Julie Klausner Talks 'Difficult People'

Julie Klausner doesn’t set out to hit a specific number of jokes on each script page of her pop culture-obsessed comedy “Difficult People,” but the series has maintained the funny throughout its second season by understanding exactly what makes the show work.

“You can always tell when you need a joke, at least for our show,” Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Klausner told Access Hollywood. “We have a very specific rhythm. … We’re just constantly punching it up. It’s a very, very joke-dense show, in which I take a lot of pride.”

In Season 2, Klausner, who plays struggling comedian and TV recapper Julie, and Billy Eichner’s fellow struggling comedian/waiter Billy, have been joined by a host of guest stars. Nathan Lane, Method Man, PBS legend Ken Burns, Kate Pierson of The B-52’s, Lin-Manuel Miranda, “The Real Housewives of New York City’s” Countess LuAnn and Tina Fey have all played fictional versions of themselves. 

“We’re very lucky in that even though we got great guests in our first season and people hadn’t even seen the show, I think when it comes to the second season, we’re very lucky to have this really nice sort of [self-reflecting] magneticism of cool people like the show, want to do the show, are fans of the show, know that there’s stuff that we could write for them that’s really funny. And, most of the time Billy and I do the reaching out, we have a great casting director. In the case of a couple of instances we asked Amy [Poehler, an executive producer on the show] to send an email. We asked her to ask Tina, but that was something that we’d written for Tina anyway,” Klausner said, when asked about how the guest stars are recruited. “It takes a village, but we’re very lucky to have the kind of show that has its own sort of built-in cultish fans and so many of them are just such incredibly talented people that it’s so cool that they want to work with us.”

In Tuesday’s Season 2 finale, Julianne Moore joins the show for a guest spot, playing a development executive interested in optioning one of Julie’s essays. 

“Julianne and I were friends on Twitter, and then we started hanging out and she was [a fan] of Billy and so, she did his show [‘Billy on the Street’], but I think maybe we had the redhead connection in common. … She likes other redheads, and she was a fan of my work and was like, ‘Write me a part,’ and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ And so, she did the show and it was kind of crazy,” Klausner told Access Hollywood.

“She’s so great that we wanted to give her a character to play that was like, kind of mean and fun and had teeth and she made what she did out of it and she’s so funny in it and just to be this like fake girls’ girl, there’s something sort of chilling about it,” she added.

A scene from the Season 2 finale of Hulu's 'Difficult People'

A scene from the Season 2 finale of Hulu’s ‘Difficult People’ (Hulu)

Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Hulu, and those who haven’t seen the show since the beginning will find that the comedic moments from the early episodes are still fresh, something Access asked Klausner about.

“The curation of the celebrities that we choose to make jokes about is very, very important if only because between the internet and every other TV show, and everybody doing everything, everyone’s got a pop culture take on something, and I’m just sick of hearing jokes about Kim Kardashian. … At a certain point you’re like, ‘I don’t have a point of view about this celebrity, I’m sick of hearing about the celebrity, therefore, what’s the point of me making a joke about it?'” Klausner said. “The stuff that Billy and I always had in common, when I loved his man on the street videos is we both have this delight for the — it’s like if you choose the right celebrity, it can seem like a non-sequitur in like a very glorious way.” 

The Season 2 finale of “Difficult People” is available on Hulu now.

Jolie Lash