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Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback


So there you have it. If you saw tonight's episode of HBO's The Comeback, you just witnessed what might have been the show's weirdest/funniest unplanned moment to date:

The yawn.

Maybe you didn't pay much attention to it? If so, feel free to rewind and behold the improv wonder that is Lisa Kudrow. And weird bodily functions.

In the scene, Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) and husband Marky Mark (Damian Young) arrive at their apartment building to get some rest, since the camera crews for Seeing Red (and Seth Rogen) have taken over their house for filming. While Valerie is talking to the landlady, Mrs. Yi (AkikoKato), she spontaneously erupts into what could have been a seizure, a mating call or an alien birth, but it turns out to be simply…a yawn.

"[Akiko] is a woman with a genuine accent and she made a choice to yawn because she thought the character was tired," explains writer and co-executive producer Amy B. Harris, who co-wrote tonight's episode with John Riggi. "So that's a perfect example of Lisa's improv. That was not in the script. (Akiko) just sort of made some interesting choices and it was 3 am. And when Lisa saw the yawn, she just said, ‘What is that?' and then several beats later, ‘Oh, it's a yawn.' She never breaks." 

But the people working behind the scenes? They could not have broken more. "I remember it was 3 am and we were all sitting in a random apartment building parking lot just rolling around laughing," Harris says. "Honestly, I don't know that I've ever laughed that hard in my life. We were dying laughing." 

Fun fact: The wrap gift for The Comeback crew this season was a sweatshirt with a photo of Mrs. Yi on the zipper. (HBO marketing idea: MAKE THOSE AND SELL THEM. And get started on a Mrs. Yi spinoff while you're at it.)

Also in tonight's episode, we got to see Valerie Cherish crash and burn in the most hilarious—and inappropriate—way at an improv class at The Groundlings.  "I loved the idea of watching Lisa, who is so great at improv, being terrible at it because she is so fantastically terrible," says Harris. "She is a scaled comedy actress, she can recognize a catchphrase and deliver it, but she could not be worse at improv."

As for the reaction so far from The Comeback fans to the long-awaited season two, Harris couldn't be more thrilled.

"When people used to tell me they loved Sex and the City," explains Harris (who also worked on SATC, and helmed The Carrie Diaries), "I was obviously always touched and flattered. But it's a little bit like saying, ‘I like cupcakes.' It's a delicious sweet treat, and people really loved it. But when anyone would come up to me in the 9 years that The Comeback was off the air, and say ‘I know you worked on The Comeback and I loved it,' it was a little bit like saying, ‘I tried foie gras and even though it looked disgusting, I tasted it and it was the most delightful of experiences.' So for me, just to know that there's this very specific, very crafted, very jagged experience that is clicking for people is incredible. The fans seem to be happy, the reviews have been so wonderful, and we feel like it's an amazing win for us."

Everyone knows a Valerie Cherish cupcake is the most delicious.