On Thursday, the Big Apple welcomed back New York Comic-Con. The 4-day geek spectacular emanates from its home base at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, but has spread to include the theatre at Madison Square Garden, Hammerstein Ballroom, and even the Stephen A. Schwarzman Library building. Hammerstein opened its NYCC 2017 run with a tour de force day featuring Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead, Kevin Smith and the Comic Book Men, and the cast of IFC’s Stan Against Evil. Stan Against Evil creator and writer Dana Gould was joined by stars John C. McGinley and Janet Varney as they prepped fans for the upcoming second season, which debuts on November 1st. I took part in press roundtable to find out more about the show’s sophomore run.
Dana Gould sat first and was chock full of personality. He is also intensely funny as you’d expect from a comedian and one-time writer for The Simpsons. Gould is the creator, writer and producer for Stan Against Evil.
Question: Dana, what do you want to talk about?
Dana Gould: Well, I’m pimping two things today. Stan Against Evil season two premieres on November 1st on IFC. Season 1 is now on Hulu. We last saw Evie Barrett, the new sheriff of Willard’s Mill, get sent back to the 1600s and she’s about to be burned at the stake. And she does get burned at the stake… or does she? There’s a time travel element that’s involved, and I don’t think this is a spoiler alert, but the co-star of the show doesn’t die! The theme of this season is “the law of unintended consequences.” The cross that Stan bears is that his wife died and forced him into this life of killing demons. So he thinks hey, if I can go back in time to the 1600s, can’t I go back a year and save my wife? He spends the whole season on this, sometimes going behind Evie’s back and making deals with characters he shouldn’t, and again we see the law of unintended consequences, like Pet Sematary or Butterfly Effect or 11/22/63. Like the X-Files, we have mythology episodes and we have standalone episodes, and we have some really great standalone episodes. We have a were-pony, half-man, half-pony, all terror played by Steven Ogg from The Walking Dead. David Koechner from Anchorman plays Evie’s ex-husband, Jeffrey Combs from Re-Animator plays an evil wizard, Patty McCormack from The Bad Seed is in it. It’s what I wanted it to be, a sitcom that’s dropped into a horror movie. But the sitcom doesn’t know it’s in a horror movie and the horror movie doesn’t realize it’s a sitcom.
Geeks of Doom Question: Does it get harder to maintain the comedy when the central character is trying to bring his deceased wife back?
Dana Gould: That’s a really smart question, and John is a very serious actor and a very real actor and he plays those moments very real. That’s the only way you can do it. How do you get the comedy there? So what we do is we play to his frustration at not being able to get that right away. It’s making him wait and wait. You find the comedy anywhere, but you do have to do your homework.
Question: After working on The Simpsons and having the animation there to back you up, what’s the difference now on Stan?
Dana Gould: It’s HARDER! The Simpsons had a lot of money and we don’t have any money at all. But I do believe that ingenuity comes from those limits. I’ll give you an example. In our demon baby episode, we had this big showdown that ends in the woods. But the last days of shooting it rained every f’n day. So I asked my good friend, the director Rob Cohen, and he said “we’ll come up with something.” Our set director said, since it’s a baby wouldn’t it have a blanket fort. Soon that became the blanket fort version of the Nostromo, and if it’s the Nostromo then the baby’s victims could be stuck to the wall in pods. Out of this great collaboration came my favorite scene in the whole season, because everyone contributed and everyone knows their voice is listened to.
Dana even discussed the “elephant in the room” being, the similarities between this show and Ash vs Evil Dead. He said he originally wrote the pilot about his father coming to live with his (then) wife and (still) kids. It was a very traditional sitcom and then IFC recommended a “funny X-Files” and it evolved from there. He joked if you can NCIS and CSI then you can have both Stan Against Evil and Ash vs Evil Dead.
The other thing he was pimping in case you’re wondering is his new comedy album, “Mr. Funny Man” which is available now. Stan Against Evil returns to IFC on Wednesday night, November 1st and catch up on season 1 now on Hulu.
[Photos by Dr. Zaius for Geeks Of Doom.]
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