Before they got into BeefJason, who also comes from a comedy background, asked Ali if she had always wanted to “parlay” into acting. “Not really,” she replied. “I just wanted to tell jokes for a living.”
However, Ali explained that she had been working as a temp for a long time and that she began acting in sitcoms in order to justify doing unpaid stand up sets at night.
As the two began talking about Beef and its escalating feud, Ali revealed that Beef’s script was still being written as they were shooting, adding that she didn’t even know about the finale while filming.
Like Jason then described, the finale episode “so clearly crystallizes the theme that these two people are essentially the same. There are even moments where [Ali’s character Amy and Steven Yeun’s character Danny] switch voices and [are] like, ‘I am you.’”
“And I totally didn’t understand that that’s what was happening,” Ali said of the voice switch. While the series creator and finale director, Lee “Sunny” Sung-jin, had Ali memorize Steven’s lines in addition to her own, he didn’t tell her why they were doing so — only to trust him.
“Have you ever filmed in a forest for a week?” Ali then asked Jason before describing the experience of filming the finale, calling it “wild.”
Because they filmed parts of the finale for Beef at 2 a.m., Ali and Steven had to run around in the dark. Though Ali acknowledged it looks cool on camera, she said that, in reality, it was terrifying and uncomfortable. “I felt like Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills,” she commented.
Unlike Ali, Steven wasn’t fazed by the location or timing. “Steven had been on The Walking Dead for seven years in the suburbs of Atlanta at three in the morning, running away from the zombies,” Ali said.
In fact, during rehearsals, Steven fell out of Danny’s truck (which had just crashed over a hill) onto his shoulder and crawled through the dirt three times. “I was like, ‘You really like doing it?’” Ali told Jason. “And then [Steven] looked at me and was like, ‘I love it.’”
Referencing Jason’s latest work, ShrinkAli then joked that she’d much rather play a character like Harrison Ford’s Dr. Paul Rhoades — sitting for most scenes and cracking jokes.
Later in their conversation, Jason asked Ali what about Beef she’s most proud of, and she said the cast — particularly because Beef has an all-Asian American cast. “I do think that when you have an all-Asian American cast, which is rare, then the people get to be people,” she said.
“Because, now, when people refer to people in our show, they use other descriptors to describe the characteristics of the person rather than their race,” Ali explained. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, the Asian husband,’ they’ll say, ‘Oh, the guy who has the sick cardigans, who’s really positive and rides the bicycle.’”