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Chris Geere, Aya Cash, Desmin Borges and Kether Donohue – Who’s the Worst?

Updated: Apr 2

Kether Donohue, Aya Cash, Chris Geere and Desmin Borges star in "You're the Worst."

Kether Donohue, Aya Cash, Chris Geere and Desmin Borges star in “You’re the Worst.”

Aya Cash, Chris Geere, Desmin Borges and Kether Donohue

Who’s The Worst?

by Jay S. Jacobs

The missing component in most romantic comedies is a refreshing dose of hardened cynicism, and FX’s new series You’re the Worst has a heaping helping of that special ingredient.  The show is basically an anti-Valentine, a perfect bouquet of pitch black flowers which earns its laughs through a jaded look at a budding relationship between two of the most hilariously self-centered protagonists in recent memory.

Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) are gleefully inappropriate in almost all situations.  They meet not-so-cutely at the wedding of Jimmy’s ex, where he is thrown out of the ceremony for telling the bride off on her day.  Gretchen, in the meantime is stealing a gift in hopes of getting a food processor.  Despite the fact that the pissed-off bride is Gretchen’s best friend’s sister (or perhaps because of that), they impulsively go back to Jimmy’s for a zipless one-night-stand.

However, because they both are sure it will be a one-time thing, they open themselves up to each other a bit more than they expected and find themselves, surprisingly, not quite ready to slink off into the night for a walk of shame.  It begs the surprising and somewhat poignant question: can two people who disdain romantic love resist it when they meet their (im)perfect match?

In the meantime, the couple’s halting progress is watched by each member’s similarly eccentric best friends.  Jimmy’s buddy is Edgar (Desmin Borges) a former soldier turned pot dealer who is crashing at Jimmy’s house.  Gretchen’s bestie is Lindsay (Kether Donohue), who is unhappily married and living vicariously through Gretchen.

The four cross and double-cross paths throughout modern Los Angeles: borrowing cars, avoiding work, playing video games, occasionally working, tormenting book-store owners, and incisively dissecting the characters of the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

It’s the type of thing that has the potential to backfire, but You’re the Worst – created by Weeds and Orange is the New Black exec Stephen Falk – is smart enough to show just enough of their tainted humanity to let his characters grow on us… slowly, insidiously.  Besides, most of the best comedies have imperfect characters.  After all, when you think about it, the characters in Seinfeld were all pretty awful people, too.

One thing You’re the Worst has on its side is a surprisingly strong cast of semi-obscure actors.  They are mostly known for their impressive theatrical backgrounds, but also have pretty solid filmographies.  They are consistently extremely likable, even when what their characters are doing is not always.

Chris Geere is a star in his native England, starring in TV shows such as Waterloo Road, Pete Versus Life and last year’s US debut with Will Smith in M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth.  Aya Cash made a big splash last year in a flashy arc of The Newsroom as an Occupy Wall Street leader and in the role of Leonardo DiCaprio’s secretary in The Wolf of Wall Street.  Desmin Borges has been in such films as Tower Heist, Compliance and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  Kether Donohue caused a splash in recent films like Pitch Perfect and Barry Levinson’s The Bay.

We recently got to hang out with the four series regulars as they were getting ready to film at a gorgeous home in Alta Dena, California.  (The series is completely shot on Los Angeles-area locations, no sound stages for these guys…)  They gave us a sneak peek of the new series and also let us know who they think really is the worst.

Aya Cash stars in "You're the Worst."

Aya Cash stars in “You’re the Worst.”

What was it about this show and this character that intrigued you?

Aya Cash: (jokingly) Well, the money.  That was the main point of this job.  Also, you read a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff is very bad.  This made me laugh out loud and shocked the hell out of me.  (laughs)  So, that’s always good.  It terrified me, which is always a good reason to do something.  (laughs again)

Chris Geere: When we first got the pilot, which was a long time ago, now, it was… firstly, rude – which is exciting from an actor’s point of view, because then you get to explore the world of that.  It was just very quick.  It was very funny.  The characters were very different, which is great.  There weren’t any characters that were very similar.  So that interested me from the very start.  I was just thinking I love the pace of it.  I love the pace of the show.  That, from an actor’s point of view, is great as a starting point.  Because you’re like: this is going to be great fun.  It’s going to be a great project.

Desmin Borges: This is my second time, luckily, getting to work with [show runner] Stephen [Falk].  I was on his previous series on NBC, Next Caller [with Dane Cook] that eventually didn’t make it to the air.  There is a very lovely balance of comedy and heart that I feel like Stephen always has underlying all the characters, specifically the two characters that he has cast me as.  Whenever I get a nice mix of both of those, it sucks me right in.

Kether Donohue: At first glance you can say: well, it’s just a funny character.  Lindsay could have very easily just been written as a caricature, a funny, kind of ditzy girl.  What I love about Lindsay, and especially, I can’t wait until you’ve seen the whole season, literally, every episode the storyline just deepens.  You see a real human being going through something really tragic in her marriage.  That conflict between not knowing who you are and wanting to please your parents and compete with your sister and being married for the wrong reasons.  Just trying to please everyone else except yourself.  Not really knowing who you are.  At what cost?  What crazy things do you do because of that?

Chris Geere stars in the FX comedy "You're the Worst."

Chris Geere stars in the FX comedy “You’re the Worst.”

Is it sort of freeing to play a character who is so… well… proudly inappropriate?

Chris Geere: Yeah!  Absolutely.  I think he’s great, because he’s the voice of what everyone else is thinking, and yet too polite to ever say.  I was saying earlier that being a typical British person, I’m too polite and I keep everything to myself.  Sweep it under the carpet.  But he just says it how it is, however awful that turns out to be.  When he finally meets Gretchen, who is exactly the same like that, of course it’s inevitable that they get together.

Kether Donohue: It’s so funny… I don’t want to give stuff away, but the things I have done (chuckles) in the past few months are so fun.  I’ve been attacked by goats.  I’ve hung off an aerial yoga rope while fighting with my sister.  I don’t want to give stuff away, but Lindsay does some crazy, outlandish things.  It’s really fun.

Aya Cash: It’s a blast.  She just sort of lives in the id.  It’s all immediate and worry about the consequences later.  And she’s just a big old liar.  I love that.

Desmin Borges: Anytime we get to test the waters and push the limits outside of the box as an actor, it’s very exciting.  For Edgar specifically, because he is such an in-the-box frame.  When you are doing two different tours [in the military], you get used to everyone [complying].  Your clothes are picked out.  Your toothbrush is picked out.  Your toothpaste, the exact type.  Two pairs of shoes that you have.  The hair gel that you use.  It’s all right there for you.  So to be able to navigate and reach out, I think that’s pretty exciting for him.

Do you think it is possible for two people this self-centered to find love together?

Chris Geere: Yeah, absolutely.  I’ve never said that they are bad people.  They make bad choices.  But they are normal people who have been hurt in the past.  Have problems.  Have issues.  But when they get together, those issues start unraveling and then you get to the actual crux of who these people are.  Which is they are two messed up people who have been dealt a bad hand.  They help each other find the truth and the happiness in it.

Do you think there is anything that is too far for Gretchen?

Aya Cash: Gretchen is never intentionally trying to hurt people.  In fact, she’s often trying to prevent them from being hurt.  So I don’t think there is much malice in Gretchen.  I don’t think she would actively try to cause people pain.  If it happens and it’s their fault, she’s not going to baby them.  But she’s not a malicious person, so she wouldn’t do anything [purposely mean].

Desmin Borges stars in the new FX series "You're the Worst."

Desmin Borges stars in the new FX series “You’re the Worst.”

You have an interesting character.  I mean, in a strange way, he’s the voice of reason here, but he is still a pot dealer and mooching a place to stay…  Did you find that an interesting contradiction for the character?

Desmin Borges: I did.  I did.  I grew up in Chicago.  I lived in Houston.  Back to Chicago for school.  Now I live in Brooklyn.  I feel like I’ve been around a couple of really intelligent, really sensitive drug dealers in my life.  So it wasn’t really hard to make that connection.  Not that I know them personally, they were just around where I was hanging.  Just so that we’re clear about that.  (Laughs)  But, yeah, someone who elevates themselves in one degree, I always think it’s interesting when they are able to elevate themselves emotionally or intelligently on the other end.

What was the most awkward thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? Have you ever seen someone almost completely trash one like Jimmy ends up doing in the pilot?

Aya Cash: Man, I feel like all weddings are disastrous.  (laughs)  My own, there was a tornado.  We had to go in the basement.  We lost power.  The food wasn’t made.  It was amazing.  I’m actually just not a fan of weddings in general.  I think they’re sort of silly.  Except when they’re your own and you’re like: (in a sing-song voice) “This is amazing!  Everybody I love!  And the attention’s on me!”

Chris Geere: Oh, well very easy answer.  Just [getting] drunk.  Everyone’s been to a wedding, if you’re not the person who gets drunk at a wedding [there is one].  We had someone at our wedding… oh, no, I can’t talk about this… (shrugs)  Yeah, maybe…  There was someone at our wedding who at the end of the night was eating butter out of a dish.

Kether Donohue stars in the FX comedy "You're the Worst."

Kether Donohue stars in the FX comedy “You’re the Worst.”

Kether Donohue: You know, it’s so weird, I feel like I only went to weddings when I was really little.  As a flower girl.  I haven’t been to a wedding in so long.  But I went to a quinceañera when I was 15 and my cousin told me that I had a mustache.  I was traumatized after that.  That was pretty funny.  (laughs)

Chris Geere: I don’t think anyone behaves bad at a wedding on purpose.  It’s just they’re upset and miserable in their own life.  The wedding is a wonderful platform for you to really express how you feel about love.  So that’s why it’s a great starting point for the whole series.  You get a mixture of people that are really happy with themselves, really unhappy with themselves, or the third kind, which is pretending they are happy, but they’re not.  Eventually that’s going to come out.  That’s why Jimmy gets thrown out and Gretchen steals a gift.  And, yeah, they end up together.

What was the oddest circumstance in which you met someone … or the experience where you met someone that you knew was wrong for you but just did it anyway? 

Aya Cash: I met someone off a site called Friendster, back in the day.  He messaged me and we dated for like a month, but it was a bad idea from the beginning.  We were so embarrassed to say that we met off of Friendster that we reenacted meeting on the subway and then told that story to everyone.  So we had a fake meeting story.  That was the weirdest thing.

Desmin Borges: The oddest circumstance?  Oh, you know what?  When Tinder [a matchmaking phone app] came out, like last summer.  I was here in LA and I went to Mexico with a couple of friends.  They were on this Tinder thing for so long.  So, I was like: man, I’m so bored.  I’m not talking to anybody.  I’m not even talking with my buddies that I’m here in Mexico with.  I’m going to go and download the app and go on Tinder.  I did.  I went to San Diego to meet this girl.  When I got there, she looked nothing like she looked in the pictures.  The first question she asked me was, “Do I look like I looked in my pictures?”  I got in my car as quickly as I could and drove back to Mexico.  (laughs)

Chris Geere: I lied once.  I met someone in a nightclub once and I told them that I was about to be in the new Superman film, so that she would find me attractive.  Then, for some unknown reason she did.  I was with her for six months and for four of those months, I was about to go and film Superman.  The project kept getting pushed, until I had to reveal to her that I was lying in the first place.  So, yeah, I think people will do whatever they can to get what they want.

In a lot of ways, the first two episodes got rather explicit.  When you were originally reading the script, were you wondering if you could do this, or did you find it an interesting challenge?

Aya Cash: You know, it’s all so funny.  I was like totally down for it.  Then I got the job and I was like, “Oh, my God, I have to do what???!!!”  But I just think it’s brilliant and Gretchen is hilarious.  In some other world, I want to be her.  I’m too much of a nice person.  (laughs)

Chris Geere: I thought it was interesting.  I never thought: Oh, this is going to be too awkward, because it is a comedy.  That allowed us to make it funny.  It was never meant to be sexy, which takes the pressure off an awful lot.  Because anyone who attempts to look sexy doesn’t.  When two people get together intimately for the first time, it’s never really that sexy.  So we were trying to make that as accurate as possible.

Desmin Borges: You’re not doing it right.  (They both laugh.)

Aya Cash and Chris Geere star in the FX comedy "You're the Worst."

Aya Cash and Chris Geere star in the FX comedy “You’re the Worst.”

What parts of your character are most like you and what parts are hardest to come to grips with as an actor?

Chris Geere: We have the same hair.  (laughs)  The hardest to get a grasp on is his sheer confidence in social situations, in terms of telling the truth.  He will just say whatever he thinks, where I would normally not.  But I think hopefully we’re both charming.  (shrugs)  I never wanted to be the stereotypical Brit in an American sitcom.  I didn’t want to try and be someone else.  I wanted to be this guy who has been dealt a bad hand and he’s now in Los Angeles trying to find his fame and fortune.

Aya Cash: I’d say the hardest is her overt sexuality, which I think is actually very empowering to her.  She definitely gets around.  I’ve been with the same person for almost ten years.  (laughs)  So that’s very different for me, leading with that foot.  But in many ways she’s sort of similar to me, in terms of her dark humor really appeals to me.  She’s much funnier than me because someone else is writing her lines.  But I’d say her humor is similar.  We’re also the same height.

Who is your favorite Ferris Bueller character?

Aya Cash: (laughs) Cameron [Ferris’ best friend played by Alan Ruck] The opposite of Gretchen.  I’m just a big fan of Ferris himself.  But everyone’s amazing.

Desmin Borges: Sloane [Ferris’ girlfriend played by Mia Sara].  Yeah!  When I was that age, any girl who wore that hat like that, I was in on it.  That Debbie Gibson hat?  That was my jam.

Chris Geere: My favorite Ferris Bueller character was Jennifer Grey.  I quite liked her.  Jennifer Grey.  Was it pre-Dirty Dancing?  It was.  Yeah, she was great.  Have you seen the Ferris Bueller episode?

Yes, I have…

Chris Geere: Aah…  It’s funny.  Stephen is so passionate about Ferris Bueller.  I think he’s seen it hundreds of times.  So that was fun, because I obviously have seen it before, but when I read episode two, it gave me the opportunity to re-watch it and realize how awesome it is.  Just hearing and reading and learning his way of thinking about it was great.

Most of the stars here have a strong theatrical background.  How do you think that experience adds to vibe of the show?

Kether Donohue: Yeah, it’s crazy, none of us are from California.  I met Aya in 2010, because we’re both New York actors.  Desmin is also from New York.  New York is such a small acting community.  Honestly, the majority of my friends I’ve met at auditions.  You’re always at the same auditions and you just become friends with them.  I do think it’s interesting.  Also, Chris being from England, British actors have a very strong theatrical background as well.

Chris Geere: Yeah.  I think all of the four leads really, we have different energies.  As characters and actors and hopefully, from what I can tell working on set, you put any two of those characters together and those energies work.  But any two characters together are going to be so different from the other two together.  Which makes it interesting, it’s not like four very similar people.  They are four very messed up people, who just happen to have an awful lot in common as well.

Desmin Borges: It’s like being on a mini New York stage.  The great thing about working on television together is you get that same sort of ensemble family element that you get by working in a play.  Eight hour days.  Four weeks in a row.  Two weeks of tech and then running the show.  You get to really bond.  We get to do the same thing here.  They’re the best, even though they are kind of the worst.  But they’re the best.

Aya Cash: I think the fact that none of us live in LA really helps, because we all hang out when we’re not on set.  None of us live here, so it’s really fun.  We like to explore the city together.  I think that contributes.  In terms of theater, I don’t know.  Theater breeds a collaborative spirit.  We’re all interested in collaborating.  Nobody is interested in taking over or making it about them.  Maybe that’s contributed to all of us working together well.

Kether Donohue: I think it helps.  I think that’s probably one of the reasons we all got cast, because we had to do chemistry reads together.  When you do come from the theater, you are trained to be really in the moment and not rely on editing.  You have to be fresh and keep it fresh every night.  I think we all have that chemistry with each other, where we’re able to try things.  Just be spontaneous and play.  Not take ourselves too seriously.

Chris Geere and Aya Cash star in the FX comedy "You're the Worst."

Chris Geere and Aya Cash star in the FX comedy “You’re the Worst.”

Los Angeles is such a big part of the series, is it fun being able to film on locations?

Aya Cash: It’s great.  It’s like shooting a film.  You get to go everywhere and discover all these [places]… especially because I’m not from LA.  It’s been really fun to explore, specifically the east side.  I’d never been to Alta Dena, where we are now.  Atwater Village and all these great little spots.  It’s been really fun for me, because I don’t know LA, so that’s been great.

Desmin Borges: Yeah.  It keeps it fresh.  It’s also really great to actually be in environments and not in a stale place.  To create weather and how it interacts.  The energy of LA is very different than our energy, us four.  Kether, Aya and myself, we all live in Brooklyn.  Chris lives in far east Brooklyn, in Manchester.  You take our sensibilities and our energies and mix them with the laid back and chill style of LA and I like how they compliment and they contrast each other.

Kether Donohue: Yes, absolutely.  As you say, the other day I was doing a scene where my character was doing aerial yoga.  Before the scene we did a rehearsal with the yoga instructor.  It’s really fun.  Also, in the pilot I’m driving the car.  I am really driving the Cadillac.  Or a Jaguar.  (laughs)

What is life like in LA?

Kether Donohue: A lot of driving.  A lot.  Actually I did live in LA for three years.  2010 to 2013.  Before I moved out here in 2010, I didn’t have a driver’s license, because I’m from New York and I didn’t need one.  The move happened very quick.  I literally learned how to drive in New York in one week.  My ex-boyfriend at the time taught me.  He moved out with me and he was like, “I’m not going to be your chauffeur.  When I get to LA, you’re going to need to drive.”  I’m like: I agree.  He taught me in one week and then I got my first speeding ticket the first day I moved here.  That was probably the first adjustment that I had to make.

Chris Geere: It’s been wonderful.  I’ve only been here for the series.  So, I’ve only been here for three months, and then I have to go back to real life, as it is.  The weather is something that I will never take for granted here.  I’m very grateful for it every day, because it hasn’t stopped raining in England since I’ve left.  It has not rained here once in the entire time I’ve been here, which is great.  I still can’t drive.  Absolutely useless at driving.  Slow.  Bad.  On the wrong side of the road.  And the food out here is amazing.  So much choice and all that.  I think one day I would never rule out coming to live here permanently, if you’ll have me.

Aya Cash: I’m working all the time.  (laughs)  I’m eating out a lot.  I’m trying to explore the food scene here, because I really love to eat.  But mainly I’m just working.  I have some friends here from New York.  Making some new friends.  But there’s a lot of working and then sitting at home and learning my lines.  (laughs again)

Kether Donohue: I really like living in LA.  Right outside my apartment I have a hiking trail.  I really like driving, because I’m still kind of new at it.  I like the LA lifestyle.

Desmin Borges and Chris Geere star in the FX comedy "You're the Worst."

Desmin Borges and Chris Geere star in the FX comedy “You’re the Worst.”