Must Read TV: Idiotsitter

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Idiotsitter is a new comedy from the minds of Jillian Bell and Charlotte Newhouse. The Comedy Central show started out as a web series in 2014 but recently became a program on the Comedy Central cable channel. Idiotsitter centers on bad child Gene (Bell) who is put under house arrest in her family’s mansion—Billie (Newhouse) is then tasked with being her sitter.

I spoke with Jillian Bell & Charlotte Newhouse about Idiotsitter.

You both created the show and write for it. What is your creative relationship like? Do you guys divide the writing responsibilities and tasks between the two of you?

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Charlotte Newhouse: We write together. The only time we split is if we are under time constraints and we will divvy the responsibilities up. We generally write, create and think of everything together. When we work together it’s like a different person with a little monster brain.

Do each of your individual strengths, and weaknesses, compliment each other? Is one of you weaker in an area that the other is stronger in—and vice versa?

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Jillian Bell: I think we are both pretty strong. I wouldn’t say one of us has something that the other doesn’t. Like Charlotte said, we share a weird brain together.

I will give Charlotte a compliment however…she is much better at structure than I am. She is good at keeping a story going and making sure we aren’t doing something just to be silly. She makes sure there is a heart in the story. I am just around because I am really good looking.

CN: She is breathtaking.

When you two do have the rare disagreement—how do you handle it?

CN: We are both pretty passionate. One of us can usually convince the other to get on the same page.

JB: It never gets heated. Passionate is definitely the right word. I have never thought that Charlotte is wrong. We usually talk it out and it isn’t about winning—it’s just ‘okay, this is the way we are going now.’

Idiotsitter started as a web series and is now a cable series on Comedy Central. How did that big move affect the show for you two? Did it change anything?

JB: The number one thing that came up was everyone was like, ‘how are you going to make this 22 minutes?’ That seemed easy to us. The first webisode was written as a pilot. We always saw it as a TV show and the web series was designed to show everyone the world we could create.

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You both have a lot of experience with improv—do you feel like that style of comedy has become more prevalent in recent years or are we just hearing about it more today than we did 10-15 years ago?

JB: I think it has always been around to an extent—but now that’s all comedy is really.

CN: Judd Apatow was one of the first noticeable people that let people run with it in his films. That helped people to accept it more. There are a lot more people now who take improv classes. If you said you were taking improv classes 10 years ago people would be like, ‘what are you talking about?’ Now, everyone knows what it means and what it is. There was a wave of a lot of directors and comedians that made this style more acceptable.

A lot of people probably think improv is just about making up funny things to say on the spot or it’s about not memorizing lines. It is obviously far more nuanced than that—can you talk a little bit about some of the nuances of improv that people may not think about?

CN: When you watch people who know each other really well and they are also really good with improv—you can really see the skill of it when it’s like that. That’s where the skill is—it’s not about throwing out a random line or joke.

JB: I also don’t think its about not wanting to memorize lines. Sometimes it is easier to put it into your own words—it’s really useful right now. It’s about listening more so than saying, ‘check out this one liner.’

What are you hoping fans take from Idiotsitter? Is it just about the laughs for you guys?

 JB: We just hope people like it.

CN: I want them to enjoy us as people. Please watch our show and please don’t hate it.

Idiotsitter airs Thursdays on Comedy Central.

 

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