Comedian Kulap Vilaysack is best known for co-hosting the podcast Who Charted?, but her résumé also boasts a number of behind-the-scenes-positions on reality shows. “I have a big knowledge of how the sausage is made,” she tells EW. “I started as a logger on Amy Grant’s Three Wishes. You transcribe words, actions — it’s a butt-numbing, six-day-a-week job. But as a working actor, and if you need to take improv classes at night, [it’s] perfect. I worked [at America’s Got Talent] in the season where Hasselhoff’s daughter posted that photo of him being drunk, eating burgers. The next day at work, it was him walking towards you in the hall. I was just like, Oh God, I am so embarrassed for him!”
Vilaysack is putting that know-how to good use on her new reality show spoof Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, which she created and which premieres on the new streaming comedy channel Seeso on Thursday. The series stars Paul F. Tompkins as Dean Rosedragon, the founder of a Los Angeles-based realty firm, and is executive-produced by Vilaysack’s husband Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang! Bang!), David Jargowsky (Funny or Die Presents), and Reno 911! co-creators and stars Ben Garant and Tom Lennon.
“I had designs on spoofing something,” says Vilaysack. “I love HGTV shows and Million Dollar Listing. Then, with Tom Lennon and Ben Garant joining the team, it was like, Oh, this could be more than just a spoof. This is just a setting, much like Cops inspired Reno, but Reno became something totally different.”
Other regular cast members include Mandell Maughan, who plays realtor Victoria King, and Tawny Newsome, who portrays King’s rival, the marvelously monikered Chelsea Leight-Leigh. “Yeah, I’m pretty proud of that one,” says Vilaysack. “Victoria King is basically Josh Altman [Million Dollar Listing] in Louis Vuittons. That was the first thing. And then I thought, Well, who would be different from her? That’s where the Chelsea Leight-Leigh character comes from. Victoria King is establishment and then Chelsea Leight-Leigh is the new order, with social media.”
The first season of Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ boasts an impressive array of guest stars, including Nick Kroll, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Scott, and even Vilaysack herself, who appears on an episode with her possible real-life future husband, Jason Mantzoukas from The League. “If you listen to my husband’s podcast, I am promised to Jason if Scott ever dies,” says Vilaysack. “It’s an awkward situation since I was not a part of these decisions. I try to say that, if I die, they have to be together — and they don’t seem to enjoy that as much.”
As befits the show’s name, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ was shot in some swanky abodes. “We were such little snobby bitches,” says Vilaysack. “Because they were amazing homes, but all of us would go ‘But that’s wrong with it.’ People have odd choices as to how they decorate their home. But thank you to everybody who rented their house!”
You can see the trailer for Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ below.