Back in 2005, Lisa Kudrow starred in The Comeback – a single-camera sitcom that poked fun at celebrity culture and reality shows. While the satire was considered ahead of its time, HBO cancelled the series after just one season. Now, nine years after its cancellation, The Comeback is back on air.
In The Comeback, Lisa Kudrow plays the role of Valerie Parish. Parish is a forgotten sitcom actress who wants to reclaim her former glory by starring in a reality show. The character was created by Kudrow back when she was still part of the improv comedy group the Groundlings. While reality shows have become a passé subject for The Comeback, they have found a new topic to make fun of – the kind of dark comedy/drama shows that have become popular on cable channels (including HBO) recently.
If one were to use a particular term to describe The Comeback, it would be “meta”. The second season of the show focuses on Valerie Parish getting a role on an HBO series based on her life. The cringe-worthy moments of humiliation and self-delusion are still there, and the show is funnier than ever because of it.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kudrow talked about what it was like when the show was picked up for a second season. “No, I never thought I’d be able to revisit the project ever. Michael Patrick King and I had tossed around the idea of maybe making a movie, but then we’d have to ask HBO and if they said ‘No,’ I don’t know if I could survive that. It’s like asking a guy that broke up with you, after running into him, ‘Do you want to get back together?’ God, no. But the people at HBO were picking up on something, so they came to us said: ‘We think people like Valerie Cherish and wouldn’t mind seeing her again.’ I really did feel that because we were on HBO, there would be another season [eventually].”