Imagine Will & Grace if both Will and Grace were actually Larry David. That's the basic vibe of Hulu's new original comedy Difficult People, which stars Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner as aspiring comedians who don't have a good word to say about anyone except each other.
"I asked myself, 'What show would you make if you could make any show?' And not that '10 places to visit before you die' kind of philosophy. But I really took a long hard look and said, 'What's my dream show?'" Klausner, an author, comedian and host of the podcast How Was Your Week?, tells TVGuide.com.
She wrote a script for what eventually became Difficult People and enlisted the help of her friend and longtime collaborator Eichner (Billy on the Street) and Amy Poehler, who executive-produces the comedy. On Difficult People, Klausner and Eichner play less successful versions of themselves who fail to grasp why the world doesn't reward them for their sharp wit and myopic attitudes.
"There is so much on the show that comes from my real life that it is sad," Klausner says. "I took a lot of the stories for Difficult People from my podcast. I do a monologue at the top of my podcast where I talk about what happened to me that week and invariably the point of those stories is either I was an assh--- or these people were assh---s. So they lent themselves well to dramatizing. And the nice thing is on Difficult People, we get to say things that we wish we could have said at the time or be a little braver, louder. We make the experiences more heightened. But really not by much."
In addition to Klausner and Eichner, Difficult People stars Gabourey Sidibe as the owner of the café Billy works at, Andrea Martin as Julie's mom and James Urbaniak as her boyfriend. But the awesome cast doesn't stop there.
"We have amazing guest stars on this show and we have them doing things you wouldn't ordinarily expect," Klausner reveals. Viewers can expect everyone fromDebbie Harry, Martin Short, Seth Meyers, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kate McKinnon,Fred Armisen, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Sedaris and Rachel Dratch to pop up throughout the first season. But there's one guest star of particular significance for Klausner.
"I met [Smash executive producer and composer] Marc Shaiman, who plays himself on the show, at a birthday party at Marc's house. And I am such a big fan of Marc Shaiman's," Klausner recalls. "As soon as I introduced myself, he said, 'Wow. I heard your podcast and you said some pretty nasty things about Smash.' And I hid in the bathroom for 20 minutes because I was just dying. Just dying! ... But we wrote to him and said, 'Are you interested in playing yourself and basically doing the exact same thing that you did in real life on the show?' And Marc Shaiman said absolutely."
Klausner's awkward run-in with Shaiman is far from the first time her words have come back to haunt her - something from which she draws a lot in writing Difficult People. In the first episode, her character finds herself in particularly hot water after tweeting an inappropriate joke about Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter Blue Ivy (let's just say R.Kelly is involved and leave it at that).
"I cannot count the examples in which that has happened to me," Klausner says. "I wish Joan Rivers was still around because she never gave a sh-- and there is so much happening that I would love to hear her comment on because everybody else is kind of scared - including myself. I'm a huge coward! The whole point of that particular episode is that I am so needy and so desperate to be liked by everybody that I retracted a statement that I learned people found offensive, not because I realized it was offensive."
To learn more about Klausner, check out the video below and watch Difficult People Wednesdays on Hulu.