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August 21, 2015

Cash Course

Aya Cash bares her soul - among other things - in FX's You're the Worst.

Michele Shapiro

Before she was cast as Gretchen Cutler on FX’s unromantic comedy You’re the Worst, Aya Cash had never bared all on camera.

In fact, she’d always been explicit about not parading her privates off-Broadway and in series such as HBO’s The Newsroom. Heck, she even managed the nearly impossible feat of staying clothed as Leonardo DiCaprio’s assistant in The Wolf of Wall Street.

That all changed in the pilot of Worst.

At a wedding, Cutler — a hard-partying commitment-phobe — meets Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere), a bile-spewing British novelist as cynical as she about finding “the one.” The two end up spending a steamy night together that’s as raw and unforgiving as the characters themselves.

“The scene was terrifying for multiple reasons,” Cash recalls. Yet she was pleased with the outcome. “It felt real and messy to me in the way that having sex with someone for the first time is.”

With season two now airing, Cash says her love scenes with Geere have gotten easier in some ways — “You get used to being in pasties with people around” — but not others.

“It’s even weirder now because Chris and I, who are both married in real life, have become such good friends.”

Given her non-traditional San Francisco upbringing (mom is poet and author Kim Addonizio; dad is former street performer Eugene Cash), she’s a good fit for a sitcom that pushes the limits of the genre.

As for her character, Cash says she first channeled her inner Gretchen while a student at the San Francisco School of the Arts.

“I was a slob! I took pride in smoking and drinking and not eating well.” While she outgrew that stage, playing Gretchen has taught Cash a thing or two about speaking her mind.

“I appreciate her not caring what others think. I’ve learned that you can have an opinion and piss people off, and it’s okay.”

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