“Kidding” scribe Dave Holstein doesn’t like a lot of distractions when he writes. “I prefer a windowless room in a corner,” he says. “Just an internet connection and some silence is my M.O.” But in the year and a half since he has had a home on the Sony lot, he has filled his space with comforts, gifts and nostalgia to ensure a productive and inviting environment. The central item may be a bright orange throne-style chair in which he hopes to wire speakers, but a pickle-green couch is also key to “mix up” where he writes.
Framed behind Holstein’s desk is the title card from the eighth episode of “Kidding.” Each episode of the show features a different main titles sequence. Holstein was inspired to do it on his show after working on “Weeds,” which also themed unique sequences to its episodes. “It lets you be as creative as possible.” “Kidding’s” titles are done by director Michel Gondry with “his iPhone and his hands and construction paper.” The eighth episode featured the Secret Chef meal and was Holstein’s favorite one, so he displayed it prominently.
Holstein says he doesn’t really drink, but he is happy to host others. That’s why he keeps a “notes bar” across from his desk where his staff can imbibe to celebrate good network notes or lament uncomfortable ones. The focal point is a metal globe that holds bottles, an item he has carried over from his days on HBO’s “The Brink,” but an important recent addition is a set of coasters the “Kidding” art department gave him as a wrap gift after Season 1. They feature select areas on the Pickle Barrel Falls map from the show, and Holstein opted not to frame them because he likes to pick them up and feel how “tactile” they are. “There’s so much creativity on the show and so many products that come out of our fake industry that it’s fun as a reminder of how far we can go,” he says.
Out of This World
On Holstein’s desk sits a rocket ship found at the Pasadena flea market a few years back, but it isn’t an ordinary tchotchke: The top unscrews so you can pour alcohol inside, and it also plays a lullaby. “The question I get a lot when I write is, ‘What’s the tone?’ We ride a very specific tone so I always pick it up and say, ‘This is the tone,’” Holstein says. “It’s dark, it has a bit of childhood nostalgia in it and you can drink from it!”
Holstein’s son, Julian, was born the same week in 2017 that his Showtime comedy was greenlit. That, he says, really drove home the importance of “keeping your work at the office and home at home.” He keeps a framed photo of his son and himself on his desk as a constant reminder and also plans to put a childcare area in the back of the writers’ offices. “I invested a little more in an office I wanted to work in so when I was home I wouldn’t be in my head about the show.”