Lisa Hanawalt, creator of the animated series Tuca & Bertie
Lisa Hanawalt is a writer, cartoonist, and author of four brilliant books, including Hot Dog Taste Test and My Dirty Dumb Eyes. She also co-hosts the Maximum Fun podcast Baby Geniuses along with the comic Emily Heller. You may be familiar with her work on the popular animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman where she was a producer. Lisa is also the creator of the animated series Tuca & Bertie, which will be starting its second season in June on Adult Swim.
Tuca & Bertie is a show about two anthropomorphic bird women who live in Bird Town. Tuca is an outgoing and fun toucan that is kind of a mess. She doesn’t really have a solid job. Bertie, her best friend, is a songbird, kind of a homebody, a little shy, and deferential.
A lot of the problems Tuca and Bertie encounter are fairly human and grounded: relationship stuff, work problems, sexual harassment. But the world they live in is anything but. Things like phones, hospital equipment, and plants can talk and walk. Lisa based Tuca and Bertie off of characters from her books, characters she’s lived with for a long time and sees sort of as extensions of herself. The series stars Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong, and Steven Yeun.
When Lisa joined us on Bullseye in 2019, the show had just debuted on Netflix. It’s since moved over to Adult Swim. The second season will premiere on June 13, which gives you just enough time to binge the first season.
In 2019, we talked with Lisa about how intuitive creating Tuca & Bertie was at times, on deciding what to ground in reality and where to take flight, and why she should be allowed to ride Martha Stewart’s pony.
A quick warning about this interview you’re about to hear: There’s some talk about sex in it, mostly just talking about body parts. If you or someone you’re listening with might be sensitive to that kind of thing, we’re giving you a heads up now.
This interview originally aired in 2019.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
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