put. Brilliantly put, Miss Cash.
Aya Cash: Thanks Chris.
Chris Geere: One of my favorite phrases is when – someone has always given me every time I’ve ever broken up with someone before, which is, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” And that, you know, at the end of a relationship it’s actually quite a comforting thing to hear. I think you have to take that leap of faith and you have to go through that hardness and the battle that is every relationship and singlehandedly the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life, which is marriage, but it’s also the most rewarding as well. And people these days I think are braver. They’re kind of – there are so many options available in terms of trying to find someone but people are very – using their instincts more. I’m normally using my friend’s – you know, a couple of my single friends are on these social sites at the moment as examples, but they’re being far more instinctive than they’ve ever been and they won’t waste anyone’s time if the relationship doesn’t look like it’s working, but if it does they’re really pursue it and they’ll dive in and that diving in thing is something that Jimmy and Gretchen – well I can only speak to Jimmy really, has never – he’s never done before, but to do this is such a brave choice and you can only respect them both for doing that.
I know Justin Kirk from Weeds is coming in, Tara Summers, and these are folks that you don’t get to work with on a regular basis, so I wanted to ask about your experiences getting to be on set with them.
Aya Cash: It’s so fun. We love the guest stars. It’s so funny; when we very first started shooting, when I shot the pilot, Kether turns to me and says, “We have to promise to be nice to the guest stars,” and I turned to her and I said, “Of course, because we’re not monsters,” but you actually – as you put a guest star on show you sometimes get treated sort of as bottom of the barrel. I mean you don’t know the set, you don’t know the tone, you don’t know people’s relationship and you come on and sometimes people don’t even introduce themselves to you. And we’re a very friendly cast. I remember hanging out with Tara and Justin and they were like, “You’re so friendly,” and I was like, “Oh, and I’m the least friendly” and at first Chris walked on like 20 minutes later and immediately bear hugged both of them. So both – and they were like, “Wow, you’re right, this is a – like yes, I don’t want to touch immediately,” but we’re all nice. So it’s really fun for us. I actually – I think it’s such a gift because we all love each other and have a great time together but it’s so fun to have new blood on set and new people who are working in new different ways. Obviously I grew up watching Justin Kirk on Weeds and he’s wonderful and getting to know new people like Tara Summers and I don’t think one of them has been announced yet. So, you know, Collette Wolfe is there and I remember seeing Young Adults and just saying like, “Who is that girl? She is so fantastic.” So it’s really fun to have people come on and play.
Chris Geere: Yes, I think the guests really kept me on my toes this year. You know, not that I’ve ever drop the ball in any way but they – you know, so many of the scenes are between the four of us or between Aya and myself and we’re so comfortable with each other now that when another energy comes on set it’s wonderful and when my family specifically came in, that was great. You just really – you want them to feel welcome but you want them to do the best that they can do as well and bring out the best of each other. I think is the greatest quality in any actor is to bring out the best in your co-star and be there for them and listen and respond and I think that it’s a huge credit to the casting that everyone that’s come in has been very grateful to be there and wants to produce brilliant work, and again, we were very lucky.
Aya Cash: Yes, but the family – let’s just say, Chris, the family is beyond brilliant. I mean….
Chris Geere: Yes, they were excellent.
Aya Cash: … from that group of actors was like I have never almost laughed on set – I mean I don’t break very often and that family was incredible.
Chris Geere: Yes.
If there was a show on TV that you had your choice to guest star on, what would it be?
Aya Cash: Oh my God, I watch so much TV, there are so many. Rectify comes to mind immediately, Veep. I mean I’d love to go play with the Bronze City Girls because I think it’d be blast and I think they’re great. I’d love to do an Amy Schumer sketch. You’re going to have to interrupt me. (Human Home). Oh my God, Mr. Robot. Chris, please talk now.
Chris Geere: I’d like to be a guest on Doctor Who that turns into Doctor Who.
Aya Cash: Chris has a family, Chris has a baby, so he’s not allowed to watch as much TV as I watch.
Chris Geere: Yes, I’ve got Thomas the Tank Engine on repeat downstairs, but other than that I haven’t watched anything in ages.
Aya Cash: Chris, you have to see Mr. Robot. It’s incredible.
Chris Geere: I’m writing it down now.
Aya Cash: For daddy time.
Chris Geere: All right.