Comedian Bridget Everett said that she wanted to focus on more mature characters who are still finding their feet in her new HBO series “Somebody Somewhere” — since many other shows are all-about younger people.
“Speaking for myself, that’s when I woke up and that’s when my life clicked into gear,” Everett, 49, told The Post. “That’s when I became more successful. I stopped waiting tables in my 40s, and I think that’s the story of a lot of people around me. We’re all in our 40s and hustling. We’re not bold-faced names, and we’re all in an HBO show now — together.”
Premiering Sun. (Jan 16) at 10: 30 p.m., and executive-produced by the Duplass brothers, the seven-episode comedy series follows Sam (Everett, also an exec producer), a 40something woman who feels stuck in a rut in her hometown of Manhattan, Kansas.
By day, she has a boring job at a standardized testing grading center, frequently clashes with her family, mourns her sister Holly who died six months ago, spends lots of time alone and unsure that she is “friend material” and doesn’t do anything about her passion for singing. But, soon enough — when she befriends her co-worker Joel (Jeff Hiller) — she gets involved in a group of misfits and LGBTQ people who gather in a church after-hours for an unsanctioned “choir practice” to socialize, sing and perform onstage.
“Parts of it [are based on my life] [and] some of the themes, liked the dead sister and the love of singing and being from [Manhattan] Kansas. There are differences and similarities, but enough to help me stay emotionally connected as an untrained actor,” said Everett, best-known for her appearances on “Inside Amy Schumer” and her bawdy live cabaret shows.
“We didn’t want to do a ‘Singer goes to New York’ plot,” she said. “We wanted to do, ‘What happened if somebody like me stayed in a town like the place I grew up?’ I think her relationship to music is an interesting one. It’s sort of letting her dreams and the things that she loved slip by, and sort of waking up in her 40s and being like, ‘Oh, what happened?’”
Co-star Jeff Hiller (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) said that he could relate to his character, Joel, as well.
“We’ve seen queer characters feel oppressed in a place that isn’t necessarily a city, and we’ve seen queer characters in a city, but we’ve never seen real queer folks who live in a small town in the middle of America,” he said. “That’s what makes this sort of a unique story to tell. My character loves the church, and normally gay characters will hate the church, or are oppressed by the church. There are barely any shows about people in their 40s at all — and if there are, it’s about people who are having a hard time in their marriage, or something.”
Everett said that, since this is her first time as an executive producer, she got some advice from her pals in the industry.
“I talked to Sarah Jessica Parker about how to sort of stand on your own and take your power, take your space, make your voice at the table heard,” she said. “She really helped inform me and give me confidence to do that. Just because you’re the person on camera, doesn’t mean you don’t have something to contribute behind the camera.
“We didn’t want to make [the show] be about judgment or politics — I wanted it to feel like the people that I knew growing up in Kansas,” she said. “Little things, like feeling the military [presence], because I grew up next to Fort Riley. You want to feel the school, you want to feel the limestone buildings. I’m sure I’m still going to get s–t from some of my friends back home about how I didn’t nail this or nail that, but we really tried hard to make it as Kansas-y as we could.”