Chicago Party Aunt is Netflix’s latest animated comedy for adults, and it all started with a Twitter feed. After getting a surprising amount of recognition from his gag Twitter parodying a hard-partying Chicago native, creator Chris Witaske joined forces with Jon Barinholtz and Katie Rich to turn it into a full-fledged television show.

Witaske spoke with Screen Rant about bring the character of Diane (voiced by Lauren Ash) from tweet to screen, and which iconic Chicagoans he’d love to see come on the show.

Screen Rant: I know the show was inspired by your parody Twitter account. Can you talk to me about how that even came about?


Chris Witaske: Yes. I now have lived in Los Angeles for seven years, so I might actually be an Angelino now. But before that, I lived in Chicago, where I got my start in comedy. And when I moved out here to L.A., I was feeling homesick and also had a lot of time on my hands in between auditions and stuff. I started this Twitter account just for fun, based on a couple of my actual aunts and people who I’ve observed in Chicago.

It’s a very specific, funny character, and I started it just for fun. Then all of a sudden it started to grow, and Stephen Colbert was retweeting it. I was like, “I might be onto something here.” And now it’s going to be a show that streams in 190 countries, and I can’t believe it.

You used to work at Mike Ditka’s restaurant. How many real-life Chicago party aunts did you encounter at that restaurant?

Chris Witaske: Oh my God, buddy. The actual entrance is a revolving door to get into the place, literally and figuratively, a revolving door of Chicago party aunts coming through that place. And I just soaked it up like a sponge. I soaked it up.

Can you talk to me about the challenges of adapting a parody Twitter account into a show?

Chris Witaske: Yes. The Twitter was a lot of jokes, and it was in her point of view. It was always filtered through her point of view, but she wasn’t three-dimensional. It was just this crazy woman. For the show, all of a sudden we have to flesh out her world, who are the other people in her world, and make her three-dimensional.

It was kind of a challenge, but I think luckily we already had a strong foundation of this great character. We had our Homer Simpson to work with.

Can you talk to me about the collaboration process in not just fleshing the show out, but some of the other characters? I love the interaction that Daniel (Rory O’Malley) has with Diane. I love Mark (Ike Barinholtz) and Bonnie (Jill Talley). I love them all.

Chris Witaske: Well, thank you. When we were like, “This could be a show,” I was like, “I have so many funny Chicago friends who have television writing experience, and who have their own funny sense of humor.” That’s when we brought in the Barinholtz brothers, and my friend Katie Rich, who we did comedy with at Second City.

We formed this all-star team of funny Chicago people, and then we started brainstorming. Who would these other characters be? And we had so much fun coming up with all these other wacky people in her world. It’s been such a blast working on it.

Another Second City person that you have in this is Lauren Ash, who is amazing as Diane. Can you talk about what she brings to the role?

Chris Witaske: For sure. We all knew Lauren from Second City in Chicago and knew how funny and talented she was. When we were looking for our Diane, we auditioned – I would guess over a hundred women for this character. And when we heard her audition, it was like, “Oh, she just nailed it.”

She got the funny. She got the tone. She also brought the heart to it that we wanted. Just finding her through the audition was like, “Oh my God, we’ve found Diane,” and she’s just been killing it ever since.

You voice the hardworking TSA agent, Kurt, who’s also Diane’s second ex-husband. Can you talk to me a little bit about Kurt and Diane’s relationship?

Chris Witaske: Kurt and Diane have been married and divorced, and then married again and then… I think that they’re probably soulmates, but Kurt can’t keep up with her partying ways anymore because he’s getting older

It’s kind of a will-they-won’t -they, on-again-off-again relationship. But Kurt is just this gruff, hardworking Chicago guy with a big mustache, and it’s so fun to play.

“Stay positive, but test negative,” “If life gives you lemons, turn that s*** into Mike’s hard lemonade.” What are some of your favorite Diane quotes?

Chris Witaske: Those are two of her catchphrases. Another one is, “Tits up, tits out. What are you going to do?” That’s one of my favorites. She has so many great Chicagoisms throughout the show.

This show is absolutely hilarious, but it also has a ton of heart. What are you hoping audiences take away from it?

Chris Witaske: Well, thank you. That’s what we set out to do. We wanted it to be super funny and packed full of jokes, and we wanted it to be a little raunchy. But we also all grew up watching those John Hughes movies, like Breakfast Club and Planes, Trains and Automobiles – those movies that have heart; that are funny, but they pack a punch. That’s what we set out to do, and I think we did a good job doing it.

Are there any other famous Chicagoans that you’d like to see on Chicago Party Aunt?

Chris Witaske: Oh my God, yes. My hero is Bill Murray. My dog is named Murray. His brother Joel is doing a voice in the second eight episodes, but he would be my white whale. He would be my number one to get to do a voice.

If I can throw in a person to request: CM Punk.

Chris Witaske: Oh my God, the wrestler! Love him. He’s a great Chicagoan.

Chicago Party Aunt is now available to stream on Netflix.

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