From his breakout gig as a writer for Netflix Big mouth to his breakout role as Walter the Love Bug in the new spin-off Human ResourcesBrandon Kyle Goodman has a lot to say about what it means to be black and gender nonconforming in comedy right now.
In this reward of The last laugh podcast, Goodman opens up about how he knew the only path to pop culture success would be to write for himself, revealing how his own coming-of-age story came to life Big mouthand share his reaction to Netflix’s handling of the Dave Chappelle incident.
During his own appearance on this podcast in the fall of 2019, Big mouth creator Nick Kroll teased Human Resources, begins streaming today on Netflix, as a “workplace comedy set in a world of monsters.” He compared the show to Office, but there are Hormone Monsters, Shame Wizards, anxious Mosquitos, and other metaphorical creatures that live in our heads. In addition to Love Bugs as Walter, the show also added Logic Rock voiced by Randall Park, Addiction Angel voiced by Hugh Jackman, Ambition Gremlin voiced by Rosie Perez and many others.
When Goodman joined the first day as a writer in season 5 of Big mouth, he said, “There’s been talk of introducing these two new characters, Love Bugs, and the concept that we’ll meet them in season 5 and they’ll bring us into this spin-off.” But even as they began butchering these new creatures, Goodman had no idea he’d get a chance to actually play one of them.
They thought of some bigger names for Walter, but Goodman started reading his lines while reading the board, fell in love with the character and never looked back.
“The cast is pretty scary,” he said. “So I’m not sure if I’ll be added to that list, but I’m glad they trusted me enough to do it. So I’m honored to be on the trip.
“I would say that Walter is the definition of love and chaos as one,” added Goodman. “Your best friend, sometimes the hairs on the back of your neck get chills because they drink too much. They have the best intentions, but sometimes you have to test them.”
Below is an edited excerpt from our conversation. You can listen to the full story — including stories about playing the husband of ‘hot priest’ Andrew Scott in ‘Modern Love’ and his upcoming book of essays ‘You Gotta Be You: How to embrace this messy life and step into the real you’– now by subscribe to The Last Laugh above Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitchers, Amazon Musicor wherever you get your podcast and be the first to hear new episodes as they’re released every Tuesday.
Big mouth is a show that is really loved by young people no matter how dirty it is. And maybe that’s why they like it in some cases. But it gives the idea of representing young children watching it, compared to what you or I grew up with on TV. What do you think about the importance of what people can see?
It is extremely important. I mean, when you grow up, especially the weirdos, you’re going to like Disney villains because they’re the weirdest ones.
That’s all you get.
Yes! You find yourself in Ursula, you find yourself in Jafar. And there’s the idea that they’re the bad guys, but there’s something about the way they move that feels more weird. So it’s really nice to know that having this and other shows coming out allows us not to need to be the villains, but to actually be people and humans with a human experience. people, where the weird is part of it, but that’s not the plot. And we really try to push that, that’s why it’s so exciting [the trans character] Natalie is back! Human Resources. And as you know, she was just there. I don’t think there was ever a mention of her gender identity.
Yeah, it’s not that she’s transgender.
No, she’s just a little sister in this family going through something with her grandmother and that, to me, is ideal. That’s where I hope all the TV shows and movies can go, where we don’t have to have a plot about someone’s trauma going away or about their race or whatever. anything, but just as long as they exist. And obviously, the label of their identity will influence how they calculate it, but that’s not their story.
“That’s where I hope all the TV shows and movies can go, where we don’t have to have a plot about someone’s trauma going away or about their race or whatever. nothing, but just as long as they exist.”
We just got River Butcher on this podcast and we talked about transgender issues and the last name/last name pronoun and all of this has become a kind of punching bag in comedy. But then there are comedians like River, or what’s happening on Big mouth, that’s kind of a pushback to that. And I was just wondering if you think of it as someone using the pronoun they/last other than he/he. Are you the one responsible for dealing with some of the more obnoxious stuff out there?
I guess I think my reaction is my job, rather than reacting directly to anything that hates. If I can continue to exist and stand my ground and deliver the work that means the most to me, it is to represent someone who is not binary and who is black and people use the last name/last name pronoun. And so for anyone doing so, there is a reflection of that as opposed to going to war with someone who may just want clicks, may not be doing the health care job. their psyche, maybe their own bullshit. I find no value in arguing or participating in that. I think there are times when you have to, and I wanted to choose those moments to be special. But in general, my act is to keep appearing as myself, to keep appearing as much as possible. Because like you said earlier, growing up there weren’t many weirdo characters, let alone weirdos, in public spaces to say, “Oh, I look like them” or “I see myself in them.” . And so I’m really interested in being part of that collective that’s expanding representation by just being present and showing up.
In a particular uproar via Dave Chappelle special on Netflixone thing happened was Netflix [CEO Ted Sarandos] actually sharp to display as Big mouth and Sex education and saying essentially, “Look, we’re doing this good, too,” seems to be a way of defending what’s going on with Chappelle. What is your reaction to that?
Well, I mean, I’m going to be very conscious of how I answer this question because – listen, I think corporations are going to be companies. When you’re a network, you say what needs to be said to handle the business. But inside that business are people. And there are a lot of people who make it Big mouth and that makes Netflix. And so there is a lot of pain that has to be experienced and felt. And I think there is still value in some of the content that exists. Valid in Big mouth existing, valid in Sex education now available. We cannot withdraw from the value of that while taking one thing or another into account. So yeah, I’m glad these other reps exist while also being able to say, I want you to be held accountable for this harmful thing. And how do we have that conversation? Not making excuses for that with other shows, but really saying, “Yeah, good work here, but let’s talk about this particular thing.” And I think there needs to be more than that. Let’s really have the real conversation here. How are certain things still harmful? No one and no network and no company is perfect. So let’s admit it and have conversations so we can do better.
Yeah, I think there’s this kind of sentiment out there, “Just kidding, how can it be harmful? It is just words. And that, I don’t think is true for a lot of people.
No, it’s not. I think about words all the time as a writer, obviously. I miss this episode of Family problems That kind of thing changed my trajectory as a kid, where I think Steve was being bullied, as usual. But I think it’s a little heavier in one of these episodes. And I think Carl is part of it. And at the end of it, Carl says like “” Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me “is not true,” words hurt and they matter. . That’s kind of the lesson of that episode. That has always stayed with me. So I think when you’re making jokes, words are important. And there are harmful jokes. I think the idea of saying “joking is a joke”, is a bit lazy. And I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way. I think there’s just a glare and an ego and a paralysis, especially if you’re not on the inside receiving it. I think a joke is a joke, we should all participate in it, we should all be able to enjoy it. It is not politically correct. If I think about 20, 30, 40 years ago, there were white comedians who said pretty inappropriate, harmful things, we wouldn’t say, “Oh, that was just a joke.” Today, we’re going to say, “No, that’s fucking racism.” So the same is true today when we talk about gender and sexuality and these things may be newer to some people, where we have to say, “No, that’s actually quite harmful and unhappy.” Doesn’t mean you’re not funny, doesn’t mean you’re a terrible comedian now. It just means that that particular joke might not be something you should be aware of.
“I think ‘jokes are jokes’ is a bit lazy. I think a joke is a joke, we should all participate in it, we should all be able to enjoy it.”
Well, and if something like Big mouth can have a positive influence on society through jokes, then something else can have a negative effect on society through jokes.
Yes, for sure. And we don’t always get it right. And that’s okay. I think the calculus here, especially inside the comedy, the cancellation culture and all that, especially in terms of what’s happening where I work at Netflix, I think a lot of activists action didn’t say, “Cancel this person.” That’s not a conversation. That is, let’s chat about why this might be harmful, why we can do something different in the future. That has more impact. Because we’re all fans of these comedians, and we’ve all grown up thanks to them, they clearly have an influence on our comedy. But I still think we have to say, “Hey, this thing, you might want to look at it through a different lens.” And I think the comedian has a responsibility to say, “Okay, I’ll let it in and listen to it. And if you’re telling me it hurts, I want to hear it. And I want to adjust accordingly.”
And hopefully that’s what people will do, but they don’t always do it.
They don’t always do that, but I hope that more and more people take that stance.
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https://www.thedailybeast.com/big-mouths-brandon-kyle-goodman-on-human-resources-spinoff-and-netflixs-dave-chappelle-mess?source=articles&via=rss Brandon Kyle Goodman of ‘Big Mouth’ on Spinoff ‘Human Resources’ and Dave Chappelle Mess of Netflix