Dave Burd Interview: ‘Dave’
“It’s rooted in my true beliefs, but taken to a slightly hyperbolic place at times for the sake of comedy,” Dave Burd says in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby about “Dave” (watch the video above), a semi-autobiographical account of his rise as the rapper Lil Dicky. He explains about how this fictionalized version is “one degree further” from his real-life self, “He’ll do more for the sake of a joke or he’ll do more for the sake of advancing a plot.”
In addition to starring as himself on the show, Burd serves as co-creator, executive producer, head writer and songwriter, with his work in the latter-most position further differentiating the character. Burd explains, “Even though I am Lil Dicky in the show and the character’s making music, I wouldn’t necessarily put some of the stuff out as Lil Dicky — I have a different bar.” With the first season featuring some eight original compositions from Burd, albeit several under a minute, he reveals, “There’s no plan for a soundtrack, I’m sorry.” He notes, “I don’t want to necessarily have to fill out a soundtrack every year.”
Filling out a soundtrack would delay the release of Lil Dicky’s second studio album, which was teased two years ago with the release of lead single “Freaky Friday,” a top-ten Billboard hit that spawned a music video with a career-best 600 million views. Burd opens up about collaborating with featured artist Chris Brown, “At the end of the day as a society, we have one of two things we can do with Chris Brown: We can choose to never listen to anything he does ever again or we can allow him to use his talent for good and when I watch ‘Freaky Friday,’ I see a lot of people laughing and happy and I think that video has had a positive impact on the world.”
Burd teases about the rest of his album that has been five years in the making, “I can’t wait for people to hear my new music, because it’s so much more elevated than I think people are even expecting,” He admits, “I look back at a lot of my old music and I think it’s bad. The thoughts are good behind it and the lyrics are good and they’re interesting creatively, but in terms of sitting back and listening to this like an objective piece of music, I don’t think that I was nearly the rapper that I am today.”
With Burd pivoting into television, he reveals, “My biggest fear going into this was having to get back and really borderline adhere to the feedback of a network of other people who I don’t even know.” Burd says about working under FX Networks, “They’ve done nothing but help the show,” adding that “FX’s notes are usually accurate.” He points to a deleted scene that features in the show’s trailer and which depicts Dave falling into a pond littered with his own diarrhea. Burd explains, “Falling in the water would have taken it to one degree too slapstick and maybe unbelievable of a place, so we didn’t do it, because we wanted to ground it more.”
He reflects as he looks ahead to the second season that was ordered on the heels of “Dave” becoming the most-watched comedy in FX history, “My lesson that I learned is that you can do it and now that I have that valuable knowledge, my concern now is not, ‘Am I doing this right; can I do this?’ Now, it’s just: ‘I know I’m doing it right; I know I can do this. Now, how can I do it better than it’s ever been done’?” Burd previews that the next season will balance Dave’s new status as “a single man” with his progressing career.
Burd is eligible for Emmy nominations in five categories for “Dave” through his multitude of positions, including Best Comedy Writing. “I hope I’m not cannibalizing my options,” he muses about the plan to submit three episodes from the debut season for consideration. Burd himself co-wrote the pilot titled “The Gander” with co-creator and showrunner Jeff Schaffer and justifies, “Your pilot sometimes is your best bet because that’s the one that everyone’s always seen.” He says about “Hype Man” by their fellow executive producer Saladin K. Patterson, “People really gravitated towards that episode.” The last submission chronologically is Burd’s favorite: “Ally’s Toast” by co-producer Vanessa McGee. Burd reveals that they discounted the raved “Jail” finale because it “is so musical-based” and “people literally get scripts” when voting on this category.