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An Interview with Danny McBride of Eastbound and Down

Where does your hair end and Kenny Powers’ begin?
The top is mine, but the mullet is not. The mullet is an extension.

That’s all our dreams shattered right there.
It was honestly my wife. She just would not let me walk around with that haircut outside the set!

What’s the strangest thing a fan’s ever sent you?
I always get forwarded these weird pictures of people getting Kenny Powers tattoos. That’s probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen: Somebody will ink my face on their body for eternity. I love it--I think it’s pretty nice.

Did you actually film the second season of Eastbound & Down in Mexico?
We wanted to. Honestly, that was the reason we chose Mexico. We were like, “It’d be the shit to move down to Cabo and shoot the show!” But I guess with some of the cartel violence, HBO’s safety-insurance people weren’t down for us going there, so we shot in Puerto Rico instead.

What can you tell us about Season 3?
This season basically picks up where the last one left off--with a possible comeback and Kenny’s responsibility as a new father, dealing with those things in true Kenny Powers fashion. He’s definitely not cut out to be a dad!

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever said as Kenny?
The beauty about playing this role is you constantly find yourself in positions where you’re like, “God, it’s insane that I’m able to do this right now.”
I always liked that scene in the second season where I bring the gun out onto the field. It’s nuts to do that in a baseball stadium full of people. It’s those sorts of moments where you’re like, “I don’t need to have some drunken breakdown on Hollywood Boulevard and have TMZ film it.” I just do the show. Which is good!

A lot of the show is improvised. Who’s the most likely to just make you lose it on set?
I have a really hard time keeping it together with Steve Little. He’s just so funny and honest and sincere. Last season I had real troubles with Deep Roy [who played angry little person Aaron]. Any single scene I had
to do with him, I’m losing my shit. I’m laughing in a lot of the scenes, and that’s not scripted -- I just couldn’t keep it together. He forgot his lines when he went to the audition and went on this tirade, just cussing with himself because he was so frustrated. We watched that audition over and over again, and we were like, “This is what Aaron is--he’s just a foul-mouthed wild man.”

You have a lot of bizarre stuff going on in the show. What’s it like on the set?
It’s really weird! I don’t want to say I take any of that stuff for granted, but we live in this Kenny world so much that I think our standards of what’s normal have been destroyed. We’ve lost touch, but every once in a while you do look around and you’re like, “What the fuck is going on? We have a donkey spray-painted black and white in the middle of Puerto Rico. Where did this come from?”

Are any of the characters on the show based on real people?
They’re not based on them, but we used real names from our high school teachers for a lot of the teachers on the show.

What do they think about that?
They’re just glad I found a way to turn dick jokes into money!

What’s your favorite cuss word?
It kind of changes! Last year I was really into the word cocksucker. I thought it sounded so mean! I just had a kid, so now maybe dipshit is my favorite--something a little bit lighter, more of a PG-13 kind of curse.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Some half-drunk Japanese beer, a weird Vietnamese pork sandwich, some eggs--oh, and breast milk! My wife and I had our kid two months ago, so there’s a lot of pumping going on and a lot of weird bottles not to be mistaken for regular milk in there. To look in my refrigerator and see all that breast milk would be really impressive if I wasn’t married…

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Don’t stop smoking weed; don’t stop making these dick jokes. It’s all gonna pay off in the end.

Season 3 of Eastbound & Down starts February 19 at 10 p.m. on HBO.