The genius of Eighty-Sixed, Cazzie David’s Web series about digital-era neuroses, lies in its self-awareness. As Remi, a young woman spiraling after a breakup, the 23-year-old makes three things clear upfront: Remi is entitled. She’s irritable. And she’s always on her phone.
“Everything about being a part of her generation—even the tools she uses to feel better about herself, like social media—makes her more insecure,” says David, who, with cocreator Elisa Kalani, metes out snack-size episodes on 86edwebseries.com. A typical insight: In “Tight Vagina Melissa,” about the girl your ex dates after you, Remi begs her friends to post a picture of her at a party. “If I upload it, it looks desperate,” she whines. “If I’m just tagged in it, then he knows I went out but didn’t feel the need to prove it.” (Fun bonus: David’s real-life love, SNL star Pete Davidson, plays an eye-rolling waiter in episode six.)
But even more satisfying than her keen observations on the art of social media artifice is the way David, like her Curb Your Enthusiasm creator pops, Larry David, mines feelings of alienation for laughs. “My dad told me at a super-young age that what I need to do to feel fulfilled and not sad and alone is to write comedy,” she says. “Hopefully, he’s right—or I’ll really have been putting myself out there for no reason.”
You can catch the final two episodes of Eighty-Sixed (out today), but in the meantime, here’s a bajillion and one more reasons she’s your spirit millennial.
Glamour: Wait, are you calling me from a land line?
Cazzie David: Yeah.
Glamour: I’m picturing you in your pajamas in front of, like, a bulletin board, eating a bowl of cereal.
CD: That’s so funny. No, I’m actually in bed in my pajamas with a land line. It’s so old-timey. But I have no service in my house, so I don’t really have a choice.
Glamour: I’ve read a bunch of articles about you and about Eighty-Sixed, and you’re getting the whole, like, voice-of-a-generation treatment, which is obviously a Girls reference. But what I would like to know is, in your words, what makes your point of view relevant?
CD: I just really wanted to make something that felt original. Which is also kind of hard to do in this day and age because, like, everything feels kind of done. I felt like portraying a candid, hypersensitive young person interacting in this new digital world and failing at it felt new. I wanted to tap into a new sector of the millennial mind and show a genuine side to the realities they’re facing.
Glamour: People now talk about how watching Friends is refreshing because they don’t have cell phones. These days I find myself so compelled to check my Insta, I’m literally walking into traffic just doing my thing on my phone. How much of Eighty-Sixed is a criticism of how obsessed we’ve become?
CD: I would say it’s definitely critical, but it’s also sympathetic at the same time. It’s second nature. Millennials actually are kind of on the cusp; they lived a life before having all of these technological advances and social media. Then the generation under us has never known anything but this. So there’s really nothing that they can do. I mean, it’s so weird, because it’s so unnatural for us to be attached to a device.
Glamour: You’re a self-professed awkward person, but you’re choosing to put yourself out there for public scrutiny. Is this a struggle for you? Did you set up like a term sheet for yourself?
CD: I mean, any amount of putting myself out there is always super difficult for me, because I have just no confidence whatsoever.
Glamour: I don’t believe that at all.
CD: I promise you. But I’m super fortunate, because my dad figured it out what it is I need to do to be fulfilled. We’re both hypersensitive, which is a quality that tends to work against you, but because he had a full life of figuring out how to use it to his advantage and make it a beneficial quality, I didn’t really have to.
Glamour: It’s so funny that you say that about your dad. I mean, I think what’s so crazy about Curb, and that brand, that is he bills his persona as a dick. But maybe that’s all just to help defend against this hypersensitivity?
CD: That’s the type of character that, like, if you were to say everything [on your mind] that would be what you would say. [If] you’re hypersensitive and someone does something annoying, it affects you so much. So even if you’re not a dick, you definitely think about those dick things.
Glamour: Is there anything you can tell me about the new episodes?
CD: We’ll see that the breakup actually gave Remi a great outlet to pour all her anxieties into. So, with the next episodes, we’ll be moving away from the breakup and seeing how she reacts to the mild problems she faces at her age. I think, at first, it seemed like she was fine before the breakup. But what we’re learning is that she was always that anxious, just about other—more serious—topics.
Glamour: Is anxiety something that resonates in your life?
CD: That’s what I set out to be the main theme of the show—and it wasn’t really picked up on, which I was kind of confused about. But then I realized that it wasn’t picked up on because every young person actually feels that insecure. It’s kind of normalized.
Glamour: Your boyfriend [SNL star Pete Davidson] has been very open about his personal life and personal issues he’s grappled with. How do you guys decide what to keep private and what you are willing to share with people?
CD: I’m definitely a more private person than he is. I don’t think he knows that you can be honest and not share everything. But I really do respect that about him. Also, he’s definitely way more famous than I am, so it’s not really a problem for me yet.