Sam Richardson, Ben Schwartz talk The Afterparty

Ben Schwartz and Sam Richardson in “The Afterparty,” premiering January 28, 2022 on Apple TV+.

Sam Richardson and Ben Schwartz spoke with Solzy at the Movies last week about Lord Miller’s new Apple TV+ series, The Afterparty.

Richardson stars as Aniq while Schwartz stars as Yasper. It’s so much fun watching these talented improvisers throughout the series. If you like romantic comedies or movie musicals, the duo get to star in one of their own. I’ve seen the first seven episodes so far and can’t wait to see what happens in the season finale. My full review is still forthcoming but after seeing seven episodes, The Afterparty is one of the best new comedy series of the year.

Be sure to check out the new series from Christopher Miller and Phil Lord when The Afterparty launches January 28 on Apple TV+!

Happy birthday!

Sam Richardson: Thank you very much!

Ben, it’s so nice to meet you.

Ben Schwartz: Lovely to meet you. Excited to have a chat. Is that a Casa—


Ben Schwartz: Got it.

Yeah. Not in view right now are Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic Park?

Sam Richardson: Okay. Alright.

I don’t know what it is about dinosaurs eating people in the bathroom but it’s been a comfort movie during the pandemic.

Ben Schwartz: I love Jurassic Park.

Sam Richardson: Me, too.

Ben Schwartz: When Jurassic Park came out in cinemas—cinemas, how old am I? When Jurassic Park came out in cinemas, I think I watched it five times in movies because it felt like I was on a Disneyland ride. I’d never seen anything like that. I watched it recently and the bonus features are incredible so I’ve spent a lot of time with Jurassic Park the past couple months.

Sam Richardson: No kidding.

Laurent Bouzereau is one of the best documentary filmmakers out there. How did you all first hear about The Afterparty?

Sam Richardson: Chris Miller sent me an email asking me if I was interested in this murder mystery whodunit set in a high school reunion. They sent me some scripts and I was like, Yes, I very much am.

Ben Schwartz: It was the same for me. I got a text from Chris and he said, Would you be interested in this? I was like, yeah, of course, whatever you want. And then he’s like, it’s gonna be a different genre and then he goes, and yours is a musical. I go, Are you serious? And I said, Yes. About three weeks later, he goes, Oh, can you sing or dance? I was like, You hired me without even asking? I go, a little bit. I bet I can figure it out. And he goes, Oh, good. But what a rush for someone who loves cinema and anything then you have to be Lord and Miller fans.

I binged through the seven episodes that Apple made available and I cannot wait to watch the eighth one to see who did it.

Sam Richardson: Yeah.

Ben Schwartz: Beautiful.

Aside from being potential murder suspects, what did you like about your characters?

Sam Richardson: I really liked Aniq’s sort of determination in this. It’s a sort of like, I have to do this, I have to believe in myself and the goals. I haven’t told Zoe how I feel about her all these years so now’s the time where I’m going to do this, which is like a lesson for all of us. Just to carpe diem—you know what I mean? Just to kind of—don’t let your inhibitions hold you back or your insecurities hold you back. That’s not to say that if your inhibitions are like don’t murder somebody then don’t do that. All the stuff that’s above water, you should do in reason.

Ben Schwartz: I think for me for my character was like, you get a second chance at things. The thing that I really loved about Yasper is that he had these huge dreams of being this big pop star, rock star, ska star. As they diminished when he was older, he still loved it. He still loved music. He still loved all his things. There’s always that dream was always over there. He never let things get in the way of his dream, which to me is a really fun thing to kind of latch on to when you find a character.

The Afterparty
Sam Richardson, Jamie Demetriou, Ben Schwartz, John Early, Tiffany Haddish, Tiya Sircar, Kelvin Yu, Genevieve Angelson, Illana Glazer, Zoë Chao and Ike Barinholtz in “The Afterparty,” premiering January 28, 2022 on Apple TV+.

Both of you come from a background in improv. How much fun was it getting to play on set?

Sam Richardson: It was tremendously fun. So much fun. Ben is such a brilliant improviser and so fast.

Ben Schwartz: Sam is so funny. Let’s keep talking at the same time.

Sam Richardson: This is like an improv game. It really is.

(I have done my best to transcribe what they said while talking at the same time.)

Sam Richardson: He’s such a smart and funny improviser. Anything you give to him, he’s gonna take it back and bring it back and enhance it so much. On top of that, he can also do drama as well. You get the sugar and the shit at the same time. It’s really truly a tremendous experience.

Ben Schwartz: He’s an incredible improviser so anything I gave to him, he honestly has something fun to come back, which is incredible. He can be dramatic, too. Improv doesn’t just mean comedy. Drama can also be apart of improv and stuff like that. Put it all together, it’s incredible. It was really truly an experience.

That’s gonna be so much fun to transcribe.

Sam Richardson: (Laughs)

Ben Schwartz: Oh, this isn’t video. That’s not gonna work well.

Sam Richardson: Sorry! Isolate. Computer. isolate.

Ben Schwartz: Yeah, Ben and Sam talk at the same time, say jibberish.

Sam Richardson: But really, it was just tremendous to get to play with Ben being such a brilliant improviser and such a giving performer that we just had fun right from the get-go. Because we both have this improv background, our shorthand was there from the start. Even if we didn’t know each other very well to begin with, within moments we did. We knew each other so well.

Ben Schwartz: Absolutely.

I feel like improvisers have this way of making that quick connection and becoming fast friends so quickly.

Ben Schwartz: It’s like knowing a different language kind of, right? You can do bits with someone immediately and you could add on to something, create something with someone that you’ve never met before. It’s very exciting.

Sam Richardson: Yeah.

How much fun was it getting to do the rom-com and musical episodes?

Sam Richardson: Oh, it’s tremendously fun. In my episode with Ben and with Zoë Chao, who’s a brilliant actress, was truly a dream. I’m a big fan of rom-coms to begin with, so to sort of get to do everything with that lens of that sort of hopeful, optimistic, misty-eyed but also ho-hum, woe was me but at the same time, very like I can do it. The meet-cute and all that sort of thing was really fun.

Ben Schwartz: The same. Musical was like a dream come true for me. In cartoons and stuff, I’ve sang a bunch and in Parks and Rec, I played a character who had a little singsong little bits. But to be like, hey, get in a recording booth and sing. You have to learn choreography. Kat Burns, who’s like an award-winning choreographer, is gonna teach you how to dance to these songs. It was awesome and a dream come true. My mom is going to be very excited. She’s a music teacher in the Bronx so she’s going to be thrilled.

How would you react if you discovered a murder at your high school reunion?

Sam Richardson: (inaudible)

Ben Schwartz: I would leave immediately. What?!? Two very different answers. I would get out of there immediately. Sam goes, I knew it.

Sam Richardson: I knew it.

Sam, it was so great catching up.

Sam Richardson: So great catching up, Danielle.

Hopefully, it won’t be another three years.

Sam Richardson: I know. Hopefully, it will be much sooner than that. Two years. I’m kidding.

Ben Schwartz: Nice to meet you!

The first three episodes of The Afterparty premiere January 28 exclusively on Apple TV+.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.