Bill Hader appeared on an episode of The Prestige TV podcast to discuss the episode, and when the conversation turned to those two movie posters, he explained how he came to be “Larry Chowder The Magical Boy”:
“Larry Chowder The Magical Boy came from Oliver [Alling]our gaffer, he was telling us he worked at… I think he worked at a video store or his friend worked at a video store, and a woman came in and said, ‘I want to rent Larry Chowder The Magical Boy’ when she meant Harry Potter. [laughs] I laughed a lot at that. So we did Larry Chowder The Magical Boy, and that guy is Mark Ashmore, who was Alec Berg’s assistant and who essentially became our script guru… [the project is] weird, because I don’t know what that show is, because he’s just a normal guy…he’s not a kid.”
Congratulations to that Big Mom Energy video store customer who trashed the Harry Potter name in the funniest way possible. Your mistake became one of the best shows on television!
Of course, Hader and his writers weren’t content to just copy the joke and finish it. They gave it its own coat of paint and added some ridiculous stuff (but not also ridiculous elements), including a hashtag (#FeelTheMagic) and the fact that the man who stars in the film is named “@Tyler”. Since this episode takes place eight years in the future, this is the way the “Barry” writers predict the future of Hollywood and, in typical “Barry” tradition, it’s depressing as hell but still tinged with humor. In a way, this little background gag represents a microcosm of the show’s narrative approach.