Cole Escola is a big freaking deal even though they may not think so. They’ve become one of the funniest people to watch on television and social media over the past couple of years as their star power continues to rise.
The 34-year-old, who fans might know from shows like At Home With Amy Sedaris and Mozart in the Jungle, is taking on a much more sinister approach on the 4th season of Search Party where they play an obsessed fan of Dory (Alia Shawkat). The critically-acclaimed series returns today, January 14, on HBO Max.
Cole chatted with us about their time on the Search Party set, who some of their biggest comedic influences were growing up and what’s next for them in their booming career.
You are part of the fourth season of Search Party which premieres today. Can you tell us a little bit more about your role, and how you found yourself on the show?
I knew the creators Charles Rogers and Sarah Violet-Bliss, and I also had friends on the show, John Early and Jeffrey Self. And then they asked me if I would play an obsessed fan in the third season. They were like, “We’re only going to see your hands. And you’ll maybe just hear your voice or be in one episode or a couple episodes, but then we have an idea for the fourth season that’s like a Kathy Bates Misery situation.” That was all I needed to hear.
It looked like an incredibly fun show to film. Did you have any favorite moments from it? And what did you love most about being part of this experience?
I got to work with Susan Sarandon, which was a dream come true. She plays my aunt in the show. And then actually a lot of the stuff that my character has to do is very dark, very evil. So it was like… It wasn’t a fun atmosphere, but it is fun to just be unhinged… to let yourself be unhinged.
You’ve been able to achieve a lot at such a young age, especially in the world of comedy. Who would you say has been your biggest comedic influences, and have you been able to meet any of them along the way?
Most of my influences were actually classic movies. I love mellow drama. And so I think those were sort of my more formative influences. But then comedically, I watched Saturday Night Live and the Holy Trinity of Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri and Ana Gasteyer. They were especially important to me. And then later on Amy Sedaris, who I got to work with and become devout friends with, and that’s just been like a bizarre dream come true.
One of your biggest accomplishments was being named Best Sketch Comic by The New York Times who are considered to be the kings/queens of the journalism world. Where were you when you found out about that and what kind of an impact has it had on your life?
Oh, it’s just a nice little acknowledgement. It didn’t change anything for me. No one’s banging on my door begging for my TV show, but it was nice because I worked really hard on that special.
You’ve starred alongside some pretty incredible people like Amy and Susan not to mention Billy Eichner and many more. The cast of Search Party alone has an incredible depth of star power. Do you have anyone that you’ve loved working the most?
Because of the nature of Amy’s show, it was just fun to play with her and try to make her laugh and try not to laugh as she was trying to make you laugh. So she’s definitely up there. And then as far as Search Party, It’s mostly me doing horrible things to Alia, who plays Dory. So that was fun in its own way. I got to work with Ann Dowd on both Amy’s show and on Search Party, who was just a powerhouse and an insanely hilarious and gifted improviser.
Besides Search Party, what else do you have coming up that our followers and your fans should know about this year?
Just trying to make it. I’m developing an animated show with the Big Mouth people and starting to work with my old comedy writing partner some stuff. And then, yeah, just waiting for my big break.