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Dave delivered again.

The ambitious second season of the FXX comedy from Dave Burd, a.k.a. Lil Dicky, wrapped Wednesday night with a heartbreaking, contentious, and ultimately joyous finale. The episode — which Burd describes as "the movie version of the show," with everything "elevated to its peak condition" — capped a run of equally impressive and distinctly different installments that ranged from an examination of dating in 2021 featuring Doja Cat to a strange and enlightening odyssey involving Rick Rubin, an anteater, and diaper Dave.

The cherry on top of the season was the rise of GaTa, Burd's real-life hype man, who earned rave reviews for sharing his mental health journey in season 1's appropriately titled "Hype Man" episode. Throughout season 2, GaTa worked in the background to make his own dreams a reality as he had a front-row seat for Dave's growing success. And even though the season 2 finale was titled "Dave," it proved to be a Dave and GaTa showcase.

With Dave already frustrated over the underperformance of Penith and the impending cuts to his very Lil Dicky VMAs performance, he discovered that GaTa sold wristbands to the private album-release party. He then heard from GaTa's mom that she was worried he was experiencing a "manic episode." Dave found GaTa blissfully doing karate, dancing, and putting on jewelry in preparation for his own video, to be shot by Emma (Christine Ko), and the duo launched into a heated argument. GaTa called out his friend's selfishness and the fact that they hadn't made any songs together, leading Dave to rip GaTa's music as "generic." "I rap because I f---ing love it," he responded. "You know what breaks my f---ing heart, you can't even be happy without people telling you they give a f--- about you. And I'm the crazy one."

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Dave Burd in the 'Dave' season 2 finale
| Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

GaTa then kicked out a shellshocked Dave, and the action shifted to the VMAs. Everyone was preparing to watch the big performance: Ally (Taylor Misiak) with her new boyfriend; aspiring director Emma; Taco (Travis "Taco" Bennett) and Mike (Andrew Santino), whom Dave had just thanked for making his dreams come true; and a teary-eyed GaTa. But then our favorite hype man wiped his face, put on his sunglasses, and unexpectedly walked out on stage, earning rapturous applause from his family and this writer. Dave then joined him for a delightful collaboration, which transitioned to a similar performance at a club in Delaware, a state Dave had dismissed earlier in the episode. The sequence and episode season ended with "DAVE" lit up in the background.

We know that was a lot, so EW had to get on the phone with Burd to discuss all things season 2.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I've watched the finale twice already and the last five minutes like four times, so my No. 1 question is: How do we start the GaTa Emmy push for next year? I'm happy to contribute to the FYC fund. He was incredible.

DAVE BURD: I know. The fight scene is so good, isn't it?

So good. We've talked about how proud you've been of him throughout this whole experience, but what was it like sitting there in the editing room, going through the episode, and then watching that final cut and seeing what he delivered?

Honestly, the proudness just continues to exceed itself. I love GaTa, everyone loves GaTa, so I think just making a GaTa hero story the finale is really what I've always dreamed of for this season, starting with the revelation that GaTa is Dave. I hope that resonated with you when you saw the title. Did that click for you?

It did, both in that way and then also thinking back to the season 1 finale and how you perfectly ended with the cut to "Dave" there.

Yes, exactly. When I look at the finale, I feel like it's like the movie version of the show. Everything was clicking on its highest form, with the music, the way it's shot, and the acting. It just feels like everything was really elevated to its peak condition, and GaTa is at the forefront of that. To see that fight scene, it felt like everything was firing on the highest possible level it could, and it just makes me so proud. It's like game 7 of the NBA Finals and your best players step up and dominate.

What was GaTa's reaction when you began discussing the plan to go in this direction? Obviously when you and him are the two people playing versions of yourselves, it's easy to be like, "Oh, did they pull some of this from their own relationship?" So have you guys had to have some of these tough conversations over the years?

We've definitely had some tough conversations and arguments over the years, and there's things that have been pulled from reality. I told GaTa that to me, him and I are the ultimate nothing-can-break-us-type of duo on television, and I feel like you've never seen a real whiff of conflict between us. This whole season, different people and relationships have been highlighted, but not really me and GaTa. So saving that big thing for the end felt so climactic. GaTa, of course, is one of the most special people in my life, but also one of the most special parts of the show, so I think he was honored and excited to have more of our story as actors and artists be at the forefront of the show.

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Dave Burd and GaTa in the 'Dave' season 2 finale
| Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

Much of season 2 has been Dave needing to confront his selfish behavior, but he never really does until the end. Is that something you had to reckon with in your own life? Did you have the equivalent of that moment in GaTa's house where it seems to click a bit for Dave?

I'm a selfish person in reality, but I'm definitely not nearly as abrasive and tone-deaf as far as my friendships. I try to treat people well along the way, despite being selfish, whereas this season I think the character lost a little bit of that kindness sometimes due to the pressure that he was feeling with having to put out this album. Last season I remember I was like, "I really don't want to behave in a way that I wouldn't in real life." This season I changed that a little bit for the betterment of the arc. It wouldn't have paid off at the end if I was just likable and getting it the whole entire season. So we made a choice to make me a little bit villainous at times so there was able to be a turn and an arc.

Despite the ending, it's hard to imagine that Dave is forever changed now. He does something incredible here, but there's no magic potion to just to be a better friend and person all the time. So how do you view Dave moving forward, after a big moment like this?

Definitely no magic potion. If that was the case, and I really figured it out, I think the series would be over. It's still early, it's only been two seasons, so I think we still have a lot of room to go with it. But this season is about a guy who's so self-focused on achieving this one thing that he lost sight of his relationships and what's really important in life. I've been a guy who isn't appreciative of his success. I've been the guy who didn't appreciate that I was in that small bar. I'm thinking, "Man, but when am I going to get to do arenas?" But like you see at the very end of the episode, there's so much joy and fun in life, independent of not reaching your goals. They say the journey is the destination, and I think at the end you're seeing Dave enjoying the journey, even though he's not where he wants to be in his career. He's still not performing at arenas, he's on stage in Delaware, where he formerly was being like, "I don't care about Delaware." That perspective is something that even GaTa has probably helped me with a lot in reality.

Going back an episode to "Enlightened Dave," which is unlike anything else you've done and has generated a lot of buzz, am I right in thinking you took a little extra pride in that one? It's got to feel good when you take a big swing and then everyone tells you that you hit a home run.

You hit it on the head. Extra pride, because it's just not in my lane. You know how I am, I fully believe in myself doing everything, but when you do something for the first time, there's no proof in the pudding, and I really didn't know exactly how it would turn out. It's so outside the box from what I'm used to doing and what my skill set typically is. Independent of people loving it, even before I put it out, I was saying, "This is maybe the thing I'm the most proud of that I've ever made," because it's just so different and I have such respect for the final product, and I didn't even know I was capable of it. The finale is great, but I feel like the finale is so in my wheelhouse. That's the best version of what I can do in terms of evaluating my normal skill set, with all the music and emotion. But this was a total curveball that I feel like turned out incredibly. I'm really proud of the finale, don't get me wrong, but I just think I took a risk with [episode] 9 and it's going to allow me to be more confident in taking risks in the future.

I was talking to a colleague who's also a big fan of the show, and we were saying how we're always interested with episodes like these how creatives go about making sure that something like episode 9 is meaningful and impactful and not just weird or out of the box for the sake of being those things. That's got to be a concern during the process, right?

Oh yeah, totally. There's people in my writers' room who were like, "Ugh, I hate dream sequences." And I'm like, you can't just generally apply that to everything. There's got to be a way to do it in a good, meaningful way. But we all had our guard up, because when you're doing something that's like this, it can easily become so tacky. But I think we made a lot of unique choices, while also not losing the humor. Nine feels like a movie version of the show too, but a different genre — but still the same genre. When I look at this season, one of the things I'm the most proud of is, whether it's the bar mitzvah episode, the Doja Cat episode, the ad agency episode, the parents and Ally episode, the Rick Rubin one, and then the finale, all of those are such dramatically different episodes of television. They all could belong to different shows, and they're all great, and they're all still the show somehow at the same time.

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Dave Burd preparing to meet enlightened Dave in 'Dave'
| Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

Where did that idea of enlightened Dave came from, and then what was it like shooting the double-Dave scene?

The idea came in the writers' room. Pretty much immediately we were are talking about him being a hairless bald man in a diaper type of thing. Originally, enlightened Dave was going to be made of testicle skin, but I forget why we didn't do that. I think we didn't want to really make it too lowbrow — and that was also a CGI nightmare. Easily my favorite scene to shoot of the whole season, or any season really, was me playing that part. It was so fun to not be me. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into how I would play the part because I had so many other things going on. This was such a difficult season to execute, with COVID and everything. But on top of that, I didn't even know what this character was going to look like. I hadn't seen my actual face without facial hair in over 10 years, so I wanted to see what I looked like before I even thought about how to act. We actually had a few delays that day, and it was the last thing we shot, because I had to shoot normal Dave side, then I had to go into the makeup chair, and by the time we finished all that stuff, we were left with only one hour to shoot the bald version. Normally I'd be really stressed out, but for whatever reason I was just so Zen about it, and I think we just f---ing killed it. I just love that scene. I watch that scene with such pride and joy. I love the choices that I made in the moment. Ironically, the message that enlightened Dave gave was to not overthink things, and I feel like when I played that part, I truly didn't overthink it at all, because I didn't have the opportunity to. I think it is really kind of meta, how the character in the scene is telling me to do one thing and the actor playing the character had to do the exact moral of the story as he filmed it.

I've lost track of how many people, unsolicited, have reached out to me about the Doja Cat episode. For me, it was scary how real it felt at times. Not that I would have pulled all the same moves as Dave! Did you anticipate this being the one that viewers would really connect with and relate to, even if they're not world-famous pop stars?

It's interesting, because there are these celebrity apps, or whatever prestige online dating apps. People are on it. I've been on the f---ing app. Alex Russell, one of my writers, had a great idea about using texts as like a vehicle, where every time someone sends a text, you're plopped into the other person's world. I wanted to make the most relatable and just true-to-life commentary on modern dating. I feel like there's no more accurate, current piece of dating content out. I thought there was a real opportunity there… and Doja Cat was incredible. She's awesome, I love her. And I'm so happy with how that came out.

The fact that you made the text thing work, with it popping up on screen like it did, was a victory in itself. The use of texting and social media in TV and movies is often terrible and just takes you out of it, and there's never really a creative way that they go about it. On paper, that shouldn't have worked, with how much of "Somebody Date Me" is essentially you and Doja staring at your phones.

I know. You should've seen the rounds and rounds of hands-on workup. I typed too fast, and I was like, "No, no, no." Because I agree, it had to be accurate. And honestly, as I was making the episode, because when you're starting it and you're doing the rough cuts, you can't make the text look that good. They're just so weirdly placed and ugly. I didn't have a full appreciation for the episode until the VFX was all done and I saw how clean it looked, and then it all really clicked.

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Doja Cat in 'Dave' season 2
| Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

The journey that Dave went on this year with his album and the struggles related to that mirrored a lot of what you've gone through over the last five, six years in working on your long-awaited sophomore album. Did playing that out on the show and going through it in this way prove therapeutic, or help in your real album-making process at all? Or have you been so knee-deep in the show that you don't even know yet if that's going to end up being something that you'll benefit from?

The second thing you said. I feel like I just made two seasons of television with no break, and each season's a full-on year of your life, so I haven't even been able to apply. On the one hand, it's been therapeutic just to explain to my fans, here's what's been happening. Because I don't want people to think I'm just sitting around like enjoying the spoils of success without working hard. Not the case. Although I really don't have writer's block per se, but I do have struggles with making music that I find at the level. It's a whole slew of issues, but I can't wait to start solving those issues. But my finale airs in 48 hours and I'm going to get off the phone with you and somehow keep working on that actual episode. I still can't even work on music until the end of the week. Then I'm going to jump in.

I'll get you out of here on one last one so you can go finish the finale and then you can get to work on the album: Ahead of season 1, you told me that you saw a lane for the next great comedy and you thought you might have it. With the first season being so well-received by critics and fans, I asked you a few months ago if you felt like you were there already, and you said you felt like you would be after this season. I know you're still cutting the finale, but you're deep enough that I'm following up for a status report: Do you feel like you've gotten to where you thought you would be?

Last season the post-production schedule was one where I was able to enjoy it airing every week. I would sit on Wednesdays and watch it at night, and then I would have all this time to experience the way people were reacting to it. This season has been the exact opposite; I am using every fiber of my being just to hit the air date. It's unbelievable how every single week… I wish you could witness me. I'm like drenched with sweat every day, because I hand in the s--- at the latest possible moment, because that's just how the schedule ended up working out that way. So I've truly had to kind of remove myself from feedback of any kind. I don't even watch the show, I don't go on social media and look at reactions. I have to be too focused on the actual episodes themselves. But I'll tell you this, whereas before this season I would have been craving that external validation, I feel like the point of the finale is that art isn't about that. My character in the finale is depressed because he thinks he made the best piece of art and no one knows about it. And that's not the point of making art. It's not about external validation all the time. It's about doing your best, living with the results, and enjoying life along the way.

For me, I'm just proud of what we were able to achieve. I'm impressed by the sophistication level that this season has taken, emotionally, character-wise, mentally, cinematographically, which I know isn't a word. I'm satisfied with the fact that I definitely did what I set out to do this season, and I feel great about that. And I think next year I'm going to set out to do something totally different and I'll have my own set of goals and ambitions for season 3. I know that people are going to love this show, that it's going to always have an audience, because I just believe that much in the product. But I'm more concerned about… episode 9, for example, is one that I feel like could have a very niche audience. I remember being like, "I have no idea what the appetite is for this type of thing from the public." But I know I like that type of s--- and I wanted to make the best possible version of that type of thing. And I think leading with your heart is the only way to go about making art, and not leading with, what's the mass gonna feel?

I love that you tied it back to the point of the finale, because GaTa says to Dave during their argument, "You can't even be happy without people telling you that they give a f--- about you. And I'm the crazy one." So glad the flip switched for the real Dave. That being said, considering you'll finally be done with the season, will you watch on Wednesday night? Will you give yourself that?

I'm literally working 20-hour days; I've been going so hard on this that honestly, the last thing I want to do is watch that f---ing episode again. When I'm done, I want to go out to dinner. That's what I want to do.

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