Your character's desire to be a leading man -- is that something that you understand about yourself?
Kattan: I'm realistic about it. I don't think it's really gonna happen, and that's fine. I understand what my gift is, which is making people laugh, hopefully. It's more on that level. I don't need to be a leading man, I'm fine with that.
Did you enjoy playing a heightened version of yourself?
Kattan: Yeah, definitely. IFC had a great way of letting me do that and not doing the reality show approach and keeping it up to the level of smart comedy.
You enlisted a lot of your real-life friends to do the show with you -- were they all game to play versions of themselves?
Kattan: I think the best way to get people like that is when you ask your friends to do it. So I asked Maya [Rudolph], and she read it -- she wasn't like "Yeah, I'll do it, whatever." Smart people are smart enough to say, "Well, let me read it first." So yes, Maya is a friend, and Keanu [Reeves], and David Alan Grier. They responded strongly to the script. They're not all my best friends, but Maya in particular I have a close relationship with. And my dad, we do get along. And Jennifer Coolidge, as well. She's in the second episode.
In the show, you say the two of you used to date? Is that true?
Kattan: That is true, but like 15 years ago.
People may not realize this film has a true Bollywood pedigree.
Kattan: The musical numbers in our thing are choreographed by this guy Longi[nus Fernandes] who did the Slumdog Millionaire "Jai Ho" dance. We had the some of the same filmmakers as well, who did Slumdog, so we were really in great hands. It's kinda cool, the first week of production, they won the Oscar, so the whole crew's like, "Yaaay!" You know, it's like, "Wow, this is really cool! Aaaaand back to filming you, Chris." But Michael Penn and Amy Mann performed the five new songs that they wrote for this show, so that's different, the big, lavish musical numbers that we have on the show. They're big and lavish, but there's a cool edginess to them. It's not a spoof.