He has no knowledge of the rules of the game. They do a lot of fun things with puns. But look to Ted’s right or left in any given scene and pay attention to his assistant, Coach Beard, brought to life by Brendan Hunt, who co-created the series with Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, and Joe Kelly. Brendan Hunt on Ted Lasso. You just get these little hints of what’s going on inside. That’s what I love about the show and also this character — it’s showing different ways of being masculine and that watching a movie and crying with your buddies over a cartoon is one of the ways you could be a strong man. And him just getting way too into it. Have you met Brendan?No. I think the show is so much about kindness, and that moment between Ted and Beard shows the difference between being nice and being kind. And finally, Beard calls him out on it and is like, “No, winning’s important. In improv, we have this thing called “yes, and,” which is that the only way to build a coherent scene is if your scene partner says something is true, you say yes. She recently spoke to Vulture about what makes Coach Beard such a fascinating character and what she values in Hunt’s performance. Is it a gritty reboot? That’s definitely something I’m working on. I wonder if this is a challenge for you all as writers. Of all the seasons of Friends that we watched, we don’t really need to know anything more about those people; we saw their whole life. I haven’t eaten or gone to the bathroom. Who better to turn to for under-the-radar comedy recommendations than comedians? Much of the conversation about the breakout Apple TV+ hit Ted Lasso has revolved around Ted Lasso himself. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he was living under a fake name, you know what I mean? It’s a mistake that I feel we keep making when we reboot certain things. Would Beard’s life be less joyful without him? Just like everybody else, I started watching and then all of a sudden you look up and you’re like, Oh, I just watched a whole season of television. You want to point to it, but you never want to have a character that you’re not curious about. Up until that point in the series, he’s been pretty still. But Ted Lasso, the man and the series, wouldn’t be Ted Lasso without him. Like, I don’t want to know more about the Grinch’s backstory.I feel like also it would be great if reboots sometimes would reboot a Coach Beard–style character. But if they did a reboot about Gunther, I would watch that. So we have now worked on two television shows together, and we’ve never met. I really want to be involved.” I feel like I watched the same thing happen to the audience. Being kind sometimes means not being nice. Right. Photo: Apple TV+

Looking for some quality comedy entertainment to check out? I just love this guy who knows everything about soccer and musicals. I feel like you were told.”

One of the funny things about Coach Beard as a character is that it almost seems as though he’s called Coach Beard just because he has a beard, and that may not really be his last name. You’re just smiling at someone’s face or going along to get along, that kind of niceness. It’s so much more fun to have a character that you always want more from as opposed to, if you told the audience everything about this person, then it’s: Why keep watching the show? He tells Beard to stay here because in about 32 minutes, you’re going to have a room full of sobbing men. I love it. There’s a scene where the team is at an away game and they’re watching, I think, Iron Giant, and Ted has to leave. It means something to their life, whether they win or lose, and we should try to win.” It’s literally the only time you see a really extreme passion and anger from him. I think we put such a premium on being nice, which can sometimes be fake. And that Beard has no shame in telling Ted, “Oh, I’m absolutely going to cry to this movie too.”

His character is super-low-key, but then he’ll have these bursts of emotion that are extra delightful because he’s so low-key the rest of the time.Yeah, like when he and Jane break up and he just goes to the dance floor and starts dancing. He isn’t as outgoing or as blatantly magnanimous as Ted. In our recurring series “Underrated,” we chat with writers and performers from the comedy world about an unsung comedy moment of their choosing that they think deserves more praise. I love that they do a lot of references to musicals. That makes sense. Ted brings so much positivity and joy into everyone’s life. Is that true?I don’t know, but that’s one of the things I think is funny about that character — he’s really sweet and kind, and if you met him, you’d be like, This is a nice guy, but there’s obviously an air of mystery. The show is named for this character, after all, and a lot of its charm comes from the folksy positivity that Ted — played by Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG Award winner Jason Sudeikis — shines on every soul he encounters. What I love about Coach Beard is he’s the ultimate “yes, and” character. I’m a very verbal performer and improviser, and I’ll sort of talk my way to a laugh. Because it’s all I see. I used to babysit, and the little kid that I babysat for, her mom had taught her that and she taught me. And then once I got hired, that’s when Apple lets you see all the episodes from season one so you know how to pitch for season two. Then I watched, especially on my Twitter, people being like, “Okay, if you watch the first episode of Ted Lasso, you will be in for the whole thing and falling in love with the female characters and being like, I can’t believe I just watched this whole show about soccer.” Everyone has the same experience of thinking it was going to be about sports and finding out that it was about all these super-gorgeous relationships. How and when did you start watching it? Well, the other thing that’s great about that moment is that he’s also saying, “Just thinking about this one person’s needs is selfish because you have to think about what the whole team wants and what’s better for everybody.” That’s interesting because the show is arguing that it’s good to be a nice, compassionate, kind person but also that there are times when that takes on a different form than what it may initially look like.Yeah, and I think of that as the difference between being nice and being kind. See, I was thinking what if it’s a Queen’s Gambit thing but just about his chess club?That’s hilarious. You’ve got a little bit of edge to it. And Ted is set up as such a great guy, and Beard is the one person who can be like, “No, here’s actually an area where you can be better. And Beard goes, “I’m going to be one of them.” When you cut back to them, you see all the players crying over Iron Giant. So when everybody started going nuts about Ted Lasso, were you like, “Oh, this is old news to me”?Yes and no because everyone had the same experience I did. I think that’s in episode two.I love the puns. More From This Series

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Tags: I mean, people love chess.Yeah, I love that. I won’t spoil anything, but the information’s forthcoming. What jumped out at you about Coach Beard and Brendan Hunt’s performance?What I love about Brendan, and knowing him, is that he’s an improviser. Chess has just swallowed up his entire life. I have one idea, but I’m curious about what ideas you may have.Ooh, that’s an interesting question because I feel like we don’t know what Beard is like without Ted. It might not be nice to say “Take Roy out of the game,” but that might be the kindest thing to do for him if he said he cannot play. At first, Ted doesn’t seem to know who any of the players are. You’re being nice to Roy, but you’re not being kind. I learned this from a 6-year-old. A lot of the commonsense, detailed background information comes from Coach Beard.What I love about it is in the pilot, when they’re on the plane flying to London, you see Coach Beard reading a book about soccer. Okay, and this is hysterical: So before I wrote on Ted Lasso, I wrote on a show called Bless This Mess, which Brendan also had a small part on. Even the little shots of him, little looks that he does, are all so good because he’s just fully present in every moment in a way that, to me, also as a performer, is really inspiring. Speaking of the air of mystery, one of the big mysteries in the show is this relationship Coach Beard has with Jane. Another moment that I really love in Ted Lasso is that Ted has said multiple times that he doesn’t really care about winning or losing. Something Brendan’s really good at is getting it with just one word or one look. Before I came on to the show, I had only read the pilot. [Laughs]

Interesting. When did you seal the deal to write on the second season?I don’t know, but it was before the first season aired. You accept it as true and then you add on to it. Tell me about your Ted Lasso journey. When the first commercial came out, I think they were showing it after basketball games or something, and people were like, Oh, it’s a sports show. Brendan just fully lives within “yes, and” in the way he plays that character. It’s been almost a year since the show came out, but it seems as if people either keep discovering it or are watching it for the fourth or fifth time.Yeah, and every time someone discovers it, they’re like, “How come nobody told me about Ted Lasso?” I’m like, “Really? He’s reading the book on the plane, but by the time they land in London, he knows everything about the sport. Ashley Nicole Black, one of the stars of HBO’s recently renewed A Black Lady Sketch Show and a writer on the forthcoming second season of Ted Lasso, fell in love with Coach Beard and Hunt’s performance before she began helping to script a single episode. These guys are professional athletes. So I wonder if maybe that’s what he’s like in the chess world. We know that they know each other from chess; we know that they like to play chess with an imaginary, invisible board; but we don’t know a ton about their relationship otherwise. After they’d made it but before it aired. Is there a scene from the first season that stands out to you? That’s the person we have more questions about. The fact that Coach Beard plays chess without a board — he obviously has to be so smart because it sounds like he knew about soccer before. First of all, is that something we might learn more about in season two?Yes. He’s always still and a step behind Ted and then he just goes nuts dancing, or he sings “Bad Romance” at karaoke. When I was approached about the show, I was like, “Oh, I’m not really a sports fan or a soccer person.” Then once I actually read the script and got into it and saw how gorgeous the relationships were, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love this. He’s there to “yes, and” Ted, and for some actors, that could maybe feel like, Oh, I’m a sidekick to Ted. But because Beard has a kind of mystique, I want to know more about him — but I don’t want to know everything because then the mystique will be gone.Yeah, totally. I was rewatching some of the episodes before you and I spoke and realizing how completely lost Ted would be without Coach Beard. Well, speaking of that, if one were to do a spinoff of Ted Lasso that’s just about Coach Beard, what could it potentially be? You need to do the kind, responsible thing here.”

Have you taken anything from Brendan’s performance that you feel you could use as a performer?You know what he’s really good at that I am not as good at?