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Shonda Rhimes owns ABC’s entire primetime lineup on Thursdays (with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder) but there’s still one thing that her Shondaland production company is missing: comedy.
To hear Shondaland partner and head of development Betsy Beers tell it, she and Rhimes are “desperate to have a comedy” on the small screen. “I have a huge place in my heart for comedy, and Shonda started with movie comedies,” Beers told THR last year. This season, ABC Studios-based Shondaland is teaming with Trophy Wife creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins to develop divorce comedy Splitsville, which is set up at ABC.
The company’s quest for comedy got us thinking: How would Grey’s, Scandal and Murder be different if they were comedies?
“That is one of the best questions. I don’t have a clue except, damn it would be funny! Damn, we’d be funny!” Beers told THR with a laugh. “Since all we want to do is get a comedy on the air, that’s like you’re just giving good comedy vibrations for me here. That would be incredibly entertaining.”
THR turned to the stars of TGIT to get their often-amusing thoughts about how all three shows would be different if they were half-hour comedies.
See more ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Famous Departures
Jessica Capshaw (Arizona): Adult Swim did do Children’s Hospital! But no one would die! We do have some funny people on the show — Jesse Williams (Jackson) is one of the funniest people I know.
Kevin McKidd (Owen): Owen would be the villain, the douche boss! He’d be more of a caricature.
Caterina Scorsone (Amelia): I’m not sure that it’s not a comedy! I realize we cry a lot but so much of what’s great about comedy is seeing humans in uncertainty. That’s what the show was about from the beginning — and still is: Interns trying to figure out the world and it’s now about attendings trying to figure out the world (and interns coming up). And that’s hilarious because the world can’t quite be figured out.
Sarah Drew (April): When I first came on the show, April was the butt of every joke. She was the awkward, obnoxious, annoying virgin that people made fun of all the time. There was a lot of comedy in that! But now she’s grown up and I’m not sure how to shift it into comedy for her now that’s she’s more sure of herself and comfortable in her own skin.
Camilla Luddington (Jo): I think Jo would be the scrappy teenager who comes in and says, “You guyyyys!”
Jerrika Hinton (Stephanie): We’d kill twice as many people!
Giacomo Gianniotti (Andrew DeLuca): I think it kind of still is a comedy — there’s a lot of comedic moments. You laugh through the tears a lot on Grey’s Anatomy; there’s a nice balance. And this season as well — there’s a nice balance between the drama and the comedy.
Joe Adler (Isaac Cross): It’d be like Scrubs! They’re trying to be light-hearted this season but this is a show about life and death in a hospital so it can only be so light. My character wouldn’t be that different — he’s pretty goofy and you’ll see that coming up too. But he definitely has a serious and grounded side but they’ve given me a lot of fun stuff to do.
Tony Goldwyn (Fitz): Oh my God, Scandal would be a fantastic half-hour comedy but then there’s Veep and that’s pretty tough to top. But Fitz would talk a whole lot faster than he does and he’d be even more bumbling than he is sometimes! Or he and Olivia would have to be the straight men to the madness of Cyrus and Mellie.
Bellamy Young (Mellie): Mellie has her comedic moments. Smelly Mellie is built for comedy and I’ll be available in 10 years!
Darby Stanchfield (Abby): Abby’s obsession with brass knuckles — which by the way are on her desk and in her purse at all times because of her ex-husband — would be a thing. They’d call her “Knuckles” and she’d be pissed because she’s always out of hairspray and is always sending Leo out to get more.
Guillermo Diaz (Huck): (Laughing) I feel like Huck would be the Kramer [played by Michael Richards on Seinfeld] if it was a comedy.
Katie Lowes (Quinn): Quinn in a comedy, could you imagine the comedic musical version of Huckleberry-Quinn, murdering people? It’s like Sweeney Todd, it would be so good. It’s never going to happen! But it’d be hilarious. A lot of times, Quinn gets some of the punchlines on the show and a lot of the times I do them real big and the director tells me to take it down and I remember we’re on a drama and Quinn hasn’t smiled in five years.
Josh Malina (David): It’s not?! (Laughing) I’d have more screen time!
Portia De Rossi (Elizabeth): I’d love for it to be a comedy! That’d be so fun. It would be more like [HBO Emmy winner] Veep — we’d make fun of politics a bit more than we do, although we have a pretty good go at making fun of politics.
Joe Morton (Rowan): (Laughing) You’d have to ask Jimmy Kimmel that question! But it would have to be a very dark comedy in order for it to be pulled off the way it does. It’d be darker than Veep; the characters are more selfish than that! Rowan would be like Bullets Over Broadway‘s Chazz Palminteri who plays the bad guy and he helps out the production in a very subtle way by killing people off.
George Newbern (Charlie): He’d turn into Gilligan, from Gilligan’s Island.
How to Get Away With Murder
Jack Falahee (Connor): We sort of play it like a comedy sometimes. Asher would probably be the same. I’m glad it’s not a comedy, there’s comedic elements to it that I enjoy and with any drama, you have to have that in order to keep it alive. I’ve felt uncomfortable in comedy in the past and [creator] Pete Nowalk has been pushing the punchlines on me, which has been great. And having people like Matt — who is such a great comedic actor — to see his energy and timing and learn from that as well.
Liza Weil (Bonnie): I’d like to think Bonnie would be a fast-talking ‘40s comedy, like The Thin Man-sort of comedy. I could do that!
Karla Souza (Laurel): We’d be The Breakfast Club. We made a comparison the other day and we all are in there. Laurel would be Allison (Ally Sheedy).
Matt McGorry (Asher): Asher would be the exact same. We’ve made that joke before — it would be a great Kimmel sketch: How to Get Away With Murder, the Sitcom. Maybe Asher would be the only dramatic one.
Charlie Weber (Frank): It is a comedy, right?! I keep telling them to take down one side of the stage and put up some rafters and we’ll just become a sitcom (laughing). But we’d probably have to kill fewer people and be nicer to each other! Frank would have to lighten up, for sure!
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