[This story contains spoilers from the season finale of Dave, “Looking for Love.”]
DaveThe list of guest stars now includes Brad Pitt.
The movie star hosted the FX comedy’s season 3 finale as a version of himself with creator/star Dave Burd. Filmed over several days, many of which are shot at night, Pitt’s role is much more than a cameo. In fact, FX presents him for an Emmy Award in the Guest Actor category.
Kept shrouded in secrecy for several months, Pitt’s appearance began with an emotionally personal letter from Baird to Pitt. In an interview earlier this year, showrunner Jeff Schafer admitted that he and his fellow producers wrote it off as another one of Borde’s crazy dreams. “None of us thought it would work, except for Dave,” he said, noting that it was another reminder that Board and his noble ideas and statements should not be dismissed. In this case, Pitt was rumored to be a fan of the more than half-biographical comedy Byrd, which follows his private life and success in the real world by a few years.
Without giving too much away, the episode, which Byrd wrote with Vanessa McGee, puts Pete (and Burd) in a particularly high-stakes environment, where audiences can watch his chops as both a dramatic and comic actor. While the two-time Academy Award winner has played a prominent role behind the scenes in TV series Underground Railroad, High School And Organic AgricultureThis is the first time he has guest-starred in a scripted comedy since the 2001 episode of friends. By all accounts, he has committed to the role and the experience.
Pete joins a long list of well-known names to have previously hosted on FX series, most of them with cameos. In the third season, they include Rachel McAdams, in a more significant role (she was also submitted for Emmy consideration), as well as Usher, Don Cheadle, Demi Lovato, Jack Harlow, Killer Mike, and Rick Ross, among others. Previous seasons have featured spin-offs of varying lengths from Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Kendall Jenner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charlamagne Tha God, and Macklemore.
Of course, to hear Bird say it, it wasn’t always easy to secure bold-faced names, despite the show’s roster of producers including manager Scooter Braun and comedian Kevin Hart. In fact, during the first season, there were two booked rappers who simply didn’t show up, leaving Board, who performs under the rap name Lil’ Dicky, scrambling to find replacements. “I have to call, like, every rapper who lives in L.A. and say, ‘Do you want to come over someday?'” And the show hasn’t come out yet, so they have no idea what it is, and some of them are like, ‘Yeah, I guess I’d be on your show. ‘ And I’m like, ‘Okay, could you come out like now? And they’re like, “What?!” , he recounted with a laugh back in March, before adding, “And I’ll be there with, like, $20,000 in a backpack to give to whoever comes in that day.”
In the show’s third season, those bookings became easier, largely because the series is a known quantity and, particularly in the comedy community, has a large cache. Plus, increasingly, guest stars can’t help but feel like they’re in good company, looking at other people who’ve already been through — or rumored to be next. Board said, “I don’t think the show is about celebrities, but they are part of entering the zeitgeist and climbing the ranks of the entertainment industry,” which Dave Bird, like Dave Board, a performer, has already done. “That’s, like, the DNA of the show, and so I’m just going to say that the people who come to play at the end of this season are the holy grail of iconography. It’s like, where do you go from here?”
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