Exclusive interview: Jon and Ike Barinholtz from Netflix’s Chicago Party Aunt say the future of adult animation is ‘bright’

Image of Jon and Ian Barinholtz
Ike and Jon Barinholtz played major roles in developing Chicago Party Aunt. Pic credit: © and Netflix

Netflix’s latest venture into adult animation involves “life of the party” Diane Dunbrowski, famously known as the Chicago Party Aunt. This comedy series has a glowing cast and writer room, filled with many renowned comedians and familiar faces.

The Barinholtz brothers are part of the creative team with Jon Barinholtz serving as a co-creator and Ike Barinholtz stepping in as the executive producer. They each expressed that they were fans of the Chicago Party Aunt parody Twitter account, originally made by Chris Witaske in 2016, before coming on board for the Netflix television adaptation.

The younger brother, Jon Barinholtz, told us, “I mean, the Twitter account was on my radar years ago, right? Because Chris [Witaske] created it and created this character, and I always knew. I think it was a mystery who created the account, but, internally amongst friends we knew it was Chris and everyone kind of different Chicagoan parts assembled.”

The Chicago-born actor added, “When it came time to like, oh, well, let’s write the script of it. It was kind of like a no-brainer for myself, Chris, and Kate [Rich] to do that because we all work together and we came up together and we knew this voice. We knew who this person was and [had] very similar sensibilities. It really happened very quickly and pretty naturally.”

Ike Barinholtz weighed in with a few thoughts of his own. He shared, “Like John said, I was pretty obsessed with her account, and I would reply to it a lot. Like, she would have a tweet that was something like, [heavy Chicagoan accent] ‘I got so drunk at the clubs game I saw on two different flights of stairs’ or whatever because I knew was Chris, and I would just reply to her like, ‘you have a drinking problem and you need to slow down a little bit.'”

He added, “When Richie Schwartz and Will Gluck [producers] kind of said, ‘hey, we think this is such a great, big kind of cornerstone character, we think we could really build a whole animated series around this,’ we started kind of thinking about the possibilities and what the show could be. And the cornerstone of a lot of great comedies is one central character with a very strong point of view, whether it’s Ralph Kramden or Michael Scott or anyone just there’s a lot to play with. Like John said, all these pieces kind of started laying in. And it was a lot of people who have known each other for a really long time, and we just started kind of building out a really, really great team.”

Monsters and Critics had the opportunity to chat with Ike and Jon Barinholtz ahead of the release of Chicago Party Aunt.

Ike Barinholtz on his character Mark

As mentioned before, there are many familiar voices throughout Chicago Party Aunt. Many fans will find themselves scouring the IMDb pages following each episode. Adding their names to the star-studded list are the Barinholtz brothers themselves. The eldest plays Mark, Diane’s dorky and sensible brother-in-law. Opening up about his character, the actor shared, “Yeah, Martin’s a real normie, which is a real departure for me. Most characters I’ve played are what I would describe as indigent perverts and desperate men who will do anything to get what they need.”

He continued, “I play a guy who’s just super square. Normally, I play button-down guys. [But] this guy’s buttoned-up, [he’s] totally different. It was really fun. I really got to play a super-lame basic dad, which I am not in real life.”

Adding on to his disclaimer, Ike Barinholtz added, “I’m totally not. I’m crazy. I do crazy stuff. I’ll say, kids, we’re having spaghetti for dinner and then 20 minutes later, I’ll say, we’re ordering tacos. I’m crazy.”

Admitting that he’s the “Diane” of his family, he added, “You know, it’s funny when people ask us: ‘Who’s the Diane in your life?’ I realized, oh, I’m the Diane and everyone’s life. And it just goes, if you don’t know who your Aunt Diane is, you are your Aunt Diane.”

On the future of adult animation

The duo had plenty to say about the future of adult animation. Sparked by a brief comment about the cancelation of Ike Barinholtz’s previous animation series Bless the Harts (which ran on FOX), the two were asked what they think is next for the adult animation genre as more streaming networks are releasing new shows,

The eldest answered, “I think that’s exactly right. I think because of streamers, the future is looking very bright for adult animation. There’s a huge audience for it. I still think the way they make decisions on networks is not necessarily how they should.”

He shrugged and added, “We know that there is just millions and millions of people across the world who crave these shows and you can do them remotely.”

Jon Barinholtz added, “And I think you’re going to see an explosion of them coming in the next few years because a lot of people are using the pandemic as an opportunity to be like, ‘Oh, we can’t do as much live. but let’s start really getting into development on adult animation.’ So I think you’re going to see a lot in the next few years.”

Ike Barinholtz concluded the topic with, “We got lucky because we got to do kind of the first chunk of the work, live together in a room. And then when everything kind of stopped and slowed down, it was very easy to break away and do everything remote. So I think the future is really bright. And I hope people want more.”

Watch our full conversation below.

Chicago Party Aunt debuts September 17 on Netflix.

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