Matt Servitto and Jason Kravits on the intersection of work, fatherhood, and Lords of the Playground
Anything goes on the playground: one dad scores the digits for a new babysitter; the other dad pimps his new ride. These 30-second one-joke episodes are part of Season One of Lords of the Playground, written by and starring Jason Kravits (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Practice) and Matt Servitto (The Sopranos, Brotherhood). They took a few minutes to give us what seems like an episode in each answer.
GMP: I nearly spit up watching the first three shorts. Give us some idea of your domestic lives.
Jason: Please don’t spit up. My son just had the stomach flu. I can’t deal with any more spit up. That should give you some idea of my recent domestic life.
Matt: I live in the ‘burbs with three kids. A 9 year old and twin 6 year olds. I don’t remember sleep.
Jason: I’m a divorced dad with joint custody of my 11 year old. Both his mother and I live in the city, not too far from each other, which makes it easier.
GMP: You both have long established careers in television drama, as District Attorneys, US Attorneys, FBI Agents etc. You’ve done the same with comedy: Lords of the Playground is comedy based on daily drama. Personally, where do you find the intersection of the comic and the dramatic in parenting, and why is it such fertile ground for art?
Matt: Is parenting really fertile ground for art? It’s fertile ground for lots of other things: exhaustion, frustration…
Jason:…fear, worry, exhilaration…
Matt: …poverty, overeating…
Jason: But, honestly, my experience with parenting is that it heightens everything. All the joy, love, fear…everything. It’s as terrifying and joyous and hilarious as anything else you’ll ever experience. Maybe that’s not exactly the same thing as art…
Matt: …but it is creative.
GMP: Why shorts?
Matt: That’s pretty much our attention span.
Jason: These are pretty much one-joke sketches. I’ve always believed that, with comedy, once the joke is done, it’s done. Either belabor it or get out. We chose get out.
GMP: How do you balance the itinerant life of the actor with the stable life of family?
Matt: Not well. It’s incredibly difficult to peel myself away from my wife and kids to travel for work. Especially my son during the NBA season these days.
Jason: And not knowing if and when you’ll work makes life difficult to plan. Financially and otherwise. Even when we’re busy, it’s not all that busy.
Matt: Which is one positive thing. We get to spend a lot more time at home with our kids than most people in the workforce.
Jason: And those experiences led directly to Lords of the Playground. Which is nice.
Matt: Hey, if not thing else, it gets us out of the house.
Here’s episode four, “The Purchase,” courtesy of Parenting Magazine.