Andrea Savage has been a comedy journeywoman over the years, appearing regularly on celebrated shows like Veep and Episodes. She’s so good, she was even able to beat Julia Louis-Dreyfus for president.
But when she found herself getting offered the same part over and over — in her words, “the harried, boring, sexless, not-funny mom” — Savage decided to create a series that reflected her own experiences. “I want to show a different kind of woman on TV that has more nuance and layers and is more realistic,” Savage tells EW. “Why do TV moms have to leave all that behind?”
So the mom she plays on I’m Sorry, which premieres Wednesday on TruTV, is one she can get behind. Starring Savage and Tom Everett Scott, the comedy centers on a foul-mouthed comedy writer/mother who finds herself navigating awkward social situations with all the grace of Larry David. “They’re stories from my real life,” Savage explains, “but they’re very relatable.”
Ahead, Savage talks the new show, her experiences in Hollywood, and partying with Drake. Watch the trailer below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How’s it going?
ANDREA SAVAGE: Oh, I had a late night last night and I’m still just getting going.
What happened last night?
Well, it’s the upfronts right now, and Adult Swim had Drake performing. It actually was very fun — he actually did a full concert kind of. He was like, I know I’m here for corporate, but he’s like, I haven’t been in New York for a long time, so I’m going to give you a full show.
He was really great, but I just wrapped my show on Monday and then the concert went late, and, like, I haven’t gone out in three months and haven’t drank or haven’t done anything. So having a couple of glasses of wine and staying out late, I’m like, oh, boy… [Laughs] I’m not in shape for this! I’ve got to get back into the right shape.
Well, congrats on wrapping the show. Tell me about how I’m Sorry came together and how long you’ve been working on it.
It came out of quite… a little bit of a frustration. I had been selling a lot of shows and doing a lot of pilots, and at a certain point, every role that I was getting was just the mom, the mom, the mom, and every single one was just, like, very boring sex with the not-funny, sort of infant husband. And basically, I was like, this just isn’t fun for me.
I was writing and I think I developed six or seven shows and they’d all went well, but then they didn’t go, and I just was like, you know what? I want to do the exact show that I want to do. I’m going to do a show. At the time, the single-point-of-view show like Louie or Master of None was out, but it just hadn’t been before with a woman, and especially not a woman who had a husband and a child and this and that. So I figured I’d do the real story from my life, because I have some really funny stories from my real life, but they’re very relatable too.
Like every time we did an episode I couldn’t tell you how many of the crew would be like, Oh my God, I was just talking about this with my daughter. Oh my God, my dad and I just went through this.
Your character is a comedy writer. Is that side of her something we see more of throughout the season?
You see a little bit of it, but it’s not a ton. Jason Mantzoukas plays my writing partner, and so he and I have a lot of episodes together, but it’s not really about the entertainment business or career. It’s kind of just covering topics that I found were topics that people in their 30s and 40s deal with. It’s like your friends who aren’t married yet who are turning into, like, weirdos.
We have a quote in there: “You’re like Shawshank Redemption and your heart is Zihuatanejo, but everything you have to do is the s— tunnel to get there, and your s— tunnel’s getting longer and longer, so we need to shine it up and shut it down.”
Like, two aging parents where you’re no longer taking care of them. They’re not taking care of you, but they’re starting to just do weird stuff, like my parents. Friends who are now getting divorced. Keeping a relationship alive. Parenting. Fertility. Kind of just topics that are relatable and that I happen to have some pretty funny, different, very specific takes on them.
How did you end up casting Tom Everett Scott?
I literally wrote him a blind email. I just wrote him a letter and was like, “I think you’d be perfect for it.” Because that character, I didn’t want someone who’s like comedy, comedy, because I really wanted the show to play real, and I wanted him to be sort of similar to my husband, who’s a little bit more straight-laced and slightly uncomfortable with comedy. So I took a leap of faith and so did he, and it just worked out great.
And then by not locking in other series regulars, I was able to get Jason Mantzoukas. I was able to get Judy Greer. I got Lizzie Caplan. I got Nick Kroll. I got Paul Scheer. Kathy Baker plays my mom. Martin Mull plays my dad. Who else we got coming in there? Alice Tolman does two episodes. Steve Zissis does a couple episodes. I was able to call in tons of my friends and just get this insane cast.
Earlier you were saying a lot of this show came out of frustration with the roles that you were getting. And I feel like you’ve sort of become a “that guy!” in comedy.
Yeah. I’m very much a “that guy.”
Which is sort of a good thing though because that means you’re memorable. But how does it feel like now to start becoming the guy?
It feels pretty good. I think the number one thing is… what feels good is really feeling, for the first time in my life — on the development, writing, and producing side — that my vision has really been supported from the beginning to the end, and what is going to end up on the screen, for better for worse, is exactly what I wanted it to be. That is the first time that it’s happened in my life and that’s… you know, feels great.
And it’s not a common thing, because usually there’s a lot of cooks. And this time I murdered all the other cooks, and put their bodies in the stew to make the show. [Laughs] Listen, guys, you got to do what it takes. It’s Hollywood.