HGTV’s “Comedians on Couches” stars comics Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero poking fun at classic episodes of “House Hunters” — with a pandemic twist.
The series, premiering Thursday at 10 p.m., features Levy and Leggero, whose friendship dates back nearly 20 years, watching the classic episodes separately and remotely (hence the “Couches” in the show’s title).
In each episode, they’re joined by one of their comedian friends (including JB Smoove, Whitney Cummings and “SNL’s” Chris Redd) as all three add humorous (sometimes caustic) commentary as the onscreen couples decide which of three houses they’ll eventually buy.
The premiere features home buyers LM (with blue hair) and Casey (rocking a unique mustache) searching for a house in Austin, Texas: she wants a “mid-century modern” that reminds her of “Mad Men”; he wants a look that says “industrial brutalism.”
“The couples’ dynamics are always an added bonus, and that’s 50 percent of why we love it,” says Leggero, 46. “You can always tell from the beginning that the guy is not going to get what he wants. It’s pretty clear that whatever the woman picks is going to be what they both choose.”
There are over 1,000 episodes of “House Hunters,” so HGTV chooses the episodes that Levy, Leggero and their guest will watch. Except for one notorious episode — “The Indianapolis couple, where they were living in a bathroom and wanted to move to a 20-room house,” Levy says — they’re all seeing these for the first time.
“Everyone loves to watch people and they love hearing gossip, and this is like inside gossip and dealing with relationship while telling the tale about the home,” says Levy, 39. “We can’t believe these people when we’re watching these episodes; we’re so invested in the three homes that by the end we feel like we’re the experts and we know the right house and if they don’t choose the one we want, we’re livid.
“We get caught up in making fun of them,” he says. “They’re making this huge life choice and we’re just judging them.”
The idea for “Comedians on Couches” came from a live show that Levy, Leggero and John Mulaney did at LA’s Largo at the Coronet in 2018.
“Me and Dan are kind of obsessed with [real estate site] Zillow and we’re always sending each other ridiculous listings,” says Leggero. “It’s almost like real estate is now a version of porn, where you’re living in a big city and imagining what you can get in the suburbs.
“Dan had the idea for that show, where we Googled Zillow listings and made fun of them,” she says.
“I won’t lie — I’ve been trying to get on HGTV forever,” Levy says. “They still weren’t ready to do comedy, but this is a perfect storm — there’s no new content and there are comedians at home, so it was like, ‘Let’s get Dan, Natasha and their friends and be OK with making fun of what’s on HGTV.’ ”
And, Leggero says, some of the comics’ biting commentary was left on the cutting-room floor.
“We didn’t tone down the snark, but they might have edited it out,” she says. “Doing the series with our friends made it feel pretty intimate and it was fun to do.
“It really did feel like a bunch of us sitting around watching TV and making fun of it.”
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