Kevin Can F**K Himself is created by Valerie Armstrong, while Craig DiGregorio serves as both showrunner and executive producer. The new dark comedy premiered June 13 on AMC+ and June 20 on AMC. The eight-episode series will continue to air on AMC+ one week ahead of the AMC linear airings on Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT. I got to speak with Armstrong and DiGregorio all about their new series, their personal favorite sitcoms, seeing the characters brought to life by the cast, the dark comedy genre, and much more! Keep reading to see what they said.
Kevin Can F**K Himself follows the story of Allison McRoberts (Murphy), a woman we all grew up believing we knew: the prototypical Sitcom Wife. She’s beautiful and can take a joke (though she’s usually the butt of them). And she’s married to a guy who must’ve won some sort of marriage lottery because she looks the way she does and he’s… funny. But what happens when we follow Allison out of her husband’s domain? When she finally wakes up to—and revolts against—the injustices in her life? Kevin Can F**K Himself breaks television convention and blends multi-camera comedy with single-camera realism to make us ask: “who and what have we been laughing at all of these years?”
So the first thing I wanted to address is that this series blends the multi-camera comedy with the single-camera realism, which adds a lot for the viewer as well as to the storytelling. Was this your method behind the idea and concept originally or is it something you sort of developed?
Valerie Armstrong: Yeah, the original idea that I had was that image of Allison walking out of her sitcom living room with her sitcom husband and the sitcom laugh track, and going into the kitchen, where she’s alone, you see her up close, and you see the house up close. It was never supposed to be a show within a show and she was never an actor. I just wanted people to get a better view of a woman they all grew up thinking that they knew. But I think what made it a story worth telling to me– because I do think that in some ways, the elevator pitch for the show is sort of the worst version of it, it’s a gimmick– and I wanted to make sure that format switch actually was saying something and figuring that out, was a very fun challenge. And it turns out, we’re always finding sort of new things that it can comment on, but the biggest one, to me is the benefit of the doubt that we give Kevin their entire lives like those guys get to walk around with a sitcom audience cheering them on, regardless of what they do. They don’t have to face consequences and they get to be called boys until they’re like 65.
Craig DiGregorio: And they get propped up by everyone else around them telling them, “This is funny. Yeah, keep doing that.”
Armstrong: Yeah, so that meant a lot to me. Also discovering that the show isn’t actually about a toxic marriage. It’s about how women can get each other out of toxic situations. To me, the heart of the show is Allison and Patty and not Allison and Kevin.
What are your personal favorites sitcoms?
Armstrong: Frasier 100%. I rewatched it something like three times in the last two years. I think it is impeccable. It is so smart and so funny. I think Craig and I both have such respect for sitcoms and a real love for them. We’re not ever trying to make fun of one here. We’re really trying to call out certain behavior, not the entire genre.
DiGregorio: Yeah, and in order to make a commentary on something, you have to do the real best version you can have of that thing so yeah, there’s no winking at it from us. For me, Cheers. I’m from the Boston area, and, as is Valerie from Connecticut, and the reruns of Cheers were on every moment of every day on some channel in Boston. But that’s not why I loved it. I loved it because it was good, but it was also easy to find.
What are you most excited for fans to see from the series?
Armstrong: I’m really excited for people to watch Allison and Patty sort of grow a bond. It’s my favorite thing to watch personally, like, just as a viewer, is when I think two women are pitted against each other and they end up creating a friendship. I find it so completely satisfying and very comforting. Breaking that relationship was the most fun part of the show to me.
DiGregorio: I guess for me, it’s the sort of weird twists and turns that the show takes because I don’t think you’re ever going to sort of truly expect what’s going to happen next. And that was really fun to break, write, talk about, and watch. It just makes it kind of interesting to watch because you really, I’m hoping, don’t know what’s going to happen next, and also, the people that are making these weird turns are just normal people. Like we’re not treating any of them– you know, whatever Allison wants to do, she’s still just a person trying to do that thing. It’s not like we’re giving her any sort of special qualities. It’s like, what if you or I wanted to sort of carry out what Allison’s trying to carry out.
The dark comedy genre is such a fun one to watch. So I was curious what do you love most about that genre? Do you want to do more of it in the future?
Armstrong: I absolutely do. I love a dark comedy because it’s neither comedy nor drama really. And to me, that’s how life is. Nothing is only funny and when things are going really terribly in my life, it’s usually also the time where I’m quickest to laugh. So I feel like it’s just more fun to write than anything that’s dour or anything that has to be funny all the time, both of those sound difficult.
DiGregorio: I mean, it would be so terrible for me to be like, “No, I never want to do that again!” No, it’s very fun. It’s a very fun genre to do. It allows you a lot of leeway in scenes and also, it allows you to not to take yourself too seriously, which I think is very important.
You both are so talented in what you do, and you guys have such a talented cast bringing the story and characters to life. So how did it feel to see it all come to life with these actors?
Armstrong: It was pretty surreal, considering it sort of been in my head for four years and it never felt real, like it was ever going to actually happen because it just felt too good to be true. So for a lot of it, I found myself writing very, very personal things that were a lot easier to put out there when I was in the dark of a room by myself. And then to watch it being said aloud by these wonderful actors was wonderful, but it was also really vulnerable.
What did that moment feel like for you when you officially wrapped and finished everything?
DiGregorio: I remember that I wanted to hug everyone, but we were still in the thick of COVID, and I was being particularly grumpy about being near anyone. I think I maybe hugged a couple of people and then people were like shaking hands and stuff, and I was like, “That’s just too much.”
Armstrong: Meanwhile, I was just hugging anybody who would come near me irresponsibly. I mean, to shoot anything is such an accomplishment and to get it done during COVID– I mean, I remember I took screenshots of our screen test because I thought, ‘Well, this is the only image I’m ever gonna have from the show because inevitably, it’s going to go away. This is going to bring it down.’ And somehow we made eight episodes; I was shocked, thrilled, and really in need of a beer.
That’s another thing, you guys did this during COVID; so what was that whole thing like for you?
DiGregorio: I was just about to sort of sarcastically say it was so fun, but it actually was really fun.
Armstrong: It really was.
DiGregorio: So, it was very hard but very fun.
Armstrong: I also think that in a way, we were all just so grateful to be there, be around people, have somewhere to go, have a job, and be getting paid. We were so lucky and that I think it created this sort of bond on set that maybe wouldn’t have been there necessarily had it not been during COVID. We all had this weird common enemy that for once wasn’t some asshole on the crew. We were all fighting this thing together and being unable to go out for a drink after work, I think made everybody long for it in a way that they wouldn’t have if we were able to do it. So I think it actually really made it more– it didn’t make it more fun, but I think it did make the crew and the entire experience much more intimate.
DiGregorio: You know what’s weird is that I was just thinking, like COVID obviously had basically no good things happen from it, maybe the fact that we’ll be a little more careful, like sneezing on each other, but there was one good thing with respect to this show and the characters. We got sort of shut down from March until September, and the actors were cast and we were ready to go, and the actors would meet up all the time over zoom, to sort of read scripts and talk about the show. I think it got them a lot more comfortable with each other and I think you can see that chemistry on screen as well.
If you had to create a tagline for the show, what would you pick and why?
Armstrong: Kevin Can F**K Himself, not actually about Kevin. It’s not his story.
Last question for you both, what can you tease about what’s to come?
Armstrong: Really bad decisions. Ones that I think you’ll understand why these people feel they have to make them. But yeah, just some chaos and the idea that the way to solve it is by inviting more.
DiGregorio: And even the good decisions aren’t that well thought out.