This season on The Heart, She Holler, things are getting serious. Like, the dissection of racism and religious fanaticism levels of serious. Could anything be more timely, all things considered? The Adult Swim series about a smalltown of maniacal inbreds is not for everyone… or the faint of heart, or people that don’t understand substance over style. Buuuuuut that’s exactly what two of the show’s stars, Amy Sedaris and Scott Adsit, love so much about it.
We were lucky enough to catch the first two episodes — which premieres tonight (December 2nd) at midnight — and talk to the duo about The Comening, their characters, working on a show as nutty as this, and what it’s like to sloppily kiss a just-birthed glowworm for the sake of storytelling.
Nerdist: One of my favorite descriptions I’ve read of the show called it “a surrealist David Lynch redneck soap opera nightmare.”
Amy: That’s good. I think that’s a great way to describe it.
Scott: We always have a hard time trying to figure out how to describe it to the uninitiated, that’s not a bad way to do it.
Nerdist: Do you think the show’s heightened, surrealist grotesqueness hinders the show or helps it?
Scott: Well, there’s always a central theme and point of view going on that people might dismiss, but everything in the show has a purpose beyond just being weird. The weird is sort of the method for the message.
Nerdist: When you talk to people about the show, do people often miss that?
Scott: I think only smart people stay with the show, because they see the theme in the middle of it and that’s what keeps them coming back — because it’s beyond just the grotesque. People probably do miss the point but then they go away.
Nerdist: I just rewatched the finale — are we going to be operating in a world wherein we all live inside Meemaw’s vagina now? Is that what’s happening?
Amy: [laughter] That was fun. This season is different than last season, it doesn’t pick up from there.
Scott: We are in a new reality, but it doesn’t follow — it’s our roommate comedy now. It’s back to being The Heart, She Holler with one cast change and even more bizarre situations.
Indeed, this season of The Heart, She Holler is different from last — but perhaps in the best ways. The ingrained societal fear of black people (and white men’s feelings of inadequacy in general) play out against the backdrop of religious fervor with hilariously effective, well, affect. With “the comening” a-brewin’, forcing everyone to pick a side and do their part to take it down or bring it to life, the people of the Holler are sure to make some big life choices and changes. Which is, perhaps, what made it easier for Adsit to take over the role of Sheriff from Joseph Sikora.
Nerdist: Scott, you [and Amy] have had similar trajectories in terms of getting on the show and taking over for other people. I’m curious to know what your experience was coming into the madness.
Scott: Well I was a fan before. I struggled with [the show] at first, but then fell in love. So when they called I think I said yes before they finished asking the question. I didn’t try to imitate Joe at all but I did take the things that he created and that defined who the character is and played that so that those markers would be there while also playing it the way I played it. Amy actually spoke to Kristen [Schaal, who originally played Hurtshe’ about her character.
Amy: Yeah. She gave me a good tip about my character just wanting to take over the Holler and that it was in her blood. [To differentiate from Schaal], I asked if I could have an expensive set of teeth made, and we kinda designed the teeth. They’re kind of hard to talk with because they’re really big and bucky. I wanted really, really tiny teeth so like, you’re all gums and teeth almost like burnt popcorn, you know? So the teeth were hard for me to work with at first because it’s hard for me to enunciate and that automatically made it impossible for me to do what Kristen did. But I can’t do what she does anyway.
Nerdist: Well that’s the thing that’s so great about a premise like this; it’s outrageous and fun, so the actors and comedians end up really able to lean into it and do all this crazy, outlandish, bizarre stuff. Which is saying something for someone like Patton Oswalt.
Amy: Patton, my god, he’s a genius and I never use that word, but I think he really is — I think he’s artistic slash genius. And I were just talking about Meemaw [Judith Roberts from Eraserhead and Orange is the New Black, just to name a few] before doing those interviews, and I feel so lucky. I want Adult Swim to have its own awards show.
Scott: The crew gave Amy and I the Tonguetwister Award.
Nerdist: This season, The Comening deals a lot with white people’s racism and the religion that fuels it, but done in a way that only The Heart, She Holler can. Did you ever ask the creators how they come up with this stuff?
Amy: I was just curious if they were high when they wrote it, if they were drinkers, and they said they don’t do anything. And I thought that was interesting.
Nerdist: There’s clearly a lot of care that goes into the writing and everything abut the show; I can’t imagine a couple of perma-drunks being able to accomplish all that. [Laughs]
Amy: At one point I give birth to this larvae, this glowworm and it was covered in glycerine and all I was thinking in the moment was “I’ve got to kiss this thing, I’ve got to full-force kiss this” all because of the work and effort put into this one scene. There was no way I wasn’t going to do it.
Scott: And let me tell you I saw it the other night and it is revolting. And beautiful. It’s really wonderful to see.
The Heart, She Holler premieres December 1st at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT with new episodes every weekday through Wednesday, December 10th on Adult Swim.
Are you a fan? Let’s discuss the madness in the comments!