Space force

Space Force places Tawny Newsome among the stars she belongs to

Netflix’s new comedy space force is a strange show for strange times. Relishing in the kind of absurdity that can only exist in our reality, the series follows General Mark R. Naird (Steve Carell, who co-created the show with Greg Daniels) as he tries to get “boots on the moon” and establish this new branch of the military. space force features an abundance of comedy icons, from Carell and Lisa Kudrow to the late Fred Willard and the deliciously weird John Malkovich, but Tawny Newsome stands out among the lot – comedian, musician, actress and a myriad of other things (as she says, it is too extensive). Newsome spoke to SYFY FANGRRLS about her character, Angela Ali, Spaceman First Class (nothing embarrassing or comical about it) and how she stays positive these days.

So, Tawny. How’s your quarantine going?

Courtney, I can’t complain. I am neither a nurse nor a hospitalist. What a weird time to have one of the most frivolous jobs in America, being told at every turn that there’s nothing essential about me, which is fine.

You are an artist in many different fields – improvisation, music, television, etc. How do you find ways to stay creative? Is it harder now? I know it’s hard for me and I’m only in one.

It’s actually great for me because I do too many things, as you very well put it in a different way. I’ll go ahead and say I’m overwhelmed. So for me, slowing everything down really gave me a chance to focus on the music. I’ve been writing a ton of music with friends, and to take any kind of production pressure off, because who knows if we’ll be able to play those songs live soon. But just writing them and creating them and turning them into a studio project was really therapeutic.

It looks like you’re staying positive.

Yeah, I don’t feel much unhappiness or sadness. I think it’s just because I’m lucky. I’ve been employed all of last year so I’m in an ok place not to be employed until we sort this out. It’s not where most people in the world are, so I have to stay positive just because I feel so lucky and so good.

How would you describe your character, Angela Ali?

She’s a lot like me in that she’s mastered different – ​​I won’t say the masks, as if that’s misleading, but she has a different face that she puts to work. She got a different face she put on with her boss, with her boss’ daughter, with Jimmy [O. Yang], who plays Dr. Chan. I think the writers were so open to feedback and we all collaborated on the characters that you really get to see this complete person, I hope. That was my intention anyway. She’s a military man, but she also has a degree in math, but she’s also really funny and likes weird nerdy stuff. I think you can just see a lot of sides to her. Yeah, I guess that also tells me to be a constant, overloaded multitasker.

In the beginning, in the first episode, you start out as a straight man with the character of Steve Carell, but over time we really get to know her and see these different sides of her personality.

Yeah. I think it’s funny because I was obviously nervous, kinda understandable I hope, to work with Steve Carell, just because he’s the king. I just admired him for years and years. Couldn’t be nicer and more like a normal guy. So I wasn’t nervous any more quickly, but I think you see his journey through the season reflects my journey to feel comfortable with him and with everyone and with the role on set as well. Because yes, in the pilot, she is nervous. She’s starting a new big job. When I filmed the pilot, I was nervous because I was starting an important new job.

Between this and Star Trek: Lower Decks, you carve out a place for yourself in space. Have you always been interested in science fiction?

I’ve always been a moderate science fiction fan. I have always watched star trek. It’s something my parents and I have watched since I was very young. It was actually appropriate and something they wanted to watch that a kid could watch too. So yes, definitely, I’ve always been a star trek nobody. I don’t know how I ever got to be that space guy full time. I mean, it’s very funny. I’m sure there are people who know a lot more about space, who should be the ambassadors. A lot of times people tweet me the current US Space Force Command logo next to this Star Fleet Command logo, because someone suggested they’re quite similar. I’m just like, “Yeah, I don’t know what my life is like right now either, guys. It’s weird.”

It’s such a weird plot, but it’s also obviously based in reality. It’s a weird time right now. What’s it like to be funny and to be in a comedy, but it’s also a bit like real life?

What’s so weird, Courtney, is that it was all written before we had any information about the actual Space Force. I think they literally announced that they were going to create a Space Force, and Steve and Greg went to write the pilot. It was literally just a premise. Then our writing team, with Steve and Greg, wrote the other nine episodes long before they had a logo, flag, uniform, etc. So any similarity or anything, is such a weird parallel thought. Because what our writers really did was they really took “what if these people, what if these types of people, top of their class, military, scientists around the world, were all pushed together and forced to figure that out.” So that’s already a great premise. Then, whether or not real-world events match up, I don’t know. It’s very surreal and weird, but I want to make sure everyone knows we were weird in the first place.

You are the source of all that is weird.

Yeah. I’m sure the military was doing their own weird stuff before we got here. They thought about it separately and it’s very strange to see the parallels.

There’s a ton of improv talent on the show. There’s you, there’s Ben Schwartz, there’s Jessica St. Clair. Almost everyone involved is a famous improviser. Is there room for improvisation on Space Force or is it more locked into the script?

There’s definitely room from Greg’s point of view open to it. Steve is open to that. The writers are cold. The only reason there isn’t a ton of improvisation – there is – but the only reason there isn’t a ton is because it’s so big. There’s so much going on. There are floats rolling down an alley towards you while 200 background actors do flips and stuff dressed in camel gear. There are so many moving parts that often the still camera doesn’t have time to move around and wait for me to decide which is funnier, hats or socks, or whatever bullshit that I was going to suggest. Sometimes I just try to spit out the words so that much more important things can happen. I couldn’t do that to those adorable stunt guys.

What are you FANGRRLing right now?

I’ve been a fan for a long time Country and they just finished the last season. I didn’t want to watch the series finale that long because I didn’t want these characters to cease to exist. It sounds so sad and lame, but I was like, no, Carrie and Saul still have to be out there spying. I finally decided to watch it. Then a friend recommended the Wind of Change podcast to me. Oh my God, have you ever listened to it? It’s two things that I like: espionage and rock music. You must listen to it. It’s about how there’s this CIA rumor that the US government wrote the Scorpions song “Wind of Change.” It’s an amazing podcast. Anyway, I guess I’ve been FANGRRLing about spies lately. I don’t know what that says about me. Maybe I’m trying to look at essential jobs for the future.

This is your next phase, being a spy.

Yeah. Improvisation is probably very useful in espionage work.

Probably, yeah. And you’re used to trying on costumes and stuff like that. I say we bring back A.k.a and it’s you.

OK I will do it. I accept the job. Thank you so much.

space force is now streaming on Netflix.