How The Coen Brothers Inspired This Fool's Genre-Blending Episodes

This Fool star and creator Chris Estrada spoke to E! News about his L.A. upbringing and the way the Coen Brothers influenced the show's episodes.

By Cydney Contreras Aug 12, 2022 8:30 PMTags
Watch: This Fool Stars Talk Representing Latinx Community With Comedy

When This Fool creator Chris Estrada set out to make a show about a man from South Central Los Angeles, he knew there'd be some critics.

"I'm always skeptical when I see something that I think I relate to," the comedian told E! News, "kind of being like, 'Did they get it right?'"

But as time went on, his worries about viewer opinions faded into the background. Instead, Chris focused on what he knew he could get right, i.e. growing up in the L.A. community. "I was more concerned about how this is being authentic to my own life," he said, "and the neighborhood I grew up in, the people I knew and stuff like that."

With this in mind, Chris and showrunners Pat Bishop, Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson crafted a story that is uniquely witty and reflective of the South Central experience. And at the center of This Fool, which is executive produced by Saturday Night Live alum Fred Armisen, is Chris' character Julio, who works at a gang rehabilitation non-profit and is "just a regular dude with existential dread."

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Yes, there are gang members and ex-convicts in the show too. But as Chris said, there's more to these people than just their criminal record, adding, "Nobody has more conviction and passion than somebody who's trying to change their lives."

Gilles Mingasson/Hulu

This Fool isn't just entertaining. It's aesthetically pleasing, with the writers blending elements of various genres, like thrillers and actions. This idea came from Chris and the showrunners' love of film, specifically the Coen Brothers' 2009 film A Serious Man, starring Michael Stuhlbarg. "I think it's important for us to present comedies to look cinematic," Chris explained. "I think a lot of people think of comedies as just laughs."

As for the comedic aspects, Fred's role as executive producer gave him the opportunity to infuse the show with even more humor. "I just like adding in more absurdist ideas that almost seem like not connected to it," the Documentary Now! co-creator said. "I guess I'll call it the weird element."

See how Chris and Fred pulled this off by watching This Fool on Hulu.

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