Back in January 2018, Comedy Central premiered a new series that some have called “Better Off Ted on bath salts” — Corporate. (It was me. I called it that.) The new series, created by co-stars Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman and director Pat Bishop brought the idea of the hellish, soul-crushing monotony of a corporate workplace into an even more surreal reality — but in a funny way. Now, one year later, Corporate is back for its second season.
Uproxx recently spoke with Ingebretson, Weisman, and their co-star Aparna Nancherla about season two of Corporate. And while they didn’t spill all of their secrets for the new season — of which there are plenty, as they have “hundreds of pages of documents with ideas” for the series in the first place — they were able to share a few things about the new season, as well as the larger picture when it comes to creating the entire nightmare capitalistic universe known as Hampton DeVille.
On making things bigger, more bizarre, and a little more depressing in season two:
Matt: I think that was the thought process. We kind of learned how to make a TV show season one, and wanted to just see, to take bigger swings and be a little crazier in season two.
Jake: Yeah, I feel like nobody has any clue what they’re doing the first season they make TV. It’s an impossible job to understand unless you do it. It takes so many different skills and you’re running around all crazy, worrying you’re not doing a good job. And then, the first season is kind of like a season-long pilot. And so you’re like, “Oh this is how you do it.” And you see what people respond to, and you have all this wealth of information and opinions and then you get to actually make the show you want to make season two.
Aparna: And I think in terms of being on set, the cast is just, you know each other better, and I think we’ve been lucky in that the cast is so warm, and everyone gets along with each other. So it’s just like being able to play more than we were the first season.
Jake: I think the first season, we were trying to figure out who the characters are, because they’re sort of caricatures of all of us. And then after the first season, you’re like, “Okay, now I know who the character is. It’s not me.” So you can actually develop the character. You’ve learned how to write the voice, and you’ve watched it over and over. So again, it just gets way easier, and more authentic to the show itself, I think.
On the individual plotlines they’re most excited for this season:
Jake: I think there’s a bunch. For me, there’s an episode (the second episode of the season) called “The Concert,” which is literally just about how you get too old to want to go out and do things. Like you want to still perceive yourself as young, and someone who is vital, and full of life, and going out and taking in culture. And when you have that moment where you accept that you don’t know any of the people who are the Top 40 radio, you just don’t get it, you don’t want to go out. You just want to go to bed, because just being well-rested is better than anything you could possibly experience, the joy of that, and the catharsis I feel in even talking about it is you’re just accepting your life.
So I think when people see that and they relate to that, I think it’ll make people feel better for being lame. It’s great. Because you just… Listen you’re in a lot of pain when you’re older — like, my back hurts — but you do accept yourself more, and that’s just the trade-off you get. Young people are just stupid people who will be smarter when they’re older. And feel what we’re feeling. But actually, if you’re young, please watch the show.
Aparna: I know, they are the ones determining our jobs.
Jake: I love young people. They’re smart.
Aparna: I do have an episode where my character gets to talk to plants, and anthropomorphizes them, and I feel like that could very easily be a spin-off. No, but it kind of just blows out who you can turn your own office into this whole microcosm world, that you’re creating your own power dynamics and stuff.
Matt: Yeah, that episode came out of me hitting the point in my life where I was like, “I’ll buy plants now,” and then they all died. And then I was like, “I guess I’m not at that point in my life now.” I’m excited for people to see an episode titled “Natural Beauty,” which I got to get glammed out and wore a lot of makeup and then I looked the most beautiful I’ve ever looked in my life.
Aparna: Stunning. Stunning.
On the freedom Comedy Central allows them when it comes to making the show they want to make:
Jake: Comedy Central is really a very specifically wonderful network for creative freedom. They are really encouraging to do your own thing. Because I feel like now in sort of a diluted cable marketplace, like what you’re going for is a pretty intense niche audience, and so they want you to be yourself. They want you to be so yourself that no one else is like you, and so they just encourage you to kind of go nuts.
If they trust you, they trust you, and they let you be you. And I think we’re lucky to be on the network that encourages that. Many networks do not.
Matt: And we won’t name them, because we might work for them someday.
Jake: And we love kids and they’re so smart.
On the (unfortunate) blurring of the lines between actor and character:
Matt: I would like to say I take issue with that, because my character is a naïve maniac in the show.
Aparna: Especially this season. It’s like, “Are you that guy?”
Jake: I think the reason why is, and this is either a mistake or a good thing, we just named the characters after ourselves, which is truly I think most of what’s going on. They assume you are the psychotic person you’re playing on TV, and I think if we hadn’t done that, I don’t think many people would think that we were as close to our characters as possible. Because I think if people thought that I was the character on TV, they would be really scared of me. They would never want to talk to me, and I would hope it’s not that.
Matt: I think we just try to be self-critical and often our characters do things that would be our own worst instincts, or like the worst side of ourselves, that we would never act on in real life, but maybe are like a childish thing to be done inside of us or something.
Aparna: Yeah, because that’s also more fun to watch.
Jake: Yeah you don’t want to watch someone who’s reasonable.
Jake: That is not entertaining at all. It’s like, “Oh wow, they had a discussion and they worked it out,” and that’s not fun. No one likes that.
Aparna: That’s sort of C-SPAN.
Season two of Corporate premieres Tuesday, January 15th, at 10:30 pm ET on Comedy Central.