Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso can certainly be funny when it wants to be, and a lot of that humor comes from the title character himself. Jason Sudeikis' Ted Lasso is seamlessly clever, humble, goofy, and just a joy sometimes, to the point he's an unbelievable character. As I watched the antics unfold in Season 1 and now the recently released Season 2, I had to wonder: is it even harder not to laugh in person?
It seemed like a perfect question to pose to the more serious actors of the show, so who better to ask than newcomer Sarah Niles, who joined the latest Season 2 as sports psychologist Sharon? Sharon was dead-faced to Ted Lasso's charm in the Season 2 premiere, but Niles confirmed that she laughed a lot during the filming process when I asked if it's hard to stay serious opposite Jason Sudeikis:
All the time. [laughs] 'Cause I like to goof around, and sometimes I'd be goofing around and then, they'd be like 'Okay, okay, come on' [laughs] as it got later on. But he was just always making me laugh, and he's just, his wonderful skill of improvisation. The more he did it, and the more I started corpsing laughing, the more he would do, 'cause you can't help it! But with that, he found so many ideas because he's able to play. He's really good at being able to play. And with being able to play you create new ideas. So yeah, it was very hard. Very hard.
Sarah Niles revealed that Jason Sudeikis would deliver a line as Ted Lasso and then go back and try things another way. That leaves a lot of room for the unexpected, which could result in more laughs, so credit to Niles for being able to come off so straight-faced and stoic.
This is especially impressive when Sarah Niles revealed that she'd been a fan of Jason Sudeikis going back to his tenure on Saturday Night Live. Niles shared what it was like meeting Sudeikis, given her past fandom and how she felt his skills honed on the show were important to what he's done on Ted Lasso.
I'm a big fan, so I just had to keep telling myself, 'Just take it easy Sarah. Calm down,' when I used to work with him because he's just so skilled and so funny. Yeah, so, I'm a big fan. . .those sorts of skills, it's important 'cause especially when you're writing it, and he'd be changing things. He'd decide 'No, that doesn't quite work, maybe that would improve this if you added that.' So there's lots of that happening.
Sarah Niles offered some great perspective, but as someone who has only been on Ted Lasso since Season 2 began, she only could speak to so much. Then there's actor Jeremy Swift, who plays Higgins. Swift has played the straight man on the Apple TV+ series for two seasons now and is often interacting with Ted in hilarious situations. Surely, he knows the secret to keeping calm and carrying on during a scene, right?
It turns out Jeremy Swift is just as guilty of laughing from time to time on the set of Ted Lasso. The Higgins actor highlighted the scenes that occur in the coaches' office, in which his Higgins is often around while Ted Lasso, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), and Nathan (Nick Mohammed) go round and round. Swift talked about Jason Sudeikis and all the other talent in that room, and just how wonderful they are at what they do:
He and Brendan [Hunt], you know, have this history of doing improv comedy, and I myself have done a little bit of that in the past, but I'd mainly been an actor. But they are just diamonds at it and they just set the bar really high. So they can just come out with stuff that just kills. . . Nick Mohammed is a great twinkler as well and I have to sometimes position myself so I'm looking sideways through my glasses so I can't quite see his expression 'cause he's just going to send me. But you know at the same time, you know you've got to do the scene. [laughs] And the time is money and all that kind of thing. So you've got to keep it together.