Nat Faxon and Jim Rash have made a name for themselves in front of the camera by being funny Faxon on Fox’s "Ben and Kate, and Rash as the sartorially terrifying Dean Pelton on NBC’s "Community. No surprise there, considering that they are both veterans of the L.A.-based improv troop, The Groundlings, where they began their writing partnership that eventually led to an Oscar(tm) for their adaptation of THE DESCENDANTS.
When I spoke to them on June 13, 2013, it was for a film, THE WAY WAY BACK, that they adapted loosely from their own lives about bittersweet childhood memories of summers at the beach. It was also their directorial debut. The conversation that begins the film, in which 14-year-old Duncan is called a 3 on a scale of ten by his mother’s boyfriend (a startlingly unsympathetic Steve Carell), is one that actually happened to Rash, and using pain to get to comedy was just one of the topics we discussed, as well as how they knew they were meant to work together, working with actors who want to change the lines that they’ve written, and who got to keep the envelope and card that announced their Oscar(tm) win. Faxon speaks first, and it’s to deliver a revelation to Rash.