Inside Danny McBride’s Low Country Comedy Commune

So, in 2017, he and a handful of his closest collaborators, who also happen to be some of his closest friends, decided to move to South Carolina, where they had filmed plenty of TV and then returned together as serial vacationers. The plan was simple, but grand in ambition: to airlift the whole McBride creative brain trust, 8 or 10 whole families, to a pleasant and occasionally hard-partying city far from the spotlight.

It worked. Here, they’ve built a warmhearted, Southern comedy commune that runs on Lowcountry oysters, dick jokes, and large quantities of tequila. They spend their days, as they always have, making wildly funny movies and TV shows about deeply unpleasant people, riding an unmatched understanding of thwarted American masculinity to surprising wealth and influence. Only now they spend more weekends than they used to on boats. “We’re water people,” McBride told me. “Boats are fun, boats are awesome, we like that.”

McBride’s is a world where the sacred is inseparable from the profane—and where the profane is especially sacred. And the Rough House office is something like a temple to the art of male bullshit—the sort of place where highbrow discussions about story structure give way to riffing about hotbox-able movie theaters. A sign out front advertises Rough House’s fictitious services in private investigation and falconry (they’ve heard from would-be customers looking for help in both categories). Inside, decor is minimal but striking: Hanging on one bathroom wall is a framed pair of tighty-whities covered in (presumably fake) blood—a prop pulled from the set of The Righteous Gemstones, McBride’s HBO series about a family of venal televangelists. Over by the staircase, I caught a framed black-and-white photo of McBride with Ridley Scott, taken on the set of Alien: Covenant in 2016. The picture features the legendary director mid-gesture, his arms pulled up toward his face. One of McBride’s colleagues had affixed a ball-busting Post-it to the frame: “Danny, always remember to smell your hands. —Ridley”

When we met, McBride was busier than ever. He was finishing the scripts for the fourth season of Gemstones—his third series with HBO, after Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals. He was working on a collection of short stories he’d sold to Random House. And he was finalizing plans for Don Gato, the tequila brand he plans to launch this year. “I drink a lot of tequila, everyone in my circle drinks a lot of tequila, and so we’re like, ‘Let’s make one,’ ” he explained, matter-of-factly. (Nearly everyone in McBride’s world I spoke to mentioned his affinity for the spirit. “He’s good at tequila,” his Gemstones costar Edi Patterson told me.)

“I know everyone and their mother is doing that, which is kind of lame,” he noted. But the thing that would set Danny McBride’s tequila apart from George Clooney’s, or Kendall Jenner’s, or The Rock’s would be the same thing that had helped turn McBride into one of the most successful creators in modern Hollywood: the deeply Danny McBridean way he’d go about selling it. He and his friends, he explained, would soon travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, to shoot footage for an eventual ad campaign starring McBride as a Hunter S. Thompson–esque character bringing word of the mysterious Don Gato.

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