Back from taking Super Bowl Sunday off, Black Monday‘s third episode put a spotlight on Paul Scheer’s Keith, TV’s No. 1 Bateman family fan.
After previously revealing the character to be gay, Showtime’s freshman series further dived into the life of the closeted Wall Street trader. On the eve of his son’s Bar Mitzvah, Keith struggled to balance his responsibility to his job, family, and boyfriend. A night of arguments, injuries, and stolen Nintendos leads to an eventful party, which includes the love of Keith’s life, Mike, dressing up as Mr. Met to save the day.
For Scheer, a comedy veteran accustomed to jumping from guest star gig to guest star gig, Black Monday provided an unique and welcomed opportunity. “When they presented this character to me, it was never something that I had had the chance to do,” the 43-year-old actor tells EW. “I get to have this dramatic reveal and arc to this character and still do all the things I like about comedy — it kind of blew me away. I get to have my cake and eat it too. The complicatedness of Keith and the layers of that brought me in, but if that wasn’t there, I still probably would have jumped at the chance to work with Don [Cheadle] and Regina [Hall] and everybody else.”
The League alum goes on to share that the character of Keith and the reveal of his sexual orientation has evolved since the show’s initial conception. “When I first read the script, it read to me completely different than how it’s been executed,” explains Scheer. “And the lines haven’t changed. Like my character was a 60-year-old man. And it felt maybe more like the tone of Anchorman at first.”
In addition to de-aging and tone shifts, there were also cuts, like a scene in the pilot which showed Keith in the background with his boyfriend. “I was able to think about the character and play harder into Keith the trader,” say Scheer of having that sequence held back. “It was great to have all that information and seed it all in, instead of just opening up the script and at the end being like, ‘What?'”
Quickly clear in Keith’s relationship with both his boyfriend and his wife is that even if he can’t be that person in public, he knows who he is, an aspect of the character that Scheer appreciated.
“I don’t think of him as bi, I don’t think of this as a one time shot deal; this is who he is and this is the only way he can be who he is,” he says. “He’s struggling with who he can be. He’s in this world where it’s socially unacceptable. And then when you get to see him with his boyfriend, you see another side of him, a more human side. In that relationship, I think that’s the most we will ever see of the real Keith. As the season goes on, he has more trouble experimenting in that world, but not with who he is and how he feels.”