I could really go on and on with more adjectives, but the title made my point. If you judge people by the company they keep, then June, who is BFF’s with Casey Wilson, married to Paul Scheer, and collaborates/works with/pals around with some of the nicest, funniest, and most talented people in comedy, film, etc, then you know she is to be judged top-notch, true blue, A+. She is an actress (Year One, Going the Distance, Party Down), comedienne (Human Giant, UCB, Funny or Die), and writer (Bride Wars, the upcoming indie Ass Backwards, and the Ruben Fleischer directed The Bachelorette Party). I wanted to talk with June in a super casual manner, interview her where time wasn’t a problem and we could have a little fun. So with her in LA and me in Dallas, I thought the perfect solution would be to do what we all do with our friends everyday: IM. We might just be the first people in the world, who are we kidding, we ARE the first people in the world, to ever conduct an interview over gchat. Just typing away in that quick chat lingo, getting fresh with some emoticons, NOT using LOL, and anxiety struck about how the grammar and spelling would turn out in all this. It was fun. Most importantly though, we all now get to know June Diane Raphael a little better.
June Diane Raphael: Hello friend!
Serial Optimist: Hello! How are you June! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat it up!
June: Of course! I may have IM’d too soon, let me run to the bathroom and I’ll come right back. #111111111
SO: Yeah get that bathroom break out of the way!
June: She’s back!
You wanted this to be in the third person, right?
SO: Haha, yes, you always talk in the third person right? Like to everyone?
June: There’s no other way. Tried first…way too intimate.
SO: So how is the New Year treating you so far?
June: So far so good. Titled this year “taking it up a notch”. In all areas.
My friend Drew Droege’s title for last new year was “be kind to animals”.
SO: I like both of those. Mine is “don’t overdraft”.
June: Haha! Man, that’s how they get you. Don’t get me started with Bank of America.
SO: That’s who I’m with!
June: And overdrafts.
For real, they are the worst.
SO: No doubt. So you know what I didn’t know about you, is that you’re married to Paul Scheer right?
Do I seem cooler now?
SO: Well it was funny to me, because I love Paul and am real appreciative of him, and I’m also a big fan of yours, and how generous you have been. But I never put the connection together, and just noticed it last night.
But yes, you are cooler now, for sure.
June: This is actually Paul writing from June’s computer. She’s not allowed to use the computer on Wed. It’s one of my many rules.
And you’re welcome for those e-mails.
SO: Thank God. I didn’t really want to talk to her anyways.
She’s always talking in the third person. Asshole.
June: Its June…I just slipped Paul his nightly roofie (a few hours early) so I can talk (for seven hours).
We’ve got time. Unless he wakes back up.
SO: Well be really quiet! Tell me a little bit about yourself. I try not to sound to wiki-esque when I ask questions like this, but its hard not to. Where did you grow up? What were your teenage years like? And is asshole one word or two, like ass hole?
June: Asshole is definitely one word. Phew. Got the hard question out of the way.
I grew up in Long Island in a town called Rockville Centre. Aside from being this height (i’m 5’9) at twelve and having an Irish head so big they had to specially make a batting helmet that fit me in softball, my teenage years were idyllic.
Still have all of the same girlfriends. About five of us from middle school on, which is pretty awesome. I have two wonderful sisters and amazing parents, so I can’t complain…. Working through your run of the mill Catholic guilt, but other than that, I feel incredibly lucky!
Sorry I’m not writing in complete sentences! This is going to sound like it’s written by a five year old. 🙂
SO: That’s great. I had (and still have) a huge head as well. I’m not into hats. Don’t worry about the sentences, that’s kind of what I thought would make this fun, like this is how people talk to each other, much more fun than standard questions and answers. Or we will see. This is the first interview I’ve done like this. It could ruin both of us, really.
By the way I don’t write lol. I write haha!
SO: Ok, seriously, so do I. I can’t ever bring myself to type lol. I’m haha all the way. Sometimes I really feel the urge to use an emoticon in texts, because I think they are really cute..love it how girls use them.
We should conduct this interview with only emoticons.
SO: What emotion is this? 😀
June: I think that’s actually a serial killer.
SO: Shit. That’s on my email signature. I’m fucked.
SO: Okay I have to ask real questions now!
Let’s do this.
SO: So after high school, you went to Tisch. What were your hopes/aspirations at that point?
June: When I went to Tisch I just knew I wanted to act.
At that point I really couldn’t imagine anything other than acting in theatre because that was all I had done. I had big dreams of being on Broadway in wonderful plays. It’s weird to think about it, but at that point I never really thought about film or television and certainly not about writing or even comedy. I thought I’d be playing Olga in 3 Sisters.
That to me (being any of the three sisters in a Broadway production) was the furthest my mind could go.
It still sounds amazing, don’t get me wrong, I just didn’t really think about any other life than that.
SO: At what point did that change? How did writing and comedy come into place for you?
June: Well, I always loved doing comedy, but I just didn’t do as much of it at Tisch. It wasn’t until after that I started really getting into it. Casey Wilson and I met at Tisch and we became fast friends in a clown class at our acting studio Stella Adler. A friend of ours was hosting an open mike at Riffifi, and asked us if we wanted to put up a sketch.
We wrote one and put it up and it went over really well, so we started writing some more and then realized we could put a show together to compile them.
But even then the goal was never to write. (I read Casey’s interview with you and I can’t remember if I’m repeating a ton of stuff she already said about this.) We were out of school and wanted to showcase ourselves as actors so that’s really why we started writing material for ourselves. No one was going to hire these mugs on their own!
But yeah, from there we put up the show Rode Hard and Put Away Wet at our acting studio and Owen Burke (who at the time was Artistic Director of UCB NY) saw it and brought us over there.
And from there……FAME AND FORTUNE!
Truly UCB was the big turning point and I thank God for them and Owen. We were able to run the show and develop it, and then take it to Aspen, etc…
SO: SUCCESS! I’m glad you read that interview with Casey, I love her, as well. She was so sweet and funny. And I’m actually in the middle of an interview with Paul Rust! You are surrounded my great people!
One of the things I really love about you and Casey, is that you really have written yourselves into Hollywood, so to speak. Was that an actual plan you both had or did it just kind of happen?
I didn’t get that question out right. I fucked it up. But do you know what I mean?
I’m typing horrible. Geez.
We should have done this with emoticons only, you can’t misspell a smile.
June: Casey is the bestest. Yes I know what you mean! I wish that were the plan, it would have been a good plan. But alas, no, I remember when our lit agent at UTA came up to us after our show in Aspen and asked if we had literary representation and I couldn’t understand why.
He had to literally explain as though we were retarded that we had written the show and that we were writers. I think we fought him on that point. Mainly because we improvised so much of the show and the script was pretty much on napkins. So we didn’t think we were writers.
Not only that but I remember telling Casey it was really bad news that he thought of us as writers, because it meant we weren’t attractive enough to be actresses.
It was a real blow.
So long story short, NO, there was no plan!
Next interview is definitely all emoticons.
I’m praying you’ll do a spell check before posting. I fear you won’t. I’m gonna slow down the writing a bit.
SO: I will def spell check. So was Bride Wars your first real big intro into Hollywood, like full on in the industry?
As in, having representation, dealing with industry people, all that stuff. I live Dallas, not Hollywood, but you know, like that Hollywood STUFF.
June: Yes, absolutely. Bride Wars was definitely the big intro….The executive on that movie Heidi Sherman Grey, who has become a close friend, actually saw our show in Aspen and asked us if we had ever thought about screenwriting. She told us about the idea for it and within months we were flying out to LA to pitch the movie to producers. It was pretty awesome, actually. I mean we didn’t know anything about screenwriting and we were googling what a “set piece” was….we thought it meant describing the furniture in the scenes…..so it was a crash course for sure.
SO: What I was asking is you became a coke addict? Correct?
Yes! That was when I became a huge douchebag.
SO: When I saw I typed Hollywood STUFF I was like, what does that even mean? Like it kind of did read as if I was asking you if you became a douchebag. But I wasn’t!
Okay lets skip ahead and talk about the present. First, the hilarious podcast you do with Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas: How Did This Get Made? I’ve listened to both. Really enjoyed them. Are you having a fun time doing those? Love the concept. Who came up with that?
June: So glad you like them! Definitely Paul’s brainchild, but yes we are having a really good time….started after a viewing of Old Dogs. Which we saw in the theatre.
SO: YOU DID NOT SEE OLD DOGS IN THEATRE!
June: Sure did.
With five other people.
And then we had about a two-hour talkback session of sorts, trying to wrap our minds around the movie.
SO: I’ve never actually seen the movie Old Dogs, but I love that you and a group of friends went to see it.
What I really like is that you love bad movies, but KNOW they are bad. I can’t stand movie snobs, like people who ONLY watch foreign shit or Oscar contenders, etc. Movies are supposed to be fun! But I have asked numerous times after watching something, literally, how did this get made? What’s the next movie you have lined up? Is there an episode schedule?
June: We don’t have a movie lined up yet…there are a few contenders but haven’t locked it down yet.
The Wicker Man seems like a classic.
SO: Is that your favorite bad movie?
June: I actually haven’t seen it…I look forward to it. Old Dogs is really something. Really something special.
I think Old Dogs takes it.
But you are talking to someone who has soooooo much sympathy for how hard it is to write a movie and how many people get involved and what a crazy shit show it can be, so I’m not coming at it as a hater. AT ALL. And I know how hurtful nasty comments can be so I really don’t want to put that energy out there. I feel like the podcast is more of an honest dissection in a spirit of positive inquiry. Trying to understand.
SO: Exactly. Totally agree. Like there is a difference between asking how this movie got made, but more asking how it got to the point of being able to be made. Like you all were saying on the last episode, something like the pitch was: “If you take this pill, you will be the smartest person in the world.”
I think that is what is funnier to talk about.
I’m leaving Paul and coming to Dallas to live with you.
SO: Do it. We will both not use LOL at people together.
What is your most favorite character you’ve played on screen?
June: I’d have to say my character in our new movie, not out yet, ASS BACKWARDS.
She’s based on a version of myself and I love her dearly. So I guess I love myself…. breakthrough!!!!!
She’s just completely delusional. She sells her eggs for a living and considers herself a businesswoman. I just love someone who thinks they are super smart when they aren’t.
Refers to her eggs as her “product”. Just stupid!
SO: I’ve been really excited about ASS BACKWARDS. Tell me all about it.
Oh and eggs as her “product”. LOVE.
June: It’s the movie that Casey and I wrote and starred in. Indie. Hopefully it will be out sometime in the near future! It’s a road trip comedy about two best friends who are a little too close….they have been living in their own delusional bubble for years and are super co-dependent (share a waterbed together in a dump in the east village) and then are forced to really grow up.
They are living off their dad and my egg sales. And they realize they never got over a childhood trauma and go back to try to fix it.
That was an awful description!
It’s funny. End of story!
(I just shot myself in the head)
SO: Did you approach some of the more serious elements on a personal level? I mean I know all writing is personal on some level, but some of those elements seem like they could loosely be based from your reality, like your friendship with Casey.
I mean with you all being super close and best friends in real life, with you probably having thought how if things didn’t turn out the way they did, maybe you could be living in a different form of a delusional bubble.
That was dark. Sorry!
June: Ha. Well their weirdo friendship is definitely based on ours. Although I never sold my eggs. (I was always just obsessed with the ads in the village voice for egg donors.) I was always running strange business schemes in NY. Renting out rooms and space in my apt and stuff like that to make money.
Not dark at all…I don’t know…I mean I think we’ve definitely gotten a lot closer as our careers have grown, which is probably the opposite for a lot collaborations…but I think too much life has happened at this point to be as delusional as the characters are in this movie.
Does that make any sort of sense?
SO: It totally does, yes.
Where are you at in the process for the much buzzed about movie The Bachelorette Party?
June: Right now we are turning in our first draft to Universal. But we love it. Very excited for it, and despite the fact that it’s titled Bachelorette it doesn’t have much to do with a wedding. Just an awesome ensemble comedy for some funny ladies.
SO: I have a phone interview with Ruben Fleischer coming up that I’m excited about. Is he still attached to direct?
June: Yes! He has the script right now!
SO: That’s awesome. With him directing, and it being written by you and Casey, that will be great. That will big. Huge, even.
June: Me hopes.
SO: So this year you are “taking it up a notch” on all levels. How so? In what ways?
Shit just got real.
June: Well mainly in my cup size.
June: No, ha. Just want to work harder at everything this year and do even better stuff than last year! Writing a pilot for myself to star in, working on more feature ideas, movies, plastic surgery, all of it! “Taking it up a notch!”
Basically it just means working harder!
SO: I will do that with you, in fact, it’s done. I’m gonna “take it up a notch” as well. You’ve inspired me!
June: People say I’m inspiring.
It’s the main thing people say about me.
Also, “Who are you?”
“Are you Sarah Chalke?”
SO: I think Sarah Chalke is super pretty. Really. That is a compliment! Do you have anything coming up we should know about in the near future?
June: Definitely check out United States Police Department on HBO’s Funny or Die presents show.
Also NTSF on Adult Swim I’ll be in, with Paul, Brandon Johnson, and Rob Riggle, which should be amazing! That will come out with Children’s Hospital over the summer.
SO: Okay last few quick questions: Do you and Paul have any pets? What blogs/websites do you check daily, if any?
June: No pets. Desperately want a dog, but Paul says no and as he always says, “I’m the man of the house and I make the decisions.”
So that’s a no.
But blogs and websites….hmph..Whitney Cummings has a hilarious blog that I follow and her tweets are of course, priceless. I’m also a bit of a news junkie so you’ll find me on HuffPo and all those usual suspects…oh, and Friendster.
SO: I’ll totally hit you up on Friendster. THANK YOU JUNE!! I really appreciate it, thank you so much for taking the time to do this!
June: You are awesome and thanks so much!