SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains details from the season finale of FXX’s Dave.
In the Season 2 finale of Dave, our titular character faces a make-or-break moment not only in his rapping career, but also in his relationship with one of his best friends.
As the episode opens, Dave (Dave Burd, aka Lil Dicky) has just released his debut album, “Penith.” While it has charted as the number one comedy album in the country, he isn’t happy with its reception, feeling that there’s no awareness of it because it hasn’t been supported with proper marketing. Dave’s dreams for his big debut further unravel during a meeting with marketing execs, who inform him that Ariana Grande has just dropped a surprise album—meaning that his upcoming performance at the VMAs will be cut short, to make room for hers.
Elsewhere, Dave’s hype man GaTa appears to be in the middle of a manic episode. He scams Dave’s fans with VIP wristbands for an album release party he no longer intends to throw, later spending $8,000 lent to him by the rapper on a BMW, which he’s looking to showcase in a new music video. When Dave gets word that GaTa is “ramping up”, he drives over to speak with his friend, confronting him about his financial schemes. GaTa then unleashes all of the anger and resentment he’s long been holding in, calling Dave out for exploiting him as a hype man, while doing nothing to help him advance in his own career.
While Dave has alienated almost everyone close to him, at one time or another, prior to the finale, each of his friends either shows up or tunes in for his VMA performance, including his ex-girlfriend Ally (Taylor Misiak), who is shown cozying up with a new boyfriend.
Before going onstage, Dave apologizes to Mike (Andrew Santino) and Elz (Travis Bennett) for the ingratitude he’s shown them and other friends, including GaTa, who have supported him all along. He’s introduced for his VMA performance by Lil Nas X. Then, in a surprise turn, he runs onto the stage for a performance alongside GaTa, who finally gets his moment in the spotlight. We then cut to GaTa and Dave performing on tour, at a small venue full of devoted fans.
Alma Har’el directed tonight’s finale, “Dave,” from a script by Burd, who created the comedy series based on his life with Jeff Schaffer.
Burd spoke with Deadline while wrapping post-production on the episode to break down his GaTa “hero story,” touching at the same time on the status of Season 3, the musician he’d love to bring onto the show going forward, his next album and more.
DEADLINE: Tell us about the arc you arrived at for Season 2. Did you know where you wanted to take the story back when you were working on Season 1?
DAVE BURD: Oh, I’ve got every season, Seasons 1 through 10, totally mapped out. No, I’m just kidding. I really am a ‘one season at a time’ type of guy. I feel like it just kind of came about in the writers’ room. I definitely knew that I wanted the season to take on more introspection—deeper things and more interrelationship things.
I knew that, and in reality, I know I’m also making an album, and it’s taken forever, so I felt like my reality informed [the season, as well]. I pretty much come into the room and talk about where I’m at in life with my writers, who are my friends and just really smart, funny people, and we start talking about where things could go.
DEADLINE: Did you consider any alternate endings to the season? Were there storylines that you thought about taking in a different direction?
BURD: Not really. I always knew we’d had a lot of inner character struggles and relationship issues this season, but you’ve never seen it from me and GaTa. It’s like me and GaTa are always an unbreakable duo, so to speak, and I knew I wanted to save that tension and drama for the end.
To me, [Episode] 10 is like GaTa’s hero story…and I just thought that that’s such a cool way to take this ending. Rather than making it a Dave [moment of] “Is he going to be the artist he always thought he was going to be?” it’s a GaTa coming-of-age story.
It’s like literally, GaTa is “Dave.” GaTa’s actual name is Davionte, and his family calls him Dave; he is Dave, too. Both my character and GaTa’s character, the whole season, [have felt like] there’s all this clutter for both of us to just independently reach our own goals. I think the finale is about us cutting through the clutter and getting back to the root of why we love each other in the first place, and that’s our relationships and our friendships.
In a show all about a main character who’s, especially this season, very self-focused on becoming exactly who we thought he was, you can forget that your relationships and other human beings that are involved, their lives matter just as much as your life. Even if you think that you came up destined to be a great entertainer, that doesn’t excuse you from minimizing someone else’s dreams. So, I think this episode had a lot of conflict between me and GaTa. But at the end of the day, it’s like we’re on the same team, and GaTa is Dave, too.
The show in general is obviously about the story of my life—loosely, obviously. [What it depicts is] not always totally true, and I didn’t create GaTa. [While] a lot of other characters are just characters, GaTa is an actual guy. He’s actually one of my best friends, so as much as it’s my life, it’s also become GaTa’s life story too, in a way. He’s been gracious enough to allow me to tell his story, so at the end, I really wanted to make him proud. Because I love GaTa and everyone loves GaTa. He’s the most lovely man in the world.
DEADLINE: What was it like working with Alma Har’el on the finale? What did she bring to the show?
BURD: This finale wouldn’t have been what it is without Alma. She watched Season 1 during Covid and tweeted about it, and I was such a fan of Honey Boy, so I immediately responded to her. We started talking and I just fell in love with her as a creative. She’s such a visionary and a force, and I knew what I was trying to achieve for this finale, and what it took.
I didn’t need a typical comedy director. I needed a true drama/performance art director. She’s really hands-on and a genius, and…I feel like the finale is the full potential of the show. Everything’s clicking at such a high level, and I think she came in and really challenged everybody to hit that.
DEADLINE: Do you have a status update, with regard to a potential third season of Dave?
BURD: Look, I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m not even done with this finale we’re talking about. I’ve been handing in every single episode of the season at the deadline, like four days before it’s on TV. I’ve totally lost my sense of self here. I’m over here, working at a rate that I’ve never even thought possible. So, Season 3 is like the last thing on my mind right now.
DEADLINE: What would you like to explore going forward if the series is renewed?
BURD: Well, Season 1, I was obviously very proud of, and in Season 2, I was like, “I want to get way more emotional and tonally, I want to shift a bit.” Next season, I couldn’t tell you for sure…I feel like Season 3, I’m creating the funniest season that anyone’s ever made of television. But that is so subject to change. That’s just where I’m at right now, mentally.
DEADLINE: You’ve brought a lot of incredible guest stars onto Dave in its first two seasons. Is there a dream guest for you, looking ahead?
BURD: So many people. There’s really an endless list, but the guy that’s popping into my brain is Kanye [West]. I mean, I have so many ideas. But it’s tough because it’s not like in rap [where] sometimes, you’ll go to work with somebody, and all of the sudden they’re like, “Later.” They can’t make it that night, and you’re like, “All right, we’ll reschedule it.” If I had a thing that had a scene with somebody and they didn’t come, the whole season’s f*cked. So, it’s tough to lean too much on these lofty celebrity [cameos]. But I love Kanye. He’s a friend of mine, and I would love to get him in the show.
DEADLINE: Do you have a sense of how many more seasons of Dave you’d like to make? How much more story you have to tell with the series?
BURD: I don’t have that answer. I really don’t know. I definitely have a lot more I’d like to explore, and I love this show. It’s like, how often am I going to have the opportunity to tell my life [story]? I could make other movies, but I can’t make movies about my life unless it’s like a show sequel movie. There are so many other things that I want to do beyond the show, for sure, in my career, but I’m not ready to stop working on the show about my life story. I just think that’s something you don’t want to abandon; you want to tell that the right way.
I love everyone involved, I love making the show, and do I think I’m going to do 25 seasons like The Simpsons or whatever? Probably not. But two seasons feels like it’s scratching the surface.
DEADLINE: Has it been strange making a show about your own life story, as it’s continuing to unfold?
BURD: Well, it’s starting to get weird. As I’m sitting there watching the finale and working on it, I’m like, “Man, I haven’t even gotten invited to perform at the VMAs in real life.” I’m like, “My character is lapping my actual artist in reality.” But I’d say I’ve been so consumed by [the show’s] creation. I really did Season 1 and 2 back to back with very little break, and I couldn’t be more involved in every phase. So, I’m excited to finish it and then go out and live life for a little bit, so I can remember the plot of the show I’m making.
DEADLINE: You mentioned you’ve been working on a new album. Are there any other updates, as far as the music side of your career?
BURD: You sound like my mother…Yeah, I’m working on an album still. It’s been so long, and my fans are probably so annoyed at me. I don’t blame them, but when I’m working seven days a week, like 16 hours a day, I can’t open up Pro Tools at night and tinker around. So, I’m excited to actually get time where I can explore my album and finish it. I really would be shocked and brutally disappointed in myself, if I wasn’t finished with my album before I started Season 3.
So, that’s my new goal, is to finish my album, because I have a lot of pride in myself as a rapper, and I’m honestly hungrier than ever as a rapper. Because I feel like a lot of people might be like, “Oh, he just rapped so he could get this TV show, and now that he has that, he doesn’t need to make music anymore, and he doesn’t care.”
I feel like [the truth] is the opposite of that, in the sense that now, I feel more urgent of a desire to prove myself as a legitimate musical artist, rapper, independent of a TV show. So, I look forward to that challenge.
DEADLINE: Are there any film or TV projects outside of Dave that you’ve either been thinking about or gotten around to writing?
BURD: Yeah. I’ve got a few other [irons] in the fire. I don’t really want to speak on them, but I’m definitely thinking about writing a movie, too. So, I’m working on that.