New Girl may have ended in 2018, but for the seven seasons it aired, the comedy was critically acclaimed and loved by millions. Now, cast members are sharing some of the less funny moments behind the scenes, including the cringe-worthy questions they were forced to field from reporters.
Male stars of the show gathered on Tuesday for A Night With the New Girl Boys—part of this year’s virtual Vulture Festival. At one point, panel moderator (and New Girl showrunner) Liz Meriwether looks back on having two Black men on the cast.
For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Damon Wayans Jr. appeared in the pilot as Coach, but was committed to a role on ABC’s Happy Endings by the time New Girl was picked up. The show went on with a new character, Winston, played by Lamorne Morris. But when Happy Endings was canceled, Wayans Jr. returned to the FOX show, sharing the screen with Morris for seasons 3 and 4.
“I got so many questions that were, like… does Lamorne have to leave now [that Damon is back]?” said Meriwether. “It was like people couldn’t imagine it.”
The anecdote opened the door for Morris and co-star Jake Johnson to talk about one particularly bad experience on the red carpet at the Golden Globes.
“Let me tell you something, I got those questions a lot,” said Morris. “For awhile it wasn’t frustrating. I guess it was an honest question, because it makes sense, right? Maybe people thought that I was … they wouldn’t recognize that one Black face was out for another.”
But Johnson was more candid about his take on the offending reporters. “They were utter dogshit questions, and utter dogshit to then ask, ‘Can you both be on the show?'” he said. “You can, absolutely. You don’t just need one Black guy, you can have a bunch of them on a show. There was a lot of dogshit interviews about having two Black guys on television shows.”
Morris took things in stride though, eventually coming up with clever responses for the ridiculous inquiries. “I said this before in a question line: they go, ‘Lamorne, so what’s going to happen with Winston now that Coach in coming back?’ and I was like, ‘Well, Jess [star Zooey Deschanel] is going to leave.’ We’ve got one person missing so one person has to leave. You think it’s gonna be me?”
For more from the interview, check out the clip.