Yvonne Orji Shares Why She “Gets” Molly

by Ashley Morton

  • What excited you about working on Insecure?

  • When I read the script, I immediately thought, “I need to be this character.” Molly’s fun, and if you’ve ever been in single in L.A., you know her pain. I get this girl -- I’ve probably been this girl to a certain extent. As I was reading it, I was already acting Molly out. I was like, “I can say it like this, or I can bring my Yvonne-isms to this,” but I hadn’t even auditioned yet! Issa’s voice has always been very crystal clear, and I wanted to help bring her vision to life.

  • You have a comedy and stand-up background but Molly is the “straight man” of the show -- what was that like?

  • That was my biggest challenge. Because in comedy you use everything -- I have really expressive eyes, I have a really expressive mouth area; I talk with my hands excessively. On stage, all of those things help you get the joke, land the punch line, and get the laugh you’re looking for. But on TV they can read super big. The directors or Prentice [Penny, the showrunner] would say, “Do a little less, even less” and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything.

    It really sunk in for me when I watched the pilot. When Molly realizes Issa’s rapping about her and Jared leaves, the camera zooms in, and I have a really sad look on my face. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I did it!”

  • What's been surprising about the fan response to the series?

  • There seems to be a lot of women who don’t like what Tasha represents. But Tasha is like Issa’s Daniel -- other than that Daniel has a long history with Issa. Tasha’s character is supportive and encouraging of Lawrence. She knows that he was collecting unemployment and she’s still like, “You know what? I would still like to date this guy.” If Molly was the bank teller, she wouldn’t have been checking for Lawrence. And technically, if Issa was doing her job, Tasha wouldn’t even have gotten an ‘in.’ Lawrence wouldn’t need to react to Tasha reaffirming him because he would have been getting that at home.

  • Why does Molly go see Jared after the argument?

  • Molly’s a fixer: "OK, I’m not meeting good guys, I need to up the level of guys I meet. I need to get on this app," or "I need to get a vajacial.” With this, she’s like, “I don’t think I’m the problem, but if I am, let me try to salvage this.” But of course, she hasn’t processed what exactly the problem is, so she’s spitting out words that aren’t helping. I think when she walks away she realizes, “I’m a mess,” and that is so uncharacteristic of her. This is the first time she doesn’t know how to fix it, and that’s a scary thing for someone who’s so used to being in control.

    For more from Insecure, read HBO’s interview with Langston Kerman, the actor behind Jared.