Monkeys Fighting Robots

IFC’s horror comedy STAN AGAINST EVIL returns for a second season November 1st. The show stars John C. McGinley (SCRUBS, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT) as Stan Miller, and Janet Varney (THE LEGEND OF KORRA, YOU’RE THE WORST) as Evie Barrett. Monkeys Fighting Robots spoke with the actors about their characters, new plot lines, and their favorite demons to fight!

Where does the show pick up with Stan following last season’s cliffhanger?

JOHN C. MCGINLEY: Well, he’s gotta focus on getting Evie back, and once he succeeds at that, it leads to him trying to get his wife back. Obviously, she’s been dead for a year, but once he finds out he can do this finite time travel, in his very small brain, he starts thinking “Wow, if I can get Janet [Varney] back, I can get my wife back.”

So it’s another loss-centric arc for Stan this season.


Stan Against Evil

Is that something you ever felt weirded out by, doing this very tragic loss story in a horror-comedy show?

No. Before I took on the piece, I told Dana [Gould] – and he was nimble enough to weave this into the fabric of the piece – I told him “Stan has to operate from heart. And heart, for Stan, is Claire.” So in the first season, when he misses her… look, this is a guy who’s been doing the same thing for twenty-seven years, and has been married for twenty-eight. In the first three minutes of the first episode, he loses his job and wife. He’s wounded. Actors like to play wounded characters, and writers like to write wounded characters, because they’re richer. That’s what Dana did, that’s what I insisted on, and it’s yielded profound dividends.

We’ve talked about your wife, Claire, and your partner, Evie, but what about the relationship with your daughter (played by Deborah Baker Jr.)?

Well I think the takeaway from last year – because Deborah is the female Jonathan Winters of her generation, and she can self-generate in a closet with hangers – Dana put Deborah in situations where she didn’t necessarily have to bounce off other actors, as much as she got to self-generate her own stuff. And she was incredible.

Out of the past two seasons, what was your favorite demon ass to kick?

I thought the goat demon, the Baphomet, was really horrifying. When he’s behind the frosted glass – and remember, we have zero money for all this, so as one of the producers, I’m always saying “let’s pour more money towards the monsters.” But no matter what minuscule amount of money we can redirect at the monsters, it’s still not gonna satisfy what you and I are used to seeing perfectly rendered by a computer. Ours is more old school, more like Rick Baker in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, except we don’t even have Rick’s budget. So the monsters we create are real. They have prosthetics on, and then the computer sweetens it a little bit, but most of our monsters are actors with layered make-up on. We borrow all the make-up artists who are on hiatus from THE WALKING DEAD, because we’re both down in Atlanta. If you’ve worked on THE WALKING DEAD, then you’ve worked on STAN, because we’re usually up when they’re down.

Stan Against Evil
McGinley at NYCC 2017

Janet, at the end of season 1, you’re in a bit of a… grave. How does your character come back from that? Because I’m assuming you’re not a zombie.

JANET VARNEY: I am pleased to say I’m not a zombie, and that I made it back into the show – although it would be the all-time awesome prank if I wasn’t, and I was just talking about Season 2 because we didn’t want to spoil that I died. But no, she’s definitely stuck in the 1600’s, and it’s not something she can get out of on her own. As usual, Stan and Evie need each other, as their relationship grows, and they have that kind of… well, it’s not really father-daughter, because we’re not that far apart in age. But there is something to that. I like to joke that Evie is the son that Stan never had, because Denise is such a cuckoo girl in ways that Evie doesn’t understand. So Stan is able to get Evie out via a device that then suggests “wait, if I was able to travel back in time, then could I…?” That’s the big, overarching story that we’re telling, even within the pockets of other kooky stories we’re telling.

The show is called STAN AGAINST EVIL, but as the sheriff, you probably get to do some ass-kicking in as well.

I do! We certainly spend a lot of time together facing off against evil creatures. But then I also have stuff where I’m apart from Stan. We both have individual journeys, too, where we’re having adventures alone, then come back together, which is really great.

Is there a demon you really loved to fight?

Well, I love the were-pony – you can see it as an adorable pony, as a charming if suspicious man, and as a terrifying horse demon. That character is played by Steven Ogg from THE WALKING DEAD, and it was a blast. But we also had a demon baby this last season, which was equal parts hilarious and truly scary. They did a good job.

Stan Against Evil

Speaking of babies, you’re on a fantastic show called YOU’RE THE WORST.

Thank you! God, my character [Becca] just keeps being either pregnant, or almost pregnant, or was just pregnant.

In one of the most recent episodes, we got to see Becca as a mother.

Yeah, she’s not good! That season gets crazier and crazier as well. There’s some stuff that happens this season with the sisters, Becca and Lindsay, that is some of my favorite stuff that’s been on the show. I’m saying that as a person who’s excited to be a part of it, not as like “oo, I’m great.” I love the story that unfolds – you’ll see. I bet you’ll love it.


STAN AGAINST EVIL returns Wednesday Nov 1st at 10PM EST. You can watch all of Season 1 on Hulu now!

Jon Barr is a comedian and TV Phanatic. Yeah, he meant to spell it that way. It's like the Philly Phanatic, like from Philadelphia, because he's from - you get it. He loves good TV & mocking bad TV. You can find him all over the web.