Comedian Kulap Vilaysack Talks 'Bajillion Dollar Propertie$' & Why Women Shouldn't Ask For Permission
If you have a not-so-secret passion for real estate reality shows, then you're not alone: comedian, podcaster, and newly-minted show creator Kulap Vilaysack would curl right up next to you on the couch for a Million Dollar Listing marathon. In fact, it's the Bravo reality TV franchise that inspired Vilaysack's hilarious and ridiculously on point parody Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ , a new "somewhat scripted" series set to debut on NBCUniversal's online comedy platform Seeso."I legit love Million Dollar Listing... when it was time for [my husband and I] to buy a house, I came in with all this bravado, like, 'Oh, I know how this works, I watch these shows,'" jokes Vilaysack of her inspiration behind the series. "I realized that [a real estate reality series parody] was ripe for misbehavior and big characters... They're characters that I really know and understand... [They are] big Los Angeles personalities."
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ works because of just how well Vilaysack knows her subject: there's so much comedy gold to mine from the Bravo franchise that Vilaysack knows exactly how to heighten to surreal, hilarious levels. The showrunner, a Los Angeles native herself, sharpened her own comedy skills at UCB, working alongside what Vilaysack considers some of the "most brilliant comedic minds" to do what she loves most: making people laugh. Today, she's doing so on a completely new platform — Seeso, NBCUniversal's brand-new platform for streaming comedy.
"I really love what they're trying to do with Seeso, which isn't to make content that will reach everyone. Seeso is a comedy-only platform, and it's curated... It's not a Best Buy, it's a record shop," she said. "[Seeso] is very specific about who is included in their record shop... It's a comedy nerd's number one source, and to be a part of something like that is really exciting... It was a no-brainer."
What wasn't always a no-brainer for Vilaysack was creating her own platform. As a comedian and actress, Vilaysack appeared on shows like Happy Endings, Parks And Recreation, and Childrens Hospital, but it was only recently that she took the plunge into creating her own series: "A large part of my experience as an actor was to wait to be chosen. Sometimes there are long stretches when the phone isn't ringing at all... I'm a creative person, and I want to express myself. I think there was a shift where I wanted to create more." That creative spark enabled Vilaysack to film her upcoming documentary Origin Story, as well as create Bajillion Dollar Propertie$. "If you want to write, write. If you want to act, make videos... start working with people."
As for women who want to follow in Vilaysack's path, she has one big piece of advice: don't be afraid to try. "I've had experiences [in comedy] where boys will do something, and be told 'Hey, don't do that.' And [instead,] girls will ask 'Oh, hey, can I do that?' Not asking for permission doesn't mean you're being disrespectful, or bad... I would hate for girls to feel inhibited in comedy because we were brought up that way. In comedy, anything goes and 'bad behavior' works. Give yourself permission to explore. You can always say you're sorry, but... don't say sorry just to say sorry," says Vilaysack of the problem some female comedians face in the industry. "Look at Amy Poehler! She's not the funniest woman in any given room. She's the funniest person."
Vilaysack herself is an example of her own stellar advice: "Ladies are freaking great! We come at things differently and all of us hold up our own half of the sky... Play hard, and see where you can go."
Check out the trailer for Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ below. The series launches on Thursday, March 17, on Seeso.
Images: Seeso; Seeso/YouTube