When it came to making “Another Period’s” third season, creators Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome acknowledged that they ended up needing a little extra time to finish writing the season because the 2016 election derailed things a bit.
“Two-thirds the way through the writers’ room, Trump was elected,” Leggero said.
“We have so many intelligent writers on our staff,” Lindhome said, “and we were talking, you know, before Trump was elected, we’re like, well, you know, we really need to think where are people going to be at in six months,” she said. “And one of our writers was like, well, you know, we’re going to have a woman President, and I think there’s going to be a lot of backlash. And so we were like, yeah, you’re right. So we really were writing for this future where men are pissed because a woman is President, and then obviously we were all blindsided.”
Added Lindhome: “We may have spent a week crying in the writers’ room.”
Fortunately, Comedy Central gave the writers an extension, allowing them to rework the season in a way that, in Lindhome’s words, “would ring true” to the new political era, while also continuing to craft insane scenarios which would showcase the comedy talents of its truly stellar ensemble.
“Another Period” stars Leggero and Lindhome as two socialites of the 1900s, whose raunchy behavior would fit in just fine amongst modern-day Bravo reality stars, along with a cast that includes Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, Beth Dover, Brett Gelman, Brian Huskey, Dave Koechner, Jason Ritter, David Wain, and Armen Weitzman.
Coming into Season 3, Leggero said, “The characters are more dialed in. I think we’ve found what each person does just the funniest, and we just turned it up a notch in Season 3.”
Plus, Lindhome said, “We’re also inspired and driven by our cast because they’re so funny. I mean, if you just think of Michael Ian Black doing something, you know — having someone in your head who you’re writing for just makes all the difference. Jason Ritter, I mean, he surprises us all the time. We’ll write the most insane thing and he’s so gifted, physically and comedically, that he can just pull off anything. It’s been pretty fun writing for him.”
Other great comedy figures to appear include Rich Fulcher, Matt Besser, Cedric the Entertainer, Tim Heidecker, Chris Parnell, June Diane Raphael, Shoshannah Stern, and Ben Stiller — though their most desired guest star remains elusive.
“I feel like Danny McBride has been on our bucket list since the beginning,” Lindhome said. “His tone and our tone together? I mean, of course, everybody wants him, but I think he remains at the top of our list.”
“I think we’ve asked him every year,” Leggero added, saying that offers included “various princes” and, this season, “a Roy Moore type.”
After all, the show doesn’t exist in a vacuum — though Leggero noted that like the rest of the comedy community, writing jokes in the current political landscape isn’t the easiest thing. “I guess we’re handling it the same way as everyone else,” she said. “Like, everyone is a little beaten down, and also incentivized — like, both things at the same time. They’re inspired and want change and at the same time, have that outreach fatigue. That’s kind of everybody right now.”
“I think that, you know, everyone’s now all of a sudden a political comedian, which I think takes some adjusting, for some people to deal with that,” Lindhome added. “Because now all of a sudden all of our friends, everyone is just tweeting how pissed off they are about the President, and you know, policies, and it’s just a kind of a different climate. I try to kind of stay off of Twitter now because of it, unless I’m really bored or really want to make myself panic, you know, it’s almost best to stay off of there.”
That said, while the show may have changed somewhat in tone from Season 2 to Season 3, the hope is still to celebrate the over-the-top absurdity of this time period, which relates more closely than we might realize to today. “The political stuff did happen because, you know, the time period — people didn’t pay income tax 100 years ago, that’s why they were able to live like these insane people,” Lindhome said. “And [today] we’ve gotten to a point where the income tax, you know, they basically figured out how rich people don’t have to pay as much income tax legally. Everything’s woven into the fabric of the Gilded Age already.”
And as she added, “A lot of it does come from history. The stories that we heard about when we all went to Newport, Rhode Island — like, this woman did throw a hundred thousand dollar dinner party for her dog, you know, and this was 100 years ago. I think we like to keep it silly, but we just got lucky that so much of what happened 100 years ago is happening today.”
“The attitude towards the rich — America’s relationship with the rich, I think, has always just been a really fascinating look at class issues,” Leggero continued. “I feel like the show has always been an interesting window into that. We have, you know, our main servant Peepers is so invested in that class system, that, you know, he’s someone who would vote against his own interests and the way a lot of people are today, in like actively keeping himself impoverished and down, because he believes in the system as is.”
“Exactly,” Lindhome said. “If you look at history, this time period that we’re in now, and the Gilded Age where our show takes place, those are the two times in our country’s history where the income gap has been the greatest, so you know, it is just only natural that things are sort of repeating themselves.”
“Another Period” airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.