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‘Insecure’ Showrunner Tells Us Why Issa Didn’t Rap in Season 3 Premiere — And All About Her Lyft Driving

Prentice Penny also tells TheWrap what’s going on without Lawrence

Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Insecure” Season 3, Episode 1

Season 3 of “Insecure” finds Issa (Issa Rae) feeling… well, insecure.

Showrunner Prentice Penny (who also directed the Season 3 premiere episode) spoke with TheWrap about how Issa’s new living situation is cramping her style — and her rap habits.

In the episode, Issa is living with Daniel (Y’Ian Noel) — you know, the guy she cheated on Lawrence (Jay Ellis) with. There’s a moment where we see her gazing at the spot above the bathroom sink where a mirror should be, but it’s just a mirror-less medicine cabinet. That’s our first hint that Issa’s out of her element. There is a small hand mirror hanging on the side wall, and she’s about to start — but Daniel walks in.

That was our sort of way of highlighting [her discomfort],” Penny said. “And it’s the first time that we actually see somebody interrupt [her mirror rap].”

Penny added that one of the biggest reasons for Issa’s mirror raps is to show “her inner thoughts.”

No matter where she is, the mirror is obviously a place of comfort for her,” he said. 

And although we’ll see Issa, and other characters, try to “adult” more this season, her raps will be used as an “arc to show where she is” throughout the season.

The fact that she’s not in her environment, she’s not comfortable, and the fact that there’s someone in her life that’s disrupting that energy, that’s why we had that moment happen,” Penny said. “Because it’s like she’s not really comfortable, actually, everything is different. The mirror used to be in front of her, now it’s on the side, okay, ‘I want to do it but I don’t really have an environment to be safe and comforted.'”

Speaking of being safe and comforted — the writers were also pushing themselves out of comfort zones this season. One way that manifested itself was taking Lawrence out of the season’s main storyline.

“Not having Lawrence around was a big thing to get us out of our comfort zone,” Penny said. But don’t worry, Lawrence-lovers: “even if Lawrence isn’t around, that [fans] can trust we’re taking them on an interesting journey nonetheless.”

“We’re not here to destroy people’s love for the show by taking him out of the show, we’re trying to grow the show and make the show the best it can be and that we love the show just as much as they do and we want that for it too,” he continued. “So just trust that even if you don’t see certain characters trust that we’re going to build an interesting show.”

One way Issa is trying to grow up this season is to save money, and we couldn’t get off the phone with Penny without talking about her new side hustle as a Lyft driver.

For one we just thought it’d be interesting and fun for her to have, like, a series of odd jobs,” Penny said, noting that some people use app-driven jobs (Like Lyft, Uber, Postmates and Task Rabbit) as their main source of income, and the writers “were really intrigued by that. And so it’s like also a way we could get comedy out of things, too.” I mean, who doesn’t love a good back-seat brawl? 

“Insecure” airs Sundays on HBO at 10:30 p.m.