(CBS) – Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens is back tonight at 10:00PM on Comedy Central with an all-new episode as the show continues its second season. Tonight’s episode was directed by BD Wong who also plays Nora’s father on the show.
CBS‘ Matt Weiss spoke with Wong about pulling double duty as an actor/director and what it’s like working on a show during the era of COVID.READ MORE: Trump calls FBI search of Mar-a-Lago estate 'prosecutorial misconduct'
MW- Hello BD, congratulations on tonight’s new episode of Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens tonight on Comedy Central an episode that you directed, what was that experience like?
BDW- It was incredible. It was incredible. Man, I really had always want to do on camera directing. I’ve directed in the theater before and I was always a person with a director’s sensibility, even as a young actor and so this feels very comfortable for me. It was a long time coming though, because I really wanted to find the right kind of situation, one that I could feel creative in.
This show having done one whole season of it already and me knowing all the key players and me knowing the creators and the star of the show as I do really helped. Knowing the characters that we’re playing really helps me to kind of embrace it and really get behind it and really enjoy it.
It’s pretty challenging to direct an episode of a show and it’s definitely even more challenging, I think, dare I say, if you’re in the show, when you’re directing. It just becomes a technical kind of nightmare, but it was really fun.
These people were also incredibly supportive. We knew each other, they trusted me, I trusted them. They helped me out with various little technical things so that I could be as successful as possible and so I’d say it was a win-win.
MW- In a way you had triple pressure this episode, because on top of directing you had your regular job of acting and portraying a real person.
BDW- That’s really nice of you to note and absolutely true! Nora’s father is a real life person and he’s a very lovable guy. Nora’s relationship, like in the show is a complex parent child relationship. The show is centered around these different generations of family, Grandma, father and daughter and a nephew.
You know, he comes to the set, and you want to do right by him. That is tricky, isn’t it? You want to make sure you are not making fun of him or anything like that, even though it’s a comedy. Nora seems to love it and that makes me really happy.
MW- I’m sure that makes it easier, especially after a scene where you maybe poke fun a little bit that he’s laughing and they’re both supportive.
BDW- Yeah, and Nora is great because she would be the one to put the brakes on something if she thought yeah, he’s not gonna like that, or that’s not really quite right. There was the first day she didn’t like what I was wearing and we just changed it immediately because it didn’t feel right to her at all. So there is an element of trying to really honor him or hold him up in a way that isn’t just like, oh, he’s just another character in the show. There’s a sense of wanting to get it right from her that trickles on down to everybody, especially me,
MW- So what do fans have to look forward to with the rest of season two?READ MORE: Olivia Newton-John, known for her role in 'Grease' and hit song 'Physical,' dies at 73
BDW- The second season is more of Awkwafina’s crazy comedy which is an adult comedy that’s oddly wholesome. Or a wholesome comedy that’s oddly adult, it’s one or the other. She’s so super watchable.
It’s fascinating this kid who is trying to figure out what to do with her life, she lives with her grandma and her dad and that’s a very unique family dynamic in a house. The second season is more of that, but a little more into the relationships.
I think, in particular tonight, the relationship between Wally and Nora is even more deepened. There’s a sweetness to it even though some of it’s really rather spicy actually. I don’t think you get to see that in a lot of shows.
MW- What has it been like for you working together with this cast throughout everything that’s gone on the last two years?
BDW- Well for one the in person protocols, health protocols and kind of the fear of going into day to day, and making sure that you’re being able to continue with the production. If one person on the crew tests positive for COVID then that throws things off. It becomes a lot of extra pressure on the production.
Everyone has kind of got their own sense of how they’re handling their personal lives in view of the fact that we are all interacting rather intimately with each other during the day. There’s also this sense of accomplishment and pride when things go well, because everything’s just a little bit more important, or feels like that at least being able to give people content right now.
Then there’s this other element of the virtual part, we usually do these table readings in person and it’s all with this new invention of the zoom table read, which we never did before. One side effect of it is that it’s a really watchable thing we can use as part of advertising this show. Showing how it kind of looks before and after.
There’s some kind of positiveness of all the things that have come about as a result of having to work around this, this really challenging situation that we’re all living through. Ultimately, I think you feel the weight of giving people good content to watch. You want to be a good storyteller because from the beginning of time, it was the storytellers who got people through rough times.
I really have enjoyed kind of trying to take that on in a small way. It’s not the most important thing in the world or the biggest deal but it is something that’s a small part of a contribution that we all make to how we all get through this.
MW- Absolutely, we all need that escape every so often and now you’ll be back for everyone tonight. Thank you for the time BD, all the best.
BDW- Thank you Matt, you too.MORE NEWS: Father and son sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery's killing
Tune in for a brand new episode of Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens tonight on Comedy Central at 10:00PM ET. Check your local listings for more information.