Angie Tribeca premieres tomorrow and there’s nothing ordinary about the show or its big debut. It’s an over the top parody meets crime drama, it’s Airplane meets NYPD Blue, it’s Naked Gun meets Naked Gun, but updated for the 2000’s and with a much prettier cast.
Angie Tribeca is the brainchild of Steve and Nancy Carell, who executive-produce the entire series which follows a squad of committed LAPD detectives who investigate the most serious cases, from the murder of a ventriloquist to a rash of baker suicides. Rashida Jones stars as Angie herself as a lone-wolf detective with a past, paired with Detective J Geils, played by Hayes MacArthur. Jere Burns plays the squad’s apoplectic captain, Deon Cole plays detective Danny Tanner and Andree Vermulen rounds out the main cast as Dr. Monica Scholls, the quirky and very sexy bespectacled medical examiner. The show is bigger than you can imagine with pretty impressive visuals, more physical comedy than you’re used to seeing on television, and long intricate stunt scenes.
The show’s launch is equally big with a huge marathon of every episode airing Sunday January 17th. We talked with series co-star, the charming, beautiful and very funny Andrée Vermeulen about what the new series is all about, the details on the crazy way TBS is launching the series, why you should never combine sawdust and Mr. Bubble, and why you absolutely don’t want to miss the world premiere of Season One of Angie Tribeca, starting at 10pm on Sunday.
The Interrobang: The series is so unusual. Is it fun to create something like this?
Andrée Vermeulen: It’s so fun, it’s just really amazing to be able to do this kind of comedy, I think because we haven’t seen it in a while. It’s just so cool, I love how everything is played super seriously but it’s just the stupidest things you’ve ever seen.
The Interrobang: Your character may be doing the most serious read of anyone. I can’t even imagine the subtlety that it takes to pull that off.
Andrée Vermeulen: She’s basically like a living robot. Initially it was a little challenging for me because as a person am super sunny and animated. So it’s really really fun to play someone who is just so dark and cold and straight, ever smiles. It’s like really amazing I’ve never ever played a character like that.
The Interrobang: And you have a Upright Citizens Brigade background right?
Andrée Vermeulen: I do yeah. I started in New York, I started in improv and then I got on a sketch team we called The Maude Team, and I think my first team was 2008 in New York City and then I moved to LA and I kept doing sketch out here and I do characters and I’ll do solo bits in stand up shows and variety shows and whatnot. But yeah I’ve been at UCB for a while now.
The Interrobang: This is a very different kind of comedy. Is it more difficult?
Andrée Vermeulen: I think it’s just totally different.I think the most challenging thing– and now we’re shooting season two and I find that it’s a little easier this season because we know what it is, but the first season we had to find the voice of it. So its interesting because, when you’re playing something that straight and dry, you don’t want it to fall flat so you have to put a little bit of energy under it. But you don’t want it to be too animated so it’s like a really fine line and it was just interesting to find the perfect balance of that and I think now in season two we for sure have it and we’re actually going even drier and darker, which is cool. But it’s totally completely different from anything I’ve ever done. Especially coming from a stage comedy background. Everything’s really big, everything’s really animated, everything’s really loud. Even if I were going to play something really straight on stage, it would be so much bigger than what you see in the show. It’s just really a completely different type of comedy for me, which, I feel super lucky to do this show because I feel like I’m getting to practice another skill set that I haven’t been able to use yet. Which is awesome as a comedian.
The Interrobang: The series combines two sort of genres– cop drama, and those over the top parody movies. Were you a fan of those movies growing up?
Andrée Vermeulen: I feel like I’ve had discussions with my friends just sitting around asking ‘what ever happened to that kind of comedy’? We haven’t seen it in so long. Naked Gun and Airplane were so great. Naked Gun is a little sillier than Airplane; Airplane is played a little straighter and that’s actually a great example. Season one of Angie Tribeca is more like Naked Gun, and season two is more like Airplane mixed with True Detective, if you can imagine that. I think everyone is going to super love season one and then they’re going to die for season two. It’s really good.
The Interrobang: There’s a pretty interesting plan for how the series is rolling out.
Andrée Vermeulen: Season one comes out January 17th in a 24 Hour Marathon so we’re going to air the season five times over in a row, commercial free on TBS and then during the first six hours of the marathon we’re doing a thing called Talking Tribeca, which is a play on Talking Dead. Deon Cole is hosting it and the cast members will have little time slots when we’ll come on and it’s all like a live telethon in between the episodes. So that’s on the 17th, and then on the 25th the first season will re-air episode by episode, weekly, like a normal show would roll out. And it will also be online at tbs.com for people who just want to binge watch digitally. They’re doing it in three different packages for however people like to watch.
The Interrobang: Are you going to be on as your characters or yourselves?
Andrée Vermeulen: We’re going to be ourselves so you’ll get to know us as people better. I’m probably going to freestyle rap, that’s one of my skill sets. I like to call it improvised rap, so I’ll get one word suggestions, or I’ll do audience interviews or I’ll look around the room and I’ll pick stuff up and I just freestyle rap so I will probably do that. (laughs) I’m not kidding, it’s not a bit, it’s a weird talent of mine. I do a show at UCB called Rapsplosion that I host and it’s just all improvised rap. It’s kind of like Whose Line Is It Anyway if it were all rap. So I’ve already told Deon, I was like I’m going to rap on Talking Tribeca. He was like, ‘Yes. You are!’
The Interrobang: Whats it like on the set? You have some pretty intricate stunt sequences.
Andrée Vermeulen: We have stunt people on set every day. There’s always someone falling from the ceiling, or this season someone gets blown out of a building like Die Hard style. The whole building explodes, and the body flies out of the window. I’ve never seen something so crazy.
The Interrobang: I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen comedy on television have action sequences in it.
Andrée Vermeulen: Oh my gosh, get ready. It’s insane. Every single episode has some sort of bizarro action sequence. I love too that we’ll just show you the stunt double. Like in the Pilot, where Hayes- he plays J Geils- he’s having that whole chase scene and Angie Tribeca is in the drawing paper dress and there’s a stunt double who’s running and doing all this parkour but they keep showing the stunt double is clearly not Geils.
The Interrobang: Did you get to do any action scenes?
Andrée Vermeulen: Scholls hasn’t done any action sequences yet but I got to do a tiny stunt on my own. In season one, there’s a scene where Alfred Molina, who plays my lab cohort Dr. Eidelweiss, he’s trying to hypnotize Tribeca and Giles, and it’s not working but it’s slowly working on me unbeknownst to everyone else and I had to pass out and fall backwards in the lab and they put this mat behind me, and it was really interesting. It’s such a simple little thing, but even as a kid I’ve never been able to do trust falls. It was like doing a trust fall and stunts are much harder than you think, even that little simple fall. You have to completely relax your body otherwise– when your muscles tighten up and you fall like that, you are so sore the next day. So I was sore in places that I didn’t even know I had muscles. I mean I guess your whole body is made of muscles but its like, that’s a muscle I’ve never felt before. So I’m tightening up as I fell. We just kept doing it so I feel like I did like ten takes, falling. Everyone kept checking in and was like are you okay? Are you sure you’re okay? The next day I can’t walk.
The Interrobang: But you also get a great bathtub scene.
Andrée Vermeulen: Oh god that scene, we also shot the sawdust, slicing into the ventriloquist dummy in the same day and I was covered in sawdust pieces and then I was in that bath with Mr. Bubble and I was covered in Mr. Bubble and I went to go home that night and I had no hot water. And I lost it! It was like two in the morning, cause we shot that scene really late at night and I had just moved into an apartment. And the hot water was being finicky and I had a feeling the hot water heater was going and I told the building management, but of course they won’t do anything until it actually breaks. So at like 2 am on a weekday night I left a voicemail that I imagine was the most ridiculous thing ever. And I was just so mad and I’m standing in my bathroom and I’m leaving a voicemail for the management company saying ‘I AM COVERED IN SAWDUST AND MR. BUBBLE AND I CAN’T EVEN WASH IT OFF!!” They must have been like who is this lunatic who moved into our building? It was so crazy so I had to boil hot water and I got maybe an inch of water in the tub so I had a teakettle going and a couple of pots going and I just tried to fill as much as I could in the bathtub which is nothing, and then you have to add a little cold water cause then its too hot and then I just kind of spot washed myself, my bits and bobbles just so I could fall asleep.
Don’t miss the premiere of Angie Tribeca’s season one starting at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday January 17th, on TBS commercial free. The first round of Season 1 airs from 10pm to 1:15am, along with Talking Tribeca live. At 1:19 am the entire season will re-run, over and over again. You can catch the series premieres starting at 5am, 9am, 1pm, and 5:40pm. The entire season will also be available on demand and will re-air weekly.