Our very own Justine Browning hit the red carpet at Metrograph in New York City to talk to the cast of the TBS comedy Search Party.
The show is is a dark comedy about four self-absorbed 20-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance named Chantal suddenly disappears. Led by Alia Shawkat, the cast of features an ensemble of young comic actors, including John Early, John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner and Brandon Micheal Hall.
Dory (Shawkat), a fragile, frustrated, life-long doormat who’s not particularly proud of her impact on the world, especially since her greatest accomplishment to date is organizing clothes to be donated to Goodwill for her wealthy employer. Dory feels stuck in a stale and disconnected relationship with her boyfriend, Drew (Reynolds), a kind of clueless, complacent, spoon-fed doofus who just really loves Christmas. She also feels removed from her closest friends, Elliott (Early), a self-diagnosed narcissist who loves adding job titles to his designer-stylist-curator multi-hyphenate lifestyle, and Portia (Hagner), an actress always struggling to balance the challenging demands of chronic insecurity and pathological self-absorption.
Check out our exclusive interviews below:
How would you say that this show will connect to young people better than other shows and forms of entertainment out there at the moment?
Alia: I don’t think it’ll necessarily connect to young people more so than other stuff. It’s hard to know what kids are watching. Sometimes they just watch youtube shows strange videos they make. It’s a lot of content out there, but I think that this has a very mature, smart view, but still being from the inner voice. It’s not like someone else being objective about it. It feels like it’s written from the people it’s about. You know what I mean? That’s a better sense, I think.
What I really do enjoy about the characters is, yes, they’re easy to laugh at, but they’re also incredibly intelligent. They’re also very well drawn out. Can you speak to portraying those elements?
Alia: It says to the writers and all the people involved. Everyone had really taste and, yeah, everyone was just very collaborative, no egos, which is always the goal to make anything good. It just has to be everyone’s ideas and not be precious about it.
What I’ve really noticed about this show, it’s a very unique representation of young people. It mocks millennials, but I think it also portrays them in a very unique and interesting light that we haven’t seen before, so you could you speak to that?
John: Yeah. What I think is so interesting about it is millennials are, me included, we are often made fun of for kind of constantly being on our phones and being this kind of pampered social media age. I’m not making much sense, but what’s so fun about the show is seeing that kind of person thrust into a very high stake situation, so they are suddenly dealing with truly life or death stakes and it’s hilarious in a screwball way, but it also is really revealing and it makes them all very vulnerable because they can’t hide behind snark anymore. They have to suddenly deal with very real things right in front of them so it’s a very, very smart device to show what’s behind these kind of effective people.
Something we’ve actually just been discussing a lot with the rest of the cast is the fact that comedy right now in this current climate is so valuable and I think that people might look back on TV comedies in years to come as defining different generations. I was wondering if you could expand on that.
Meredith: Yeah. This show really captures a very specific New York/Brooklyn experience. It’s sort of a new take on the classic millennial story. I think you’re right about television shows, but the thing that I love about this is that it still has an indie sensibility. It was made as an indie television show that then got bought by TBS, so the true vision that our show runners and our creators had, TBS actually gave that as an avenue to exist. I think we made something really special and I’m excited for people to see it.
I agree completely. How would you say from your perspective that this project is different just for you in terms of your creative voice than anything else out there?
Meredith: There’s truly no ego involved, which in Hollywood that’s so rare. Our cast and our creators, there’s just the whole spirit of “be creative” because I think to be able to be funny and feel confident being funny you have to feel open and when the creators are like “Yeah. Throw us lines”, it’s a very rare experience that I don’t take for granted.
They trust your input.
Meredith: I think they feel very much like “We hired these people for a reason. Let’s let them do what they want.” I’m sure everybody’s sort of echoing the same thing, but I feel so truly grateful. I think people will feel that.
Even though this is a show that is a comedy, it’s light. I think satire on TV right now. What’s going on Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah and John Oliver. I think comedians, not just on-air hosts, but writers and actors in comedy, I think there’s a responsibility there. Can you speak to that?
Brandon: I think there’s a responsibility to all artists and all activists that people who truly believe that there should be a change that happens right now. One show that I really, really am just head over heals for is Atlanta and if you watch the latest episode it really speaks about what’s going on right now, but I’ve always found through just researching history is that it’s these moments in time where artists have to take that stance and they have to speak up for the times and bring a light to what’s happening and what’s going on and what’s happening right now. I fully pledge to take that responsibility because my grandmother clearly passed on the baton to me and to everyone else. I think it’s our time to speak up as millennials and say “No, we’re gonna fight for this. We’re gonna fight for our country. We’re gonna fight for our rights and we’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay.”
I didn’t think we’d get this deep.
Brandon: No, we should because, and I say that in all truthfulness because it’s scary to a lot of people. I have to say being African American it’s, “All right. We’ve been through this sh*t before. You guys are okay. You just get a job”, but I think for the most part it’s an opportunity where everyone has been able to come together in a collective and acceptance of like “Okay. We are in trouble. There is something that’s happening.” That’s something that we should be awakened to.