Mike Schur Explains How The Good Place Was Created – Paley Center Special 2019

Mike Schur Explains How The Good Place Was Created – Paley Center Special 2019


-When I first had the idea, I thought, “Well,
this is not an easy sell.” Dead people who read moral
philosophy isn’t a good pitch for a network TV show,
so I sort of felt like I owed it to the studio
and the network to really understand
what I was about to embark on. -We have to start somewhere. So how about Socrates?
-All right. All right. Let me just get into
the mind-set of a human. Ohh! Ohh. I’m a human! And my breathing tube
is next to my eating tube! Oh, and look! My arms end
in stupid little sticks! Okay. Proceed. -So, before I pitched it
to anyone at NBC or Universal, I knew what the entire season,
first season, was, and I think that really helped
in terms of having them understand the idea
and get on board. The other thing that
really helped was getting Ted Danson and Kristen Bell
to sign on because once you have Ted Danson
and Kristen Bell in your show, you can do whatever you want. -Thank you for being a friend.
You’re a pal and a confidant. -After you watched “Friends,”
did you also watch “Golden Girls”?
-Yes, I did! [ Laughs ] They love cheesecake, and one
of them loves intercourse. -I went into his office,
sat down for a — what was supposed to be
a one-hour meeting, and we must have talked
for almost three hours. Every bit of my being
wanted to say yes. And Ted was just
icing on the cake. -I know it sounds crazy,
but if it weren’t crazy, they wouldn’t call it
a leap of faith! They would call it…
a sit of doubting. -So, I met Mike
on another project, and then it didn’t
really work out. I asked him
if he had anything else, and about a week later, he came in and pitched
“The Good Place.” And I knew that
Kristen Bell was interested, so literally off
of that one-hour meeting, never saw a script, I said yes. -We’re in.
-We’re — All right. You go. -We’re in!
-We’re in! -We’re just so excited!
-We’re in. -It was a weird
audition process because this show
was so secretive. -I didn’t really know who was
going to be a part of it or who was going to star in it,
which is probably a good thing because that would have probably
put a lot more pressure. -The audition piece that we had,
it was a fake piece. It wasn’t about
“The Good Place.” Mine was about
a hotline operator for broken dolls. -We recommend that you give the one-eyed doll
to your daughter and use it to teach her
an important lesson about tolerance
and superficial beauty. -Nope, that’s insane.
-Okay. -Eleanor, I swear
I am your friend, and I will never
cause you any harm. -You can hear Mike
just giggling in the background
throughout these auditions, but you never really know
until you get on set and you start shooting and
actually see the result, right? You just don’t really know. -They were looking
for an overly tall, annoying Pakistani Englishwoman,
which is basically me. -We’ve decided to have
a silly-hat competition, so whoever makes
the silliest hat wins a prize, but the prize is
an even sillier hat! -I didn’t have
any acting experience, so it felt really ridiculous
to come to the king of comedy and act in front of him. I can’t imagine
anything more mortifying. But I was told I had to go,
and so I went, and I thought, “Well, at least I get to meet
Mike Schur, one of my heroes.” -Something has come
to my attention, and I have to accuse you
with an accusation, but you know I wouldn’t do that
unless I was, like, 150% sure that I had to. -There’s a line in the scene
where Jason says, “Do you think
this is a good idea?” And the other character
off-camera says, “Yes, of course I do,”
and Manny’s response is, “Then why you got to
talk bad about it?” And all of the guys we saw,
who were all funny and good, said it the way that we’d sort
of imagined you would say it, and when Manny did that scene, Manny, like, started
crying a little bit. -I have yet to see it. Are we going to air that
in this, like, special thing? Hopefully I get to see it
if we ever do. -I love “Double Trouble.” You know that.
I’ve always said it was genius. -[Crying] Then why you
got to talk bad about it? -When you see
Manny Jacinto do it and he has that
sort of vulnerability and that sweetness to him, he taught me what
my own character was. We essentially cast him
from that one line. -Jason Mendoza. A failed deejay
from Jacksonville, Florida. -I wasn’t a failed deejay.
I was pre-successful. -Hopefully none of you
is claustrophobic. -Claustrophobic? Who would ever be scared
of Santa Claus? Oh, the Jewish. -You from Florida? -Jacksonville.
-Yeah. -[ Laughs ]
-Fore! -Well done!

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