Paul Rust Finds Love

BY Josiah HughesPublished Mar 24, 2016

Though its boy-meets-girl premise is familiar, Netflix's new comedy series Love delivers some fascinating new rom-com characters. Gillian Jacobs' Mickey is a flawed heroine with addiction issues, while Paul Rust's Gus is a wimpy protagonist. The persona is one that has been gestating in Rust for a while — at the Upright Citizens Brigade, on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast or in the cult classic Funny or Die series "Guy Talk."
That persona — an over-the-top nice guy with a whiny voice and a cheeseball grin — is born of Rust's own idea of masculinity. "There's a lot of bro stuff, and I think it was born out of me being like, 'Why am I not identifying with this bro culture?' And realizing, 'Oh I think it's because me and my friends are very thoughtful to each other.' That rarely gets represented."

That sincerity was a common theme throughout the day of Love's release, and of our conversation. "I've gotten texts from male friends today where they're like, 'I love you buddy, so proud of you,'" Rust laughs. "I think that somebody who is sincere is the funniest person on earth."

Finding a vehicle for Rust's edgy-but-gentle humour took a long time — it was hard to find a network who'd get on board with a quintessential beta male. "A lot of times, if I went in and pitched a show to a network, I would be told beforehand 'Don't describe a character as a pushover, because people don't like passive people. They want people who go in the room like a shark,'" Rust recalls. "But that's not funny. It's not funny to see someone be a bully to somebody else."

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