You wrote two of my favorite episodes of The Last Man on Earth, "Hair of the Dog" and "30 Years of Science Down the Tubes." What was the process like working on those scripts?
It was great! I work with the best people in the world. Our show is serialized, so you don't really come in with a bunch of single episode ideas or whatever. You're assigned an episode number and wherever the story is by that point is what you break (figure out) the episode around. When it comes to breaking episodes, the whole room pitches and hones the story, and together we write up an outline. When the outline gets to a place where it's approved by Will [Forte], the writer goes off and writes the script.
"30 Years of Science Down the Tubes" was great because it was the finale that season, it was my first TV credit, and I got to write it with my good friend, Max Kessler. It wasn't assigned to us until right before it needed to be written, and most of the writers were pretty much already taking off for hiatus. Weirdly, any nerves we had about it being our first script kind of disappeared when the room shrank. That, and while we were working, we received some very encouraging texts from the showrunner at the time, Andy Bobrow, that I'll remember for a very long time.
For "Hair of the Dog," that was an episode we broke a bunch of times and had some famously late nights on. It was episode 11 of that season (but would later be released as episode 12), and we'd come up with something, but then episode 10 would take it. Then we'd come up with another thing, and it would be decided that maybe we should wait on that until episode 12. That happened a couple times. It's not that unusual, but when an episode takes a while to break, people can kind of start looking around for something that's got more momentum. And why wouldn't they? Whatever's happening over there must be more fun than watching me look around the table with a face that says, "Sorry, I'm still thinking of something Carol can do instead. Yep, just sitting at the computer, quietly thinking of that."
So at one point, I was really starting to feel like I'd taken the room hostage, and that's when a writer on the show, Emily Spivey, came to the rescue. She could tell I was kind of shutting down, and a little overwhelmed, so she suggested we break off together and work on it in the B room. We spent the day there and ended up churning out a ton of stuff to bring back to the A room. Looking back, it was one of the best days of my career in terms of listening to, and learning from, a veteran writer. She provided plenty of support, advice, and pizza jokes that made soda come out of my nose that day.
I'm just in L.A. for the week. Where should I visit while I'm in town?
Ummmmmmm Griffith Observatory, Gloria’s Restaurant in Culver City for hard shell tacos, the Hot Tub Show at The Virgil, see a Dodgers game, some live soccer?
What can people expect from your reading?
Hopefully literally nothing.