In 2009, FX debuted The League, a sitcom created by Jeff Schaffer (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and starring a slew of familiar faces. The show’s subject matter was highly relatable — five friends competing in a fantasy football league. However, these five friends will do literally anything in their power to sabotage their opponents in order to win their league trophy, “The Shiva.”
While the series’ main focus was predominantly fantasy football, it’s evolved into something much more. With an immensely talented cast, terrific writing, and hilarious recurring gags; The League has become one of the best-kept secrets on television. At the 2014 New York Comic Con, the cast and creators sat down with us to discuss the show, which is currently in the middle of its sixth season and talked about the future of The League.
Andre (played hilariously by comedian Paul Scheer) is the quintessential character you love to hate. He is always making bad decisions, saying inappropriate things at the worst time, and is constantly being berated by his friends. Andre has produced some of most cringe worthiest moments on television and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
While promoting the latest season (which comes to a conclusion on November 19) at New York Comic Con, we spoke with Paul Scheer about playing “Teflon Andre,” frittatas, the Redskins and if the show will ever get to a point where playing the fantasy league is not going matter anymore.
What’s the worst insult Andre could get where he’s like, “I can’t get over it?”
I feel like then the show would be over. The show will end in Andre’s suicide.
The Teflon Andre storyline was a nice change of pace. Do you think you could have kept going?
Yeah, I do. It’s interesting. I think this season they’ve actually back out of “rough on Andre.” Last year was oppressive. I feel like they’ve found the balance again a little bit more. I think Teflon Andre was a good way to off set it a little bit. It should have lasted, maybe, like a couple episodes. Give it a little arc.
Where did the vice grips come from?
From Jeff and Jackie, that was their whole thing about that I masturbate so much. That was in the script, and basically they just needed someone squeeze Kevin’s balls.
Do you ever find yourself using terms like “frittata” in real life?
Yeah, frittata is a great term to use in real life because the word that it’s replacing you can’t use. So if you say it, it’s great and you get away with saying a word.
We just saw an exclusive episode where you picked up anyone you wanted from the Washington Redskins. Is that kind of a Teflon Andre sequel, like now he’s got a little bit of power?
You’re going to see as the season goes on that he gets lucky a couple times. No more slams, I don’t think, anymore.
Do you think we’ll ever get to a point where playing the fantasy league is not going matter anymore?
I think that was the big problem with the show, in my opinion, in the beginning. People immediately went, “I’m not watching this show. I don’t know anything about football or fantasy. That’s not for me.” If you are into fantasy and football, it’s great and you can get stuff from it, but I think this show is just about a group of people. No one wants to watch a show about stats. There’s a dude on Tumblr who literally goes through and corrects us with like, “Your team is this” and “This is what the points were” and “Mark should have won Season 2.” That’s fun! It’s there as a backdrop for machinations of the characters. Fantasy Football inherently is boring to anybody but you and the people in your league. If you tell me about your league, I don’t care, but I’m so passionate about my league because it’s me and I know what’s going on in it. The worst you want to do is watch people go like, “Oh my fictional player lost fictional points.” I think it’s finding that balance, the reliability, but also not making a show beholden to it.
On the same vein as the Redskins fiasco, how would Andre use the Ray Rice and Baltimore Ravens travesty to get ahead?
So Andre gets a cat, and he gets into an abusive relationship. His cat starts abusing him. There’s some footage and it gets seen by a lot of people. Actually, we were going to show that clip today, but FX wouldn’t let us show it out of context.
We’ve met every other character’s parents or grandparents, but we never met Andre’s. What about his?
I would love to see Andre’s parents. I don’t know what they could be. I know that Sarah (Silverman) is my sister. I have no idea what that mix would be. We’ll see.
Do you ever have a moment on set where you go, “Guys, give me more. You’re not being hard enough”?
To me, it’s funnier when we can get it in an oblivious sense. When we do stuff like the corn cob where I’m talking about how much I love cob and I like to eat dirty cob. That to me is way more fun than any sort of insult. You can be an insult guy like, “Fuck you, you dickhead,” that’s fine but there’s nothing to do. But when you can play a bigger game, like when Andre gets dressed up as a woman, there’s something more to do. Those are always the most fun. We just build this insane kind of heightening.
Catch Paul Scheer on The League ever Wednesday night on FXX.