And you write for the show, too, right?
Yes I do.
When you started in the industry, were you more focused on writing or acting?
I always wanted to be an actor growing up. I got into comedy as a teenager, so I got to hone my writing skills by being involved with comedy and Second City.
Who were some comedians that you grew up watching?
As I mentioned, Rowan Atkinson was a big deal for me growing up. I was really into watching Monty Python. Once I was in high school, the cast of Saturday Night Live was everything. It was the beginning of The Lonely Island days, so I was all about that.
What was your favourite sketch?
The digital shorts were the be-all-end-all for me! Other than that, I loved Weekend Update. Tina Fey on the desk was everything that I wanted to be.
Would you say she has the kind of career you’d want to emulate?
Oh my god, that’s the dream. I don’t know that I could ever be even half as smart or half as funny as her. I’d work so hard every day if I could be on her level.
Do you ever miss theatre now that you mainly work in television?
I miss the instant gratification it gives. When you do a joke in front of a camera, sometimes you’ll get a laugh after they call “cut.” In theatre, it’s instant. You know that you have the audience, you know when to take a risk and when to pull back. It’s hard to do that with a camera and I constantly find that I’m second guessing myself. But I do like that on television you can do bigger and more grandiose things thanks to the magic of second takes and camera tricks. It’s a trade-off.
What’s the writing process like?
We sit around a room for a whole day writing jokes. Occasionally, someone will ask the room what they think or how to move forward with something, but mostly we’re pretty isolated in our own worlds. In the afternoon we throw all our stuff in and read through them to see what hits and what doesn’t. Sometimes you have to defend your jokes and say, “I don’t think you understand, this is why this is totally funny!” [Laughs.]
So, what’s funny to you?
I’m a goofball in my heart of hearts. I always wanted to be clever and witty, writing sketches about Wagner or whatever, but in real life I will always be the first person to submit a sketch totally about butts. Because I’m an idiot.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
I’ve learned that I really need to give myself time to decompress, be a loner and binge watch Orange Is The New Black. I used to work until the wee hours of the morning, but now I know that I can’t be a mess all of the time. Don’t be a mess today, is my lesson. And if you have to, do it alone.