‘Schitts’s Creek’ star Dan Levy speaks with three Iowa schools

Dan+Levy%2C+known+best+for+his+involvement+in+%22Schitt%27s+Creek%2C%22+sat+down+for+a+virtual+interview+with+UNI+%2C+the+University+of+Iowa+and+Iowa+State+University+on+Friday%2C+April+9.

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Dan Levy, known best for his involvement in “Schitt’s Creek,” sat down for a virtual interview with UNI , the University of Iowa and Iowa State University on Friday, April 9.

ANTHONY WITHEROW, Campus Life Editor

Students flooded a socially-distanced Maucker Union Ballroom on Friday, April 9 to experience a watch party for a virtual interview with actor, writer, producer and director Dan Levy. The livestream was sponsored by UNI’s campus activities board, along with Iowa State University (ISU) and the University of Iowa.

Levy is best known for his work on the hit television series “Schitt’s Creek,” which he co-created with his father Eugene. The show became the most awarded comedy series in a single year after capturing nine Emmy awards for its sixth and final season.

Levy sat down with panelists from the three universities — Alyssa Anderson from UNI, Alexi Bolden from the University of Iowa and Brooklin Border from ISU — to explore “Schitt’s Creek,” creation, mental health, overcoming creative struggles and advice on the writing process for aspiring screenwriters.

The interview began with Levy discussing his experiences on “Schitt’s Creek” and the inspiration behind creating a series centered around a wealthy family that suddenly loses all fortune. Levy stated he wanted to explore how a family of high status comes together in this time of crisis.

“At the time, it was really just wanting to explore the concept of wealth. Does it really buy happiness?” he said. “I think that’s what lent a kind of sweetness to our show because it really was an exploration on the fact that you don’t.”

The panelists continued to ask about the series, discussing with Levy the surge in popularity the show saw in the U.S. once it became available to stream on Netflix. Levy stated he did not anticipate the reception the show would receive due to initially running on the “Pop” network, a channel which did not see many ratings.

Levy felt this acted as a blessing in disguise as the few ratings the show received allowed him, along with the other writers of the series, to feel less pressure and focus more on the stories they wanted to tell.

“When you know that you don’t have 1 million eyes on you, it really sort of frees you up to really focus on what is most important,” he explained. “At the time, we were turned down by every major network (in the U.S.). I took that as a bit of a blow, but what I realize now is I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Levy also shared his experiences as a host on MTV Canada, stating it allowed him to “pull him out of his shell” in the early stage of his career and become more comfortable in front of the camera.

He also believes that walking away from MTV when he did allowed him to not be “dictated by his ego” or be tied to who people think he should be.

“What if someone asks me why I’m not on TV anymore? What am I going to tell them? It doesn’t matter. Tell them you’re figuring out your life,” Levy said.

He continued, “In the process of just figuring out what I wanted to do next, I started to write, and the idea for (“Schitt’s Creek”) came to me quite organically, and it came to me, I truly believe, because I had a clear head.”

The second portion of the event was a Q&A segment in which Levy responded to inquiries from students from all three universities. He discussed fan interactions, fashion, social issues and mental health. Levy also shared his experiences writing and the struggles that accompanied.

Levy concluded the segment by encouraging students not to compare their success to anyone’s but their own. He stated that comparing yourself to everyone around you does nothing but hinder your own success.

“At the end of the day, we have to be kinder to ourselves,” Levy declared.