Hulu's Reboot Stars Krista Marie Yu And Calum Worthy On The Meta Sitcom Comedy, Fake Disney Channel Movies & More [Exclusive Interview]

Calum Worthy and Krista Marie Yu have plenty of TV experience between them. Worthy rose to fame by starring in Disney Channel shows like "Austin & Ally" before graduating to more mature subject matter in "American Vandal" and "The Act." Meanwhile, Yu appeared regularly on more recent sitcoms like "Dr. Ken" with Ken Jeong and "Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen. That made starring in Hulu's new meta sitcom comedy "Reboot" a bit surreal and therapeutic.

"Reboot," from "Modern Family" creator Steven Levitan, follows the creation of a revival of the fictional early 2000s sitcom "Step Right Up," a riff on shows like "Full House" and "Step by Step." In the series, Worthy plays Zack, the formerly cute child star of the original sitcom that's being rebooted with the same cast, which includes Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, and Johnny Knoxville as his co-stars. Yu has an even more meta role as Elaine, a Hulu executive overseeing the development of the "Step Right Up" revival. Ahead of the show's debut, with three episodes available on Hulu now, /Film spoke with Worthy and Yu about their roles on the show, hearing old showbiz stories on set from seasoned sitcom veterans like Paul Reiser, and more.

'I think one of the more crazier aspects of that is our set from 'Last Man Standing' is the actual same living room set on 'Reboot'

"Reboot" is hilarious, both of you are very funny in it. I want to start with Krista. You've had full-on sitcom experience with "Dr. Ken" and "Last Man Standing," so I imagine it was probably pretty fun to take this meta-comedic approach to that whole process.

Krista Marie Yu: It was. I think one of the [...] crazier aspects of that is our set from "Last Man Standing" is the actual same living room set on "Reboot."

Oh, wow, I didn't even realize that.

Yu: Yeah. Behind the walls and everything, it will say like, "Mike Baxter's office," or the AD Sean [T. Lafferty] wrote his name on it. I mean the stairs and the atrium, everything is the same, and the front door.

That's pretty cool.

Yu: Yeah, that was really nostalgic and meaningful to me. And yes, it is super meta, and I do believe that most of my comedic inspiration has come from the cast of "Dr. Ken," and the advice that I got from Hector Elizondo, Nancy Travis, and Tim Allen. They've all just made me who I am today, so I feel very grateful.

Is there any specific advice that has guided your career since working with them?

Yu: Yes, tons. One of the biggest ones that sticks with me recently from Tim was to be okay with making mistakes. It really freed me up as an actor, because I was able to jump more freely and make bolder choices. 

Tisha [Campbell] said something very similar. Tisha said, "If you go about it for the money, the money will come. If you go about it for the fame, the fame will not come. But if you go about it for the love, you'll always feel fulfilled within your life." And everybody throughout my whole life career has said similar things, and I really look up to them all for that. Suzy Nakamura, Jonathan Slavin.

'It's been a wonderful opportunity to reflect and think about how weird and odd it is to grow up in this industry'

Calum, one of your best recurring bits in this show is even more meta, because you have plenty of real Disney Channel experience.

Calum Worthy: Yes.

I love all of the fake Disney Channel-esque movie titles that keep popping up through the show from your acting history after the end of "Step Right Up." What are some of your favorites that come along this season?

Worthy: Oh man, there's so many good ones. One is, "Bromeo and Juliet." Zack wins the Magic Mountain Film Festival Award for one of them, for best actor. The funniest thing about all the titles is I think they could get made.

Yeah, for sure.

Worthy: I think there's a market for those.

Is it a little bit therapeutic to get to do this, because you did grow up as a child actor, and your character was a child actor on the show and now you're a full-grown adult?

Worthy: Absolutely. Therapeutic is the perfect word. It's been a great opportunity for me to reflect on my own experience and the experience that a lot of my friends had as well. It is a weird thing growing up in this industry. I had a very different experience than Zach because I went to high school. But a lot of people don't have that experience, so they end up getting delayed in terms of their development. And it becomes that weird point of, when do they start to step up and be their own adult on set when their environment never really changed? So it's been very therapeutic. It's been a wonderful opportunity to reflect and think about how weird and odd it is to grow up in this industry.

'When you're on a show where everyone is so funny, the entire set is just a playground for comedic bits'

Can you talk about working with this amazing ensemble of comedy veterans, from Keegan-Michael Key to Paul Reiser, and even Rachel Bloom. What's that experience been like?

Yu: It's all a dream. It's people who I've personally looked up to and watched from afar for a long time, and they all have their own individual types of comedy as well. So watching it flourish and come together is something — I don't think anyone would picture any of us being in a cast together, and to see it come together is really exciting and cool.

How about you, Calum?

Worthy: I feel the same way. I have so much trust on that set. At no point did I think we weren't going to make something great, because we had the greatest team in comedy that I could've thought of. From Steve [Levitan] behind the scenes, and Danielle [Stokdyk] and the entire producing team, to the cast, everyone is at the top of their game. And they're some of the legends of comedy in this industry. So I knew going into a scene that it was going to be great. what was so fun is seeing what everyone's process was, because everyone's process is a little bit different, but they all have the same goal of trying to make a great scene come to life.

Yu: I feel like we're always laughing on set, but also off-set too. It's just a very happy, grateful set.

Worthy: Yeah, that's the thing, when you're on a show where everyone is so funny, the entire set is just a playground for comedic bits. So whether you're getting driven to another set, the whole van is just a bunch of jokes. If you're in hair and makeup, it's just a joke a minute. It doesn't really stop.

Yu: It really doesn't. And I feel like across the board too, everyone is a really hard worker and also recognizes that it's a nonlinear path. And so there's a lot of gratitude throughout too. Just something really nice to be around.

'He really knows how each part of the comedic symphony on set works'

How about working with someone like Steve Levitan, who has been around TV comedy for a long time now. He's done so many great sitcoms, and he is coming off "Modern Family," so that has to be huge.

Worthy: I feel like he's a conductor. He's like a conductor of an orchestra when he is on set, because he really knows how each part of the comedic symphony on set works. And he knows just if a small, tiny adjustment can make all the difference. And he hasn't said this to me, but it's almost like he hears comedy the way a conductor hears music. He knows the rhythm and it's just within him. And he just knows what will work. So it was just an amazing experience to work with him, and also to learn from him just by hanging out with him.

Yu: I also deeply appreciate that he recognizes how everyone is a piece of the puzzle. He's not there to just dictate what he thinks his vision is. He really takes the time to ask people what they think and workshop things together. I always see the magic happen when he's like, "Oh, well, what do you think about this?" Then everybody's pitching different ideas, and then the best one comes about, and everyone's laughing. It's a really, really awesome thing to see. I think that wouldn't happen if we didn't have his leadership.

When you have people who have worked in this kind of sitcom situation for so long, whether it's Paul Reiser or Steve Levitan, are there some pretty good showbiz stories that get shared on set?

Yu: Yeah. Lawrence Pressman has an opus, like an odyssey. The amount of stories he has is pretty special.

Worthy: I was seated at the end of a table, and it was Lawrence and it was Paul and Johnny [Knoxville] and I. And Johnny and I just sat there for half the day just listening to them tell stories. It was wild to hear what the industry was like from the people who experienced it at various points along the way. Like Lawrence is just a legend. He's truly a legend. And his advice is so incredible because he's experienced so much, he's seen so much of the industry. My favorite thing is that he just has so much fun on set. You can tell that the key to longevity is working hard and being really nice, and also enjoying yourself.

'There was a Canadian sitcom that only lasted one season, but I loved it growing up, It's called 'I Love Mummy.'

Obviously, there have been tons of sitcom revivals, which is where the inspiration for this show comes from. Are there any sitcoms that haven't been revived yet that you guys would like to see happen?

Yu: Ooh, "Austin & Ally."

Worthy: I'm down. I'm down.

[everyone laughs]

Worthy: There was a Canadian sitcom that only lasted one season, but I loved it growing up, It's called "I Love Mummy." It was about a family who moved into a new house. They got a new mortgage. And if I remember correctly, it was a single dad and he was moving with his kids and they signed the mortgage, and as soon as they signed the mortgage, they moved in and found out there was a mummified mummy that was alive and living in the attic. It came down and it started to take on some of the tasks of a parent. So the kids wanted a mommy, but they ended up getting a mummy. And I really think it should have gone a few more seasons. I think there's more stories to tell.

It sounds like it easily could have been one of the movies that you stared in on the show.

Worthy: Absolutely. And I want to star in it.

The first three episodes of "Reboot" are streaming on Hulu now, and new episodes debut on Tuesdays through October 25, 2022.