You probably know Cazzie David for being Larry's daughter—yes, him—but after today, that descriptor is inadequate. Today Complex is excited to premiere Eighty-Sixed, a new web series from Cazzie and her co-writer/director Elisa Kalani. Eighty-Sixed features Cazzie as Remi, a neurotic, semi-narcissist who, across several episodes ranging four-to-eight minutes, tries to "win" her break-up. But social media and technology—and, again, her own neurosis—keep thwarting every attempt.
It should comes as no surprise that of course growing up with the guy who created both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm would at least elicit the ability to tell a solid joke. But the way Cazzie's inherited LD's particular brand of wry, socio-observational humor almost makes it seem like comedy is a hereditary gene. With Eighty-Sixed, she's already beginning to harness her own identity and one that's far more advanced than Curb-lite. You haven't seen the minutia, banality and OCD-fixation of millennial social media captured quite as accurately as she and Kalani display here.
After watching, we talked to Cazzie about how this all came together, feminism, what she learned from her dad, and Migos. Watch the episodes here and then read our interview below.
Where did the inspiration for Eighty-Sixed come from? Specifically, the idea to center it around a break-up?
I had two friends who were going through break ups at the same time and I found the constant reassurance that they needed kind of funny. Sad, but funny. I really wanted to make something on my own and I needed a premise that could be shot in and around my house since I was using my savings. So the character either had to be on house arrest, bed ridden or going through a break up. It’s definitely a cliché premise, so we tried to make fun of that and put an interesting spin on it.
How long have you been working on it?
We wrote it a while ago, but it took about three months to complete.
Talk a little about your collaborator, Elisa.
She was my college roommate and we were in screenwriting classes together. We asked our teachers if we could partner up because we thought it would lessen the homework load. It backfired and they doubled it. Very annoying, but we realized we worked really well together. We’ve written a few screenplays since, but this is the first thing we’ve been able to shoot.
Did you ever consider playing a fictionalized version of yourself?
It seems like that’s definitely the dream for most comedy writers now. But I didn’t want to give off the impression of, “look how funny I think I am in these typical daily life situations.” To some degree, I think playing yourself has to be earned.
It seems like one of the series' main goals is lampooning/parodying millennial culture, is that a fair assessment?
Definitely. I hadn’t really seen an accurate representation of social media on television yet. There are a lot of hashtag and selfie jokes, but not a lot of satirizing the humiliation and obsession behind it in a realistic way. It’s so funny how social media was just this fun thing and now it’s this monster that consumes so many millennial lives. You know every person under thirty was anxious this weekend that they weren’t going to get a good Coachella Instagram.
The series gives off vibes similar to Alia Shawkat's Search Party. I especially liked the exchange in "Tight Vagina Melissa" where you correct someone on the definition of feminism—it felt like a scene directly inspired by a real-life exchange.
I’m obsessed with Search Party and now you for saying that. The endless definitions for feminism are exhausting. It’s this, it isn’t this, it’s only this if you’re this, etc. But yes, I was once accused of being “unfeminist” for talking shit about this girl, which is nonsense because I totally talk shit about guys all the time too! If feminism means equality for the sexes, it’s only fair to talk shit about people of all sexes! I’m joking. Or am I?
Speaking of that episode, what's your favorite Migos song?
Who were your comedy inspirations, and who do you like now?
Nora Ephron, LD, [Mike] Nichols and [Elaine] May. Some others I can't think of right now, but they're probably older Jewish men. More currently, Issa Rae is great.
What stylistic cues/influences did you take from your dad? The drone episode gave me Curb vibes, especially the score.
A lot of comedians on film now like to show “heart,” or drag on a moment to emphasize pain or feelings. I like that my dad makes it clear he’s there to make you laugh, not to showcase his emotional range. I could only use music from someone I knew or if it was royalty free, which left me with mostly classical to choose from. I was worried it sounded too much like Curb but let’s just call it an homage!
What's next? Full-fledged sitcom maybe?
I’m just hoping to get through this without getting stoned. And I mean that in the Roman sense.