What Makes Barry Tick?
By Eleanor Laurence
Not surprisingly, a show about a hitman striving to make it big as an actor will foster close friendships on set. As the cast of Barry and co-creators (and executive producers) Bill Hader and Alec Berg gathered to celebrate the series premiere in Los Angeles, the flow down the carpet paused for hugs each time a familiar face appeared. The cast’s enthusiasm was infectious, but everyone had a different take on why Barry is special.
Here’s what they had to say.
Bill Hader, co-creator and main character “Barry”
On developing the character “Barry” vs. developing characters for sketch comedy: “With a sketch, it’s just a name. Barry needed to be a fleshed-out character. Also, he has an arc over a full series, so we want him to start out very quiet and then build over time. With Barry, it never feels like we’re trying to wedge in a joke for a joke’s sake. The situation lends itself.”
Alec Berg, co-creator
What makes Barry a standout character? “It comes down to his humanity: Do you give a s**t about this guy? Are you frightened when he’s in danger? And do you want him to get what he wants? Are you rooting for him? And then you can just put funny stuff on top of it.”
Henry Winkler, volatile acting teacher “Gene Cousineau”
What makes Barry tick? “First of all, great writing. Second of all, great casting. Alec and Bill together make a bubble of genius.”
Anthony Carrigan, the lovable villain “NoHo Hank”
Is this show a funny drama or a dark comedy? “Honestly, there are so many different elements to it. It balances the light and dark. It’s so comedic and then shifts in an instant, at the drop of a dime.”
Sarah Goldberg, star student actor “Sally”
Why is this series unique? “I think it comes out of dark human truths. The show is very subtle and it walks this fine balance between something you’re not sure you should laugh at or cry about. Bill and Alec do this lovely tap dance. It’s not a razzle dazzle kind of humor. Their dialogue is so airtight and rhythmic, so that made the comedy really easy to play.”
D’Arcy Carden, acting student “Nathalie”
What should people know before watching? “It’s not the goofy Bill that you’re used to seeing. Barry is grounded in a painful and dark reality that, to me, is the funniest thing.”
Barry premieres on March 25 at 10:30 pm.