If your happy place is chock full of giggles, whip smart humor and Ted Danson, well you’ve come to the right place. The Good Place, starring Danson and Kristen Bell, is the latest project from executive producer Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The cast is rounded out by some amazing comedic talent from the likes of William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden (Broad City). We recently had the chance to speak to both Danson and Carden, and their genuine sincerity and excitement around the show was palpable. Check out our interviews below, and tune in tonight at 10/9c for the special series premiere—be sure to catch The Good Place on Thursday nights at 8:30/7:30c on NBC!
So what can you tell us about The Good Place?
Well, I can’t tell you everything about The Good Place. You’ll have to tune in! But I do think it’s very surprising. There are lots of wonderful twists and turns in the show. It takes place in the afterlife, and I’m Kristen Bell’s guide. It’s very “Alice in Wonderland.” We don’t really talk about the afterlife, but we do have visual representations of it. The visual effects department is truly delightful. What makes me laugh, usually, is being surprised and this show is so surprising. Really good writing! I signed up to do the show with Mike Schur just off of his pedigree (The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). I just went, “Yes, please. Can I be part of it?” And I’ve known Kristen [Bell] for six years now, and her husband, Dax Shephard. They’re great friends. So it’s effortless going to work and giggling everyday!
Can you tell me a bit about the cast—it seems like you’ve bonded already!
Oh, yes. Wonderful actors! Jameela Jamil, who’s British and Pakistani is just gorgeous, wonderful and funny. And D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto are just amazing. I think we all gelled right away because of the writing. If you start with great writing and a fun idea, you attract fun people to play those characters.
What is it about the show that’s going to really grab viewers? Is there a unique hook that you think is really going to appeal to them?
We totally address what the afterlife is: the why, and how, and how you got there to The Good Place. It’s really smart and fun. Then, we go around the corner. It is so delightful and surprising and we’re off and running! You get this feeling of, “I don’t know what’s coming next, but I want to go along on this ride!”
You’re so fantastic as Gemma on Broad City! She’s the kind of person that is so unaware, that she sticks her foot in her mouth a lot and she says whatever is on her mind. How does Janet differ from that character?
Yeah, she definitely does! I think they both mean well, I would say. Gemma is just kind of like that girl that we all know. Maybe there are more similarities than I would even imagine. They’re both here to help! Gemma is truly a joy of my life to play, it’s really fun to get to work with Abbi, Ilana, Paul, Lucia, and the writers.
So you’re tackling both characters and staying on both shows?
Oh absolutely! I’ve actually known the Broad City girls for like a decade! We came up at Upright Citizens Brigade together! We were in our first classes together, so it’s been incredible to be on this journey with them and to get to still be a part of it is such a pleasure, because it’s one of my favorite things!
What are you super excited for viewers to see as The Good Place unfolds?
The thing is, for little ol’ me this is a dream come true! I mean, come on: Ted Danson! If you would have asked me to come up with some embarrassingly amazing dream situation, dream cast, dream writers, I would be embarrassed to say all these people, because I’d be like “Well of course that’s never going to happen.” Mike Schur, I’ve loved him for a decade. Drew Goddard, Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, and then these three new people who I’m in love with. Manny, Jameela, and Will—viewers are going to love them! It’s what I would watch, which is nice. I laugh when I read the scripts. I’m in love with this cast, and Mike is just so obsessed with twists and turns so I really feel like we’re all in good hands.