Tuesday night, the second episode of HBO’s How to With John Wilson debuted at Vulture Festival, and we learned everything we never knew we wanted to know about scaffolding, but also the craft of documentary comedy. The titular John Wilson himself and executive producer Michael Koman sat down with Vulture for a conversation after the screening about how this show came to be all that it is. While Wilson had been making short documentaries online for many years, the show’s method also has a lot to do with Nathan for You, the show that Koman co-created with Nathan Fielder, who is also an executive producer on the HBO docuseries.
Much like Nathan, the new HBO comedy relies heavily on interviews with random people, a method that introduces a pretty significant amount of unpredictability to the production. Wilson remembers how Fielder explained what each episode really needed, “He stressed that we needed to have at least one moment in every episode where the audience just feels like ‘oh my God, I can not believe you captured that.” It’s a standard Wilson says he kept in mind throughout the first season of the show. And no, it’s not possible to plan for people to say outrageous things. “It’s really just a numbers game,” Wilson explained. “Just the more people you talk to, the higher the probability is you’ll get something that’s really one of a kind.”
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