‘LAST MAN’ AND HIS FIRST LADY TELL ALL

Los Angeles Times - - THE ENVELOPE - By Glenn Whipp glenn.whipp@la­times.com

Fox’s bit­ter­sweet com­edy “The Last Man on Earth” added new char­ac­ters as its de­but sea­son pro­gressed, but the show’s core re­mained its apoc­a­lyp­tic Adam and Eve: Phil (Will Forte) and Carol (Kristen Schaal). Ini­tially, they had no choice but to be to­gether. By the fi­nale, they re­al­ized that they might be made for each other. We talked to Forte and Schaal about their comedic jour­ney. You two met on “Flight of the Con­chords,” right?

Schaal: I was sit­ting on a curb be­tween scenes be­cause the bud­get for that first sea­son was so low there was no place to go. So Will and I met and just sat on the street talk­ing. Flash for­ward a few years, Will, and you’re think­ing of a “Kristen Schaal type” for the role of Carol ...

Forte: That was in the pitch. And we thought, “Why not go to Kristen Schaal and see if she wants to do it?”

Schaal: Be­cause there’s not an­other one of me. And if there is, God help her. I want to give her a hug.

Forte: We had a fa­mil­iar­ity as friends and co-work­ers ...

Schaal: We’ve had sex. (Pause.) Sex with each other. (Pause) On the show. Forte: She’s mar­ried, so ...

Schaal: So don’t get any ideas, Glenn! Hey, I’m mar­ried too. Forte: Don’t rub it in guys!

Schaal: It’s nice. You should try it. Forte: I will. Fine. (Long pause) I’m just not say­ing when. Since you brought up the sub­ject, Will, your char­ac­ter on the show, the show you cre­ated, seems to have real is­sues with com­mit­ment.

Forte: As a 44-year-old man who’s still sin­gle, I will ad­mit to some eerie similarities to my own per­sonal life. Phil’s forced to marry Carol, and, yes, when you’re pushed into it, you fight it if you have a nat­u­ral lean­ing to­ward a fear of com­mit­ment.

Schaal: It feels like a weird kind of death sen­tence. The fi­nal­ity of it. This is who you get. You weren’t afraid to have Phil push­ing back and mak­ing him mean some­times. Were you ever afraid of los­ing your au­di­ence?

Schaal: Forte’s not go­ing to make any­thing that’s not bold and un­usual and maybe even alien­at­ing. He’s an artist. And that’s what an artist does: They shoot them­selves with a shot­gun in the stom­ach be­cause no one’s buy­ing their paint­ings, and then af­ter it’s over it’s, “Holy ... that was what we needed!”

Forte: Or it could just be that I for­got that au­di­ences don’t nec­es­sar­ily like it when you take some­one you’ve set up as lik­able and change them so you can’t root for them any­more.

Schaal: But it was al­ways about shift­ing al­le­giances. When Carol first ap­peared, ev­ery­one’s like, “Carol’s an­noy­ing!” And then it turned into: “I don’t know how I feel about Phil.” To me, that’s in­ter­est­ing. You guys keep talk­ing. I have to go to the bath­room. Did you ever feel limited by broad­cast net­work con­straints?

Forte: There are very rigid stan­dards-and-prac­tices notes. We had to scale back this one sex scene, and then we went on the CBS day­time show and they showed an ex­tended ver­sion of the scene we weren’t able to show on prime time. Now, I like clean stuff. But I like to do some dirty stuff some­times too.

Schaal: Dirty stuff? What did I miss? That was an in­sanely quick trip to the bath­room.

Schaal: I’m fast! Es­pe­cially for a girl! Forte: Did you wash your hands?

Schaal: Of course I did! Now what were you talk­ing about?

Forte: The sex scene that we had to al­ter. There is such de­light in her sex scenes, but there is one lit­tle el­e­ment I wish I could have put in, this crazy fi­nal or­gasm sound.

Schaal: I made a great sound! It doesn’t even sound like an or­gasm. That’s the thing. It’s this weird noise, like an an­i­mal. Hughueee­hho!

Forte: It might have been in­spired by my beard.

Schaal: Maybe! I didn’t pull the fur aside for the kiss. And I re­gret that. I would have liked to get some lips.

Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

FOX’S “THE LAST MAN ON EARTH” stars Kristen Schaal and Will Forte.

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