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Listen: Creators of Comedy Central’s ‘Corporate’ Find Humor in Misery

Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety‘s television podcast. On this week’s episode Daniel Holloway, Variety’s executive editor of television, talks with the creators of Comedy Central’s “Corporate.” Later, TV critics Daniel D’Addario and Caroline Framke preview the shows they’re looking forward to in 2019, and Holloway discusses Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards with Michael Schneider, senior editor for TV Awards.

Pat Bishop, Matt Ingebretson, and Jake Weisman created the dark workplace series “Corporate,” which is set to premiere its second season on Jan. 15. Ingebretson and Weisman also star in the show, and Bishop acts as director.

Weisman says although shows like the British and American versions of “The Office” paint the corporate life in a goofier, more positive light, they wanted to depict it in a more honest way: bleak and unending.

“We’ve never really seen a show that felt like you wanted to die at work, which is how everyone feels,” Weisman says. “It is funny, because it is your life and you get one chance at life and then you waste it at this job you don’t really like, and that tragedy is hilarious to us.”

So cue scenes about conference calls, sitting in a windowless office, bosses yelling about properly CC-ing them in email chains, and of course, pointless brainstorming sessions.

The meta-nature of the show is not lost on the creators, as being part of Comedy Central means interacting with corporate executives and finding themselves in the world they often satirize.

“We’re part of Comedy Central, which is part of Viacom, which is part of the lord in the sky that controls us all: the capitalist lords,” Weisman says. “We were focus tested, and therefore we had to put focus testing into the show. Because whatever happens to us is just a product of being these weird corporate little icons now. So there’s a meta-ness to what we’re going through.”

Because the series is of a surreal nature and every episode takes on an “infinite loop” quality, Season 2 also won’t follow a traditional linear timeline. But Weisman does say that if storylines or characters are pertinent — like the evolving relationship between John (Adam Lustick) and Kate (Anne Dudek) — they may reappear.

Ingebretson also addresses the grim quality of the series, and say that while some people might not want to come back from their soul-sucking dayjob and watch a show about the same thing, there is a relatable aspect to “Corporate” that can be therapeutic.

“A lot of the comedy I loved early in my life was me being able to see myself in these characters to some extent, and also get a point of view on my own life that didn’t make me feel so alone,” Ingebretson says. “[It’s] like, ‘Other people are going through this, and maybe it’s even funny,’ and that’s very helpful to be able to laugh at my own misery so hopefully this show achieves that to some extent.”

New episodes of “TV Take” are available every Friday. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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