Interview: Alison Becker Talks “Bubble,” Escapism, and New Short Film
Alison Becker is a “writer/comedian/actor/producer” but is perhaps best known to audiences as Shauna Malway-Tweep from NBC’s beloved Parks and Recreation. She also stars as Morgan (the badass “imp” hunter) on Maximum Fun’s hit scripted podcast Bubble. She took a minute out of her busy schedule to take a deep dive into Bubble, the importance of escapism, and to tell us about her award winning short film Control.
Nerds and Beyond: How did you come to be a part of Bubble?
Alison Becker: Writer Jordan Morris and I had been on a sketch comedy team together years ago at Upright Citizens Brigade. We’ve remained friends and when he asked me to join Bubble, I was so excited! I love his work.
Nerds and Beyond: What was the process of acting in a scripted podcast like this like?
Alison Becker: Jordan had asked me to do a staged reading of the pilot before we did the podcast so I was familiar with the character. Plus, I knew most of the other cast members so being in the booth for the recording was so fun. We recorded the first season over two days so it was a lot of work but such a dream to work with this group.
Nerds and Beyond: For our readers that are unfamiliar with Bubble, how would you describe it?
Alison Becker: It’s like a sci-fi Portlandia. It’s a comedy about people living in a literal bubble on a hostile planet. The bubble is a hipster paradise, with expensive coffee shops and pub trivia nights but also poisonous imps that can attack you at any moment.
Nerds and Beyond: How would you describe your character?
Alison Becker: She’s a badass imp killer who gets hired through an app called “Huntr.”
Nerds and Beyond: What drew you to Morgan? Do you see yourself in her in anyway?
Alison Becker: For sure. She’s really tough on the outside but inside, she’s a little broken. Morgan grew up outside of the bubble, on a hostile planet, so she’s been killing imps since she was a kid. But deep down, she longs for a normal, simple family.
Nerds and Beyond: Bubble has been called “Buffy meets Broad City”, what is it like to get play a badass monster hunter?
Alison Becker: So fun. I love the battle scenes, but my favorite stuff is when Morgan gets sincere.
Nerds and Beyond: There’s a lot of commentary and jokes in the show about gentrified/gentrifying “hipster” communities and our gig economy, which scene or moment resonated the most with you?
Alison Becker: I love the episode where we’re trying to get our star rating up on the “Huntr” app. It’s such a great commentary on our gig economy world, that even people who are literally saving your life don’t get a good rating unless they do it with “pizazz.”
Nerds and Beyond: Why do you think horror and monsters (both in the existential sense and the monsters that will kill you sense) resonates so strongly in our current social climate?
Alison Becker: Have you seen our President? Horror is not only an escape, but a needed respite to see the good guys take out the bad guys. Because that’s not happening IRL right now.
Nerds and Beyond: What are your favorite moments from the first season?
Alison Becker: Every time Mitch does “the Sting” (editors note: “the Sting” is like a monster based super power from when the character was bitten by one of the imps), I f***ing love it.
Nerds and Beyond: Your recent film, Control, that you wrote and starred in, has won several festival awards (so exciting!) What is Control about and how has the festival experience been?
Alison Becker: Thanks! The festival experience was incredible. I met so many cool filmmakers and got to travel to some rad cities. The film is a dark comedy about suicide, and I was so overwhelmed with the reception. It really speaks to people because so many of us struggle with depression. I wanted the movie to be funny, dark, real and uncomfortable. Sometimes the audience isn’t sure if they’re supposed to laugh or cry and I love that.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can talk about and want to promote?
Alison Becker: I’m hosting a new podcast for the LA Times called “Obsession.” Check it out!
Nerds and Beyond: We have a few quick nerdy questions…
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite movie?
Alison Becker: Bottle Rocket
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite book?
Alison Becker: Wuthering Heights
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite band?
Alison Becker: Bon Jovi
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite word?
Alison Becker: “Pierogi”
Nerds and Beyond: Finally, we have a tradition at Nerds and Beyond that our last question is always: “If you existed as a Jedi in the Star Wars universe, what color would your lightsaber be?”
Alison Becker: Purple, duh.
You can listen to the entire first season of Bubble here!