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KNOTORYUS talks to the creators of 'High Maintenance'

KNOTORYUS talks to the creators of 'High Maintenance'

If you're looking for something to watch online, try 'High Maintenance' now. The whole series is high quality, but especially the most recent cycle of episodes is a sheer pleasure every second of the way with effortless chuckles, gasps and quotables ...

... and it's free and you barely have to move your finger to watch the whole thing.

Watch 'Jonathan' feat. stand-up Hannibal Buress, who's showing all the signs of becoming our new favourite comedian.

You'll find my other favourite episodes below. I'm not going to set it up any further. Just watch it.

The series' creators (Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair) were kind enough to take some time out for a KNOTORYUS interview.

What was the spark that led to creating 'High Maintenance'? Two summers ago, we were really thrillin on Six Feet Under and Party Down. We liked the clever episodic devices they employed - Six Feet had that cool death sequence at the beginning of every episode and Party Down switched up their locations and guest cast every time. While very different from each other, both shows feel incredibly honest to us even (and especially) in the comedic moments. We just got super inspired and out came High Maintenance, more or less.

Did you think of it as a webseries right away, or did you consider pitching it as a TV-show first? Honestly, we never had any aspirations of pitching it. The webisode format felt like a low-stakes way to try our hands at filmmaking. We’d all (Katja, Ben, and Russell) had been wanting to work on a project together. To date, this has basically been a fun thing we do on the weekends with our friends.

How long does it take you to write one episode? We keep an idea board going in our home (Katja and Ben) and we’re constantly adding ideas to it, be they characters, jokes, situations, actors we want to work with, etc. Over time, these ideas naturally start to correlate with one another and once that happens, it takes us about a day to complete a draft. We usually do 2 or 3 more revisions over the course of the following week and leave a little bit of room for on-set improv.

Is it a collaborative process? Absolutely. We work with people we admire and trust, who happen to be immensely talented.

How does the story evolve, usually? Our stories tend to be amalgams of experiences we or our friends and family have had. We just take those and insert them into the formula that we’ve established.

Does it change a lot in between the writing and the final edit? Not really. The story and characters always remain intact, though sometimes we have to let go of some of our favorite jokes or line readings in the interest of pacing. We encourage our actors on set to play with phrasing. We always aim for the dialogue to sound as authentic as possible. If a line isn’t working or a word sounds false coming from a performer, we tend to cut it.

Is there a difference in the way an episode is created now when you compare it to the first episodes? Oh sure. There was much more improvisation happening in the beginning of the series - from the way we constructed the scripts to the way we shot. We’ve streamlined our process considerably. We’ve come to trust ourselves a bit more and that’s lead to an expansion of the High Maintenance universe, so to speak.

Some of the most recent cycle of episodes have been dealing with heavy subjects like life-altering diagnoses or gun violence, but they handle it in a way that's anything but heavy without losing impact. I'm someone who tends to see his writing dragged down by too much weight when I try to touch upon things that matter to me. Any thoughts on how you handle that? We just try to balance tragedy with comedy and never get overly sentimental. For every gun shot, there’s a fart. Or something like that.

Say something nice about Hannibal Buress. Hannibal is effortlessly hilarious.

Say something nasty about Hannibal Buress.

He masterminded the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986.

Favourites list

*Favourite anecdote about living in New York Ben had a long (and quite civil!) conversation with a crazy homeless woman on the subway about why she was crazy.

*Favourite novel Ben - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and yes, he has read many books since high school. Kaja - The World According to Garp.

*Favourite webseriesBroad City.

*Favourite TV-shows Same shit as everyone else. HBO-fare.

*Favourite non-fiction books Katja - The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Ben -  Anything by Mary Roach.

*Favourite stand-up comedians Hannibal Buress, Louis C.K., Margaret Cho, John Mulaney, Zach Galifianakis, Max Silvestri, Kristen Schaal & Kurt Braunholer, Amy Schumer, Bobby Tisdale

*Favourite album (right now + ever)

We tend to listen to a lot of Steely Dan "radio" on Spotify. God help us, we love that drippy, 70s Southern California AM radio sound.


now Katja: Nothing from this year has beat out last year's Planet Orange for me. Frank Ocean! He's perfect. Ben: I keep listening to these kids called The Morning Benders, which is an awful name for a band. Their song Cold War is featured in our trailer for cycle three.

ever both: Kid A.


High Maintenance:  Brad Pitts

High Maintenance:  Elijah

High Maintenance:  Olivia

High Maintenance:  Heidi

Watch the whole series here.

Listen to Daft Punk : Random Access Memories (Full Album Stream!)

Listen to Daft Punk : Random Access Memories (Full Album Stream!)

Lustmord - the Word as Power

Lustmord - the Word as Power