By Harriet Kaplan and Linita Masters
‘Neuriotica’ is a new IFC Comedy Crib series, created by and starring Jenny Jaffe. The series follows Ivy, a small-town dominatrix with OCD. She is struggling to keep her business afloat as the new mega-dungeon threatens her livelihood. And according to Ivy, ” Mouths are icky.”
Jenny Jaffe is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer, performer, non-profit founder, and non-comedy writer. While at NYU, Jenny was a member (and later director) of NYU’s premiere sketch group, Hammerkatz. During her senior year, Jenny was hired as a full time staff writer at CollegeHumor. She then went on to write for MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, and served as head writer on a pilot, Love Week, for VH1 Online. She has appeared in the feature films Jack of the Red Hearts and Punk’s Dead (SLC Punk 2).
Jenny is the founder of Project UROK, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating the isolation of teen mental illness, which was acquired by the Child Mind Institute in 2016.
She is currently a staff writer at Disney’s Big Hero 6, and is the creator/star of IFC’s Neurotica. She is a regular contributor to Vulture, and the co-author of “Now Playing at the Umlaut Cinema” as well the author of an unannounced book project, releasing in 2017 and 2018, respectively, through Devastator Press.
The Hollywood 360 had the opportunity to chat with the multi-faceted Jenny Jaffe about Neurotica.
The Hollywood 360: I really enjoyed your new series. It’s perverse, funny, quirky, has memorable characters and has a lot of heart. Can you tell me how you created Neuriotica and gave it a unique twist?
Jenny Jaffee: I’d pitched a version of Neurotica elsewhere before it landed at IFC, but IFC really understood what I loved about the idea and supported me in pursuing that. So I don’t even remember where it first came from, I just know I wrote down the idea forever ago and spent a long time figuring out what, exactly, it was going to be. In initial versions Ivy was sort of hiding her identity from the rest of the people in her life, but then what really made me giggle was the image of Ivy just excitedly greeting the morning to the folks in her small town and everyone being very open.
I think mental illness and human sexuality are usually approached with this sort of hyper-serious reverence, so I liked the idea of wrapping both up in this world where people are very cool and supportive of both Ivy’s OCD and her profession.
The Hollywood 360: How did you decide to play Ivy and what kind of research did you do for the role?
Jenny Jaffe: I think it was the execs at IFC who encouraged me to play Ivy actually- I had a moment where I thought I might not want to be on camera, where I was shy about the kind of costumes I’d have to wear, that sort of thing, but ultimately there were a lot of people who really believed in me and that made all the difference. Ivy’s personality is basically just me dialed up to 11 with, you know, a dungeon thrown in for good measure. And I did talk to pro-Dommes and former pro-Dommes as research!
The Hollywood 360: How did you pick the other actors? What qualities were you looking for in auditioning them?
Jenny Jaffe: No one auditioned! Just about every role was played by the person I had in mind when writing it. Abe Goldfarb and Max Ash, who play Mr. Mayor and the Masked Man on the show, actually wrote it with me. The only person I didn’t know going into production was James III, who played Greg, but I was a big fan of his podcast, Black Men Can’t Jump (In Hollywood), so I was excited he said yes! Mostly I just wanted to populate the world with warm, unique humans who would treat Mapleton and the people in it with as much love as the characters themselves do.
The Hollywood 360: I think it’s testament to your creativity and talent that you pack so much of storyline into each episode? How did you manage to make it so full and satisfying?
Jenny Jaffe: Thank you! I honestly don’t even know how to answer that. I knew we had a limited amount of time and budget to work with and I just wanted to make the story as fun and rich as I could. And everyone who worked on it put so much heart into it. The set design especially just blew me away.
The Hollywood 360: What can views expect in new episodes as I would imagine Ivy now running the MegaDungeon and her challenges and overcoming her personal obstacles?
Jenny Jaffe: I don’t know if there will be more episodes (though I certainly hope so!). I’d imagine that Season Two would look a bit more like a workplace comedy, with Ivy navigating what it means to be in charge in a non-kinky context. And a lot of Chantal and Greg shenanigans.
Neurotica, is created by and starring Jenny Jaffe and produced and directed by Jetpacks Go!
@jennyjaffe on Twitter
Jenny Jaffe on Facebook