‘Dollface’ star Esther Povitsky doesn’t shy away from discomfort

Esther Povitsky is not afraid of discomfort. In her work, the actress and comedian has always leaned into awkward, awkward, or otherwise embarrassing trivia with a whimsical yet brutally honest perspective, disarming people while simultaneously leading them down a delightfully hilarious path. (Take his first hour-long comedy special title hot for my namereleased in 2020, for example, or its podcast “Trash Tuesday,” if you need examples.) Now she’s starring as Izzy on Hulu’s doll face, opposite Brenda Song, Kat Dennings and Shay Mitchell.

Calling from North Carolina, where the artist is currently on tour, she opened up to O about his candid approach to turning trauma into comedy, looking Euphoria, and don’t be afraid to fail. Learn more in his Culture Diet interview, here.

You got your start in stand-up, but in recent years you’ve gone from guest star to regular on shows like Crazy ex-girlfriend, alone togetherand now Doll face. Was acting on TV always the goal?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I thought I would either be a movie star after a year or I would move out and work at Walgreens where I could walk from my parents’ house. But I had to rationalize dropping out of college. I had no idea about anything in life, and that was exactly how I felt. Now, I would say the goal is to continue working in comedy – whatever, as long as I do things that I find funny.

Dropping out of college to move to Los Angeles from Illinois to pursue a career in Hollywood is a big step forward. Were you interested in performance as a child, or did it come later?

I was still a bit confused and scared. My mom is from Minnesota and pursuing a creative career wasn’t very normal for her, so I think even though I knew I wanted to, I also had her voice in my head like, ‘You need to be more realistic “and even my father too. I thought I was going to be a dancer for a long time because I loved dancing, but I always felt so lost and confused and alone. I realized, I’m just going to do what I wanted because nothing else was working. My goal has always been to try. I was like, I don’t care if I succeed or fail. For so long, so many people told me that I couldn’t, okay, just. But at least let me try.

Now that you’re balancing stand-up and television, what do you enjoy most about your career?

I really want to do another stand-up special. I have a lot of fun trying out new material and tweaking it, choosing topics that I feel passionate about talking about on stage. I plan to write my stand-up now like I learned to write for TV, where story and content come first, then we make it funny later. My creative process has changed, where five or 10 years ago I was like, What’s a funny joke? And now I think to myself, what do I want to say on stage that will excite me and excite me? I just have fun grabbing an edible at night and stepping into this creative space.

I don’t know if having an edible in the evening would make me more productive.

It can totally go both ways. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I don’t have anything to offer when I do, or you know, you get on stage and you tell a joke and you bomb. The process is full of failures.

There’s always been an honesty and directness to your comedy about sex, relationships, etc. What are some of the themes and concepts that you are trying to include in this new phase of your acting career?

Last year I had a miscarriage and now I have a whole bunch of stand-ups about it. The best decision I’ve made is to talk openly about my miscarriage, but it’s not without its challenges. I was recently told by someone in the company that this topic was not appropriate. It really discouraged me, it’s interesting to see that when you want to do things like that, people are not always ready. But I’m not going to stop. I’m so proud of myself for turning my trauma into comedy. That’s what I’m here to do. And I will continue to do so.

Your doll face The character, Izzy, started out as a budding friend of the show’s main trio, and now she’s fully a part of their friend group. The second season picks up after the pandemic, and Izzy, like everyone else in real life and on the show, has gone through a lot of changes. the most important thing is probably to finally have a boyfriend who really seems to care about her. How were you able to further develop the character for this season? Is there a bit of you in there?

Jordan Weiss, the creator of the series, has always been so open to collaboration. She and I will text between seasons and she’ll pitch me ideas and ask me for feedback. I identify with Izzy’s insecurities, her anxiety. I didn’t even know what anxiety was three years ago. I kind of thought it was normal to be anxious all the time, but it’s been enlightening because I found out I had a really big anxiety problem about two years ago, and I started taking medication for it and I’m so much better now. It’s been really cathartic to play this character whose anxiety is ruining her life, and then to see her realize that she’s more than her anxiety and that she can have what she wants. It felt very true to my life experience.

Let’s get into some of the questions of the cultural regime. What is the first thing you read in the morning?

Texts from my friends in time zones before me.

How do you get your news?

I constantly ask everyone around me what is going on.

What books are on your bedside table?

How to have sex like a pornstar by Jenna Jameson, my MadHappy mental health journal and notebook.

What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?

I like @itsmetinx, @rumineely, @lizheit, @marta, @porcchop.bizand @julieschott.

What’s the last thing you Googled on your phone?

“Best bbq Raleigh, North Carolina” (I’m currently on tour).

What TV shows kept you up all night?

Succession and Euphoria.

What is the last movie you saw at the cinema?

Spider-Man: No Coming Home.

What podcasts have you been on lately?

how i built this, The Laboratory of Happiness, 60 minutes as a podcast, and Eyewitness Beauty.

What’s the last song you had on loop?

“It Never Rains in Southern California” by Albert Hammond.

What is the last concert you went to?

Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano. I like to only go to concerts in Las Vegas because I can sleep in the same building where the concert hall was. I definitely plan to see Katy Perry there soon.

Last work of art you bought or eyed?

I like to spend my money on art that I can wear, so for me that would be a super special tie-dye hoodie or a unique pair of jeans covered in patches or gems.

Are you into astrology at all?

I don’t know much, but I’m Pisces and everyone says it matters to me. I don’t know if I agree because it’s a water sign and I can’t swim.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Put on a classic movie or play something relaxing on Nemo’s Dreamscapes YouTube channel.