Exclusive Interview Trial & Error Underdog of the Week

Underdog of the Week – Amanda Payton


Amanda Payton stars as Nina on Trial & Error. 

Do you watch a lot of TV? If yes, what are your favorite shows?

I do watch a lot of TV! This is a tough question. Do I have to choose just one? I love shows that are asking real questions, exploring complex situations and feelings, and cover a diverse array of experiences. That being said, we are in a golden age of TV and there are SO MANY good ones… GLOW, Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, This Is Us, Orange Is The New Black, the Australian show Wentworth…. it doesn’t hurt that all of my favorites feature super strong female characters of all different shapes, ethnicities and backgrounds!

You’ve guest-starred on a number of notable shows including NCIS and Animal Kingdom. What was your favorite experience?

Animal Kingdom was an absolute blast because we got to shoot on a yacht! Big Bang Theory was also a highlight for me. That show runs like a well-oiled machine, the cast was welcoming and hysterical, both on screen and off. Working alongside the legendary talent on NCIS, who were also very welcoming, was yet another amazing experience. A favorite experience? Let’s see… it’s hard to choose, but if I were to include theatrical experiences, while I was a student at Carnegie Melon University, I had the honor of playing Berniece in the play “The Piano Lesson,” by August Wilson. The production was the school’s first ever all African American production of an August Wilson play. The school, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is just a few miles from where August Wilson lived and drew his inspiration. Although Wilson died 3 years prior, his family still lives in Pittsburgh, and came to see the production. We were able to visit the home where Wilson grew up and learned intimate details about him and his plays from people who actually knew him. It was an amazing experience to be able to pay tribute to this groundbreaking playwright in front of his friends and family.

How did you get the role of Nina on Trial & Error?

The role of Nina first came to me as an audition! I was immediately excited because I was already a fan of season one. Then, when I saw that Nina was a podcast host making a Serial type podcast, I fell in love. I have been obsessed with murder documentaries and podcasts since before it was cool. To say I connected with the material would be an understatement.

Tell us about working with Kristen, Nicholas and the rest of the hilarious cast!

The most exciting part of the experience was getting the opportunity to work with a cast of such high caliber comedians. Each and every member of the cast brings a unique quality to the show. Not only are they all comedic geniuses, but truly lovely people. The life that Kristin Chenoweth, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd and Steven Boyer brought to the scripts was sidesplitting. It was a challenge not to break character and laugh while the cameras were rolling. I am happy to report that each and every person in the cast was extremely humble and focused on making the best show we could. As a bonus we had a blast doing it!

What’s next for Amanda Payton?

I am excited to take on new and interesting roles and characters. I see myself working for the rest of my life on projects that peak my interest and challenge my understanding of human nature, both on stage and on screen. I am seeing more and more interesting, dynamic and strong female characters of all different backgrounds and circumstances which really excites me.

Trial & Error airs on NBC every Thursday 9/8c.

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