Jeff Schaffer Talks About His Favorite Behind the Scenes Moments on The League

Three happy young men watching football game and keeping arms raised while sitting on sofa
Three happy young men watching football game and keeping arms raised while sitting on sofa

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Answers by Jeff Schaffer, Exec Producer of The League, Former Exec Producer, Seinfeld & Curb Your Enthusiasm, on Quora.

A: Standards and practices for a basic cable network are a bit like a third world judicial system, there's a lot of room to manouever.

For instance we were never allowed to say "fuck" - it had to be bleeped and on the actor's back.  But then we shot Kevin's destructive rant with the nativity scene and he's dropping F-bombs like the manger was Hiroshima. And we just cut the scene the way that we thought was best and turned it in. To FX's credit they also thought the scene was so funny, we never heard a thing about "Put the fucks on his back."

And once you've gotten that allowance - it's precedent. And we never worried about putting it on their backs again.

Here are a few emails from FX S&P, just so you can see what we made people with college educations and families discuss with us:

"Items 6 and 14 - Caution on the Vu-Vag-zuela. It would be prudent to send over a photo of the proposed prop before filming!"

(We did. They asked id we could make the opening "less like a vagina." We said we would. We didn't.)

"Item #15 - Let's not actually see the vaginal weights as or after they fall from their nesting place. Dialogue and reactions can tell the tale."

(We shot the kegels rolling on the ground - this was in a parent teacher conference, mind you - But had to cut it do to time.)

"At approximately timecode 01:08:46 and again at approximately timecode 01:08:53, Kevin's beer bottle moves sufficiently that we can see too much of his heroic parts. Please find a way to obscure completely, including pubes. Thanks."

(Fixed this with VFX - no one wants to see his junk.)

At approximately timecode 01:18:41, we don't want to hear little Ellie use the term "dick". She's off camera at this point; if you haven't got another take with a different word, please loop something else in. Thanks.

(This we fought and won. We had already had Ruxin say that Ellie was "being a real dick" to her face a season before. Precedent!)

Page 6, Item 8 - Please don't use the term "mongoloid" or anything similar, including "retarded".

This last one was when we were doing a story about Ruxin and Taco going to Chinatown and having an altercation with a Chinese mentally challenged person. The joke was simple: If you find yourself somewhere where they don't speak English, a mentally challenged person from that culture is vastly superior to you.

They may know 100 words of Chinese, you know none. They can ask for rice, or where the bathroom is, you can not.

And then we hear we can't say the word retard. No budging this time, absolutely not.

But taste, restraint, and necessity are the mother of foul invention, and luckily Nick Kroll had been using the word "frittata" in his act. We've been using it on the show every since.

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A: This one we love because it's reality imitating art.
Context: Jackie and I play in a fantasy league with the 6 cast members - The league of the league.
It's very fun and all the team names are things from the show (The Toilet Kitchens are squaring off against The Yank Bankers in the championship this week).
In the make up trailer one Monday, Steve Rannazzisi (who plays Kevin) is venting about how his team played like shit, can't believe he lost etc.. Jon La Joie (Taco) is sitting next to him and sweetly asks "Who where you playing? Steve turns to him with the face is red as a tomato can and says "You I was playing you! You didn't even set your line up! You had players on a bye! AND I STILL LOST!"
Taco is the Taco of our league.

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A: The short answer is: because of the cast. They are brilliantly funny.
The medium answer is: because it's not a show about fantasy football. It's a show about a bunch of friends who are in a fantasy football league.
We always would tell people to enjoy The League you don't have to know anything about football, or fantasy football, you just have to have friends that you hate.

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