The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

‘Ted Lasso’ creator coaches W&L community

Brendan Hunt kicked off Parents and Family Weekend with stories about his Hollywood career and lessons on the entertainment industry today
Emma Malinak
Brendan Hunt shares comedic stories of his Hollywood experiences with the W&L community.

For Brendan Hunt, co-creator of the Emmy award-winning “Ted Lasso” series, the key to working on a team is focusing on the end goal.

“Serve the piece,” he said. “You’re not there to make yourself famous, or big, or whatever. You’re there to ask: what can we all do to make this thing the best thing it can possibly be?”

Hunt shared stories from his career as a comedian, actor and writer with a crowd of more than 430 students, parents, and faculty and staff members on Oct. 5.

Laughter echoed through the packed University Chapel as Hunt told stories with sound effects and comedic gestures, discussed the health benefits of hula hooping and skipped around the stage and down the aisle.

His energy kept the event’s moderators, Josh Lewis, ‘24, and Louisa Bynum, ‘24, smiling on stage and inspired audience members such as Sophie Huber, ‘25.

“He’s just so joyous,” Huber said. “Everyone should be doing things that they’re unequivocally going to be happy doing, like him.”

But Hunt’s talk wasn’t all jokes. He shared the difficulties that he has experienced in the entertainment industry, especially those involved with writing, which he describes as “a very collaborative process that only one person gets credit for.”

He gets frustrated, he said, when creators dedicate large amounts of time and energy to projects, just to watch them get cut from streaming platforms.

“It stinks that the streaming model has worked out incredibly well for producers, and that’s something that has not worked its way down to others yet,” he said.

The event at Washington and Lee University came just days after a five-month-long Hollywood writers strike was settled, with writers securing reforms in regard to compensation, length of employment and control of artificial intelligence.

But with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists still on the picket lines, Hunt said he wanted to follow the terms of their movement and not “discuss or promote the projects that you’ve worked on for the entities you’re on strike against.”

That meant that “Ted Lasso”—the hit series that follows an American football coach as he wins over the fictional English Premier League soccer team he was recruited to lead—could not be the focus of Hunt’s talk on Thursday.

Instead, he described his dynamic journey from joining theater programs in his hometown of Chicago to taking small comedy and acting jobs in Los Angeles to establishing himself in the Hollywood industry.

What kept him going, he said, was the inspiration he received from his friends that were also improv comedians.

“The improv community is built on support,” he said. “You don’t have time to judge each other’s ideas. We just build on them and improve them as we go. I tend to think that that environment really lends itself to not only support on stage, but support off stage.”

Hunt said he has navigated the entertainment industry simply by “going with the flow.”

His path has led him to act in movies such as “We’re the Millers,” compete as a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy, voice characters in the “Call of Duty” and “Fallout” video game franchises, and even channel his inner Coach Beard and host a soccer podcast called “After the Whistle.”

Hunt’s variety of anecdotes was perfect for Parents and Family Weekend, Contact Committee Chair Anna Bosking, ‘24, said.

While “it’s not easy” to find a speaker that resonates with both students and parents, she said, Hunt found a way to connect with all audiences, just like the Emmy-winning show he helped create.

“Ted Lasso resonates with every age group,” she said. “And tonight was fun, light, interesting—those are all great reasons to come together and celebrate.”

Hunt started an impromptu question and answer session to further connect with audience members after the talk. Question topics ranged from the rise of the popularity of soccer in the United States to advice for future comedians.

But the biggest round of applause came when Michael Mercer, ‘24, invited Hunt to join the club soccer team for a quick match after the event.

Although Hunt declined the offer, he left the audience with advice on how to create original comedy sketches and remain persistent in pursuing a career as a creative.

“If you want to be writing and shooting comedy, nothing can stop you from doing that. Just do it,” Hunt said.

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Emma Malinak, Managing Editor

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