“You worse than a **** nigga. You’re a **** nigga who thinks he’s a good dude.” So went Tasha the bank teller’s overdue http://www.authentic...rsey-c-1_4.html evisceration of former nice guy Lawrence (Jay Ellis) on Insecure’s previous episode. This week, Lawrence solidified that reputation, thoughtlessly moving on from Tasha, without considering she might’ve had a point, and straight into the bed of two roommates who lure him into a random threesome under questionable pretenses. With the tables now turned, Lawrence is left wondering how anyone could so casually and routinely use another person, a crisis of self he faces while parked outside of the apartment he once shared with his ex-girlfriend, Issa (Issa Rae). All season, Lawrence has recovered from the aftershock of Issa cheating on him by dulling the pain with sexual dalliances. It’s a sharp turn of character that’s torn apart his rabid Twitter fan base (see: #LawrenceHive) and whole black households alike. Vulture spoke to Ellis about whether you should still root for Lawrence, that threesome, male fragility, and his new web series, Hard Medicine.
If you had told me that season-one Lawrence would end up having a threesome with two women he meets at the grocery store this season … at this point, is the show just writing exclusively for #LawrenceHive?
I remember one day our showrunner Prentice Penny texted me saying, “Bruh, I got something for you and it’s every man’s dream. I’m telling you, man, the Lawrence Hive is gonna love it.” But he didn’t tell me how the threesome ends. That was his way of getting me excited for it, and then when I actually read it, I was like, “Come on, man, why does Lawrence gotta go out like this? This ain’t fair!” It’s cool, but I’ve never had that experience. I’ve had friends who’ve had threesomes, and it’s an interesting take on how those situations can sometimes happen.
You know, we have three really interesting stories this year with Issa, Lawrence, and Molly being single and dealing with the fallout from episode eight of last season [when Lawrence leaves Issa]. What we’re seeing with Lawrence is http://www.coltsshop...sey-c-1_16.html single-male behavior. I can honestly say I’ve had friends who’ve walked similar paths, and there are some things Lawrence has done this season that I’ve even done while being single and dating in Los Angeles. I don’t think it’s writing for #LawrenceHive as much as it is writing from a real perspective with an honest take of what it’s like to be a single male in this city. A single black man, on top of that.
Race comes up in this scenario, too, because Lawrence thinks it’s going to be a huge win, but a less naïve audience can automatically see it’s a trap: These two women fetishize black men.
I think Lawrence doesn’t see it because in the previous episode, one of his co-workers tells him he’s like a unicorn. He starts believing his hype a little bit. Before, he’s like, “Nah, I’m just nerdy Lawrence; that’s just me.” But when these girls approach him, it’s the first moment where he goes, Maybe this is easier for me than I thought. Maybe I am this unicorn. Obviously, that all unravels when he’s told by these girls that another black guy can do it much better than him, and Lawrence is far from their first.
How do you film a sex scene like that and have it not be totally awkward?
I chemistry-read with the two actresses. From the minute that you get to start creating this story with other actors, you have to be kind, honest, and respectful. You’re stumbling through this just like they are, but you’re here to protect them first. The most important thing is that they feel comfortable. And we’re lucky to have such a super-talented team behind the camera. That day Prentice directed, [executive producer and director] Melina [Matsoukas] was on set, Issa was also producing behind the camera, and we had the writer of the episode. They were all there, but not in the room. You start to see we’re in really good Ahmad Brooks Youth Jersey hands, so if there’s a question or insecurity, they’re there. This is Issa’s vision, obviously, but we’re all in this together, and we’re all in search of authenticity in this moment. But it’ll always be awkward. You got somebody sitting on your face and thighs who you just met 48 hours earlier. And you’re being directed, “Stop! Slower! Faster! Grab his face!”