Interview: Lauren Lapkus Talks 'Harvey Street Kids', Podcasts, and Squirrel Girl

Harvey Street Kids debuts on Netflix today, introducing the characters of the classic Harvey Comics to a whole new generation.

The DreamWorks Animation series follows Audrey (Stephanie Lemelin), Dot (Kelly McCreary), and Lotta (Lauren Lapkus), three best friends who go on adventures with the other kids of Harvey Street. The series is as colorful and charming as you would expect, with plots that involve quintessentially kid things like taking care of a new pet, drama around trading cards, and falling in love with a boyband.

While viewers will surely find a lot to love about Harvey Street Kids, it's safe to assume that Lapkus' portrayal of Lotta will be among the highlights. Lapkus has accumulated a varied filmography over the years, ranging from appearances in Bob's Burgers and Lucifer to scene-stealing roles in Orange is the New Black and Jurassic World. She also has earned a legion of fans through podcasting, hosting With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, Raised by TV, and Threedom, as well as regularly appearing on Comedy Bang! Bang!. recently got a chance to chat with Lapkus about Harvey Street Kids, and about bringing Lotta into a new era. She talks about her familiarity with Harvey Comics, why she loved the show's "boy band supergroup", and what other comic book characters she would love to play.

--- For people who are fans of yours, but who might not be super familiar with the world of Harvey Street Kids, how would you describe Lotta as a character?

Lauren Lapkus: I would describe Lotta as being one of the sweetest people that is around. And sometimes her desire to love things gets so out of control that she kind of squeezes them to death. She loves things very hard, and she loves people very hard. She can also totally rage out. She has a lot of range when it comes to her reactions to things. She can either be really sweet, but if you cross her, she will totally Hulk out and rage out at you. She's very strong in her feelings about which direction you're going in.

What drew you to kind of playing this character? What sort of motivated you and got you interested in playing her?

What I loved about her was that she looked so adorable. I love her style. She just is like very cute, and reminds me of what I looked like when I was little. We had the exact same haircut. I also liked that she was a character that could really stand up for herself. She's so confident. That isn't how I felt myself when I was a kid. I really feel like I was shy and more nervous about things. I really feel happy to be portraying a character who is super confident and comfortable with herself, and just knows who she is, and has always known who she is. She doesn't make any apologies for who she is and how she reacts, and I really liked that.

Were you familiar with kind of the world of the Harvey comics at all? Did you read any of them beforehand, or was this all just kind of new to you?

It was new to me. I was familiar with some of the characters from that world, like Casper and stuff like that, but I didn't know about the Harvey Girls. Once we were like halfway through recording, I was like, "Oh." I realized it was a comic, because somebody said that. I don't know where I missed that. Then I ordered a bunch of the comics on eBay, and shared them with the girls. That was really cool, to get to see these characters as they were originally imagined, and see how they've changed. It's been really fun to be a part of that.

How do you feel being able to sort of bring that character into a new generation, and sort of kind of elevate the source material from how she kind of was presented in the comics?

It's really cool. My mom read these comics when she was a kid. It was pretty amazing to have it come full circle in that way, for her. I think, as I look on this whole show, is that it's a really modern take on all of these comics. You see them dealing with current issues that we're dealing with right now in society, and just in life in general. Like having technology, dealing with technology. Or even the things are simpler and kind of were true at any time in life, like having an embarrassing secret you don't want anyone to know, and then having people find out your secret, and how that's handled.

I think we have a lot of great messages within the show, that are told in a really cool and relatable way. It's been very, very cool watching how the writers have taken these characters that have been around for so long, and made them really current.

What was the recording process on the show like? Did you record with any of the other cast members, or were you all separate?

We record together as much as we can. For the most part, we get at least me and Kelly McCreary and Stephanie Lemelin, who play Dot and Audrey, we'll be in there together. As often as possible, we get a lot of the other players in there, Danny Pudi, Atticus Shaffer, Grey Griffin, who's amazing and has been the voice of every cartoon you've ever watched, and Roger Craig Smith, who's equally astounding. Some of these voice actors who I didn't know before getting into this world, I've been so blown away by their talent. Just watching Roger and Grey specifically, switch between characters back and forth, and they're so amazing at what they do. For the most part, we're all in there together. That really helps with the energy.

Is there a certain moment or episode of the season that you're really proud of? I know when I talked to the showrunners, they talked a lot about the boy band episode, and how they were amazed that that came together. I'm curious about that, or any other moments outside of that.

The boy band one was just so cool for all of us, because there are so many guys that we all, at least I, grew up admiring. [98 Degrees'] Nick Lachey is in the boy band, and [NSYNC's] Joey Fatone, [New Kids on the Block's] Joey McIntyre, and [Boys II Men's] Shawn Stockman. That's just like a super group of amazing singers that I loved when I was in middle school, so it's very cool to be a part of that. That episode's really exciting. A lot of the session with that band has been really fun to play as well, because [Lotta's] just completely in love with them. She's just a complete Crush4You head.

One episode I really liked, which I was alluding to before, is that Lotta has an embarrassing secret that she tells a flock of parrots, she doesn't want anyone to know. Then the parrots start going, I mean parrots like to talk, so things get a little out of hand. That's a really fun episode.

If you had to bring any of your other characters, whether from a podcast or another role that you've played, into the world of the show, who would you pick?

I feel like [Comedy Bang! Bang! regular] Traci Reardon would fit into this world, because she's totally confident and also a totally weird kid. I would love to put her into this world. There are very few characters of mine that would seamlessly blend into this, because they're too dirty, but Traci has a chance. Traci has a chance.

If you had to do an episode of With Special Guest about Lotta, if Lotta had to have a fake podcast, what do you think it would be about?

I think it would have to be a podcast all about Crush4You, because she is so obsessed with them. She has lots to say about that. She probably just would interview all the other kids in the neighborhood, talking about their obsession with Crush4You or lack thereof, and trying to convince them to like Crush4You. Hopefully, maybe she gets some of the Crush4You guys on the show, because she has connections.

Since Harvey Street Kids is based in the comic book world, if you were able to play any other comic book character, who would that be and why?

Oh wow. Squirrel Girl is someone who I've newly learned about, and I know they're making [Marvel's New Warriors], a live action version of Squirrel Girl, a new show. I think that character's amazing.

And just classic Catwoman. She's just the hottest character to ever exist. I'm pretty sure Grey [Griffin] has that market covered. She plays every sexy cartoon character. I could never compete, but that would be really fun.



The first season of Harvey Street Kids is now available on Netflix.