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Ike Barinholtz Interview: Chicago Party Aunt – {FilesFlip}

Chicago Party Tannie, which appears on Netflix on September 17, is the latest animated comedy from the streaming service that is just looking for a good time. Based on Chris Witaske’s gag Twitter account and produced by award-winning comic writers such as Ike Barinholtz, the series follows Diane (Lauren Ash) alternately to party the night away and mentor a cousin through his gap year.

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Barinholtz talks Screen Rant about finding the heart in the comedy, collaborating with his Second City cohort and his dream of working with the Chicago Bulls.


Screen Rant: How familiar were you with Chris’s? Chicago Party Tannie parody Twitter account?

Ike Barinholtz: Oh, my God. It’s now almost a decade ago when he started with it. And first we loved it. It’s so funny, it’s so stupid. We would deal with it and talk shit to each other. It was just funny, because it was this little secret inside; only a handful of us knew it [was] Chris. Then we started watching more people follow it, and then Stephen Colbert tweeted about it. We were like “Oh my God.”

I’m still a big fan of all her thoughts, no matter how mundane it is – and it’s mundane. One time I remember she was just tweeting a photo of a highway in Chicago with cars driving this way. She was like: “The cars with the red lights go north, the cars with the other lights go south”. I was like, “What? Why share this thought?”

But she was always funny. And now I’m talking to you about our program with her that Netflix is ​​premiering, and it’s just like, “What is life?” That’s crazy.

How many Chicago party tannies have you encountered?

Ike Barinholtz: Oh my God. Her real hair with that outfit? I have seen the outfit no less than 5,000 times. The thing is, I’ve seen real Chicago party aunties – but everyone has a party aunt or a party uncle, or the cousin or party friend. If you see them, they will do something embarrassing and they will insult someone – but if they leave, you will miss them.

Talk to me about the challenge of customizing a parody Twitter account in a Netflix television show.

Ike Barinholtz: Initially, when Will Gluck and Richie Schwartz approached me and Dave, me and Chris with Chris, they were like, ‘Hey, do we think this could contain an animated series?’ We immediately say, “Oh yes, it can.” How many shows have we seen that focus on a great, funny character with a very strong point of view? This is Diane in a nutshell.

We brought in a few other people and started breaking the program, and it just made sense. It was just funny. For us, coming from Chicago, there was a slight nostalgia factor. The themes were universal: it’s about getting old, going to your first bar and having problems at work. There was a lot to work with, just coming from this one Twitter character. That’s great.

Can you talk to me about the collaborative process between you all and how you can really work out the other characters? Because I think the other characters are brilliant.

Ike Barinholtz: Oh man, yes. Thank you. I know what we wanted was a bunch of people who would send off Diane. We wanted our main anchor to be her cousin [voiced by Rory O’Malley], and we love the energy of just this very sweet, excited, 18 year old gay kid living with his aunt who is not with her. And they fight, but they also love each other.

Then another main character is RuPaul, who is Gideon, the boss of Diane. It was another character we thought: “Okay, this is someone we want to activate for Diane.” This is kind of the name of the game: you have this Tasmanian devil, so you need people to conquer her. We also had Bonnie, her sister, the right version of her – looking at Diane and terrified.

We have these three great characters, and then we begin to perfect the mosaic. Wherever it is, we want Diane to have an ex-husband [named Kurt], and it could be Chris [Witaske]. “Oh, he could really be a resentful, former TSA agent. He’s going to have a boy working at the airport, and he’s still being beaten with bags.”

It was the first few months, where we really started outlining the world, that were very special and fun. It’s just crazy that everyone, years later, will meet these characters that we laughed and argued about and just talked about for hours. It’s wild.

Lauren Ash is also from Second City, and she’s amazing. What does she bring to the role of Diane that does not necessarily appear on the page?

Ike Barinholtz: We’ve all known Lauren for years. My brother, Jon, when he was cleaning the floors in Second City, she was on the main stage and she’s just a power station. You saw her in Superstore, she’s just a killing field. We wanted someone who was inappropriate and could be really big and could make people turn their heads and say, “Who the hell is this?”

But there is a real warmth for her. She has an energy you want to connect with. This is just the balance we seek: fun and inappropriate, but you also care about this woman. She’s your aunt, man. Lauren just got it right, and to see animated tracks come with her voice-over is really great.

You also get the opportunity to vote in this as well. You play Mark, Daniel’s father. Can you talk a little bit about Mark and how he himself views Chicago’s aunt, Diane?

Ike Barinholtz: Mark is by far the most normal character I’ve ever played. He is a norm. Every character I’ve ever played was an insane pervert or just a crazy person. Mark is just this completely knotted, normal suburban dad. Of all of them, he is most different from Diane, where he is totally oppressed and beaten and: “Yes, honey. Whatever you want.” So, to be able to play him; it was so funny to play a normal guy.

He is someone we are starting to see 2 other sides of him in season 2. We see the side of him that he might be hiding a bit because of Diane. He’s definitely a character I like to play.

What are some of your favorite Diane quotes?

Ike Barinholtz: She definitely says that people have to scratch a lot, which our writer, Katie Rich told me, was an old thing from the seventies: ‘Go scratch’, which makes me laugh. Then there are a few times we say to her, “Tits up, tits out, what are you going to do?” I said this to my wife one night, and my wife says, “What are you talking about?” And I say, “Well, this is Diane. This is Dianism.”

My favorite … Let me think here. I like it when someone says to her, “Are you going to the MET ball?” And she says, “F *** the Mets.” It’s my favorite.

Are there other famous Chicagoans you would like to attend this show?

Ike Barinholtz: Oh my God, yes. Clearly Mike Ditka would be very funny during an animated show. But if I have to pick one Chicago … It’s a difficult one. I’ll have to go with Vince [Vaugh]. Really lots of fun. John Cusack … Wag. The thing is, of course, that it would be Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. But they would both say, “Hey, we’re not actors, we’re not going to do this.” If we go actors, then I go to Vince Vaughn and John Cusack. But if 23 to 33 are interested – or really Horace or someone from the nineties Bulls. I love Steve Kerr.

Oh my God. Okay, you know what? This is actually my answer: Toni Kukoč. Number one answer. Toni Kukoč arrives and plays a character who goes out with Diane. This is something I’m dreaming about tonight.

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Chicago Party Tannie is now available to stream on Netflix.

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