Sometimes, Dan Levy feels "FOMO" (a.k.a. the fear of missing out) just like anyone else - which is something that he explores in his latest commercial for Tostitos.
The Schitt's Creek actor and producer recently spoke with Out to discuss his long-standing partnership with Tostitos, his first foray into unscripted TV with HBO Max's The Big Brunch, and how he feels about Pride Month in 2022.
In his brand-new commercial for Tostitos, Levy is seen missing out on certain great moments due to temporarily stepping away from a bowl of Tostitos. Toward the end of the commercial, though, Levy finally learns his lesson about staying close to his snacks to avoid any additional "FOMO."
Scroll through to catch up with with Dan Levy. And watch his latest commercial for Tostitos below.
Out: Hi Dan, happy first day of Pride Month!
Dan Levy: Happy first day of Pride!
This is a very fun commercial about not missing out on the good stuff by stepping away from a bowl of Tostitos. Can you talk about your partnership with Tostitos and how it was like to work on this commercial?
All I look for in any kind of creative partnership are people that want to collaborate. And I think it's rarer to find that in this space. So, the first time [working with Tostitos], we had such a great time and the team was so great. The willingness to collaborate and the open-mindedness to really value my thoughts and ideas is a dream. I've had Tostitos around my house since I was a kid. So, to continue to build on that relationship, it's not a tough thing for me to speak to my enthusiasm. I think the ideas are really cute and it's a fun couple of days of work to get to just play around. A lot of these scenarios are very close to my own experiences in terms of just a crippling fear that I'm always missing out, so it's been fun. And to really mine the comedy and all of it and still feel like I'm myself, [that] is crucial.
The overall theme of this new commercial is "FOMO." Are you someone who experiences it on a regular basis? How do you deal with it?
You don't! You just kind of live with it, like some kind of back pain. I don't know. I feel like it's a very human thing to want to be included in everything. And I feel like maybe it had something to do with the fact that I wasn't a popular kid growing up. I wasn't necessarily invited to all the birthday parties, so you just constantly have that in the back of your mind. But I think it's a very relatable, very general feeling that many of us get, and then to play with that idea is just a fun kind of platform for comedy.
This isn't your first time working with Tostitos. Do you have any favorite kinds of chips and dips?
I like the scoops because they're the most efficient for me. You know what I mean? I like the idea of, 'I want to get the salsa. I don't want it to spill off the side. I want to contain it because it's a whole balanced bite.' So my practicality would lead me to the scoops. [For dips,] I'm a traditionalist, I guess. I really like salsa.
Speaking of food, you're soon going to launch a brand-new cooking competition show, The Big Brunch, for HBO Max. What was your experience hosting and producing this reality show, and what can we expect from it?
I guess it lives in the unscripted space, but I don't know if it's... a reality show. I end up thinking like Selling Sunset which, don't get me wrong, it is masterful television. But what we're doing is slightly different. It really came from the pandemic, and seeing how the quarantines, and the COVID of it all, really affected a lot of my friends in the food space. And so many of those people are doing such wonderful things.
I thought, 'Maybe there's a world where we can tell these stories.' So we built this show to celebrate local culinary voices who are making a big difference in their communities, put them out into the world, and have them compete over brunch, which is inherently a time of day that people tend to come together.
It all felt like it was feeding into this really warm place of community, and [the show] is so sweet. I had no idea when we were putting the show together because it's the first thing I've really done as a creator in the unscripted space. I didn't really know what it was going to be like. I knew I had a really great team. I'm working with HBO Max, and I'm working with the team at Boardwalk who did Chef's Table, Cheer, and some terrific television, but I really didn't know how meaningful the experience would be for me.
It wasn't until I met these chefs, watched them work, and learned about their stories that I realized that not only was I glad that I made the show, but I actually, from a very emotional place and a kind of spiritual place, needed this show to happen, to remind me that there was a lot of good in the world. I think, these past few years, there's been a dark cloud over a lot of us, and I needed that boost of optimism. The show means more than just a show to me. It's something that really kind of came into my life at just the right time. And I hope that audiences feel the same way.
I just saw that you shared a picture from Schitt's Creek on Instagram to celebrate the beginning of Pride Month. How are you generally feeling about Pride Month this year?
It's always kind of a bittersweet thing because you want to just be able to celebrate. But there's so much working against us, always. And now it seems [like] the regression of certain laws has only made things even...I don't know. I try to stay positive, but there are some real issues at hand.
It's obviously a much larger conversation, but I think you always have to be aware of context. And I think celebrating is a form of freedom, and that freedom, has to be balanced. With an awareness that there's a lot of fight left in all of us, to try to correct a lot of these kinds of legislations that are just inhumane.
I'm a gay man in Florida, so I'm 100 percent with you there.
Gosh, well, I hope you get out there and celebrate as best you can, because that's all we can do, aside from voting.
Besides your campaign with Tostitos and this new cooking show for HBO Max, are you working on any new projects that you're ready to talk about?
It's an interesting thing because, I'm known for a scripted television show...and then I'm [now] venturing into the unscripted space, and then I plan on going straight back into scripted. There's a movie that I'm in the middle of developing right now, so that's really exciting to me. There are [also] a couple of other television things.
There's nothing specific because I feel like this industry is so fickle that the minute you say something, suddenly I'm going to have to redact it. But what I will say is that, over the past couple of years, as hard as it's been, I've really tried to use [my time] to write, and to create, and to create things that I hope will counteract some of the darker side of what's come about over these past few years. The next few years are about taking those ideas that I've developed and actually getting them made. The Big Brunch is the first of many ideas, and I'm excited for what's to come.
I think the biggest disservice you can give yourself in this industry is to put undue pressure on yourself and give yourself higher expectations than you should. So I've really focused on making sure that the stories that I'm telling mean something to me and that I'm not just doing them to fuel this kind of momentum that's happened with Schitt's Creek. That it all continues to come from just as enthusiastic, and just as meaningful a place as Schitt's Creek did.
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