Danny McBride stars in Eastbound & Down, but co-creator Jody Hill, McBride’s old film school buddy, is equally responsible for the hilarity. Hill does everything but craft services on the HBO show—writing, directing and/or exec-producing all 13 episodes. (He also co-wrote and directed McBride’s breakout film, The Foot Fist Way, and Observe and Report.) So, on the day the second season of Eastbound drops on DVD and Blu-ray, this Man of the Moment shares his advice on pushing the envelope, ad-libbing and fighting with your hair.
MADE MAN: What item do you never leave home without, and why?
JODY HILL: Sunglasses. Without them, I sneeze when I look at the sun.
MM: What’s your drink of choice after a tough day at work?
JH: Uh, I don’t know. Sweet tea, maybe.
MM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about women?
JH: I don’t have any advice. I usually come on the way to pick them up.
MM: What can Eastbound & Down teach guys about being better men?
JH: Worry about your hair a lot.
MM: Eastbound seems to have its own brand of comedy. What’s the key?
JH: I think, because of our more traditional film school background, that we kind of approach things and structure things just like you would a drama or just any traditional movie. People watch the show and they’re laughing and laughing, but when something sad happens, they’re able to take these turns and dips and dives that hopefully connect more. That’s kind of our little secret recipe.
MM: You’ve done some pretty crazy stuff, from Kenny peeing on a keyboard to catching his friend going down on his girlfriend. How do you know when you’ve gone too far?
JH: Sometimes we’re playing with where that line is. Because we always want to push it, but I don’t know if you can really push it unless you step over it once or twice. So when that happens, yeah, people don’t laugh. And that makes us laugh even more. Where it’s like, “Yep, we f***ed them up on that one.”
MM: What was the last thing that went over the line?
JH: Maybe throwing the gun to the kid in the stadium in Season Two.
MM: There’s a ton of ad-libbing in Eastbound. Do you guys not like to memorize lines or what?
JH: It’s just something we’ve always done. When Danny and I made The Foot Fist Way, we quickly discovered that rolling and getting multiple takes in and trying different things gave us more choices. It’s just kind of more bang for the buck. Some of the best stuff you get is not what’s written. When you break away from what’s premeditated, sometimes you’ll get something that’s more spontaneous and funny. And Danny is so quick that maybe I’ll throw in something and he’ll take it and run with three different jokes, or he’ll come up with something I never thought possible and I’ll give him another idea of where to go.
MM: You also direct the Kenny Powers commercials for K-Swiss, with a lot of UFC guys. What kind of UFC fighter would Kenny Powers be?
JH: He’d be a dirty fighter. He might try to use his hairstyle in his fighting.
MM: What do you think people in China think of Kenny Powers?
JH: I don’t know if they’re allowed to watch him.
MM: Got any parting words of wisdom for aspiring filmmakers?
JH: Don’t censor yourself before you shoot. It’s better to just go for it and maybe you can go back later and take it out.