Usually when we spot the cast of Difficult People, it’s because they’re filming on the corner of East 7th and First Avenue, but Friday evening we caught them on stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, talking to Patton Oswalt during PaleyFest. And good thing we did– they played a sizzle reel showing some highlights from season two, and then, during the q&a, proceeded to drop even more spoilers. Read ahead if you’re dying to see what’s on deck when the funniest portrayal of NYC narcissists since Seinfeld returns to Hulu in July.
1. Nathan Lane gets snookered into doing the Toilet Hand Challenge.
The Producers star came on board for the season premiere partly because he’s friends with Andrea Martin, the SCTV legend who plays Julie’s mom. In a clip, Billy and Julie convince him to stick his hand in a public toilet and challenge five of his most famous friends to do the same thing.
2. There are spoofs of The Shining and Birdman.
In the Shining take-off, Julie confronts two twin dogs who ask her to come and walk them, forever and ever and ever. In the Birdman sequence, Matthew loses it and races into Times Square wearing just his skivvies. Cole Escore, who plays Matthew, explained how he got roped into it: “Julie had the idea for the Michael Keaton Birdman thing but then she was like, ‘I don’t want to be in my underwear and Billy probably won’t want to be in his underwear…’”
3. Billy’s new coworker is a trans truther.
Lola, the new server at D’s Cafe, is played by transgender performer Shakina, whose one-woman show Post-Op we reviewed last year. When Lola tells Billy that “Bush did 9/11 and jet fuel can’t melt steel beams – I’m a trans truther, motherfucker,” Billy can only plead that he’s an ally because he knows Jeffrey Tambor’s niece. Oswalt gleefully described Shakina’s character as “every SJW [social justice warrior]’s nightmare— there’s no way to say the right thing.”
4. Billy gets blown by John Mulaney in his gym’s steam room.
Oh, hello! “We want to show Billy as a sexual human being,” Klausner explained. “We don’t want that neutered stereotype of, ‘Oh, forget about me— what are you wearing tonight, girl?’”
5. Fred Armisen, Julianne Moore, Amy Sedaris, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Debbie Harry, Abby Elliot, Sandra Bernhard, Method Man, and Nyle DiMarco also make appearances.
Tina Fey has an awkward encounter with Julie’s mom and Nyle DiMarco, the deaf winner of America’s Next Top Model, dates Billy. “Very realistic!” Eichner said.
6. Arthur “kind of has a nervous breakdown.”
According to James Urbaniak, who plays Arthur, it happens after he trips and accidentally scores the winning hoop during a charity basketball game between PBS and NPR. “He has an identity crisis” after discovering his inner jock.
7. But don’t worry, he and Julie are fine.
“They’re not going to break up,” Klausner assured. In fact, brace for a sex scene.
8. Julie’s mom tries “desperately to have a gay best friend.”
Because she’s so competitive with her daughter. “The world has opened up,” Andrea Martin said of her character’s arc. “But for all of you fans out there, the bitterness remains.”
9. We meet Denise’s aunts and brother.
“It was the blackest day on set,” said Gabourey Sidibe. The episode’s setup: “Her aunts hate everything and she wants them to hate Billy, but they refuse to.”
10. Billy and Julie get an intern.
And they are very mean to her. “That’s the first time Billy and I couldn’t stop laughing,” Klausner said of the scene where she and Billy gang up on their hapless millennial coffee slave, who doesn’t even know who Conan is. “We’ve never had that happen before, but I had to move on because we couldn’t get it together.”