Comedian Dan Levy is breaking down the anatomy of a Long Distance Relationship with a new series on Crackle. In LDR, two forlorn lovers Sam and Samantha resort to a webcam relationship when they part ways to go to college. The vlog format, at times overused in web series, uses the cliché to its advantage, highlighting the hilarious background action of the roommates–particularly Sam’s roommate Eddie, played by James Kirkland, whose antics often steal the show.
Tubefilter caught up with show’s creator and star Dan Levy to get all the sordid details on Long Distance Relationship.
TF: What was the inspiration for the show?
Dan Levy: I’ve been in three terrible long distance relationships–two in college, and one post college, you think I would have learned my lesson. I do stand-up, and I started doing a joke in my set about long distance relationships and how terrible they are, and it always got a laugh, so then I wrote a sketch based off that joke, and James Kirkland was in it. And a year later I met with Sony, and I told them I always loved the idea of doing a show about long distance relationships. They liked the sketch. So the show went from a joke to a sketch to internet success.
TF: How did you find your co-star, Samantha? There’s great chemistry there even via a webcam!
Dan Levy: That girl, well, I found her in my real-life relationship I am in right now…she’s my girlfriend. (Samantha is played by Rachel Specter who recently played Courtney in House Bunny). Everyone in the show is a friend of mine–except for the weird Korean women smoking cigarettes in a later episode, and the female basketball team–I do not know them. We cast those people. But the random girl in the orgy and the guy in the pickle suit, those are my friends.
TF: Do you find your stand-up experience helps with the webcam format of the show?
Dan Levy: I think stand-up helps with every sort of media because it is about instant gratification. You know what’s funny that night because the audience tells you. I think it especially helps with the internet, because these shows are so short. You’ve only got seven minutes at the Laugh Factory or The Improv to make people laugh–it’s very similar–you learn how to get to the jokes, and relate to your audience.
TF: Do long distance relationships really work out–any chance for this one?
Dan Levy: I don’t want to give anything away. But there’s some hope for Sam and Samantha, but it’s a really bumpy road, because that R.A. is so fucking handsome.
TF: Tell us about your roommate, Eddie. He seems like a handful.
Dan Levy: James Kirkland plays the role of Eddie, and he’s an older college student, as you can see by his giant red beard. I went to college with James, and James and I have been working together in comedy for eight years now. I think he is one of the funniest people, period. The hardest part of the entire process was us not laughing. In one of the episodes, James is eating beef jerky throughout the entire scene, and James is a vegetarian, so every time we would cut he would spit it out, and we’d crack up.
But yeah, it’s tough for Sam to be living with the elder college roommate…he’s always very drunk or on X or trying to hook up with freshman constantly, making it hard to have a good time, or privacy with Samantha. You’ll see that when Sam and Samantha try to have cyber-sex.
TF: Have you and James been roommates in real life?
Dan Levy: We’ve never been roommates, that’s why we’re friends. I did live with him for seven days in Amsterdam, though.
TF: Seven Days in Amsterdam sounds like a good title for your next web series.
Dan Levy: Yes, maybe the sequel to LDR will take place in Amsterdam.
TF: What was your budget like for the show?
Dan Levy: It was not that much money, but I have to say, I developed it with Sony execs, and they were really good. You hear a lot of stories about how execs ruin a show, but they helped develop it, and were awesome. We were shooting ten episodes in five days with five pages per episode. And those dorms were actually all in the same room–my brother’s bedroom. We shot all of the Oregon campus first, stripped it down, and then shot all the Florida campus, and ripped it down, and built the set of another dorm room you’ll see. And we went to the USC campus to steal exteriors and interiors of dorm rooms. Also Jenny Starnes Tessler, she was she was the set designer, she did all of those sets.
TF: You gave us some good hints at upcoming episodes regarding Korean ladies and cigarettes, any other teasers?
Dan Levy: Serious sh*t goes down. Just like any long distance relationship, it has its ups and downs, and lots of frustration. And lot of more characters come in. We had like forty people in our cast, and so far you’ve only seen four, so there’s lots to come.