Aya Cash Talks About ‘You’re the Worst’ Season One

Aya Cash discusses You're the Worst Season One
Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler in ‘You’re the Worst’ (Photo by Byron Cohen/FX)

Aya Cash stars as a publicist who’s in a dysfunctional relationship with a British novelist living in LA (played by Chris Geere) in FX’s new hit comedy, You’re the Worst. You’re the Worst doesn’t portray your typical sugar-coated love story between two perfect people. Instead, the half-hour comedy created by Stephen Falk focuses on two people equally incapable of creating a ‘normal’ relationship.

You’re the Worst airs on Thursday nights at 10:30pm ET/PT and in support of the first season, Cash took part in a conference call to discuss her character, the series, and working with Chris Geere.

Aya Cash You’re the Worst Interview

When you got the first script, what made you now you wanted to take on this character who normally wouldn’t be likable in real life if you knew someone like this?

Aya Cash: “Reading the show I thought it was hilarious, which is sort of a generic answer but it’s very true. I think the humor just ran towards my sense of humor. I thought this would be really, really fun. I also just don’t worry about making her likable. I feel like I liked her when I read her and I sort of trust that the audience will get behind her as well, and all you can do as an actor – that’s such a douchey thing to say – is to look for the parts that you connect to and have empathy for. I thought Gretchen was fabulous and that’s what attracted me. I thought they’ll never let me do it and I had many auditions to convince them.”

There are scenes where your character is saying something but your body language is saying something else. Can you talk about how much of that is in the script and how much do you work on showing us that double kind of language?

Aya Cash: “You know I think a lot of it is in the script, but not necessarily in the directions of the script. I think that comes from also the director. Just for me the most fun way to act is to try to be in the moment and react to the persons that you’re with, so often in awkward moments for what I’m saying might be slightly different from how I’m feeling. I feel like they come out of a moment where it’s maybe Jimmy has said something that’s insulted me, but I don’t want to tell him that. I want to be cool about something, but I can’t help but have a reaction. I don’t think it out too much. I’m not sitting there planning how can I show my subtext in this moment. And when you’re working with good actors, the thing that makes you look better is just paying attention to that and luckily I work with good actors.”

Can you talk about the relationship both your character and Jimmy have with Edgar (played by Desmin Borges)? Both characters are so self-involved that you don’t notice you guys have a generally good thing, almost like a good pet in the house with Edgar. How does that relationship develop over the season?

Aya Cash: “I think Edgar is probably the least worst of all of us and he is sort of the moral compass and the good guy. He has his own demons to fight, as you’ve seen a little bit and will continue to see. I think it’s one of those friendships that is completely taken for granted and yet if Edgar needed anything, both Jimmy and Gretchen would jump for him. They’re just not going to volunteer because they’re so engaged in their own narcissism. But I think as a viewer of the show now, I just fall more in love with Edgar. He’s such a wonderful guy and funny and sweet and kind to everyone, so that’s sort of the relationship that I think gets played out for the rest of the season.

He and Lindsay (Kether Donohue) have so much more to come. I’m so excited for the audience to see them develop because they’re both such fabulous actors and they get to do some crazy, crazy stuff.”

Did you know Chris Geere before or did you meet on the set? You two have great chemistry.

Aya Cash: “Chris and I met during the chemistry read test, so before you get the job, sometimes they have actors read together. I read with both Kether and Chris, and Chris read with Des and I, so that’s where we all met, but very little connection happens in those. You’re both so terrified that you are not going to get the part or that you’re going to screw it all up that we didn’t talk much. We really met the week before we shot the pilot, and I think all of us fell madly in love with each other. We had a great time. We’re all from not LA – so shooting in LA – we were all away from home and got to play and hang out and fully immerse ourselves into each other and that was really great. Shooting the season was similar.

I think Chris is just brilliant, which is the first thing that I care about when I’m acting with someone. He is great. He is also just the loveliest human being. He’s probably I would say the least like his character than all of us. I think he’s all light and love and very little darkness, which is what makes his performance so magical.”

How much are you like Gretchen, if at all?

Aya Cash: “I think outwardly very, very different, but I think inwardly, there are probably more similarities than I would like [to admit]. But I think she’s dark and funny and damaged and like we all are. She just manifests in a way that is not the healthiest. I’ve been through a lot more therapy than Gretchen has.”

When I’m watching the series I always wonder how you two make it through some of the scenes without breaking character. Is there any scene in particular that gave you a really tough time? They’re so well written, it must be tough to keep yourself under control at times.

Aya Cash: “Hopefully you’re totally immersed in a scene and you’re sort of like where your character is supposed to be, which is probably not laughing…but it’s pretty impossible. A lot of times, too, with our guest stars, we’ve had such amazing guest stars, Steve Agee, who plays a pizza guy; I was like, j’Jst look right between his eyes, because as soon as you look into his eyes, you’re going to laugh. We’ve had some time with the scripts, so we’ve also read the jokes over and over again and nothing kills a joke like hearing it over, which helps.

But, yes, when Thomas Middleditch came in to do episode five and it was really hard to keep it together because he is just a master improviser, and I wanted to lose it a couple times.”

There’s a lot of emphasis on the relationship between Jimmy and Gretchen, but Gretchen’s job as a publicist is also interesting. How much more are we going to explore her career?

Aya Cash: You definitely see more of that and you actually, a spoiler alert, there’s a flashback where you see sort of how she got the job that she got with Sam played by Brandon Mychal Smith, who I think is hilarious and so you definitely see more of that mainly with Sam and Honey Nutz. They’re definitely some of her main clients and play a part in her life, so you will see more; they’re coming back.”

Have you spoken with PR people just to try and get a feel as to what it’s like to work with talent from the angle?

Aya Cash: “You know I didn’t really talk to PR people. If I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t really talk to PR people before I started. I know a lot of musicians so I know that side of things better. Then, of course, as an actor like every couple years you get a job and someone tells you to get a PR person, so you end up meeting with a bunch of PR people, so I met a ton of PR people. I’d say most of them are much more together than Gretchen and our lovely Adriana, who is probably on this call and is nothing like her and a doll.

I think the truth is Gretchen could be Gretchen anywhere and she just happens to be in PR which in some ways suits her in terms of the lifestyle that she leads, and debaucherous musicians kind of suit her well.”

How different do you think movies like Titanic would be if the sex scenes would have been presented in a realistic way, the way they are on TV including in You’re the Worst?

Aya Cash: “Now I’m trying to imagine Jimmy and Gretchen in Titanic… I feel like romance in movies is often not real, including the sex, and what’s so charming about the sex in You’re the Worst is that it is that awkward sort of like, ‘I can’t find the rhythm, let’s take a break and eat some food, have a great conversation and then sort of pick up where we left off and try to figure out where we’re at.’ I feel like in some ways that’s sweet and more romantic than like a beautifully shot ‘passionate everything is perfect, we’re both having orgasms at the exact same time’ kind of sex scene. I feel like – and I was not a fan of Titanic back in the day, although now I feel like I would be – but I appreciate how real it is and I’m glad that it’s awkward. It’s not porn. It’s funny and weird and once in a while slightly sexy, which is more like real life.”

How do you make it through awkward sex scenes? How do you prepare to do them?

Aya Cash: “For the first episode, as soon as I got it I started working out. I don’t do that, so my first concern was pure vanity. Then we were terrified, both of us, going into them. I had never done one before. Chris had and we were saying like, ‘Let’s do some shots beforehand and relax us,’ and by the time we actually got there, we didn’t drink. We forgot because we were having fun and it wasn’t actually…you start to just get used to it. They put you in these ridiculous stickers to cover your bits as a woman and then he’s like wearing a sock. It’s the stupidest, most awkward thing ever. It’s not sexy and it’s not even all that humiliating. It’s dark, but what shocked me most about the sex scenes I thought I was going to be so nervous and awkward and worried about stupid stuff. And then what I found is actually the weirdest part was taking all your clothes off in front of like 40 people and nobody looking at you.

I’m like, ‘Usually this is a good thing and it gets a reaction when I take my clothes off,’ but everybody is incredibly respectful in avoiding your gaze and trying to do their job, which is what they should do. But I said it was more like, ‘Hey, what’s up, guys? I’m naked.'”

How important is social media in reaching your fans?

Aya Cash: “You know, I sort of entered Twitter ambivalently and was not very into it until really the show, being on set and wanting to connect and wanting to get people involved. I would do anything to make this show be watched and give us the opportunity to do more seasons and it’s been really fun.

I’ve been shocked at how nice Twitter is. I thought I would get horrible things sent to me and once in a while you do, although I find them more funny than insulting. But mostly people have just been really excited and I feel like that’s really great to hear. If I can make someone’s day or answer someone’s question by interacting with them, then absolutely I will do my best. It’s hard to keep up all the time without becoming too attached to your phone, which I try turn my phone off now for a portion of the day. But it’s absolutely necessary and it’s such an amazing thing that people can have access to people that they’re watching on TV or seeing in movies or seeing in plays or their politicians. I think Twitter is an amazing thing in that way.”

Do you have any input into your character’s arc?

Aya Cash: “Not much. I would love to take some credit, but it’s really all the mad genius of Stephen Falk. I had created a huge backstory for myself that was completely wrong, but I trust Stephen more than I trust myself and basically listened to him. If there was anything that came up throughout the season that felt not genuine or something that I felt like was at odds with my character, I would discuss it with him and usually he could explain it in a way where I ended up agreeing with him afterwards.”

-By Rebecca Murray

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