You’re kind of making fun of people who are making conscious decisions about their moral impact.
And I do think it can come across as, yeah, potentially more satirical, slightly less optimistic. Or as we grapple with the meaning of living these kind of progressive lives, we’ve finally hit upon something that feels unnerving or perhaps less positive than we thought.
Are people asking you guys to come on, or did you ask her? Well, with a lot of the guest spots, it’s definitely a combination of people reaching out to us, and then Fred and myself making a list of people whose work we admire and who we’re interested in seeing in a different context, and giving them an opportunity to revel in the frivolity and absurdity of the show and perhaps showcase something a little less serious than what their music aligns with. Fred and I actually made a music video for her years ago, from her album Actor. I think he was talking about how the comedian is going for laughter while the musician is going for a broader range of emotional reaction. And I would say the most exciting music does that to me as well.
Fred told me that the comedian has a much more specific job than the musician. I think there’s a lot of wonderful comics that leave you hanging in a state of apprehension or anxiety before alleviating that tension with a joke.
And I think when you delve further into personhood and personality, you can capture a darkness or capture something that’s more acerbic without being pedantic. And people possess all these contradictions — levity mixed with things that are a little more scary or biting.
It seemed to me that the tone of Portlandia and that these episodes were a little more biting in their satire of white privilege. I do think there is a pointedness to this season and an incisiveness. I suppose it’s intentional, but it’s also a byproduct of the fact that we focus on character.
So we had collaborated before, and we’re mutual fans of one another. [.] You know, Fred is friends with Duff and he was one of the kindest, smartest people that we’ve had on the show. So, I don’t know, I guess I’m completely retracting everything that I said at the beginning! So I would go ahead and posit John Wurster as the funniest musician that I know. And I’m less interested in music that is novelty or jokey or ironic. I always thought your lyrics were funny, but more on the smart or trenchant side; now in Portlandia, you’re being expressly funny. I think music took hold of me and captured my imagination at such a formative age that I ascribe a mysteriousness to it and I exalt it and take it seriously in a way that I think has just permeated my life ever since. I want to talk about the differences and similarities between comedians and musicians. He’s a drummer in a variety of bands: Superchunk, Mountain Goats. And I guess I never thought about it in terms of anything absurd. Because, actually, now that I’m talking about it, I like comedy that’s dark and strange. I think of comedians like Mitch Hedberg or even Bill Hicks that have an element of danger to their performance, and kind of veer right on the edge of making you feel nervous or making you laugh.
Even though I can appreciate that, I think I always liked the more magical, earnest, or just mystifying elements of music. So I never really approached it in a comedic sense even though I’ve always had a sense of humor.
Yeah, you seem like you’re one of them in some ways. That you have the luxury of time to reflect or apply scholarly thinking to art and culture. It is about trying to reattach to our own lives and our own sense of personhood and meaning.