March 14 (UPI) -- Actor, writer, podcaster and comedian Paul Scheer is flexing his dramatic chops in Season 2 of Showtime's Black Monday, and he said to expect some big changes for the show's characters.
Scheer, 44, known for roles in shows including HBO's Veep, FX's The League and Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV, has been promoted on Black Monday from recurring character to main cast member in his role as Keith, who was last seen at the end of Season 1 contemplating suicide after betraying his best friend, Mo (Don Cheadle).
Scheer told UPI in a recent interview that the plot of Season 2 is driven by the events of the previous season finale, which included the titular Black Monday -- the infamous stock market crash of Oct. 19, 1987.
"After this very emotional moment between Mo and Keith, Keith reveals he has a wire on, he's betrayed his best friend. I think a lot of this season is dealing with that. Like, how does he make amends to Mo?" Scheer said.
"Where we catch up for the second season, it's a couple of months later, and Keith and Mo are lying low in Miami due to their actions on that day. Keith was an FBI informant who just disappeared and Mo is now being blamed for the Black Monday crash," he said.
The actor said the major developments in the new season aren't limited to changes of scenery and situations.
"Every one of us has made a very drastic change," he said of the main cast, which also includes Andrew Rannells as Blair and Regina Hall as Dawn. "I think it's going to be really fun to see how everyone appears for the first time."
Scheer said Keith's "drastic change" includes losing 30 pounds and putting on muscle.
"I lost a ton of weight and got into this good shape, learned how to rollerblade and roller skate, besides being incredibly tan, and wearing a mustache and not wearing my toupee." he said.
"We are all changed, so there's a lot of this season getting a chance to see what we would like to be like if we were the people that we want to be. And then the show starts to deconstruct that -- is it really good to get what you want?"
Bringing the drama
Scheer, who got his start doing sketch comedy and improv with storied New York City groups Chicago City Limits and Upright Citizens Brigade, made a name for himself as one of the stars and co-creators of MTV sketch comedy series Human Giant.
His name has become synonymous with TV comedy, but he said one of the appeals of Black Monday was the opportunity to do some "dramatic heavy lifting."
"I feel like all rock stars want to be comedians and all comedians -- well, besides wanting to be rock stars -- want to show people they can actually do drama," Scheer said.
He said the role's mixture of comedy and drama is different from anything he has done before.
"The League was such an incredibly fun experience, but the characters don't really grow or change," he said. "This is a show where the characters are always constantly evolving and the stakes of what they say and do move forward, so for me ... it was kind of like a dream come true."
Scheer said he sees his comedic instincts as a help rather than a hindrance when it comes to playing dramatic scenes.
"I think the root of comedy often -- or the comedy that I like -- is playing something real, you're playing the realness of the moment. When you're playing drama, you're playing the reality of the moment, but there doesn't have to be any comedy attached to it," he said.
From comic to comics
In addition to his numerous TV credits, Sheer's current and former projects include co-hosting the monthly stand-up comedy showcase Crash Test with Rob Huebel at Largo in Los Angeles; co-hosting popular podcasts How Did This Get Made and Unspooled; performing his own live show Hanging with Paul Scheer, and writing for Marvel Comics.
Scheer said his career in comics began when he enlisted the help of friend Nick Giovannetti to turn his unfilmed movie script, Aliens vs. Parker, into a comic book miniseries for independent publisher BOOM! Studios.
The series led to the duo writing Marvel Comics miniseries Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, as well as stories featuring popular characters such as Deadpool, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Scheer said his background filling various on- and off-camera roles in television turned out to be immensely helpful to his work in comics.
"I consider writing a comic book to be doing everything all at once. In comic book writing, you're writing, directing, casting, acting and editing all simultaneously. Because it's on the page, you're just racing to get it done. So I looked at it very much from a cinematic point of view," he said.
He said he saw parallels between his comic book work and his acting work when he was working on the first season of Black Monday.
Scheer said the Cosmic Ghost Rider series "was our first foray into doing something a little more serious. We were doing Deadpools and Spider-Mans that have a little bit more of a comedic tone, so while I was doing Black Monday, work that was a little more dramatic, I was also exploring that in our writing."
Page to screen
Scheer's next role with Marvel is as the director of an episode of upcoming documentary series Marvel's 616 for Disney+. The anthology series, Scheer's first foray into documentary filmmaking, delves into the relationship between Marvel Comics stories and events in the real world.
"I'm just a huge fan of docs and getting a chance to do that was really exciting," he said.
The multifaceted entertainer said he is more than willing to lend his acting talents to the Marvel Cinematic Universe if the opportunity arises.
"The two things that I aspire to do is get in the Fast & Furious universe and get in the Marvel universe," he said.
Scheer said he is aware of one obstacle to landing a major Marvel role: "I don't really look like anybody from that world."
"I want to be in there in a way where I don't have to die after one movie," he said. "I'd like to be a part of S.H.I.E.L.D -- I'll be the next Agent Coulson."
He said it's much easier to cast his role in the Fast & Furious films.
"I feel like I could definitely be a Toretto. As a bald man, there's not many movies with so many bald icons in it. You look at Fast & Furious, you've got [Jason] Statham, you've got The Rock, you've got Vin Diesel, everyone rocking a bald head. It's just calling out. I've got to get in there."
The season premiere of Black Monday airs Sunday night on Showtime.