'You're the Worst' stars would stay with their great show 'until the end of time'
"You're the Worst," the great romantic comedy about two awful people struggling to accept that they have real feelings for each other, returns for a new season, on a new channel (so you will probably have to make new DVR season passes), tonight at 10:30 on FXX.
Yesterday, I spoke with the show's creator, Stephen Falk, about what makes "You're the Worst" tick. Today, it's the turn of stars Aya Cash and Chris Geere, who have their own takes on Gretchen and Jimmy's relationship, the explicit sex scenes of the pilot (and why they're relieved that didn't continue), Jimmy's fake mustache, and a lot more.
When did you guys first meet in the process of doing this, and how?
Aya Cash: We met during the test for "You’re the Worst," but barely remember each other because we were both so narcissistically in our own heads and nervous about the test.
Chris Geere: There was only, I think, two actors up for each role. I read with another actress and with Aya. And then it was the just the waiting.
Do you even remember what you had to read for the chemistry test?
Aya Cash: I remember we had to do the phone call. Remember that? The phone call at the end of the pilot. And then had to do the scene in episode two with Lindsay where she’s like doing a juice cleanse.
Chris Geere: I had to do a couple of scenes with Edgar, that stuff. That was tricky actually, because when you do the test and you’re making a show for the first time, I had no idea what the tone was, what the comedy was. And I really struggled with that last year, trying to identify what it was. And what I recognize this year is that there is no one single tone and we’re allowed to be, you know, goony faces and physical comedy in one scene and then the next bit it’s just her and I, you know, interacting calmly. She’s lovely.
So were there moments when you saw the final version in season one, where you realized, "Oh, that was funny, and I didn’t realize it when I was playing it"?
Aya Cash: Most of my comedy is accidental, I would say. If I don’t know what the joke is, I’m going to play it better than if I do. I mean I say that sort of self-deprecatingly, but I do think that there’s something to be said — Kether (Donohue)’s a little similar, like sometimes Kether in the middle of takes will be like, "So is what I'm saying funny?," and she’s been nailing it every take because she’s just like got a natural instinct for that sort of comedy. So sometimes it’s better not to think something’s hilarious because you’re not trying to play the joke. I’ll know something’s a joke but I’m not trying to hit the rhythms of it and it’ll come out much better than if I was.
Can either of you think of an example of something where you watched the first season where you said, "Oh wow, that was funny"?
Chris Geere: I think the sex stuff was much funnier when I watched it. When we were doing it, we were so kind of so awkward that I never thought of that as a funny, funny scene. But I think it really is.
Aya Cash: Oh I thought it was hilarious.
How long did it take to do that? That’s a tough one.
Aya Cash: Ten hours.
Chris Geere: Yeah, you asked when did we first meet. We really only knew each other four days when we did that stuff, which was weird. And I’d never been on a closed set before, so to see that, to see how there’s only four or five people there. But it was so technical, wasn’t it?
Aya Cash: Yeah, we were both terrified. I think they acted it out with dolls for us. Like, "You’re going to be doing this and this and this, and then the doll’s doing this position."
Chris Geere: (Director) Jordan (Vogt-Roberts) and Stephen are holding Transformers, saying, "Do this, and then you do this."
Aya Cash: And I was like, "I can’t do that with my body." I remember they wanted me to do one move, and it was like my ass in the air, and I just kept pretending that I couldn’t do it because I really didn’t want it on screen. So I kept just falling and being like, "Oh, I can’t do that. Oh my god it’s so, oops I fell." But other than that, it was fun.
Do you think having been through that extreme circumstance together so early in the working relationship helped?
Chris Geere: I think it did.
Aya Cash: Totally.
Chris Geere: It really did because, it was throwing us in the deep end properly, and we’ve only known each other as long as Jimmy and Gretchen have known each other, so let’s do this. And then it was just a really original thing to get that out of the way and then concentrate on the story.
Aya Cash: And also, we both are married. Chris has a kid, so there was real respect there and we were both being as respectful and just open hearted about it as possible and supportive of each other. So that I think helped. Yeah, of course it bonds you to take off all your clothes with someone and simulate oral sex. I generally don’t do that upon meeting people.
Any scene you play with someone is going to depend on some level on chemistry. But a romantic comedy leans on it so much more. How long do you feel it took the two of you to really feel comfortable with each other and your rhythms as performers?
Aya Cash: Pretty quickly. Chris and I really enjoy working together, and we’re different in many ways as actors but the core of what we get off on acting is reaction and response and listening. We both really like to sort of see what happens in a scene and play off what the other person gives. Neither of us are necessarily people who craft a performance before we come to set. That’s not what we’re good at. What we’re good at is being in the moment and listening to each other.
Chris Geere: It’s really nice that we were really rooting for each other as actors to do the best work that we can. I remember a scene, Aya’s got a scene towards the end of the (season) and she just is beautiful. It’s brilliantly performed and at the end when they cut, I just felt, "Yes, this is great. It’s great for the show. It’s great for her." I knew that she would feel really good about it. So it’s lovely. I think that’s the case for all four of us.
Aya Cash: Yeah, we enjoy each other’s performances and that keeps things…
Chris Geere: There’s no egos whatsoever. We just want the show to succeed because we know how great it is and we all come from no expectations whatsoever.
Aya Cash: And it clicked very quickly.
It took FX a little while to say they were going to do a new season. How nervous were you towards the end there waiting for that decision to happen?
Aya Cash: Terrified.
Chris Geere: Yeah. There’s always that insecurity whenever you finish a job where you’re like, "Oh, no." And especially this one because we just want to carry on telling the story.
Aya Cash: It’s been the best job I’ve ever had in my life, so the idea that it might not continue, last year I was a wreck. I drove across country immediately after we finished shooting and I was like on stops, and the episode would air and I’d see the numbers and I’d be like, "What happens?" I was a wreck and a nightmare to be around because I was so freaked out. And then when we got picked up, I was over the moon and I still feel that way. To get on a job where you genuinely love the people and you’re not just bullshitting to press about how much you love the people. You believe in the writing and trust them so completely, you know. Maybe we’re not making big network money, but we’re making enough to live on. To have all these elements come together is so incredibly rare, I would do this until the end of time.