BWW Interviews: Nick Costa Talks about THE RESIDUALS, GROCERY GHOST, & Sticking it to the Man
I recently spoke to Nick Costa, who plays main character Pete's roommate Keith, about his experience with THE RESIDUALS and his own webseries THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW.
THE RESIDUALS is a web-comedy about actors auditioning for commercials and the hilarity that invariably ensues. The series was created by husband and wife Michael Paul Smith and Gillian Pensavalle, and co-stars Costa, Kelly Warne, James Tabeek, and Mark Gessner.
I know from talking to other members of the cast that you were fairly involved with the show early on. How did you get on board?
Well Mikey and Geeps, I call her Geeps, or Geepsie... anywho, they called Kelly and I to their apartment for a super-secret meeting to discuss something "new and exciting" and being that I love new and exciting things, I went. They laid out the idea to us, and Kelly and I just loved it. They had the broad strokes of the series laid out already, and they gave us room to develop our characters from the ground up, which is an amazing opportunity as a creative person, to have that sort of control.
When I spoke to Mark Gessner he said that he told Mike that casting Pete's roommate was going to be one of the major decisions to the show's success. First off, do you think they got the casting right?
Ha, well I hope so! Mikey and I worked on the Pete and Keith dynamic for a while, it also helped that Mikey and I were roommates for years before he got hitched; we had a lot of ammunition to make their relationship believable and enjoyable.
Secondly, what did you see Keith's role as in the first season?
I feel like everybody knows a guy like Keith. He always has the best intentions, even if his execution leaves something to be desired, he's a guy you root for. He's not malicious, or calculating, he just deals with roadblocks one at a time.
I've spoken to a lot of members of THE RESIDUALS cast and each one has had nothing but glowing things to say about shooting, do you have any dirt you can give me?
Well I've known Mikey since he was 14 years old, so I have quite a bit of dirt on him... actually come to think of it... the only thing Mike is ashamed of is the fact that he worked at King Kullen as a stock boy. As far as the series goes, it was awesome. Mikey and Geeps did a great job making sure everyone was relaxed and taken care of. There was an endless amount of mini muffins and coffee, so I couldn't have been happier during the down time.
Mike and Gillian are already working on plans for a second season; have you thrown out any ideas for where you would like to see Keith go next?
I threw an idea their way while we were shooting Season 1, that Keith makes it big in the commercial world, that he gets a huge deal like Flo the Progressive Lady, or the "Can you hear me now?" guy. I'd love to see how he deals with the success and financial stability. And on the other hand, Keith fancies himself a trained actor whose artistry comes first, I'd like to see him try to transition into film, but get turned away for being too recognizable as a commercial guy. I think there are a lot of interesting avenues that we could explore there.
I loved the idea of 10-second webseries episodes that Pete and Keith come up with. Are we going to see any GROCERY GHOST episodes online, or even in the next season?
It's funny, because the concept for GROCERY GHOST has been around longer than THE RESIDUALS. It's something that absolutely needs to see the light of day eventually...so we shall see.
In addition to THE RESIDUALS, I know you also wrote your own webseries THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW, which starred Kelly Warne, where did that idea come from?
First thing you should know is that I'm addicted to coffee. Addicted. There is a coffee shop under my apartment in Harlem, and I would visit it at least twice a day. I got friendly with all the staff, just so I wouldn't seem like the creepy over-caffeinated guy, which is how I met MJ Neumann, who managed the shop and was also a comedic writer. We became friends and one day we just decided that we were going to make something. We actually created COFFEE SHOP SHOW with our producer hats first, we knew that we had an awesome coffee shop at our disposal to shoot in, so we built our story around that.
What happened to the employees at the coffee shop from when the grandfather owned it? I was really worried for Grace and Henry's safety when they started.
Grace and Henry know nothing about the coffee world, and they think that owning a shop would be easy-peasey. The series really focuses on these two fish out of water who are just trying to float. As far as their grandfather goes, the whole community loved Thurman. And when he died, the employees refused to ever work for anyone else ever again...or something
One of the things that I really enjoyed about THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW is this sense of delayed gratification. There were some really funny bits that you build up to throughout the season, and I don't want to ruin them, because people should go watch for themselves, but can you talk about waiting on some of these fun reveals until later episodes, especially the season finale?
With COFFEE SHOP, we really wanted to create a complete world that these characters live in. The build up to reveal some of the funnier details was the fun part. We tried to take a cue from the shows that we thought were the funniest, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT for example; they create these insane premises and we, as an audience, just have to say, "Okay, that's something that just exists." Suspension of disbelief, I suppose.
Without spoiling it for people, THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW, the first season ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. So, there has to be plans for a second season follow-up, right?
Oh absolutely, MJ and I just sat down the other day and started hammering out ideas for Season 2. It's great getting feedback from the audience. We had a screening of Season 1 before we launched it, and it was amazing what people latched onto. Knowing what "works" is a great tool.
What else can people keep an eye out for that you are working on?
Hopefully you'll be able to see a lot more Nick Costa-produced pieces in the near future. MJ and I are in a planning stage to get a little production company up and running, this way we can shoot what we want, when we want, and we're not tied down by "The Man"...and by "The Man", of course I mean...well....you know.
If you are interested in my exhaustive series on THE RESIDUALS check out:
- BWW Exclusive: Writer/Director of Web Series THE RESIDUALS Gives Hilarious Tips for Commercial Auditioning
- BWW Exclusive: Creator of THE RESIDUALS Explains How to Collaborate With Your Partner Without Killing Each Other
- BWW Interviews: THE RESIDUALS Creators Talk GAME OF THRONES, MAD MEN, Why Show is Their Child
- BWW Interviews: Broadway's James Tabeek Chats Going from Stage to Screen on THE RESIDUALS
- BWW Interviews: Mark Gessner Talks SUBMISSIONS ONLY, THE RESIDUALS, Laying Down Tracks w/ 50 Cent
- BWW Interviews: Kelly Warne Talks THE RESIDUALS, Stand-Up, Sex Therapy, and Bodily Functions