Comedian Patti Harrison on Making Her Big Screen Debut and Subverting Rom-Com Cliches -

Comedian Patti Harrison on Making Her Big Screen Debut and Subverting Rom-Com Cliches

 Comedian Patti Harrison on Making Her Big Screen Debut and Subverting Rom-Com Cliches

I loved the barista scenes with Julio Torres. How was it working with him again?

Um, he’s fine. I didn’t like his performance. He was on time, and he remembered his lines. But then he would try and improvise and everything was so unfunny and bad. And then he smelled like there was unwiped poop in his butt. And I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but he is one of the ugliest people I’ve ever seen in person. I tried to tell him in a really light way. I was like, “Hey, don’t get offended. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m only saying this because I care. You’re the ugliest person I’ve ever met.” And he got really, really upset, like, didn’t want to shoot, wouldn’t come out of his trailer. And it just held up production for so long. It sucked that he would do something so selfish. I like that I’m spending most of my time saying this stuff. And I feel like you’re probably going to be able to run maybe one line of what I say when I’m like, “Oh, no, but he was actually nice.”

No, no, I want to include the whole spiel.

He is a very close friend and it was so fun. At that point, most of my scenes had been with Ed, who I didn’t know very well, so I was pretty nervous around him still. Which I think worked for the movie, we mostly shot chronologically as the characters got to know each other. I met Julio pretty early on in my time in New York. And same with Jo Firestone and Greta Titelman. And so it was just very cool to have them there, it felt very surreal.

How did this role compare to characters you’ve played in sketches or in TV series? Did it feel like a level up in your acting?

Yeah, it was way more work than I’d been used to. Even my part in Shrill. I would only shoot in Portland, like, on average, two days a week. Meanwhile, Aidy Bryant is literally there every day. She’s an EP on the show, she’s writing on the show, she’s just completely like, up 24/7 awake. It was incredible to see how much she worked. She’s a powerhouse. She was the one who I would think of when I was getting tired shooting. ”Well, Aidy would do that.”

It was way more dialogue than I’m used to memorizing. Coming out of Shrill, depending on who’s directing, they’ll let you ad lib sometimes, you can pitch ideas if you have them. And Nicole allowed us to do that in certain places, too. But a lot of the dramatic dialogue, the more grounded stuff, we were very script attentive.

The two main characters bond while watching Friends, and there’s a scene where they discuss intergenerational dating and Woody Allen. Do you have your own thoughts on those?

I agree 100% with what the character says about Woody Allen in the movie. That scene in the script is a huge part of why I agreed to do the movie. That was a turning point in the script where I was like, oh, cool, Nicole is addressing specific things about the genre that people expect the movie to fall within. It was just so smart. And I mean,I watched all of Friends in college. I liked it growing up, and it’s a very nostalgic show for me. Watching it now, there’s so much problematic fucked up unrealistic shit in it and it’s just like, the most violently white show on earth, but also Lisa Kudrow was such an influential performer to me. And I feel like that character should have had her own show. Like the way she played it was just so unlike anything else and so real. I’m definitely more of a fan of Friends than I am of Woody Allen. I would say that I’m not a fan at all of Woody Allen’s. [laughs] But I hope he still casts me in all his movies. I hope he doesn’t read this and casts me in every movie.

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