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Schitt’s Creek, television show
Photograph: Courtesy Pop TVSchitt’s Creek

Daniel and Eugene Levy talk their comedic chops and the family eyebrows

Father-and-son duo Daniel and Eugene Levy gear up for a second helping of family dysfunction on Schitt’s Creek

Written by
Matthew Love
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Eugene and Daniel Levy might have given their riches-to-rags sitcom the titter-inducing title Schitt’s Creek, but the TV show’s second season on Pop reconfirms the duo’s commitment to character over cheap laughs. Schitt’s Creek follows the squabbling Rose family—Eugene and longtime collaborator Catherine O’Hara play the ‘rents; Daniel, a first-time showrunner who used to host Canada’s MTV Live, and Annie Murphy are their equally spoiled children—as it goes bankrupt and moves from a repossessed mansion to a provincial town that Eugene and Catherine’s characters bought in their prime as a joke. (Think the Kardashians decamping to the sticks.) We checked in to see if the show’s real-life family gets along.

Eugene, what moment convinced you Daniel had chops as an actor and comedian?
Eugene Levy: I remember when we were putting the [pilot] presentation together; I was still a little nervous about it—and that’s nervous with a small n. I knew he was funny, but this was kind of a different situation because it was portraying a character you expect the audience to involve itself with emotionally. Honestly, with the very first show, I remember taking a deep breath and thinking, He’s got it. It wasn’t shocking at all.
 
How much does your relationship as collaborators differ from your familial one?
Eugene: The show trumps the family.
Daniel Levy: [Laughs] Exactly.

How similar are your comedic sensibilities?
Daniel: When it comes to the show itself, we share a very similar sensibility. Though I do think writing for the younger characters is something my dad…he was not necessarily…
Eugene: Easy, easy…
Daniel: …There were a lot of questions about what this means and why somebody would say that. But he’s hip in other ways!
Eugene: Um, well, there’s probably a list of things. [Daniel laughs.] Specifically, I don’t know, some of the vernacular of twentysomethings. And, you know, he would say, “I could go into a 15-minute explanation of what it means, but just trust me and it’ll save some time.”
Daniel: And most of the time, he did.

In the second season, the Rose family doesn’t seem so keen anymore to escape the town of Schitt’s Creek; everyone is actually kind of finding themselves there.
Eugene: We had to lay out the show in the first season, which means the stories were more black-and-white. And now we get into the finer points of relationship and character and how [the members of] this family have to get on with their lives.

Beyond acting and writing, it’s obvious that the family asset is the eyebrows. How much coaching has there been on-set about utilizing them for comedic purposes?
Eugene: The only thing I did was to make sure they’re insured.
Daniel: I don’t know whether it’s the larger the brow, the more muscle you have to move them? But I will say that the ability to move your eyebrows is a freedom.
Eugene: Hopefully it’s not a burden, and I mean a physical burden.
Daniel: It’s not a burden now; I feel like I’ve grown into it. High school was tougher.

The second season of Schitt’s Creek premieres March 16 on Pop. Catch the cast at “Schitt’s Creek Screening and Conversation” at 92nd Street Y on March 14 at 7:30pm. $35 with $15 tickets available for ages 35 and under.

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