Industry Season Two: What It’s Like to Play the Biggest Jerk on TV

I was curious if you’ve ever dealt with a Kenny in your own work experiences.

100%. Especially when I was younger, because I always looked so much younger than I am. I used to be really, really skinny. It took me ages to grow a beard. It was all those things. I was always spoken down to like Yas, and you can see people that relish that opportunity, you know?

I’ve worked in a few call centers—there’s a few interesting characters in there I’ve seen along the way that want to be the dominator. I’ve seen a few of those in my travels.

I also did some call center work when I was younger, so I feel a camaraderie with anyone else who has. It’s a weird world.

It’s hard, right? It wasn’t for me. That thing of “you haven’t reached your commission targets this week.” And I’m like, “But I don’t really want to sell people this crap. It’s not my vibe. I’m just here because I need to be.” It’s a hard world, and when you’re in competitive, commission-based cold-calling, it does something to people that becomes quite unhealthy and unnatural.

What did you think when you first heard about Kenny’s big reveal in Industry season two?

I loved it. And I was really scared because I was quite sure of who he was. In season two, Kenny’s rediscovering himself in many ways. And then I was like, “Is he rediscovering himself or is this all optics?”

Yeah, do you think the change is genuine?

They’ve managed to write him in a way that the audience will feel that too—at times it seems so incredibly genuine, and then at other times that you’re not too sure if it all is a bit of an act. I had that on season two, a few times, where I was like, “I think this is genuine.” I wasn’t too sure, though. I would try to go for it in a genuine way, but deep down I wonder if Kenny is more concerned with his future and the outcome for his transgressions than he is concerned with genuinely healing.

Did you get any backstory on why he had to get sober? 

I think the strip club moment and the threat of HR from Yasmin. Their manager is aware of that incident. And this season is post-lockdown, and I think within lockdown, shit probably got pretty bad with the drink for Kenny.

Have you learned anything about finance from the show, or even crypto, that you’ve applied to your own life?

I downloaded a crypto app, looked at it, and then deleted it again. I am the most useless. I still count with my fingers. I tried to understand finance and investments because I thought it’d be a great opportunity for me to do something clever with my money. But I sadly haven’t. I think if I was to take anything from Kenny into my real life it would be deeply concerning.

Deleting the crypto app was definitely the right move, as we’ve now seen.

I don’t understand it. I don’t get what it is.

What do people say to you when they recognize you as Kenny on the street?

People are either really lovely because they’re like, “Oh my God, what a brilliant performance.” I have been called a see-you-next-Tuesday on the street, though, by some guy. He was like, “You’re that dude from Industry!” I was like, “Yeah.” And then he was like, “Dude, you’re a—”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

https://www.gq.com/story/kenny-industry-season-two-interview