Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer discuss ‘The League’ (Exclusive Interview)

“Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer discuss ‘The League’ (Interview)”
By Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net


Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer at the premiere screening of THE LEAGUE on Sep. 14 in Hollywood, CA. Photo by Ray Mickshaw / FX.
Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer at the premiere screening of THE LEAGUE on Sep. 14 in Hollywood, CA. Photo by Ray Mickshaw / FX.

You may not recognize Jeff and Jackie Schaffer at first glance, but they are certainly one of Hollywood’s power couples. The comedy duo is responsible for bringing some of the funniest moments to life for television and movie audiences around the world.

Jeff, who wrote and directed EuroTrip (2004), was also a writer for Seinfeld (1994-1998), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2011) and the Sacha Baron Cohen films Bruno (2009) and The Dictator (2012). In addition to being a producer on the film Disturbia (2007), his wife Jackie is also a comedy writer. Together they write, direct and produce the popular television series “The League” on FX.

The show, which is centered on a group of friends who participate in a fantasy football league, is celebrating it’s fourth season on the network. In a recent interview, the couple talked about the joys of collaborating together on the show.

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What makes you guys such a successful team and what do you admire most about each other?”

Jackie Marcus Schaffer: “That’s a very interesting question, Mike.”

Jeff Schaffer: “Jackie is the best. First of all she’s the best producer I’ve ever, ever, ever worked with. She is amazingly resourceful because this show is made for not a lot of money. It’s basically the independent movie version of a TV show, and there’s nothing that she can’t do. I mean she was in labor and dealing with RG3, Trent Richardson… Ryan Fitzpatrick, Desean Jackson…

The opening scene of the show, that NFL draft, we shot on July 10th because all those players were in town… We were supposed to have a baby July 27th but she went in to labor July 9th so you don’t know commitment until you’ve seen someone going through contractions and dealing with prepping a shoot. It is incredible.”

Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer of "The League." Photo by Michael Becker / FMC.
Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer of “The League.” Photo by Michael Becker / FMC.

Jackie Marcus Schaffer: “… That’s like the nicest compliment ever…. I think one of the things that makes our show so great is how fresh the comedy is, and to have the comedy stay fresh you have to push the envelope. And while some people might be surprised that some of the naughtier things that are written in the show are written by me, some of the most clever, outside the box ideas that people and our fans have fallen in love with like the turn of the phrase—my husband is the guy who wrote re-gifting on Seinfeld.

He has a brilliant, brilliant way of going about writing on The League and so many of the phrases that people love come from his brilliant comedic mind, and so I think it’s the fact that he always pushes the envelope just a little bit further. And I go, ‘I don’t know if people are going to get this. This might frighten people. This might make people question our morality.’ And he says, ‘No. No. No. It’s good. It’s good. As long as it’s funny we should try it. We should try it.’ And he’s always right, and always original and that’s what I think makes our show feel like it’s got real fresh comedy that people don’t feel like there’s a retread.”

Michael Aaron Gallagher: “How do you strike a balance between how much attention you focus on Fantasy Football and how much you concentrate on developing the characters and their storylines?”

Jeff Schaffer: “I think every show we try and—we always start with 20 stories. That’s how we write each episode, you know, what’s a funny thing for ‘Kevin’ to do? What’s a good ‘Pete’ story? What’s a good ‘Ruxin’ story? And we always start with just good straight comedy stories, but then we always try—I think the good episodes also mix in some of the fantasy aspect because that’s what these guys really care about, and it’s their obsession. Their obsession about this little thing but treating it like it’s a big thing is the heart of the show.”

The League airs Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

“Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Schaffer discuss ‘The League’ (Interview)”
Copyright 2012 by Michael Aaron Gallagher

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