The team behind Viceland’s first scripted comedy made its inaugural appearance on the TCA stage today. The What Would Diplo Do? panel included star/EP/showrunner James Van Der Beek, EP-director Brandon Dermer and cast members Jamar Malachi Neighbors, H. Michael Croner, Dora Madison and Dillon Francis.
Described as “Louie meets WorldStar HipHop crossed with This Is Spinal Tap,” or as Van Der Been put it, “EDM Jesus sucks at life,” the series centers on afictional version of EDM star Diplo, played by Van Der Beek, in a collection of parables about life as told through the eyes of guy who can bring 60,000 people to their feet but kind of sucks one-on-one.
“The only way to do a show like this is only if someone is completely game.” Van Der Beek said about Diplo’s positive reception to the show. In fact, at one point he suggested his character look completely stupid. “We had to argue that we had to make this character somewhat likable” so the viewers “would come back and take this journey with him,” Van Der Beek said. “He is so confident in his ability that he’s allergic to taking himself so seriously.”
Dermer, who watched the episodes with the superstar DJ, said “he was really into it” and when he asked if there was any message that he wanted to relay back to Van Der Beek, “he told me to tell him it’s lit.”
When describing the episodes, Dermer, who has a music video-directing background, said they were like an extended play record where “all these pieces up to a final track.” Van Der Beek noted that the idea came from Oscar winner and Viceland co-president Spike Jonze. “He said it would be fun to see the collection of failures eventually mount so they don’t disappear and they don’t.”
Diplo also is an exec producer on the series along with his long-time manager Kevin Kusatsu. Viceland, TMWRK and Matador are the producers.
What Would Diplo Do? premieres August 3 on Viceland.