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Resident Advisors Interview: Jamie Chung and Ryan Hansen

The Hulu original comedy Resident Advisors is now streaming its first season. This one hits close to home for me, because I have fond memories of living in my college dorm. Of course, I was a good kid. I got along with my RAs and didn’t make any trouble. For comedic purposes, the students, and RAs, of this show get into many comic shenanigans.

Jamie Chung stars as Olivia, a by the books RA trying to corral her staff and keep the students in line. Ryan Hansen plays the fun loving 30-year-old holdover Doug. I spoke with Chung and Hansen by phone after seeing the first two episodes of Resident Advisors. You can watch all seven on Hulu now.

Nuke the Fridge: When you gave the elaborate foot massage in episode two, did you do elaborate foot massage research and is that authentic Ryan Hansen technique?

Jamie Chung: It’s pretty good.

Ryan Hansen: That is my own technique. I did not research anything. I just kind of went with the moment and I felt the foot and the size of it. And I said, “What would I like if I was getting my hand finger massaged by another grown man?” And I just went with that.

Nuke: Does your character have any other special skills we reveal through Resident Advisors?

Ryan Hansen: Yes, he does. Spoiler, he’s a good back masseuse.

Nuke: Did both of you ever live in a dorm?

Jamie Chung: I did. I went to UCR and I lived in the dorms the first quarter, but the lifestyle didn’t suit me so I moved to an apartment. I feel like I got a pretty good dorm experience.

Ryan Hansen: I didn’t get into college so I didn’t get the dorm experience. Thanks, guys. Now I do. Now I have it.

Nuke: When you were in the dorm for a semester, Jamie, what was your relationship with the RA?

Jamie Chung: I get the RA had a job to do and what not, but it was a total comedy show, a fun show. It wasn’t really bad. It was more so being crammed in a single room with two other girls and having your own personal space.

Nuke: Does a lot of the comedy in the series come from the fact that the RAs are still students themselves?

Jamie Chung: Yes, they are.

Nuke: So is students having authority over other students just funny?

Jamie Chung: Oh, totally. You’ve got the ones that will take bribes and you have other ones who are just unbreakable.

Nuke: Is every week going to start off with some disaster and we’ll flash back to see what caused it?

Jamie Chung: Exactly.

Ryan Hansen: It’s the finale disaster that they keep coming back to at the beginning of each episode.

Jamie Chung: Yeah, it ties in real nicely at the end.

Ryan Hansen: We think.

Nuke: How did you each get cast on Resident Advisors?

Ryan Hansen: I’d worked with Ira Ungerleider a couple times before this, so he knew that I could play I could play a goofy 30-year-old RA pretty well.

Jamie Chung: My manager represents Ryan and she was always like, “She’s so funny!” We actually met years ago one night, but I really wanted to do some comedy. I read all seven scripts and I loved it and I loved the people attached to it, so I begged to do it and they gave me the job.

Nuke: What funny stuff will people see on Resident Advisors?

Jamie Chung: I mean, there’s a lot of puke. There’s a lot more fart jokes.

Ryan Hansen: Puke and farts and more semen.

Jamie Chung: Lots of hookups.

Ryan Hansen: Lots of hookups. You saw the broken vagina.

Nuke: So is it a very messy show?

Ryan Hansen: Yeah.

Jamie Chung: It gets messy. It’s kinda gross.

Ryan Hansen: I think I’m hammered the entire fourth episode.

Jamie Chung: And then I get hammered and we just roll in each other’s barf. It gets a little weird.

Nuke: What was the barf made of on set?

Jamie Chung: It was clam chowder and oatmeal. So terrible.

Nuke: If any of that got in your mouth, could it make you really barf?

Jamie Chung: I had to put it in my mouth. It didn’t taste so bad. They warmed it up for me. It was like a warm, chunky soup. It was great.

Nuke: Does Resident Advisors fit your sense of humor, this grossout raunchy comedy?

Jamie Chung: It’s not so raunchy. It was only that one episode, but when you boil it down, it’s really the workplace comedy of eclectic characters that live under the same roof. You see them grow together and figure things out and try to solve problems.

Ryan Hansen: There’s actually a little heart to it too.

Jamie Chung: There’s a lot of heart to it. What’s fun is there are so many different, funny characters. I feel like that makes the show.

Nuke: The students are very funny too, aren’t they?

Jamie Chung: Oh yeah.

Ryan Hansen: It’s a nice ensemble.

Nuke: Do you film in an actual dorm?

Ryan Hansen: We shot in the Emerson west coast college campus.

Jamie Chung: They just finished constructing it so everything was brand new. The dorm rooms, the classrooms. There were actually students and parents doing a tour of the building while we were filming there, but it was great. One night we were filming, we closed off a certain area because they were cutting the ribbon for the building.

Ryan Hansen: Our little trailers were actually the dorm rooms of the college itself. So I got my dorm room experience, man. Yeah!

Nuke: Jamie, you said you wanted to do some comedy, and I remember when we spoke for Big Hero 6 you wanted to do a romantic comedy. So is there a love interest coming on Resident Advisors?

Jamie Chung: I think so. Yeah, there is. I think there’s a little spark between Doug and Olivia. It’s questionable as to whether or not something actually happens between them, but I feel like they have a really interesting love/hate relationships.

Ryan Hansen: Man, I really hope so because Jamie is just so lovely, the Olivia character is so wonderful that I think he can see himself all over that sh*t.

Nuke: Comedy is all about timing. Is the timing easy to get?

Jamie Chung: We had really funny people. Ryan Hansen is a pro and he’s done this before. Andrew Bachelor has impeccable comedic timing. Graham Rogers, he’s hilarious, Alison Rich. I really feel like I was surrounded by great actors that understood the cadence of comedy. We had great guidance as well. Ira, our producer and director, had years of experience on hugely successful shows like Friends, How I Met Your Mother, so I felt like we were in really good hands. My character is more reactionary. I didn’t really have to do much.

Nuke: When you stop the kids from having sex with the broken condom but you take away their candles, that was really perfect timing.

Jamie Chung: Thanks, that’s my only improv.

Nuke: You improv’ed that?

Jamie Chung: I did, thank you so much. You made my day.

Nuke: Ryan, do you improv a lot too?

Ryan Hansen: I do a little bit. The end of the first episode, when I grabbed Jamie for a hug, I’m like, “Every moment’s a hug moment.” I actually didn’t mean to grab her boob but I did and that’s in there, so hey, improv.

Nuke: The thing is, I agree with him. Every moment is a hug moment.

Ryan Hansen: I do too, Fred. You get me, man.

Nuke: Has working for Hulu been like any other show?

Jamie Chung: It was like a TV show on steroids. Like a drug cocktail. It was so fast paced and yet so super fun. I think Ira did a really great job of putting a great crew together, on and off camera. It was 18 days, seven episodes, so two and a half days per episode and it was a whirlwind, but fun. Watching footage now, a year later, you kind of forget all the great moments because it happened so fast.

Ryan Hansen: We never cut, so we just rolled.

Nuke: How do you like the Resident Advisor wardrobe?

Jamie Chung: The yellow shirt?

Ryan Hansen: They’re funny to look at. I don’t know. I feel like you can see my nipples a lot of the time.

Nuke: Are they at least comfortable?

Jamie Chung: Yeah, it’s a nice breathable polo shirt.

Ryan Hansen: Polyester, stretchy.

Nuke: After the success of Big Hero 6, have they gotten to work on a sequel?

Jamie Chung: We don’t know. It’s unclear. I don’t know if Don Hall, it all depends on what he wants to do. The executive producers, they spend a little over four years on each project and it really takes over your life. So I don’t know, I’d be more than happy to do one, but it’s pretty up in the air.