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‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’: Tituss Burgess Talks Titus Andromedon’s ‘Lemonade-ing’

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon in Netflix’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Photo: Netflix)

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3.

Sure, the piñata, the bright yellow frock, the gold boots, and the lyrical references to being roach bit and his boyfriend’s “shor-or-orts” are delightful, but they’re not what made creating his Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 ode to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” so much fun for Tituss Burgess. Read on, as the star tells Yahoo TV the best part of “Lemonade-ing,” why the instant Kimmy classic is the only way Titus could deal with a broken heart, and why that other Season 3 tune is his favorite.

And yes, real world Tituss agrees with TV Titus about baby Lindas.

Season 3 of Kimmy is as funny as ever, but I feel like we meet up with a more mature, or maturing, Titus Andromedon this season.
Yeah, he certainly, given the breakup between he and Mikey at the end of the [Season 3 premiere]… that was really big of him to let this man go, a guy who he loves so much, but he does it for the sake of Mikey’s own maturation process. And that is a very adult decision, to put someone else’s needs before his own. That’s not something that we see a lot of from Mr. Andromedon. So yes, we definitely get a more mature Titus this season.

The humor, it always matches up perfectly with the storyline and what’s going on with the characters, but it just feels super gelled this season, right down to the “Lemonade” homage and all the other things that Titus has going on.
Yeah, well Tina [Fey] and Robert [Carlock] are geniuses, honestly, and they came back with guns a-blazing. Every script at every table read that we had, every script seemed to be so brilliantly cohesive in a way I think that we hadn’t seen before. And it was just a joy to film all this content this season.

What was your reaction when you first found out about the homage — and it is 100 percent a loving homage to Beyoncé and to “Lemonade” — what was your reaction when you found out that you were going to be doing that?
I found out about the homage before I found out about the storyline, so I wasn’t not excited, I just thought, “Well, why are we doing that?” And then once they briefed me that we come back and Mikey and Titus are going to no longer be together, at least for this season, I thought, “Oh, well this is the only way he would get all his hurt out of his system. It makes perfect sense.” And other than my fear of being submerged into water, I was very excited about filming the whole thing.

What ended up being the most fun part of “Lemonade-ing”?
The most fun part of doing that was probably bashing that window, with the bat. That felt great.

And what about the outfit? Did you get to collaborate at all in the creation of the glorious yellow outfit and gold pants?
Oh, no, no no no. My collaboration is taking it from the page to the screen. I don’t have much input in the aesthetic or the storyline. Nor do I need to, those aren’t my areas of expertise. I just know how to make it funny.

And the best part of that is just how sincere it is and how perfectly it does fit in with what’s going on between Mikey and Titus.
I could not agree more. And I’m so glad you said that because when I read it, it made me cry. And I don’t get misty like that, but the lengths Titus went through to express how deeply hurt he was… he’s such a flashy character, and you don’t necessarily associate humility and all the downside of being a human being with this man. And for him to, albeit in a funny way, express such deep wounds was a nice rounding out of humanity for him, for Titus Andromedon this season. So I agree with you.

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon in Netflix’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Photo: Netflix)

It’s also trademark Titus in just how committed he is to it. That he somehow would come up with an outfit that is that glamorous and perfect and Titus-ized, even though he’s broke, and he and Kimmy talk about getting things out of garbage cans. Of course he would come up with that. His creativity, his commitment to that, is on the grand level of someone like Beyoncé.
It’s true. I mean, the things that he manages to pull off is quite brilliant. You know, that he would sew this whole look together in who knows what amount of time. He clearly goes rummaging through other people’s “junk,” all which you can see, but he manages to look pretty pulled together. But who knows where he found those clothes? So yeah, I think it’s pretty inspiring. And just because you’re hurting, it don’t mean you can’t look good doing it!

To me, this is just more proof, his commitment to do everything on such a grand scale, that eventually Titus is fated to be a superstar.
I mean, he’s definitely supposed to be someone… he’s definitely not an ordinary guy, I’ll just say that. It’d be interesting to see… I’m wondering, one wonders, where they will end up taking this character when Kimmy wraps up. Will he have learned all these lessons? And will he achieve a certain level of stardom, and will he achieve it and know how to handle it? Will it be handled with humility? Will he be humble? Or will he just be more of a nightmare? I’m so curious to see what they do.

Your delicious and beautifully packaged wine collection followed Titus’s first hit, “Pinot Noir.” Will your fans now demand a lemonade beverage line?
[Laughs.] No, I think that’s a little too far. And also, I don’t have time to personally manage another alcoholic beverage. I think we’ll just leave it where it is, and that’s onscreen.

There’s no way, though, that by the end of the summer, there aren’t going to be “Boom Boy Bye Foop” T-shirts.
It’s so funny. I don’t know how people come up with this stuff so fast. But I certainly saw my share of quotes on T-shirts from last season on people. So I’m anxious to see what people come out with.

There’s also the other big song from the season, “Boobs in California,” which…
“The greatest boobs around.” Isn’t it the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

It is, but I can’t get it out of my head.
Well, I gotta tell you, that was probably my favorite episode to film, because of all of the little, I guess I would call them “songettes.” A political satire, there was one that was like, “Ben-Ghazi! Ben-Ghazi! Ben-Ghazi!” and then it’s like, “Hillary was there.” It’s so ridiculous, it’s so stupid. But for all those things to be OK for him to sing, and then he gets to “Boobs in California,” and he’s like… suddenly he can’t believe he has to come down and sing something so offensive. But that was a very fun episode.

Episode 8 is another gem when we learn the whole story of Titus’s Dionne Warwick (Maya Rudolph) adventure at sea, which he hints at throughout the first half of the season.
It was amazing. You know, I’ve not seen episodes 3 through 13, so you know more about it than I do. I don’t know what’s on the cutting room floor and what actually made it into the episode. But Maya Rudolph is a national treasure. And she is so funny and was still going, even when they yelled cut. So it was sort of like getting an up close and personal ticket to a one-woman show.

You two have incredible chemistry together.
I gotta see it because I don’t know what she’s… she improvised so many lines, I’m certain they’re probably all in there, but she came up with some ridiculous things to call me, and I loved every minute of it.

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon in Netflix’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Photo: Netflix)

And Linda is a weird name for a baby.
That’s what I’m saying. That’s like an adult woman’s name. That episode, Andrea Martin, oh my lord. She is so funny. And do you know, Tina just called her the night before to see if she would do that part? So she just showed up, knocked it out of the park, and went back home. I loved it. But Linda is a very strange name for a baby. I think that is unfair.

That whole storyline highlights one of Titus’s best personality traits, which is that he really can make friends with anyone. Even if he thinks the Lindas of human resources are not his kind of people, he meets them and it’s a mutual lovefest.
I love that he just goes to a random company and asks for Linda in human resources because he thinks everyone’s named Linda in human resources. It is so funny. It’s so ridiculous. Going to work is so fun, I gotta tell you.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix.

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