North Texas Daily

Interview: Glenn Howerton On Season 9 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Interview: Glenn Howerton On Season 9 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Interview: Glenn Howerton On Season 9 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
September 25
15:28 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is no stranger to being funny. If you read our review of its newest season, you’ll know that we definitely appreciate the jokes and original comedy that comes from watching the series on FXX.

The North Texas Daily had the chance to talk with Glenn Howerton, who plays Dennis on the show. We talked about writing jokes, social media and The Riddler.

Something that I’ve always been kind of curious of since I first began watching “Sunny,” are there times when you guys are all hanging out and you are kind of like, “wow, this would be a great idea to explore on the show.” When do ideas for episodes or jokes generally hit you?

Glenn Howerton: “Sometimes they definitely hit us when we’re all together, but most of the time I would say— sort of the seeds of those things hit us in the off-season. I know, for me, I’ll get an idea for something or a story line or, you know, even a B-story or a C-story, and I’ll kind of make a note of it in my phone. I’ll just write it down. Then I’ll bring it up once we get in the writers’ room. We really do reserve most of the actual, you know, sitting down and kind of coming up with ideas for when we are in the writers’ room. But, yes, certainly occasionally, we’ve all been kind of talking about something and a good idea for an episode pops up.”

You guys seem to find the right balance between having your characters be horrible to each other, but it’s still funny and it doesn’t get too uncomfortable or feel too cruel, whereas other shows don’t quite find that line. How do you write it so you don’t go over that line and you find the right balance? Did that take awhile to find it?

Howerton: “That is a very good question. It’s also kind of a difficult question to answer in some ways because I don’t totally know the answer, other than to say I think the reason it works is because none of our characters, at that end of the day, get away with their behavior. They’re not celebrated. They don’t generally achieve their goals. So I think it’s become pretty clear to our audience that our behavior is ultimately self-destructive. Even though the characters lash out at each other and other people, I think it’s generally understood it is to their own detriment.”

Some of my favorite episodes are the ones that involve the gang dancing. My personal favorite to this day is the one where Charlie Day dances to “Take My Breath Away.” I was wondering whether you guys love to dance, and that’s why it’s included in a few of the episodes, or whether that’s just something that everybody thought would be funny?

Howerton: “I think we probably all, as individuals, consider ourselves to be really, really terrible dancers. I think that it’s funny to watch people who absolutely have no business dancing. You’re right, there has been quite a bit— since the first season. I don’t know, watching people dance that have no business dancing is just very funny to me.”

Charlie Day was in “Pacific Rim” this summer. Have you ever had any interest in doing the big, summer blockbuster type of stuff?

Howerton: “Let’s see, I think 10 years ago, I auditioned for the ‘Superman’ reboot with Brandon Routh, and that was about like two years before that actually came out. But, that was before ‘Sunny.’ And then, I did audition recently for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ to play the role that Chris Pratt is playing. I know that the director of that movie is supposedly a big ‘Sunny’ fan, which is cool. But, usually, they’re already looking for some giant movie star to play those roles.

I certainly don’t have anything against doing something like that. I have to admit; I really do enjoy playing bad guys, or extremely evil people, which is why it’s a lot of fun for me to play Dennis. The real challenge is making Dennis likable because he’s such a despicable person. I think playing something like “The Riddler” would definitely feel like it was in my wheelhouse.”

Social media is a big thing these days, and one thing that I have noticed on Twitter lately is that many actors of acclaimed television shows live tweet while their shows are on. They answer questions that fans have and reply to comments. Is that something that you agree with, or will do with fans?

Howerton: “You know, the idea has not been proposed in terms of any sort of official capacity. That’s not a bad idea. I would love to do that. It sounds like a lot of fun. However, I am sort of two-minds about it, though. I enjoy that sort of thing, but by the same token, I also really kind of want people to turn their phones off, shut up, dim the lights and sit down and just watch the episode from start to finish instead of being on their computers and phones while watching television, and doing this, and cooking, and eating and petting a cat. I don’t know— our attention spans are so scattered these days. While it does sound like fun, on the other hand, I kind of just want people to watch the episode and talk about it afterwards.”

The show often comes up in our film discussions at my university, and I was kind of wondering, if you could teach a college course, what would you teach?

Howerton: “Oh, boy. First of all, I’d probably have no business teaching a college course because I feel like I’d be just winging it the entire time. But, I guess, if I were to teach a college course it would probably be in how to make acting more authentic. That’s it. It’d probably be an acting class of some kind because that’s the only thing I feel like I could actually teach. Everything else, I would be just way too stupid.”

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FXX.

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