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Questions for Danny McBride

The saga of Kenny Powers seems to have completed its arc. Is this it for Kenny?

When Jody [Hill, producer] and I started this show, we were already preparing to be shut down. We didn't know if people would like the show, if they'd be offended by it, or if it'd catch on. Every season that we've made, we've tried to have it stand on its own, but also be a piece of the larger puzzle. Whether there's more to tell about Kenny? Well, the show is really a character piece, so as long as he's alive there are a lot of stories you could tell. Creatively, we feel really happy with what we've done. Maybe Kenny is something we'll come back to someday.

You said you weren't sure how Kenny would be received. Were you surprised by the response to Kenny's character?

We definitely are and we're really grateful for it. With this show, we were making something that we felt was personally funny to us. We knew with the nature of the vulgarity, we'd lose some people, but we hoped it would catch on with people who could take a joke. It was nice to see that our sense of humor is aligned with others as well.

Why does Kenny decide to fake his own death?

Kenny views himself as someone like Elvis. In his mind, he's so big that the only way he could live a normal life is if "he" weren't alive anymore. Faking his own death plays into his own deluded self-image about how great his celebrity is. In a symbolic way, by killing off Kenny, he's killing off his ego. Whether or not he'll be successful with that remains to be seen but it's a step in the right direction.

Kenny's "death" seemed pretty believable; were you trying to make viewers think he was dead?

We didn't want to trick the audience. It's actually in there that he gets out of the car. In one of the shots, right before the car goes off, you see a sign that says that the road turns. If you listen when that shot begins, you can hear the car idling, the car door slam, and then the car accelerating. We hid it in the audio, so we kind of showed what was happening, even though we didn't.

I missed that the first time. I'll have to check it out again.

The show rewards repeat viewing.

After three seasons, is Kenny a character that's easy to slip into?

It is easy. It's easy to write the show, to make the show. We understand how it all works a little bit better now. It's just something we like doing. If we did do another season, that's what it'd come down to. It's a passion project for all of us. All the people who work on the show are people we've gone to film school with and have known for 15 years now. When we get together, there's something in the spirit of it that hearkens back to when we were all 18 years old and laying our hands on video cameras for the first time.

Has your performance on the mound improved?

I think it's gotten worse. I never could throw very well, and the older I get, the lazier I get trying to get it right. There is no future for me as a closing pitcher. Maybe I'll be a DJ.

What's next for Kenny? Will he continue to play baseball?

That's what we liked about this ending. The longer you stick around with Kenny, the more he f**ks his own life up. We felt this was a nice place to take the audience out of it. He takes a step in the right direction, and what that ultimately leads to, we'll see. Jody and I do have some ideas, but that's something we're keeping to ourselves. If we do decide to come back to this, maybe we will tell the story of what happens to Kenny after he walks through that door with April.

What other jobs could he do?

Art dealer? It'll be tough for a man like Kenny to fit into our world. We saw him take a regular job in the first season as a substitute teacher and that didn't sit too well with him. It's a long road ahead for him.

This season, we saw Kenny embrace fatherhood. How would you characterize his parenting style?

Pretty sh**ty. The one thing about being a parent is the ability to be selfless: To give up the things you want and need for the benefit of someone else. It's a very basic concept that comes out in each of us when we have kids, but somehow that gene has skipped over Kenny. He's a damaged person, so his fathering techniques are damaged.

What will become of Ivan? Does he still have a shot at the majors? Or as a DJ?

He's got a future in both. He's spreading his talents in multiple directions. He's got that Russian Deadmau5 look that could work at a club in Vegas.

Is there a reason why Stevie has Freddy Krueger gloves as his weapon of choice?

Honestly, if you're going to fight a street gang, why bring a knife when you can bring a handful of knives? Part of it is the way Stevie looks with no hair and no eyebrows; we just wanted to see what he'd be like with Freddy Krueger gloves on.

In the morning papers after his death, what does Kenny's obituary say?

Fast, cheap and out of control.

Kenny Powers

Chapter 21

Season 3

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