Lil Dicky Previews Dave Season 3, Teases Return to Rapping: “I Want People to See How Good I’ve Gotten”

The post Lil Dicky Previews Dave Season 3, Teases Return to Rapping: “I Want People to See How Good I’ve Gotten” appeared first on Consequence.

I thought I would be sitting down with Lil Dicky to discuss the upcoming third season of his FX comedy Dave. But, by the end of our interview, Dave Burd and I are considering the morality of mankind. “I feel like human beings by default are good. Do you agree?” he asks, and he’s genuinely interested in my answer.

We get there by way of Kanye West, as so often happens these days: While the new season of Dave will feature a ton of exciting guest stars, including Usher, Rick Ross, Don Cheadle, Demi Lovato, Machine Gun Kelly, Megan Fox, Killer Mike, and Travis Barker, Burd does confirm that West will not be one of them.

This isn’t shocking given how things have changed for West in the last year, but I’m curious about how Burd feels about the artist right now, as the first two seasons of the show are seeped in references to Kanye as an aspirational figure. Specifically, I want to know how Burd wrestles with the challenge we’re all facing these days: Reckoning with our pre-existing fandom for people who have revealed themselves to be some degree of toxic.

We’re speaking at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, which means Burd is prepared for a full day of journalists asking him questions on this topic. “In any Kanye question that came up today, I was gonna say, ‘I feel like he’s in the headlines enough right now, and I just want to focus on the show,'” he says.

But then, he continues, “a lot of what you’re describing is a lot of the themes within [Dave Season 3]. Like, I’m on tour, anywhere I go, someone could be filming me as I am peeing and having an off-the-record conversation with GaTa about what I look for in a woman. There are good things and bad things about all of it, you know what I mean?”

By “all of that,” he means, “such accountability. I think on the one hand, society only gets better when people collectively treat people better and hold people to standards of kindness and goodness, which I think all of us inherently should just be striving to be good. It depends on the situation, obviously, of course. Everything has different pros and cons. But it’s tricky. I just think everyone should try to be good and we take it from there.”

That’s a pretty solid answer to one of the biggest questions in life — one this writer wants to agree with, at least. Below, transcribed and edited for clarity, Burd digs into a few questions more specifically related to Dave the series, such as what’s going on with his long-awaited second album, whether or not he sees the Dave portrayed on the series as any different from who he is in real life, what else we might expect from Season 3, and how many more seasons he hopes the show might run.

So to start off, talk a little bit about how making the show has affected your music — because there’s great original music in the show, but I know people are asking about a new album…

The issue is, it’s such a time commitment. I really am so hands-on with [Dave]. I don’t think there’s a decision that gets made that’s not made by me. I care so much about every little detail. I’m starting in the writers’ room, into I’m the guy editing, you know what I mean? I see the thing through the whole phase, even the scoring, and so it’s such a time commitment that it’s hard to multitask. I’m not going to be able to come home after a 13-hour shoot day and record a verse. Impossible. Like, I get picked up seven hours after I come home.

But I have been working on [the new album] for like eight years at this point, and I’m happy that I haven’t put anything out because it’s just getting better and better. It hasn’t been ready yet. I do feel bad for my music fans — I would be so annoyed at me. But it’s not because of laziness. I don’t think I could work any harder than I work. As soon as I finish working on the show, and it’s the off season, I’m in the studio every single day trying to get this thing done.

There’s so much music in this season — a lot of what I’ve been working on, it comes out in this season. I feel like this season has the most music of any season. There probably is a belief that “he’s never gonna put out an album. He’s just an actor.” But it’s just not true. I don’t care when or how long it takes, I am going to put that second album out.

And I feel totally misrepresented by my music online because it’s all so old, and I’m just so much better than that as an artist. Truly, I have such a chip on my shoulder as a rapper, that I want people to see how good I’ve gotten. When I first started out, I was making my songs in my San Francisco apartment for like two years before I even showed anybody anything, because I just wanted to build the right body of work. And I think I’m just trying to build the right body and roll it out the right way, and I just get better and better. What I can do in six months of free time now, it took me like four years of free time seven years ago. So I’ve advanced as an artist. I just need the time.

Dave Lil Dicky Interview
Dave Lil Dicky Interview

Dave (FXX)

When you were first digging into conceiving Dave Season 3, what was the general approach?

I wanted to do something a little different, a change of pace. Whereas the first two seasons, you’re in LA, you’re going to see us begin on tour. Pretty much every episode this season, we’re in Texas, then we’re in Atlanta, then we’re in Philly, then we’re in Mississippi. And each place is so different culturally, so different vibe-wise — the stories are all so different. So I feel, just by nature of having that be our guiding light to start the season, it allows for really every episode being its own tonal entity, which is super exciting.

Were you actually able to travel and go on location for those episodes?

Some places, yeah.

Where in particular did you get to go?

Well, I don’t like revealing that. I just like believing that it’s all real.

Sure — that’s interesting, because when you were doing press for the first season, you were talking about how you really wanted the show to reflect who you are, on a very personal level. Now that you’re in Season 3, do you still feel that way?

Well, I’m making a show about my perspective. So at the end of the day, I certainly wanted to reflect my [POV], but I also feel like there are other characters that I want to reflect. Season 2 I’d say was very psychological, very in my head as a character. Like, I have writer’s block and it literally climaxes with me talking to my own innermost enlightened version of myself, you know? So I think Season 3 is more observational. We’re going on to these different places, but I think this season, I think that the core theme is fame — my character’s and GaTa’s character’s quest for it and what it means, and how everyone wants fame.

We live in a time now where I feel, with social media, everyone wants to be famous, and it’s like, why? So exploring that and exploring the power dynamics of fame as it pertains to dating — this season, my character is very much looking for love, trying to meet his wife on tour, wherever I can find her. Just a lonely guy trying to meet her, a hopeless romantic. So, there’s a lot to play around with, like gender norms as they pertain to dating. And I think we do some surprising cool stuff.

With all that being said, do you still feel like Dave, the character we see in the show, is a reflection of yourself to a large degree? Or do you feel like he’s become more of his own character?

I think it’s always going to be a reflection of me. There’s certain things where I have to, for the sake of the season or the episode, be more of an asshole than I would like to be. There’s certain things that are required of the plot. That being said, I rarely want to do something that feels totally disingenuous or untrue. I feel like the main hallmark of art is truth, you know? And I think I’m in a position where what do I know better than my own perspective? So I try to stick to that because that’s really the one thing I am an expert at, is my own thoughts.

Have there been instances where you feel like the show was pushing the character of Dave into places where you felt uncomfortable?

I wouldn’t say uncomfortable. I would say last year, there was a lot of inner character strife and turmoil to where there were so many scenes where I’m just screaming at another cast member, and we’re just having it out. If you really go back and look, every episode I’m having a different argument or falling out with someone else. And I love those. I mean, that’s life. You have strife, you have issues in friendships and relationships. But there were times where I was like, “Ugh, I feel like such an asshole right now. Because I have to be an asshole.”

But it all paid off. It all stems from a kernel — deep down, I know I am inherently a selfish person. And I think we take that nugget and we hyperbolize it a little bit for the sake of plot and everything. And then that’s why it’s such a payoff when GaTa comes out on stage [at the end of Season 2]. You build this angst and opposition all season, and then it’s a release and it’s catharsis at the end. So there are times where I say, “Oh, I don’t want to be an asshole right now.” Because I think I might be a bigger asshole in the show sometimes than I am in real life. But I am into drama and I love a good argument scene, so sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

For sure. That reminds me of the Season 2 episode where we get to see the birth of Lil Dicky at the ad agency, but we also see how that affects his coworker Emma (Christine Ko), who finds herself on the sidelines.

And that story isn’t over, that story extends with me and Emma’s character into this season for sure. And that’s what I love about what we do, is because so much of it really does feel like individual episodes, like their own little short films, but episode to episode, even season to season, it really does all tie together. It’s not that Emma’s forgotten about that, you know? Emma’s still sitting in the cube at her ad agency, and it’s equal parts “Fuck this guy getting success,” but equal parts inspiring — “I wanna take the bull by the horns and do my own thing.” And Emma’s definitely on the way, in this season.

What really interested me about that sequence is that it clearly indicates that you personally, Dave Burd, are aware of what that character was doing at that time to Emma. But Dave, in the context of the show, does not seem to have that awareness.

Well, that’s just good acting. [Laughs] No, I get in the writers’ room and we talk and I’m just very forthright about what I perceive my flaws to be. I want people to be able to look at the journey I’m on and be able to self-reflect and change. There are things that I’ve done, that I’m not proud of, that I would put my character through to then teach him a lesson.

There wasn’t literally a time where I was rapping at my ad agency and putting my female friend off to the side. But I was rapping at an ad agency, and I’m sure there are other instances where I’ve taken the spotlight and neglected a girlfriend, you know what I mean? It’s all about finding kernels of truth. Certainly there are things that happened this season that definitely did not happen in my life. But I would say, if a thing that happens in the show happened in real life, I try to react within the show how I would react in real life, had that thing happened to me.

Yeah. So I know these are decisions that get made by other people as well, but do you have in your head an idea of how many seasons you’d ideally love to see Dave run?

I don’t.

But more than three, hypothetically?


So you would want a Season 4, but beyond that…

I would like to write to its end, and I didn’t plan on Season 3 being the end of the series. I will say I feel like the way we ended Season 1, that could have been the end of the series. The way we ended Season 2, it could have been the end of the series. Not to me, but just as far as, “What a satisfying full circle.” I love what we do in our season finales, and this season finale is unbelievable. But I’d like to really carefully map out the way this thing’s supposed to end, and we haven’t done that yet.

Dave Season 3 will premiere Wednesday, April 5th on FXX. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Hulu.

Lil Dicky Previews Dave Season 3, Teases Return to Rapping: “I Want People to See How Good I’ve Gotten”
Liz Shannon Miller

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