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Jorma Taccone on Girls, the ‘Hipster’ Game, and Facing Brian Williams

Jorma Taccone
Jorma Taccone Photo: DAVID CROTTY/Patrick McMullan

Among its many Robyn-related delights, last night’s Girls featured a familiar face running some less than familiar — for him, at least — game. Yes, that was the Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone hitting on Allison Williams outside the High Line. And yes, Taccone’s crass and hilarious pickup line (“The first time I fuck you, I might scare you a little. Because I’m a man, and I know how to do things”) was enough to inspire a gallery-bathroom masturbation scene from the usually uptight Marnie. Vulture caught up with Taccone to discuss that line, the sex on Girls, and what it was like to face Brian Williams after saying such vulgar things to his daughter.

So how was this part pitched to you?
I auditioned for the part. I was psyched to even be asked to audition, and went in and had such a good time with Lena and Jenni [Konner] and all the writers there. Luckily she liked my slightly more serious acting. [Laughs.] And I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Let’s go ahead and talk about “the line.” What did you think when you read it for the first time?
Well, I asked Lena a few times if she was sure she wanted me to do this. But I thought it was great. [Laughs.] It’s so intense and hilarious at the same time. In terms of improv or anything like that, we didn’t add too much on set. I think the only line I added was “See ya later!” after the line, which seemed appropriate. But with Lena, everything’s on the page.

Is it supposed to be appealing?
Um, no … no, but I think it’s clearly appealing to Allison’s character, because she goes and masturbates afterward. [Laughs.] But I think I’m also appealing in contrast, specifically, to her boyfriend, who she’s clearly had some difficult times with how great of a guy he is. I think in that way, I’m maybe appealing. [Laughs.] I think more than anything what’s so great about the show is that things were meant to feel like everyone believes what they’re saying, obviously, and so I’ve been trying to play it as real as possible, which I think is sort of both funny and hopefully works on a couple levels of why it’s funny and why it feels maybe relatable, in maybe you met someone like that before.

Lena said it was based on someone who said it to her.
I think a lot of the show has that feel to it, like it feels like this has happened to her before or happened to someone she knew.

But then the guy said, “That’s what my friend who works at Vice taught me to say.”
Oh my God, so it’s like a hipster version of — what’s the male version of The Rules? The Game? It’s like a hipster version of The Game.

Do you think it’ll work on Marnie?
I dunno. If she’s willing to masturbate about him, then maybe, but who knows how that awkwardness plays out in a show that feels very real like that. I don’t know what would happen if they met a second time.

Were you on set during the masturbation scene?
You mean to give Allison motivation? [Laughs.] No, I was not. I don’t think that would’ve helped. [Laughs.] It was actually very funny because I love Allison, she’s great, but I did not know that she was related to her father.

You didn’t know she was Brian Williams’s daughter?
Not at the time. Not when we shot it. And obviously we’ve worked with him before at SNL, and I know him pretty well, and he’s really a funny, sweet human being, but as we were driving home and she revealed who her father was I was like, “Oh nooo! Oh no, Brian’s gonna kill me!” [Laughs.] And then when I saw him on Saturday, I saw him at 30 Rock like a week later and he was like, “YOU! I heard the things you said to my daughter!” [Laughs.] It was great, it was great. But I had no idea Brian was her dad until after the fact.

How do you feel about the way men are portrayed on the show — not just your character, but more generally?
Are you kidding? It’s great! There’s so few things that are more woman-oriented, that have heard from a woman’s perspective; I think it’s great. I think she can do whatever she likes, however she’d like to talk about men. And that’s sweet, that there’s different variations of, like — Charlie’s an incredibly sweet character. He may be put-upon or whatever. But it’s more than time for a young woman’s perspective to be put on TV.

What about the sex itself? People are concerned.
Because of the intensity-slash-violence kind of thing involved in it?

Some critics feel like it’s not really happy sex that’s being shown.
I think sex is a bizarre thing that we don’t always talk about, and you know, it’s awkward. I’ve been with my wife for thirteen years, so I don’t know what the dating scene is like, but I can only imagine how bizarre it is with the Internet and the weird kinds of things people are getting influenced by. And I think it’s an important thing to talk about and address in a humorous way that allows us to hopefully communicate about it and start a dialogue about it. Because I think that there’s probably really strange things that both men and women have gone through, and in particular women, with the dynamics of sex, and so I think it’s maybe a good thing for us to be able to talk about.

Jorma Taccone on Girls and Facing Brian Williams