11:41am PT by Ryan Gajewski
'It's Always Sunny' Cast on Season 10's Surprises, Pressure to Stay Funny
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia kicks off its 10th season Wednesday on FXX, and it still isn't any easier for the venerable sitcom's cast to maintain a straight face while filming.
Charlie Day (Charlie), Danny DeVito (Frank), Glenn Howerton (Dennis), Rob McElhenney (Mac) and Kaitlyn Olson (Dee) told The Hollywood Reporter during a recent set visit that season 10 viewers can expect everything from a single shot that lasts more than 10 minutes and includes lots of chicken feathers, to Frank getting covered in black paint, to Charlie and Dee (maybe?!) making out.
The cast also discussed the pressure to sustain the show's quality after so many episodes, which famous faces will be popping up this season (Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key as Steve Harvey! Kind of!) and how the sitcom landscape has changed since the show's 2005 premiere.
What's the craziest scene you've filmed for the new season?
Olson: Kissing Charlie?
Day: Oh, don't tell them that!
Olson: Just kidding.
Day: Don't tell them that.
Olson: Just kidding.
Day: Probably the one-shot. That involved farm animals. We do half an episode in a single shot.
Olson: It's like Noises Off-style, where Charlie's running in and out, and doors are opening at the right moments, and there's livestock.
Day: I'm bringing a health inspector in to look at the bathroom. Meanwhile, Mac and Dennis and Dee and Frank are running around with live chickens behind [the inspector] and trying to keep it all under her nose while trying to pull off this scam about contaminating some steaks they have that were delivered with chicken feathers. It's a convoluted scam. The shot's about a 10- to 15-minute-long shot, and it was a lot of fun.
Olson: We shoot out of order, so we shoot scenes from five episodes on any given day. So they all kind of jumble together.
Day: We had to shoot [one episode] at a fish factory, which had a wonderful aroma.
Olson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Got a lot of fish in the face.
Day: It was a real fish factory. That was funny but not fun.
Do you have a favorite memory from filming the new batch of episodes?
DeVito: This 10th season has been off the charts — we do so many crazy scenes. They are guilty of sitting around, going, "How can we f— Frank up this year. Where can we put this guy?" I've been painted black this year. I was in camouflage. I've been in a cheetah suit. Last year, I slimed across the floor, and they're all of lot of fun to do. I wait for the scripts eagerly to see what's going to happen next.
Howerton: There's an episode in which my character gets kind of bogged down and ends up spending pretty much the entire episode trying to sell his Range Rover to someone he feels is worthy of such a car. It's always fun when my character gets extremely frustrated or angry and goes off on some rants and monologues. It was really fun shooting the Wade Boggs [season premiere] — the whole one takes place on an airplane [where the gang tries to drink over 50 beers on a flight, as the baseball Hall of Famer supposedly once did].
McElhenney: Dennis and Mac's apartment this year has been destroyed from a fire we had last season, and we don't really explain that. You just see us living with Dee for the greater part of the season, and then at one point, we have a big reveal of what actually happened to that apartment. We have a buddy of ours in the episode, Dax Shepard, who is making a cameo.
Will many favorite characters be returning this season?
Day: Oh, yeah. We got Rickety Cricket [David Hornsby] coming back. He's been in a fire. Last season, we burned him — accidentally, of course. The mothers are back. Mac's dad's [Gregory Scott Cummins] back! He's been arrested — he's a suspect in a murder case. It looks like he might get the death penalty. Mac is trying to run around to save his dad and of course is making matters worse. You know who else was a guest star in this season, who was absolutely wonderful? Keegan-Michael Key, from Key & Peele. He plays sort of a Steve Harvey-type guy on our version of the Family Feud, which is called the Family Fight. And the gang goes on the Family Fight, and he was great. Super happy to combine comedic forces with those guys, who are brilliant.
Day: There's not really a pressure to top yourself, but there is a pressure to ...
Day: Maintain the quality — or at least, our own perceived quality. So you always want the episodes to live up to your own personal standards. It's devastating if you feel as though they're not, so there is always that pressure to make sure the show is as funny as it can possibly be.
Howerton: We're always trying to surprise people. Surprising people and catching people off guard and giving people something that they were not expecting to me is what elicits the biggest and strongest and funniest laughs, and oftentimes that results in doing things like pushing the line or pushing the boundaries of decency or whatever because that's just what's funniest, but it's never our intention to be raunchy. We just want to be funny.
How difficult is it to keep a straight face when you're filming the show?
DeVito: It's really difficult. Some of the funniest stuff we do just barely makes it into the show because everybody laughs. We're just having a lot of fun doing stuff. Many, many times we mess up each other's stuff because we're bustin'. We're all guilty of being pretty frivolous about that. Just a bunch of unprofessional assholes.
How has the sitcom landscape changed since your show launched?
Howerton: There weren't a lot of live-action cable comedies on [back then], as I recall. It's changed drastically. There still aren't that many [basic-cable comedies] — you've got Broad City, you've got Workaholics. I think our show maybe introduced people to kind of how far you can go with a comedy. It's weird — I don't want to describe ourselves as trailblazers because there was Curb Your Enthusiasm, and there was the British Office. Those were the two shows that blazed the trail for us. They were the shows that influenced us as much as anything else in the beginning. We wanted to do something that felt like it was made for our generation and for younger people and kind of break the mold a little bit of what a sitcom could be. If anything, we showed that a show [could succeed] that took on the kind of subject matter that we took on and could push the boundaries of what was considered tasteful, just in terms of how you could take protagonists and make them potentially really unlikable and make those characters still lovable. It became more of a possibility, I think.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FXX.