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Jay Ellis says real-life experiences helped set the tone for episode three of ‘Insecure’

Photograph by Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Jay Ellis says he stepped into the fifth and final season of Insecure with some real life connections to his character Lawrence. 

Ellis tells ABC Audio that when he started to film the new season, he and co-star Christina Elmore, who plays his ex and soon-to-be baby mother Condola, both found themselves identifying with their characters because they were both new parents in real life.

"At the time, Christina and I were the only parents on set," he says, before explaining some of the things that new parents say to their partners. "So I think there were a lot of things that we were like, 'Oooh, if you ever! Oooh, you bet not never -- Ooh!' ... Especially new parents [who] don't even realize they're doing it."

As first-time parents, Ellis says he and Elmore could easily empathize with their characters and the challenges they faced in co-parenting.

"We were realizing all these things that come up when you're new parents that could only be 20 times more difficult if you and someone you're co-parenting with aren't on the same page," he shares. "So... a lot of that stuff... came out as we got into shooting episode [three]. And just the feeling of, 'What does it feel like for a new mother to be away from her kid, or for a new father, to be away from his kid?'"

Ellis believes that those real life connections are what make Issa Rae's HBO comedy series so relatable.

"Season after season, Issa and Prentice Penny would bring us into the room and they would tell us what the arc was for the season and we would talk about [our] stories -- [and] how [to] infuse [them with]... what our characters were going through."

Insecure airs Sunday on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.

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