Jon Barinholtz and Ike Barinholtz spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the upcoming Netflix animated series, Chicago Party Aunt.
The Barinholtz brothers join Lauren Ash, Rory O’Malley, RuPaul Charles, Jill Talley, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Katie Rich, and Chris Witaske in the cast. This cast features so many improvisers who originated out of the Chicago improv scene at Second City, iO, and the Annoyance!
Chicago Party Aunt was created by Chris Witaske, Jon Barinholtz, and Katie Rich. Witaske, Barinholtz, Rich, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Stassen, Will Gluck, Richie Schwartz, Chris Prynoski, Antonio Canobbio, Ben Kalina, and Matt Craig serve as executive producers on the series.
Netflix launches the first half on September 17, 2021.
Jon, it’s good to see you again.
Jon Barinholtz: Hey, how are you?
I am doing well.
Jon Barinholtz: Good. It’s so good to see you. I’m looking forward to this.
What was it like to be working on the same series together?
Ike Barinholtz: Not good. We have not spoken in a long time.
Jon Barinholtz: This Zoom might—we maybe work some stuff on Zoom. It’s the first time we’ve seen each other
Ike Barinholtz: Maybe. Yeah. But no, it was a dream. We’ve been lucky enough to work together on a couple other things but this is by far the biggest thing that we’ve been kind of consistently working on together. There’s nothing like having your sibling, who you love, to work with. I think Jon and I have very similar points of reference and have very similar senses of humor so it’s super fun for us. It’s great for our parents because when they tell their friends, its proof that their kids get along. Oh, yeah, your kids don’t talk, my sons work together.
Did working on Chicago Party Aunt make you homesick for Chicago?
Jon Barinholtz: Yeah, every day. Every day as you’re breaking down these stories and talking about these locations and the very specific references, it made us homesick and hungry, quite frankly. We would—
Ike Barinholtz: Yes.
Jon Barinholtz: Lunch would be the first thing we would figure out. That took up a lot of our day. But yeah, it’s such a city that it will always be in our hearts and it will always be home to us, I think, so whenever I see a picture of the skyline, I get homesick.
I’m just glad I can finally see the skyline in person again because there was a while where I didn’t see anything beyond maybe Addison or Cornelia!
Ike and Jon Barinholtz: (Laughs)
Jon Barinholtz: Yeah, yeah.
Ike Barinholtz: (Laughs) So true. Gosh. Just hearing those street names—I’m like, I want to go back.
Working with so many Chicago improvisers, was it fun to reunite over Zoom or however they did the recordings?
Ike Barinholtz: We were lucky enough that the first kind of half of the production element of the show was before Covid. It was a very rare situation where everyone at the kind of core level had known each other for many, many years. That first year and a half, we look back at so fondly now, because we were in the same room and you get a bunch of Chicago improvisers in the same room, and it’s just like non-stop bits and just screwing around and laughing. And then we were able to kind of go remote, which is still great. It’s just knowing these people for so long and knowing what people’s strengths are, knowing how Katie Rich can deliver this line and writing specifically towards that, and how Chris, as Kurt, he is so funny when he does this thing. Just having that history with all these people, I think really, really gives you an edge when you’re writing stuff, especially in comedy just because you known people’s strong suits and stuff.
Jon Barinholtz: Yeah. And such great improvisers on the booth side of it, too, who weren’t in the room. We had these great actors come in here—you don’t even think of them traditionally as improviser—but RuPaul would come into the booth and we’d let him go off on takes and so much that made it into the show because he’s just so funny. That’s across the board. All these actors we brought in—we kept that spirit alive in the booth where we know where the story is to go and we always wanted people to feel free to play around with what we wrote. We got some great stuff out of that.
Jon, let me ask you this. What would your character, Marcus, on Superstore think of Chicago Party Aunt?
Jon Barinholtz: Oh, it’s a good question. Well, he might not ever see it because I don’t think he has access to streaming services. But if he happened to get a password from someone and then use it, I think he would really resonate with the darkest moments of any character on the show.