Kanye’s HBO Co-Star Dishes On Long-Lost Clip: Exclusive

Alison Quinn gives MTV News the behind-the-scenes info on the surfaced pilot starring Yeezy.

Kanye West’s acting chops were put on display Tuesday (July 16) when a 4-minute clip from his unnamed, never-aired 2008 HBO show circulated online. West has been called “awkward” and told “don’t give up your day job,” but West’s co-star Alison Quinn told MTV News that “he was a good improviser.”

The clip — which features an awkward encounter between Kanye West, a Make-A-Wish kid and his supervisor, played by Quinn — surfaced this week on the Web, originating from Quinn’s YouTube channel, where it had previously gone unnoticed for the last three years.

The video was taken off YouTube on Tuesday due to copyright right claims from HBO. Still, there is a shorter version of the scene still available on Quinn’s channel.

The actress, who also appeared on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” has no idea how the video started spreading around the Web. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” she said. “My manager had wanted to put it up, because it didn’t air, so that they could send a link to the casting directors. I didn’t really think anyone would ever see it.”

After auditioning for “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Quinn was picked up for the unnamed pilot. The Kanye project was intended to be a single camera show in the style of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and writer and producer Larry Charles, who executive produces “Curb,” was also tied to it. Kanye, at the time, called himself “the black Larry David,” according to Charles.

Back in 2008, however, Charles said that the show was unlikely to get off the ground, calling it “really good” but “too hard-core for HBO.”

Various news outlets poked fun at the clip Tuesday, telling Kanye “don’t give up your day job” and calling his performance “woeful,” but Quinn disagreed with the mass derision.

“I thought he was a good improviser,” she said, adding, “I was impressed. Sometimes if people don’t have a lot of improv experience, if they can’t tell what direction something is going in, they just sort of give up. And he didn’t. He kept tightening the scene as opposed to giving up on it. He was a good listener and generous in that sometimes improvisers will just want to make it about what they’re saying, so they’re not really listening.”

Quinn said that she is a fan of Kanye’s music, but admitted that she has yet to listen to Yeezus. “I’m a fan,” she said. “People either seem to really like him or really hate him.”

As for whether the leaked reel has scored her a new gig, Quinn said she has had yet to hear anything. “One of my friends was saying about a week ago, ‘One job can change things for a while.’ So I don’t know,” she said. “I guess I’ll just talk to my manager and see if anyone has called him.”

Brenna Ehrlich is a reporter for MTV News as well as the senior writer/editor for the O Music Awards. In the past, she served as associate editor at Mashable, penned a netiquette column for CNN and co-authored the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." She likes trying not to die in moshpits and listening to songs on repeat. Follow her on Twitter @BrennaEhrlich for news on cats and punk bands.