The acerbic Hulu comedy Difficult People begins streaming episodes of its second season on Tuesday (12 July) and cynical pals Julie and Billy are back and hating everyone but each other.
The two struggling and jaded New York comedians are played by Julie Klausner who created the show and Billy Eichner who gained fame with his Billy on the Street show.
Klausner tells Gay Star News the dynamic between the two stems partly from their real-life friendship.
‘I had written for Billy for years on Billy on the Street and we really got to know each other through that,’ she says. ‘We were both sort of fans of each other – mutual fans.
‘Whenever Billy laughs at something I say, it feels way better than when someone else laughs. I take pride in being able to make him laugh and be able to write in his voice. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that he trusts me with the character that I gave him who is different from who he is.
‘We speak the same language – we speak this language of pop culture, we speak this language of us versus them. It’s a real television romance in that way. I think friendship and television have a real beautiful history. People like to see friends on TV not fighting and really loyal and out for each other.’
As in real life, the show portrays the unique dynamics of a close friendship between a gay man and a straight woman.
‘I think gay men are able to appreciate what’s funny about their female friends in a way that no one else can,’ Klausner says. ‘I think that they authentically validate funny women in particular. I’ve had a never-ending love affair with my two gay best friends – some of which I cull for material on the show.’
Having real-life gay best friends made Klausner especially mindful of not slipping into gay stereotypes when it came to writing the Billy character.
‘The important thing for this show is that we made sure that Billy is autonomous and sexual and that he wasn’t the equivalent of a small dog in a purse for my character,’ she says. ‘And at no point does he make me over – at no point is he overly-invested in things that gay men usually are not.
Of the Julie and Billy characters she sums it up this way: ‘The heart of the matter is that the two of us love each other and everyone else can go to hell.’
Tomorrow: Gay Star News talks to Billy Eichner about season 2 of the show.
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