It's time to go back to the frontier. Season two of Hulu's improvisational comedy western Quick Draw debuts today, which means more of John Lehr trying to save the day as sheriff John Henry Hoyle. We checked in with John - who also co-created and co-wrote this laugh-out-loud adventure - to find out how Quick Draw has grown between seasons.
"The show was a hit, certainly moreso than we expected," he told us. "So when we started on season two, we didn't want to make the mistake of changing the core of season two and screwing it up. But at the same time, our budget was increased and we were able to make the show kind of bigger, which was fantastic.
"We definitely took characters and arced them a little stronger - and in some cases much stronger - over the season, so people who binge watch or watch it religiously are going to see there's a lot more blind twists, and surprises, and cliffhangers, and the character relationships kind of deepen. At the same time, the core of the show is still very much there."
That would be quirky characters and hilarious happenings with real history holding together all these entertaining stories. As far as what we can look forward to in season two, John teased, "In terms of broad strokes, there is a major complication in the Honey-Hoyle relationship. Things get nutty with Honey and Hoyle this season. And there's a major surprise with Hoyle's past.
"The stunts, we are doing really crazy things, for a comedy," he continued. "We're going to have a cattle drive. You're going to see crazy shootouts. Much more than we did last year, which is really fun because it helps heighten the comedy. We think that works really well."
"But one area I'm really proud of is we've taken more historical facts and placed them in the show. Parts of the Wild West that were never told," John explained. "We have an episode that deals with hysteria...Another example, our historical consultant gave us this fact about rabies. Rabies was rampant and there was no treatment. If your loved one was bitten by a rabid dog or whatever, you would simply tie them up or lock them in jail. We took it as sort of like a zombie tale and have worked it in, we think hilariously, in an episode."
What really makes Quick Draw stand out, as we discussed last season, is that it's improvised. John and his producing partner Nancy Hower - who also directs all the episodes - come up with a script, but the actors never see it and all the dialogue is made up on the spot. That makes for some really fun shooting experiences.
"We're on the inside and know it all," said John. "I think it's a bit weirder for the actors. Nancy would give them just minimal information to know and then they would shoot. For some people, it's freeing and they love it. For other people, it's terrifying. I think if you were to ask them, my guess would be season two [was] easier on them. We think the material is much funnier."
"I go into a weird kind of left-brain place when we're shooting," he continued, "but I will say my weakness is Arden Myrin, who will appear this season. Her and the guy who plays Clay Tidwell, David Hoffman, and Bob Clendenin, who plays Vernon Shank. Those guys can destroy me...There's a lot of breaking that happens, for sure. A lot of it isn't breaking so much as just laughter of joy, because you're just so impressed with what this person came up with on the fly."
Season two will also contain guest appearances by Dan Castellaneta (best known as the voice of Homer Simpson) and John's 10 Items or Less co-star Kim Coles, just to name two of the people who'll be joining this merry band of misfits this time around. Quick Draw is definitely on a high, and John's enjoying every minute of it.
"Nancy and I just came back from a trip to Dodge City, Kansas. It was just so much fun," he enthused. "And [we were] running into a lot of people in the middle of Dodge City who love the show. Which says a lot about the show."
While we're breaking out our cowboy hats and enjoying season two, he's looking to keep the ride going as long as possible. "We are thrilled with our experience and we want to maintain it," John told us. "The episodes are about to air, but Nancy and I are working non-stop and we're not done...Our focus right now is a third season." Here's hoping that Sheriff Hoyle won't be hanging up his badge for a while.