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.
There has never been a female character on television quite like Jenny MacArthur. She is a wife, a mother of two, and also a fantasy football obsessed sociopath with a mouth like a sailor. After the first couple seasons she went from playing Kevin’s wife to another insane member of The League. She is currently the Shiva Bowl Champion and this season has already faked having breast cancer so that she could get out of a bake sale.
Katie Aselton (who plays Jenny) sat down with a small group of press at New York Comic Con to discuss Jenny’s influence on her kids, if she was allowed to bring home The Shiva, and if she will ever find a female friend.
So Jenny’s kind of a guy’s girl. How do women react to you?
They real like me. They want to be me and that’s great. [Laughs] No, I think it’s really fun to play a really strong, outspoken woman on television. It’s a great role. It’s such a fun role and Jenny really holds her own in this group and I think it’s really inspiring. I would like to apologize to all the husbands out there with very sassy wives because of me, but to the women out there that are like “Oh God, I just want to be in a marriage like Kevin and Jenny!” No you don’t. That’s a terrible marriage you guys, it’s really sad and horrible and awful. Don’t let people talk to you like that.
Does Ellie stand a chance in life?
Oh God no. [Laughs] Not a chance. She has a great episode this season where Kevin and Jenny find it easier to watch a football game if they put Ellie and CB in Sunday school. So Ellie finds Jesus and it’s kind of amazing.
Last season you jerked off a dog.
This season you’re faking cancer.
Yeah what’s your problem? [Laughs]
Is there a point where you say, “Guys I don’t think we can go much further.”
You know I thought jerking off the dog was going to be low point. [Laughs] I did. Then I got the scripts for this year. But what I realized is, I grew up as the youngest of four kids in a very funny family. All my siblings were considerably older then me, I was a very lovely surprise. I was also the butt of every joke forever, which would bum me out and bring me to tears. But now I realize it’s just so funny to be in on the joke. It’s so fun for me as an actor that I get to be in on the joke rather then standing next to the joke, which is where I was for the first couple seasons. I would so much rather get verbally shat on then being like “Eww…Taco or Kevin!” I say those things so easily because that’s what comes out of my mouth regularly. So to be in the crux of the breast cancer episode, I think they did it really well. I mean do I like to be told that I look like that I have breast cancer because I have a flat chest? No I don’t like that. That doesn’t feel good. Do I like to be in on the joke? Yes, and that is the sick thing about comedians.
When did you learn you were winning the Shiva bowl?
Right before it happened. They wouldn’t tell me that ever because I sit down at tables like this and I’m like, “Hey guys guess what? Guess who’s winning the Shiva?” So no, I don’t know who is winning the Shiva this year. I didn’t know last year until we started shooting that episode.
What happens to the actual Shiva trophy on set? Do you take it home during the off-season?
Props guys have it. It’s very sacred. We don’t have a ton of money to make this show so there’s really only one Shiva and it has been broken. When it breaks, it’s like a tragedy. They don’t trust us with it.
Will Jenny ever find a female friend?
God I hope so, but I can’t imagine who would want to be friends with her. I mean she’s not a great girlfriend. It’s not shocking to me that she doesn’t have friends, but as an actress I would love another girl on set with that’s not Alina (Foley – who plays her daughter).
Can Jenny stand to have another female in The League?
I think that she would really get incredibly cut throat with her. It’s like Gossip Girl for grown-ups.
You are around Ellie so much and you are saying terrible things around her. Are you ever worried about what you say in front of her?
No, the only thing that I am super aware of is she walked on to set the other day and hadn’t looked at her lines and I was like “no you don’t learn that from us. You don’t get to do that. If you see any of us doing that it’s terrible and you should call us on that. You have to be better than we are.” But as far as ruining her childhood and innocence, I think that happened a long time ago so I’m much less aware of it now. She and I have a great relationship where we talk pretty straight about school, and her friends and how it’s all going down. I really like that kind. She’s got a cool dad too. Her dad is Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall. This is not the first place she has heard this shit.
Catch Katie Aselton on The League tonight on FXX.
Al Mannarino is the music editor for Pop-Break as well as the host of the News Over Brews Podcast. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History and is currently a Promotions Assistant for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino