Andrea Savage’s protagonist on truTV’s I’m Sorry finds herself in a lot of awkward situations. As it turns out, a thorny comedic mind can get you into trouble when your peers are mostly preschool moms. (They aren’t ecstatic when she jokes about selling heroin to their kids because it’s “important to get them hooked young.”) Still, the show’s title doesn’t derive from Savage’s character apologizing for these scenarios; instead, it comes from the off-screen Savage’s approach to life.
In the surprisingly sunny and optimistic I’m Sorry, Savage — who also serves as the show’s creator and executive producer — has essentially crafted a hilarious, 10-episode-long response to anyone offended by the idea that women (and moms!) can have a dirty sense of humor.
“There have been a lot of articles about how women say ‘I’m sorry’ too much,” Savage said in a recent phone interview with Mic. “And I feel like I’m really unapologetic in my comedy, so [the title] is a little bit of a ‘sorry not sorry.’”
And while Savage — who also plays President Laura Montez on HBO’s Veep and will appear in the upcoming seasons of Episodes and Curb Your Enthusiasm — may not apologize for jokes, she does often find herself saying “I’m sorry” when she’s about to spill some tea.
“In some of the episodes, obviously I am apologizing for awkward moments, but I find that I say ‘I’m sorry’ in a lot of other contexts,” she explained. “Like, ‘I’m sorry ... What did you just say?’ Or, ‘I’m sorry, but that is a very strange choice of pants.’ So it’s sort of taking back the ‘Women say “I’m sorry” too much,’ which is kind of out there, and just having some fun with it and not being particularly apologetic.”
By playing a character named Andrea in I’m Sorry, Savage honors the grand tradition of comedians playing versions of themselves (see Better Things, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm). That means her character’s opinions and relationships are mostly her own — including her cynical take on The Sound of Music. (“It’s basically just the story of a taken man banging his hot nanny,” Savage’s character says at one point on the show). It turns out that Savage’s sardonic thoughts on the classic 1965 musical film were borne from an unexpected screening with her then 4-year-old.
“When I watched The Sound of Music with my daughter a couple years ago, probably four years ago now, I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ and all of a sudden it was just all Nazis,” she said. “I was like, ‘Why do we show this to our children?’ She was super scared, and had so many questions about what Nazis were. There was no good answer to really give a 4-year-old about Nazis.
“But then as I was watching it, I also came to the conclusion where I was like, ‘Oh, this is one of our first stories about a man basically cheating on someone with his hot nanny,’” Savage continued. “I brought it up in the writers’ room and people were like, ‘Oh, my God, I never thought about it that way.’ And I was like, ‘Well, we’ve got to get this out to the people.’”
That conversation with her daughter was just one of many tightropes Savage has had to walk as a parent. She revealed that, like her character, she’s also had to explain the concept of childbirth. At the beginning of I’m Sorry’s premiere, Andrea’s daughter interrupts an innocent conversation about recital times to ask matter-of-factly if babies “come out of your tushie or your vagina.” (Savage quipped over the phone to Mic: “By the way, I still think it’s weird that babies come out of vaginas, and I had one.”)
Still, I’m Sorry hints that it’s not always fun and games when pulling double duty as a potty-mouthed comedian and mother to a small child. Sometimes, after a particularly off-color joke, Savage’s character has to dodge the “Aren’t you a mom?” question. The seemingly innocuous remark exposes a double standard in comedy: Women can be funny, but heaven forbid they let R-rated thoughts affect their maternal judgment. Case in point: Has anyone ever asked Louis C.K., “Aren’t you a dad?”
The discrepancy frustrates Savage as well. “It just would be a little bit more fun if women stopped being asked that,” she said. “I think you can be both, you know what I mean? Men shouldn’t be subjected to that sort of annoying question any more than we should. Let’s just get rid of it.”
So perhaps viewers can do Savage the courtesy of watching the next episode of I’m Sorry and just laugh along with its borderline-inappropriate humor, without questioning its morality.
And in case you were wondering, the episode features Savage’s character calling someone’s infant child a “cocktease.”
Yes, a cocktease.
I’m Sorry airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on TruTV.
Correction: Aug. 1, 2017
A previous version of this story misreported a quote said by Andrea’s daughter in the I’m Sorry premiere. The quote has been updated.
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