Kristen Schaal is a woman of many talents as an actress, writer & comedienne with over 120 credits over her 20+ year career on film and television across live-action and animation. While promoting her current Disney+ series The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Bob's Burgers star opened up with The Daily Beast about her month-long stint on the Comedy Central animated series South Park, which just expanded the contracts of creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to include feature films for the ViacomCBS streamer Paramount+.
Schaal's hiring as a South Park writer took place around the time she was also cast in HBO's Flight of the Conchords in 2007. "God! That was a crazy year when everything was happening," she recalled. "Because I got Flight of the Conchords and it was premiering, but while it was premiering, I was doing my one-woman show in Edinburgh, which is a month-long. While I was there, the South Park team had seen the Penelope Princess of Pets web videos that Kurt Braunholer and I had done. I got asked to be a writer on the show and I was like, 'Yeah!' Then I got to the South Park offices and that was—I mean, I am such a fan. I think South Park is honestly one of the most underrated cultural shows. I think people have taken it for granted at this point, but it is such a force. I grew up in Colorado and I went to school at the University of Colorado for a year. So I was in awe. And I didn't last long. I was there for like a month and I was told—I got a warning that I was talking too much."
Unfortunately, Schaal felt she wasn't becoming endearing with the staff. "I was pitching too much," she said. "I'd never been in a writers' room before. So I was just like, let me earn my keep. I was like, 'How about this? How about this? How about this?' And that's not how it works. I wasn't going where the room was going. Because at that time too, South Park was doing a ton of movie parodies and my movie knowledge is not good. I couldn't go there, so I just kept pitching another thing. So looking back, yeah, they let me go. I could do a writers' room now, just for everybody listening, but I was too nervous and too excited to be in there."
The actress doesn't harbor any ill toward Parker and Stone when it didn't work out. "When I got the call that I'd been let go, it was devastating. Tig Notaro had this garage that she turned into a little guest house that I was crashing in and covering rent was a little tough. So I was like, 'Tig, I just got fired! Do I have to cover the rent?' She was like… 'Yeah.' [Laughs] So I was devastated, but I remember I talked to James Bobin, the co-creator of Flight of the Conchords, the day I got fired. We had margaritas. And he was like, 'Ah, fuck it.' He gave me good advice. He said, 'You're going to get fired, you're going to get hired, it's fine.' And then I flew home and—jeez, this year was incredible!—I flew home and then I met my husband [former Daily Show writer Rich Blomquist] on this Adult Swim show called Snake N Bacon that he was executive producing. He asked me on a date. So a lot was shifting." For more on Schaal talking about her time on the Jon Stewart-era Daily Show, you can go to the Daily Beast. The Mysterious Benedict Society is available to stream on Disney+.
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