‘Baby Reindeer’ Creator Richard Gadd Was Surprised When His ‘Weird’ and ‘Traumatic’ Show Blew Up: ‘A Lot of People Are Suffering’ | Video

The comedian and costar Jessica Gunning appeared on “The Tonight Show” to talk about their Netflix hit

The creator of “Baby Reindeer” wasn’t expecting his show to be the cross-cultural success that it was. Richard Gadd appeared on “The Tonight Show” Thursday alongside his co-star Jessica Gunning to discuss what it’s been like to see his show blow up around the world.

“It’s crazy it’s had this sort of almost cross-cultural success that I never expected because it’s so singular and it’s so idiosyncratic and it’s very London,” Gadd told “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. “It’s such an odd story and like a weird, traumatic story. But I guess a lot of people are suffering right now.”

Based on Gadd’s one-man show of the same name, “Baby Reindeer” is inspired by Gadd’s real-life experience with being stalked. The miniseries follows Donny Dunn (Gadd), an aspiring comedian who works as a bartender at a London pub. When one of his regulars becomes infatuated with him, he initially encourages her. But the more messages Martha (Gunning) sends, the more unsettled Donny becomes as he parses through his own history of sexual abuse.

Gadd admitted that when he was writing “Baby Reindeer” the play, he suspected that it could be a TV show. However, he never suspected it would become as big as it has. When asked if he ever imagined that his show would have the impact it’s currently having, Gadd said, “No, I didn’t, and not so fast as well.”

“It went out at like 8 a.m. U.K. on the 11th of April. I remember thinking, ‘Maybe my mom and dad will watch it this weekend or something.’ But it literally felt like overnight it exploded,” Gadd said. “Everyone seemed to be discussing it. I kept having these points where I thought, ‘This was as big as it was going to get.’ So it got to No. 8 in the U.K., and I thought, ‘That’s about it.’ Then it got to No. 1. Then it was No. 1 [in the United States]. Then it was No. 1 in like Qatar and Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.”

Gunning also joked about the moment she felt a bit like her stalker character, Martha. After seeing Gadd’s “Monkey See Monkey Do,” which is loosely the source material for Episode 4, Gunning tried to see “Baby Reindeer” but was unable to get tickets. She then bought the playbook for the show, “which is a little bit Martha of me,” she joked.

“When the email came through that I was auditioning I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” Gunning said.

The widely watched streaming original is currently at the center of a pricey defamation lawsuit. Fiona Harvey, the Scottish woman who claims to be the “real Martha,” filed a $170 million defamation suit against Netflix earlier this week.

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