SNL Star Headlines New Comedy on Crave

After telling a lie to save her job, a home shopping host unexpectedly rockets to stardom in a new streaming comedy

After telling a lie to save her job, a home shopping host unexpectedly rockets to stardom in a new streaming comedy

Joanna Gold has always wanted to be one of those hosts you see on the home shopping network. She may be an odd duck out in the real world, but when it comes to selling dreams, and finding optimism even in the darkest of places, this nerdy 30-something has a special talent. So, when she is about to lose her chance at becoming everything she ever dreamed of, Joanna pulls out a trump card she knows will work—cancer.  

I Love That For YouCraveSaturday Night Live alum Vanessa Bayer drew on her real-life experience in creating the character of Joanna, who after being in remission for 20 years, pretends the disease has returned. “I had leukemia when I was 15. I’m fine now. But something that I discovered during that time is, I was able to get a lot of perks from it,” says Bayer. “I got to come into school late and there were no consequences. I used it as an excuse all the time. There’s something about that I wanted to bring into this show.” 

Much like Bayer discovered that everyone around you is nice when they think you are going through hard times, Joanna, in lying about the return of her disease, not only saves her job, but finds that she is a little bit addicted to the sympathy her ailment gets from viewers. “There is this nice thing about being treated so well, and people giving you so much attention, [especially] if you’re someone who loves attention, which I always have been,” says Bayer.  

I Love That For YouCraveThe idea of setting the show in the world of home shopping came to Bayer and series co-creator Jeremy Beiler independently. “Vanessa and I worked together a lot at SNL and we both chose to leave at the same time. We were having breakfast one day, and Vanessa told me that she had this idea for a show set in the world of QVC. I had a number of pages written already for a totally separate idea, also set in the world of QVC,” recalls Beiler. “So, that came first, and then, obviously, we needed to fill it with wonderful characters and wonderful people, and that was really the bigger part of the show.”   

Those characters include network boss Patricia, played by black-ish actress Jenifer Lewis, who sees nothing but dollar signs when Joanna reveals her faux health condition. “This character, I’ve been rehearsing for her all my life, and she’s a horror story,” says Lewis with a chuckle. “Patricia is a self-made billionairess and a hot mess, in that she’s desperate to keep this empire that she’s built… I’m having a great time playing this character. And when they called, I heard the names Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon, and I said to the producers, ‘You had me at Hello.’” I Love That For YouCrave

On that note, Shannon portrays Jackie Stilton, a 30-year home shopping network vet, who is having her own conflicts with honesty. “Jackie’s the top salesperson, and Joanna has been a fan of hers since she was a kid and idolizes her. So, my character, Jackie, takes Joanna under her wings and shows her the ropes, and they form a quick, fast friendship in the world of home shopping,” explains Shannon. 

The two SNL actresses both hail from Cleveland, Ohio, which Shannon says adds both to their on- and off-screen relationship. “I think Vanessa is so down to earth, so it’s very easy for me, as a character, to play somebody who just adores her, and thinks she’s so adorable and cute, and wants to take her under her wing, because Vanessa is just so likeable in real life,” Shannon explains. “There’s no acting required.” Bayer echoes her co-star’s sentiments about not having to fake her adoration for Jackie: “In real life, I always adored Molly, so it’s just so fun to get to do scenes with her. It’s just pure joy.” 

I Love That For YouCraveAnyone with a fondness for QVC or direct response commercials should know that I Love That for You comes from a place of respect and love for the home shopping industry, as opposed to scorn. “We really don’t want to be making fun of it in a snide way,” says showrunner Jessi Klein. “The comedy comes from an excess of true passion and love for it. I think what infuses the whole tone of the show is that there’s real heart and sweetness to all of it, and that we don’t ever really want to be in a mean place or feeling like we’re above it.” In fact, if all goes well, this cast will bring to screen what they all fell in love with in the first place. “Part of the reason we’re so drawn to watching them is because, while they’re selling things to you, they’re so conversational,” says Bayer. “It really makes you feel like you’re watching a friend.” 

I Love That for You streams Fridays on Crave (Stream)