Liza Lapira explains why a New York comedy will hit home for Kiwis

Liza Lapira says 9JKL will be a hit because everyone can see their own families in it.
Liza Lapira Photo credit: supplied

Liza Lapira has never been to New Zealand, but she knows our country is ahead of its time.

Or more accurately, her time.

"I know it's 10:30 there tomorrow and its 4:30 yesterday for you right now," she told Newshub.

"So I guess I'm talking to the future, that's so exciting. Oh no - but that means you're talking to the past."

I assured her I wouldn't hold it against her. 

The Super Fun Night and Crazy Stupid Love actress is just one of the faces on new US comedy 9JKL, which began this week on Three.

The show follows newly-divorced Josh, an actor between projects who moves home to New York to regroup and into an apartment sandwiched between his parents and his brother's family.

As he gets back on his feet, he's faced with his most challenging role yet: being a good son and brother, while keeping his relatives at bay.

His sister-in-law, a paediatrician, is played by Lapira.

9JKL is based on the real-life experiences of executive producer and star Mark Feuerstein, and Lapira calls it "very New york set-up".

"Well, the whole situation is very New York in that there's not a lot of space," she explained.

"He's living in a sandwich of his family in these apartments next to each other. I mean, I'm talking to you in my own New York apartment right now and it's tiny. I'm like two feet away from my neighbour, I'm pretty sure he can hear me right now."

She then yelled, "Hi Bob!" to drive home the point.

But Lapira says the humour is all about family and everyone, including Kiwi audiences, can relate to it.

"There are characteristics of people in there that all people recognise," she said.

"People come up to me and say 'oh your mother-in-law on TV is exactly like mine' or whatever, the whole mechanism of the family situation is relatable." 

Lapira said moving back to be with or near your parents is something she herself has experience with, going home to visit New York during her time working in LA.

"When you come home you remember the good, but also - how do I put this delicately - you remember going 'oh, I really enjoy my own space'," she laughed.

"But it's that universal [thing] where you're like, 'Oh, I can talk smack about my uncle, but if anyone else even DARES try and say anything, it's like - that's my family, I'm allowed to say what I want but you are not'!".

When I expressed my love of family-based sitcoms you don't see any more; your Everybody Loves Raymonds of after school watching, Lapira couldn't contain her excitement.

"Yes! YES! They're not that common here any more either!" she said.

"Thats so funny that it's the same in New Zealand. 

"And it's what I love about this show. It's like chicken soup on a cold day. But with laughs. It's funny chicken soup."

9JKL airs Thursday nights at 8pm on Three.


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