Lisa Joyce Is Eager to Chat About Overeager Frieda

by Ashley Morton

  • What drew you to the role of Frieda?

  • My sister works in education and I have friends who work in the nonprofit world, so I had a little window into that culture through them and the characters they would tell me about. I thought I had an understanding of who Frieda might be, and what I could do with her.

  • Is it challenging to keep her realistic amidst the comedy?

  • The writers were wonderfully generous with her; she’s not just this dumb, white, clown saying offensive things left and right. They gave her a little more complexity, and show her growing and understanding new things. For me the comedy comes out of grounding it in trying to make friends and work well with Issa’s character, and connect with the kids. Those are very real things we all go through -- trying to connect with people we might not have a lot in common with but really admire or like. So she’s someone we can relate to and doesn’t feel like a one-dimensional joke.

  • Is working at We Got Y’all Frieda’s ideal job?

  • She really does care about kids, and wants to make the world a better place, so I think right now this is exactly where she wants to be. But she’s so goofy: I could see her running a magic shop in the Catskills or something in 30 years.

  • Do you have a favorite moment from the season?

  • The fantasy Daniel in the mirror scene is definitely a highlight for me. It’s written, shot and played so well, it cracks me up.

  • Have you ever talked to yourself in the mirror?

  • For sure. It’s not something I would ever want someone to walk in on, and I love in the show when Molly walks in. Even as an actor just auditioning you have to prove yourself, so there is an element of privately building yourself up before you go out into the world, little pep talks.

  • What do you think the show offers women in their late 20s?

  • Each character is going through their own version of balancing love and career. It’s not even one or the other, both are always a challenge, and at that age you’re confronting the idea of what you thought success was in both arenas. It’s so nice to see it with women who aren’t perfect and flawless. So many shows now are more of the fantasy -- FBI agents or high-powered doctors or something -- and that’s cool, but I don’t know many people running around like that. I actually relate to Lawrence; I understand having a degree and being over qualified but having to get a job just to make ends meet.

    And then with love, there’s this sense that everyone around you knows what track they’re on, or understands how to date and be in relationship. In your late 20s you think, “I need to know how to be an adult.” And it doesn’t really work that way. When you get into your 30s, you realize everyone’s kind of making it up as they go along. You let go of the things you were trying to be that you’re really not.