Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You is the breakout feminist series of 2020. Following the success of comedy-dramas like Issa Rae’s Insecure and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, Coel had a chat with Jimmy Fallon on how her real-life experiences put I May Destroy You in a league of its own.
Streaming safely from her East London flat, Coel joined The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to share her unique mechanisms for calming anxiety in lockdown and the poignant personal stories that inspired the pairing of comedy and tragedy in I May Destroy You. “My brother came to stay with me, and I asked him, do you want to dance in the park?” she says. “He’s got his own headphones in, I’ve got mine, and we go to the park, and we start dancing. Every now and again, even though we’re listening to separate music, the beat falls into the same time, and we start doing the same movement,” she says excitedly.
Michaela’s natural storytelling on Fallon mirrors the formula of her work for I May Destroy You. Soon after sharing that she’s been dancing to cope with anxiety, she delves deeper into how her new series destigmatises the sensitive topic of rape by pairing it with humour. Michaela explained to Fallon that this genre pairing is naturally inspired by her own life. She shares an anecdote from when she “was in the police investigation room getting ready to give my first witness statement, and I sat there sort of realising that the course of my life was forever going to change. I was sort of realising that something bad had happened, and my friend was taking care of me, and as I looked to him, I noticed he was playing Pokémon Go on his phone. It was kind of like. . . Where am I? What is everything? What a circus. What’s going on? It’s rape and Pokémon Go and I don’t know what to do with those two things. But, here they are, in one room.”
Above, watch Michaela Coel’s full story on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.