Eric Petersen & Mary Hollis Interview on the Series ‘Kevin Can F**k Himself’

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Stills from the show Kevin Can F**k Himself

Kevin Can F**k Himself stars Annie Murphy as Allison McRoberts, Mary Hollis Inboden as Patty O’Connor and Eric Petersen as Kevin McRoberts.

Mary Hollis has previously appeared in the series American Princess and as one of the leads in The Real O’Neals. She had recurring roles in The Righteous Gemstones, The Marriage Story, Shrill, Good Girls, The Act, Mom, Superstore and many more.

Eric Petersen has worked in Television and Broadway stage. He appeared in Kristie as a series regular and had guest appearances in The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, NCIS, CSI and also starred in the Coen Brothers’ film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Eric has performed in 4 Broadway shows which include School of Rock, Shrek:  the musical, Escape to Margaritaville and Peter & The Starcatcher.

Hey, Mary. Hey, Eric. So how are you guys doing today?

Eric Petersen: Great.

Mary Hollis: Oh, great. I’m so glad to see this guy again. We haven’t seen each other in a couple months, so this is a real treat.

Eric Petersen: Happy to meet each other and talking about show.

Q. Are you guys talking about me?!

Eric Petersen – (Laughs) We are talking about you too.

Mary Hollis: (Laughs) Yes, you too Ayush.

So I’m Ayush Jain from the movie culture. And I want to say congratulation to you guys for the show as it airs this Sunday.

Eric Petersen: Thank you.

Q. And I will go straight to the questions now. So could you tell us a little bit about the show and the characters that you play?

Mary Hollis: I think Kevin Can F**k Himself is about a sitcom wife you grew up thinking you knew and the life she designs outside the one that she shares with her numb nut husband, Kevin, I play Patty. Um, I am also a pretty stereotypical second female in a sitcom. I’m the neighbour. And I think what Kevin Can F**k Himself explores is also Patty’s secret life. So you’ve got a show that is set partially within Kevin’s universe, and then partially in the real world where the women have to suffer the consequences of their own actions and also the men that they’re constantly trying to keep alive.

Eric Petersen: That’s good. I also like that you referred to me as a numb nut. (laughs)

Mary Hollis: Not referring you as a numb nut Eric, I referred to Kevin as a numb nut. (laughs)

Eric Petersen: The character of Kevin is a numb nut, but I like that. (both laughing)

Q. Kevin is like the centre of attention in the show. But this show focuses more on Alison, the wife. That’s what the summary is, right?

Eric Petersen: Yes, definitely. Yeah, yeah. So I play the aforementioned Kevin, and Kevin McRoberts is a classic Boston guy who is a stereotypical sitcom schlubby husband, with the hot wife, who is getting into high jinks all the time, and is sort of completely self centered and selfish in his wants, desires and actions. And hopefully, audiences will laugh a lot at the multi cam stuff, but also be sort of enlightened and have some real perspective on what the jokes, what the consequences of some jokes are, what the consequences of certain actions are. So it’s a really fun character, because you get to sort of lean into the comedy of it, but then also be highlighting the bad behaviour that we’ve seen on television shows in from sitcom husbands for years.

Mary Hollis: And whose expense you know, at whose expensive are the jokes.

Q. Okay, so Eric, this question is for you. You have worked in Broadway shows before. So how different is working in a TV show and in a theatre production? And what how did your work in Broadway influenced your work in this show?

Eric Petersen: Great question. Yeah, I have done a fair amount of Broadway, I’ve done four Broadway shows a lot of musical theatre, which I think informs the genre of multi cam acting a lot, because musical theatre is sort of inherently a bit broader and bigger and performative. And you sort of have to bring in that sense to multi cam acting. There’s also a real musicality to doing the sitcom stuff, because it has this sort of tempo and a feel of like, here’s the setup. And here’s the punchline. And if you fight those, it feels wrong to an audience. So, I think a lot of old school vaudevillian, almost, theatre training that I’ve had over the years and experiences definitely helped play this character. I think that’s the answer to that. (laughs)

Mary Hollis: I mean, Ayush have you seen the show? He’s a genius. He’s a multi cam genius. Not also the easiest genre to pull off.

Eric Petersen: Thank You.

Yeah, comedy is not that easy to pull off, along with the material.

Mary Hollis: It was my first foray in multi cam. And it was terrifying until I met Eric Peterson and then I was like, okay, try to do what he is doing.

Eric Petersen: What’s interesting about the multi cam stuff is it can look very casual or like, relaxed, but it’s actually kind of incredibly tense and there’s a tightness to it that if you have any extra air in there, with your lines, with your movements, everything is about like precision of movement and like precision of lines. And so it can be extremely technical, even though it hopefully feels very natural and easy to an audience.

Mary Hollis: Hey, Eric, I’ve taken the note. Okay, I got it. I’ll speed up. (laughs)

Q. Okay. So Mary, this one’s for you. You have worked in a few sitcoms over the years. And Kevin Can F**k Himself doesn’t follow that conventional route of a sitcom. And so how does your experience in this show differ from your past experiences?

Mary Hollis: That’s a great question. This is actually my first sitcom. I was fired from sitcom once after the table read because I was so bad at it. So, this is my first. This is my first traditional sitcom. I’ve done single cam comedy before. And that’s really kind of where I like got my career started was in single cam comedy, but this experience of kind of walking through the door and following Allison outside into the daylight outside of the, you know, canned light of a studio sitcom set was really, really exciting to me. And the fact that these two girls, Allison with her, you know, newfound bud Patty, who had shared space for 10 years, but never, you know, really been friends. Mostly because Patty thinks that Allison’s so pathetic for thinking and dreaming of a life bigger than the one that got, but I loved, you know, being in you know, having the challenge. And as Eric said, of the multi cam, and the pain of that, and the kind of like frantic energy that comes from that sort of like, canned laughter and you’re always building for a joke, and it’s a pay-off and it gets very, like, addictive, right, and then to kind of relax into the single cam where our scenes are, like, a little bit more. You know, it’s sometimes women talking but space to do that was so completely unique and exciting. So I was really glad that I got to do both. I got to live in both worlds.

Q. So talking about Allison, if we consider her life with Kevin, in which her life revolves around Kevin. Well, anything else outside of that is that she hangs out with Patty, and she becomes close to her. How does that chemistry work between, Mary, you and Annie?

Mary Hollis: Oh, it was instantaneous. I can tell you the hardest part about my job with Annie Murphy was trying to pretend like we weren’t friends for the first four. We were separated a lot of the time because our director, we had a couple of fabulous directors, Anna Dokoza was one, Oz Rodriguez was the other. But they were constantly trying to separate us because they found that the first take inevitably was just us, you know, best buds for life, which is our natural sort of way. We’re very, very, I think we’re very lucky in that way to have bonded so instantaneously and just we’re, she’s my best friend in in the world. So trying to walk that back was the most challenging part, but also Annie Murphy is I think, Eric could agree like, such a delight of a professional and a person. That first day on set, she went around and asked all the crew members what their names were.

She had just won her Emmy, it might be intimidating to some.

Mary Hollis: Yeah, I mean we got to witness her in this last year as she became a bonafide megastar. I mean, so we’re doing this little show called Kevin Can F**k Himself working our best trying our hardest and I think there were a lot of nerves running through all of us, because none of us wanted to be in the show that let Annie Murphy down. I really think that we’ve, we’ve pulled it off. I mean, I think we all wanted to rise to her occasion, and her as the leader and number one on set is, I think one of the greatest gifts of my life watching that so.

Eric Petersen: I agree.

Q. So the next question I want to ask is, we can see the shift in the tone of the show from the light hearted and glowy surrounding when Allison is with Kevin and Kevin’s friends, but it changes to the dark and heavy tone when she is alone or with Patty. So, it seems like the transition might be tough as an actor because they have to change their approach from light hearted to heavy tones. How did you work with that?

Eric Petersen: It’s really a question for Mary house because my character simply lives only in his world.

Yeah, the show is completely different from Eric’s perspective and completely different from Allison’s perspective.

Eric Petersen: Totally, totally.

Mary Hollis: Yeah, the show is a challenge because we get to like fully flesh out a lot of Allison’s daydreams and there’s space to do that in a single cam. We have said, as the girls are sort of the single cam aspect of the show, traditionally, the females are set up machines in a sitcom. And then Kevin Can F**k Himself, the setup machine becomes the sitcom like the setup machine is the sitcom. So everything that happens to the women on the outside is basic, it’s churning, because of the sitcom thing, it’s all of Kevin and Neil’s antics. They’re, they’re wreaking havoc and we have to, on the outside suffer the consequences of those actions in real time. Yeah, and I think that is, you know, really exciting to see us walk in the door. And we are, it’s as if nothing’s gone on outside, sort of Nothing to see here. I remember one of the biggest moments that I was like this is different was, there’s a moment where Allison and Patty and the multi cam are standing next to each other, which they’ve never done before. It was a tiny, tiny moment. But I think you know, walking in from the outside and having that sort of outside life, in seven minutes of watching Kevin Can F**k Himself, we teach the audience how to watch it. And once you know how to watch it, and who you’re watching for, you know who you’re rooting for and that’s actually Allison. So, I think, you know, I’m not sure that I’m articulating this question as best I can. But I do. It was exciting to be able to walk in between the two worlds, and also to have all the secrets from these boys.

Eric Petersen: That’s what I’m so excited for people to see, especially in the later episodes once Patty and Allison really become close, and they’re dealing with a lot more heavy stuff. In the early part of the season, when they’re in the multi cam scenes, it is they are in the background a lot and just sort of like reacting to whatever is around. But in the later half of the season, you’ll see the looks that they give each other that are very subtle, because we are trying to stay when we’re in the multi cam form. They really tried to make it as honest to multi cam as they can, so it wasn’t coming in for a tight shot of a little reaction shot between the two but if but the savvy viewer will be looking for those little you know, look that they’re sending back and forth to each other when they have a lot of secrets going on that the guys are totally unaware of.

Mary Hollis: Valerie Armstrong, our show creator did not break the mold with this one. Kevin Can F**k Himself could exist on CBS right now as a primetime sitcom.

Yeah. Other than the f**k part of it. (laughs) Alright, so guys, my time is up. Thank you very much for talking to me and I enjoyed it, I hope you guys did too.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Kevin Can F**k Himself premiers on Sunday, June 13 on AMC+ and on Sunday, June 20 at 9:00ET/PT on AMC.

Kevin Can F**k Himself takes a unique approach and takes the attention away from the traditional male protagonist and male dominated viewpoint and takes a look into the lives of their wives and what they go through.