The UK comedy series Fresh Meat is having its second-season finale on Hulu today. BFTV recently checked in with actor-writer Greg McHugh, who plays the eccentric Scottish geology student Howard MacCallum, to chat about what makes the show great and other fun things that come from Scotland.
"The thing I love most about Fresh Meat is that I get to hang out with brilliant people, perform excellently written scripts and then actually get paid a meager sum for the pleasure - not a bad job at all!" he remarked. "In terms of Howard, getting to play such an odd individual is a very enjoyable challenge - although the jumpers are madness-inducing due to their ferocious heat-making capabilities, under the set lights as well."
"My favourite plotline has to be Howard and Sabine," he continued. "Selfish, I know, but I loved the fact that Howard fell for such a straight-talking Dutch woman who still managed to completely flummox him. It stands out to me because of a certain sex scene: Jumanji!"
Greg also addressed the difference between British humor and American humor, in his own glib way. "People of America, look out for the jokes, they are there, you'll know you've hit one when you start laughing," he said. "If you're not laughing, rewind the episode and keep watching till you laugh. Just remember to have faith in the human instinct and those laughs will come!"
Is the making of Fresh Meat as entertaining as the show itself? "Genuinely, and we've been quoted as saying this before, but we are all pretty close on this set," Greg explained. "We started out as very different individuals from different backgrounds - Jack Whitehall had never actually met a Scottish person before - but now we're good friends who are making a show together.
"Each person in the cast has their own quirks on set - with Zawe [Ashton] it's her magical bag in which she carries all her worldly belongings; with Kim [Nixon], it's a freakishly in-depth knowledge of Poirot or Miss Marple; with Charlotte [Ritchie], it’s a plethora of stories and ideas rolled into one sentence; with Jack [it's] cock drawings in the form of animals/humans or human animals... very strange. And with Joe [Thomas], it's simply impossible to prize his 'intellectual book of the month' from him at any time, be it The Decameron or some works from Derrida.
"Me, I'm just there to support the others, in any way I can," he added. "I love you guys!"
In addition to his acting resume, Greg is also a writer (he created, penned and starred in the BBC comedy series Gary: Tank Commander), and reflected on how much his additional experience has informed how he portrays Howard. "I think the one thing I've learned from writing is the need for extreme attention to detail in performance," he said. "It sounds obvious, but when I write I'm always looking for the actor to add to the script, to bring even more than is on the written page, be it physical, a small quirk, anything that adds to the character [or] joke.
"With Howard I've tried to add a sympathetic, oddly confident in some areas, but woefully out of his depth in others, feeling to him. Also, a heaviness that makes him slightly awkward but resolute? Having said that, sometimes I just stand and say the lines..."
Both Greg and his character are Scotsmen - so to conclude the interview I asked him to give me something else awesome about Scotland. "I caught the Loch Ness Monster back in '97, I keep him in the bath," he quipped. "He's a lot smaller than people thought but he's a good monster - solid, about 4 feet long with a wonky face and strange feet. He's the coolest thing from Scotland I've ever seen. However, he did tell me - he speaks too - that there are plenty more of him out there, so please keep visiting Scotland!"