SeriesFest curates programming featuring some of television’s up-and-coming shows. The new CW drama, The Republic of Sarah, was featured already. FX’s most watched comedy, Dave, also received a spotlight featuring some of the talent behind and in front of the camera. Present were executive producers Jeff Schafer and Saladin K. Patterson along with stars Dave Burd, GaTa, Christine Ko, Taylor Misiak, Andrew Santino, and Travis Bennett.
Before Dave became a series, Schafer and Patterson knew of Lil Dicky. During their meetings they enjoyed hearing the rapper tell stories about his life whether it was related to music or more personal and thought they were really funny. When they did decide to move forward, Patterson was impressed how Burd wasn’t your typical famous person looking to expand their brand to other areas. He really thought about the whole thing beforehand. Patterson genuinely enjoyed learning and exploring with the show’s star.
With regards to the on-screen talent, Schafer liked how the cast is true to themselves and are great improvisers. There is a real authenticity in how the characters speak because that’s how the actors speak in real life. During filming they also were forced to really listen to each other which can be seen in the final product.
One of the most acclaimed episodes from the initial season is “Hype Man” which is a very personal story to GaTa featuring his mental illness. There was some hesitancy from the actor at first because he’s known as the cool guy and life of the party. He felt embarrassed to share this side of him but he was really touched by the feedback and appreciated the support. He stressed that “it’s okay not to be okay.”
Similarly, Burd saw how liberating it could be early on to be so open and vulnerable. Since Dave is drawn upon his own life, it reveals his deepest insecurities and anxieties. The star received some validation for the project not from the positive response from critics and viewers but from his own parents. It’s hard for them to know rap but they can appreciate comedy and he thinks they would love it even if he wasn’t involved.
Season two, which began a few weeks back, looks at Lil Dicky’s difficulty in making an album and his entire creative process. Burd wanted to give fans context to how he works. The protagonist also manages his relationship with Ally (Misiak) following their breakup while still trying to remain friends. Schafer wanted to make a conscious effort to be different this time around compared to the first season.
In addition, the focus switches from Dave to the other members of his support group. They all have their own ambitions so the show explores what kind of conflict and friction occurs when they go off to do their own thing and begin neglecting the star. It’s a nice change of pace to explore the people in his life. It can be a lot to juggle all these different characters, but Burd believes the more people the audience cares for, the more impactful the story will be so it’s worth the pivot.
In particular, Elz (Bennet) and Dave’s friendship evolves now that both are experiencing a little bit more success. All the characters get to taste a little bit of success on their own but they achieve their dreams at different rates.
The series is known for its many celebrity cameos and guest stars. Tonight’s episode is titled “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.” However, it can be really scary trying to secure them. Sometimes the guests can hinder the show because of their crazy schedules and making everything fit. Some of the rappers have been unreliable and don’t even show up causing last minute changes to the script to compensate. This still doesn’t deter them from seeking them out though. Some of the people high on their list include former president Obama for Burd while others wanted Larry David, Will Smith, and Ben Simmons.
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