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Arts and Entertainment

TV Junkie: Interview with the creators of FX's 'The League'

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TheLeague_Ep201_Sc27_TacosingswithOchocinco_180 (1).jpg
Jon Lajoie and Chad Ochocinco in the season premiere of "The League" airing Thursday, September 16, 10:30pm. [Photo via Patrick McElhenney / FX]


Jon Lajoie and Chad Ochocinco in the season premiere of "The League" airing Thursday, September 16, 10:30pm. [Photo via Patrick McElhenney / FX]
We were happy to jump into a conference call with the producers and creators of FX's "The League", Jackie Marcus Schaffer and Jeff Schaffer last week. This is a great show with great writing and fantastic partially improv-ed performances from the cast which includes the incredible Jon Lajoie whom we had the chance to interview while walking around Hollywood and Vine last year as well asjust before one of his live performances in Boston (see the video embeds at the end of the post).Even though it only had 7 episodes last season, "The League" pulled us in and left us wanting more. For all the football talk (and promotion angle) of the series, the fantasy football league aspect is simply a MacGuffin that brings us into this very real, and very funny world of these couples and their single friends. At the HBO post-Emmys party we got to hang out briefly with the extremely nice Nick Kroll, who plays Ruxin, and who is "the dark heart of the show" according to Jackie Marcus Schaffer, who was very pleased that the series had been picked up and was getting double the episodes this time around.

For those of you who are football fans, there will definitely be more tie-in moments with the season and some appearances from football pros including Chad Ochocinco, Josh Cribbs and Terrell Suggs.

Season 2 of "The League" premieres on September 16th at 10:30pm on FX after "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia".

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LAist: Can you tell us about how the script had actually come together for the show?

Jackie: We've had such a good time. When we got picked up before all the episodes had aired last year, we already had a slew of stories that we knew we wanted to do. For example, when Jeff and I first pitched the show we knew that FX wasn't going to give us the budget to do a Vegas draft in year one, but it was always the hopes that we would get to do it in year two and really play out that sort of ultimate wish fulfillment boys weekend. But we start with the stories. We have a giant white-board and we started with the stories. Then we start weaving them together and it's very similar to Jeff ... on "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

Jeff: We have, what we call, the big board of bad ideas and you should see it. It's literally just a giant dry erase board of just all the sort of ideas that we keep piling on and piling on. Then there is another giant erase board where we try and turn these ideas into an actual show. We work a lot like we did on "Seinfeld" and "Curb...", which is you get funny ideas for the characters and then try to weave them and intersect them in this sort of comedy geometry to just form of, hopefully, a satisfying end.

Jackie: We try to do it in this way where we put a lot on the page so that the story is really clear and that the arc of each character, and the arc of each show is clear, and that the point of the scene is clear. Then people can relax. They don't have to worry when they get there on the day that they're improv. We're relying on their improv for structure. We just want people to sound natural, to be funny, and to bring ideas to the table. But we don't want to stress the crew or the cast out on the day with if we don't figure this scene out this show is not going to work. We've done all that heavy lifting in advance so everybody can participate with a safety net.

Jeff: The idea is funny stories and then get funny people to talk about them.

LAist: While we are huge fans of the show we're also a big fans of Jon Lajoie and was just thrilled that he was picked for your show. Are we going to get more ‘Taco’ this season? I felt like he was there last season but you just wanted more ‘Taco.’ Are we going to get some?

Jackie: Oh, yes, we want more ‘Taco’ too. It's the same thing as I was saying before in a sense that the fun challenge for us is making sure that we are very wise about the screen time given to each character and also parceling out the other episodes where certain characters get to sort of take the lead in certain episodes. And make sure that we get to capitalize in all this amazing talent on the show and all the stories we want to tell with them.

So with Jon, Jon's got some crazy adventures this year. The thing that we love about Jon is his point of view on the world is so off and yet so accurate. There's a couple of really great moments with Jon that we are so thrilled with. That Jon gets to come in and Jon's point of view on the way the world works is so, absolutely, it makes you scratch your head. But it's so absolutely true, and—

Jeff: That's exactly what I was going to say, you're going to get to see ‘Taco’ is going to have a whole bunch more songs. He's going to go on an adventure. He's going to get into a tangle with a monkey. He's going to be a little bit of a documentarian. We're going to get to see some videos from ‘Taco's’ deep past, also. So fans of ‘Taco’ will be very, very happy.

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LAist: You were talking about the affects of things in the NFL on the show. What about the extension of the regular season in the whole debate about that? Is that going to make itself known?

Jeff: Well what we're hoping is that if the NFL expands to 18 games then maybe next season we can expand to 18 shows. So, all I can tell you is this—I can't let you in on all the back tail conversations—but FX, us, and the NFL are working very closely together on a new … season three agreement.

Comedian Jon Lajoie Walks & Talks in Hollywood from Thomas Attila Lewis on Vimeo.

Jon Lajoie performing at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston - 04/30/2009 from Thomas Attila Lewis on Vimeo.