×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Esther Povitsky Says ‘Alone Together’ Was Created From ‘Not Being Able to Get a Job’

Alone Together,” Freeform’s new half-hour comedy, has been four years in the making for stand-up comedians Esther Povitsky and Benji Aflalo.

The duo came up in the comedy scene together, training with improv groups like Second City and The Groundlings, and in 2014 they turned their platonic relationship into a short film after a friend told them that their “weird” relationship, which Povitsky calls “almost like siblings,” would make a good show. The two thought it was worth a try. Their short film was shared socially online, and eventually it led them to a meeting with The Lonely Island, which led to a sale to the cable network recommitting to trying their hand at comedy. (“Baby Daddy” ended in May 2017, but that same month “Black-ish” spinoff “Grown-ish” was ordered to accompany “Alone Together” on the schedule.)

“We sold it everywhere we pitched it, but we ended up choosing Freeform because they had nothing like us, and they really expressed that they really wanted us,” says Povitsky, who was on Variety’s 10 Comics To Watch list last year. “It felt like a cool opportunity to be in a space, as two stand-up comedians, to discover new land in the comedy world. We could get in on the ground floor, and that is a risk, but let’s take that risk.”

What felt less risky to Povitsky was creating the material for herself and her friend, with her friend. Already living in Los Angeles for half a dozen years and experiencing auditions that were “really few and far between” and never seemed to really fit who she was anyway, she saw great value in carving out a place for herself.

“It was born out of the reality of not being able to get a job but it became the thing I really wanted most,” Povitsky says. “And it also came from being a stand-up and realizing I do have something to say.”

Like their stand-up, “Alone Together” mines both Povitsky and Aflalo’s real lives for its storytelling. “It’s me but exaggerated,” Povitsky says of the character who shares her name. “We’re both short and the youngest siblings and have parents who don’t think we’re that special.”

When breaking stories, Povitsky says she was eager to say “Here is this thing that I’ve done” or “Here is this thing that I want to do” to include everything from episodes about camping out at a makeup pop up store for the latest trends in lipsticks to trying to date Benji’s brother (played by fellow stand-up Chris D’Elia).

“In real life I would not try that,” Povitsky says of dating Aflalo’s brother. “I know my place in life. That’s never going to be me. But in the show I’m a little more delusional, and I try to go for it.”

The show also breaks down the construct that men and women can’t just be platonic friends. Although other characters within the show constantly ask Povitsky and Aflalo’s characters why they aren’t dating each other, both are very confident in the fact that they really are just friends. The tension comes not between them because of “will they or won’t they” but from forces all around them as they struggle to find their place in the world — and find romantic partners they are actually interested in.

Povitsky booked a recurring role on the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” while she was developing “Alone Together” and credits Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, the showrunners of that deconstructed romcom, as an inspiration for her as she has moved along in the process of her own show.

“I try to absorb every part of it because I think they’re both so powerful and so good at what they do and motivating,” Povitsky says of Bloom and McKenna.

For them, Povitsky portrays a millennial working in a law firm — a character she admits is still “a version” of herself. But while she has fun with characters who are still just figuring things out, she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed, nor does she go so far as to say she or her new show has the definitive millennial voice.

“I want the show to be well-received. I want it to resonate with people [and] I hope people who get me find it and connect with it because there’s so much of me in it,” Povitsky says. “But I don’t ever think of things in terms of labels or boxes. For me, it’s always just been, ‘What’s true to me? What do I really think here?’ And that’s how things get written for ‘Alone Together.’”

“Alone Together” premieres Jan. 10 at 8:30pm on Freeform with a second season already ordered.

More TV

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Norman Reedus and Ryan Hurst'The Walking

    Norman Reedus on 'The Walking Dead' Without Andrew Lincoln: 'He's With Me Every Day'

    After saying goodbye to most of the original cast on “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus still feels his former co-stars with him during each episode. “I’ve seen so many people come and go,” he said during a “Walking Dead” panel on Friday at PaleyFest. “Right now on the show, the ghosts of all those guys [...]

  • Series Mania: De Mensen, Reel One

    Series Mania: First Details on Co-Pro Pitching Project 'Capturing Big Mouth' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LILLE, France — Belgian production company De Mensen, which has just been acquired by France’s Newen, has teamed with Reel One Entertainment on a new cross-continental thriller series, “Capturing Big Mouth. The series will be pitched Monday at this year’s Series Mania Forum Co-pro Pitching section. It chronicles the unlikely rise and eventual fall of [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    Viacom, DirecTV Make Progress in Contract Talks, No Blackout After Deadline Passes

    UPDATED: Viacom and DirecTV executives went down to the wire Friday on a combative contract renewal negotiation with high stakes for both sides. The companies stayed in talks past the midnight Eastern contract expiration and the channels stayed up on AT&T’s platforms. Sources indicated early Saturday that the threat of a blackout had been averted. [...]

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content