SDCC 2021 is here, and with it comes a slew of fun panels for our favorite TV shows and films. Of course, this year is still Comic-Con@Home, but that doesn’t stop the virtual geek train from entering the geek station! I promise the train puns will start and end here. 

On Friday, Adam Conover moderated a panel featuring the folks in front of and behind the camera of Adult Swim’s Tuca & Bertie. This included Lisa Hanawalt, creator and executive producer; Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman), executive producer and Nicole Byer, cast member.

Byer has voiced a multitude of characters such as Chill Bird, Gamby, Lady in the Bathroom and a Plant Teen. There are 16 episodes of Tuca & Bertie, and Byer is in 15 of them. 

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Now, Conover asked the panelists to delve into what it was like creating Season Two amid a global pandemic. Hanawalt revealed that the writers penned all of the second season over Zoom.

Apparently, they only met in person one day prior to last year’s lockdown. The cast, which includes Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong voicing the eponymous pair, also participated in table reads over Zoom. 

Hanawalt went on to explain that all writers had to submit their jokes to her via memo as opposed to their usual method of brainstorming in the writers room. 

If you’ve been wondering how the versatile Byer creates so many iconic voices for Tuca & Bertie, then wonder no longer! The actress dove into her process, explaining that she drew inspiration from people she knew in real life. Byer even imitated the voice of her mortgage broker for a character on the show. 

All three panelists expressed their love for the tomato-head strippers in Season Two, with Bob-Waksberg joking that he tried to insert them whenever possible. While this didn’t occur directly after his statement, it’s my favorite quote from the panel. Byer said the following in regard to the character she’d most like to play on Tuca & Bertie:

I wanna be a cucumber stripper!

You heard it here first, folks. Byer described the appearance of her potential new character. Hanawalt vowed to bring this to fruition should the show snag a third season. I need this to be real, please and thank you!

Photo of Tuca and Bertie in Tuca & Bertie.

Bertie (voiced by Ali Wong) and Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) in “Vibe Check,” S02E05

Hanawalt gave us some insight into how the writers shaped Tuca & Bertie‘s mythology. She never wanted a real-life celebrity or celebrity equivalents on the series. This is what separates it from BoJack Horseman, which did feature real people. That being said, there are no “strict rules” to this universe. 

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Tuca & Bertie is praised for its depiction of mental health, and how it gracefully addresses topics such as therapy, repressed trauma and grief. But how do the writers manage to juggle the serious stuff and the lighter stuff? Hanawalt based Tuca and Bertie’s experiences on those of her friends. Typically, the writers start with the heavier aspects of an episode. Then, they build the “comedy” around it.

“I Made the Show I Wanted to See in the World.”

Hanawalt revealed on the panel that there’s nothing like Tuca & Bertie on TV. She’s not wrong! At face value, it appears to be a silly animated comedy that’s all cotton candy and rainbows. But you peel away the fluff and you’ll find a series that’s filled to the brim with pathos, depth and heart. 

Well, and tomato strippers. Who knows, maybe we’ll expand the show’s food-based strippers to include cucumbers.

You can check out the full SDCC 2021 panel for Tuca & Bertie below. Be sure to tune in for new episodes every Sunday at 11:30 pm on your Adult Swim affiliate. 


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