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Interview with Nina Conti

050813-bea-chadwick

HBO:

At the end of episode 106, we learn that Bea's lost her job at the bank and is tagging along with Pete and coming to America. What does she think she'll find there?

Conti:

She's looking for an escape from the drudgery of things as they are in England. People have a very romantic view of what things are like in California and that everything's golden there, so maybe she's searching for gold [laughs].

HBO:

Is Monkey to blame for her losing her job? Are there others he's cost her in the past?

Conti:

He certainly had some part in it.

As for jobs he's lost her, the call center, with him chipping in and undermining the product she was trying to sell. We know how badly he did auditioning for the kid's party and his performance at the Greek wedding. I'm not sure what on earth Bea would be suited for. I say that like it's so different for me -- Bea needs to get a part in a Christopher Guest series -- that's her only hope [laughs].

HBO:

What are Bea's initial thoughts on Al and Kitty?

Conti:

She thinks they're really clean, and they smell nice.

HBO:

Monkey makes a big revelation in this episode, regarding Bea's intimate past with Pete...

Conti:

That was a moment of Monkey's improv, ratting Bea out. It's funny to improvise with the monkey on your hand because it's doubly hard to plan for what two characters are going to say, and I had originally planned to say I still liked Pete, but it came out of Monkey's mouth first. It was so bizarre.

I think there's something irritating about Pete that she finds kind of carnal [laughs]. You don't know whether to hit him or to get into bed with him.

HBO:

Does he make Bea's dating life difficult?

Conti:

Pete might have felt that Monkey sabotaged the night that they spent together. He was very unkind about Pete's manhood.

HBO:

Can you elaborate on what it's like to improvise for two characters instead of one?

Conti:

On some takes, I'd go one way and Monkey'd go another, but then we'd get the chance to do it again and I'd think, "Oh thank god" because that was the wrong way around. It's flummoxing. It's an extraordinary way to work, to just start rolling without a plan, and goodness knows what comes out. I find that Monkey's so like Tourette's. I find it quite exhilarating.

The danger is that I enjoy doing Monkey so much that I wind up not speaking at all!

HBO:

It must be very liberating to work that way.

Conti:

It is. The way Monkey talks to the audience when I'm working on live stuff -- it makes for a thoroughly interesting time for me, trying to apologize for the things he says which I've obviously thought of but don't really want to stand by. But, if you say appalling things through a puppet, and get applauded for it, then there's no filter.

HBO:

Do you see a little bit of Bea in yourself?

Conti:

Oh yeah, Bea is who I'd be, if it wasn't an act. If I had to live my art 24 hours, that's who I'd become, I imagine. The yin-yang, good-cop-bad-cop all in one person.

07: Indians

Season 1

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