Early Friday afternoon, I joined Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”), Robert Smigel (“SNL”, “TV Funhouse”, “Conan”), and executive producer Michael Koman (“Nathan For You”) to discuss their new currently untitled Adult Swim series. The new half hour live-action comedy series may not have a title as of yet, but the premise goes something like this:
Jack McBrayer plays a former child star known for a popular series in the vein of “Lassie” that had its run in the ’80s and ’90s. After the show’s cancellation, his co-star (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) went on a downward spiral and brought Jack down with him. 15 years later, Jack has found happiness away from show business but Triumph makes his way back into his life and naturally, chaos ensues.
When speaking with Smigel, he stated he has known McBrayer for many years having met him on “Conan” way before he worked on “30 Rock”. The idea for the show happened by accident when he was in Chicago for a comedy festival a few years back. He thought The Wiener Circle would be a great place to do a bit with Triumph and his first choice to do it was with Conan O’Brien. But when Conan couldn’t do it, Jack McBrayer stepped in and the result was comedy gold! From that tiny scene, this show idea was born.
When asked about the transition from “30 Rock” to a show such as this, McBrayer made it a point to rave about working with Adult Swim, talking about how there’s much more creative freedom to be had away from a major network and a lot of flexibility with content on Adult Swim. At this point both Smigel and McBrayer dropped the info that Academy Award nominee June Squibb (Nebraska) is on board to co-star.
Smigel told us he was originally offered a movie as Triumph with Funny Or Die, but he decided to focus on this show instead. “This was the first thing that felt so out of the box and a cool creative challenge. I never was inspired by doing a sitcom until doing The Wiener Circle. We got very excited about it. And having worked with Michael Koman for a number of years, he’s the only person wanted to be the showrunner. I couldn’t be happier to f*ck this up with these guys.”
During our conversation, Smigel answered questions as both himself and as Triumph, and yes – he brought the cigar smoking dog with him! The series will begin shooting in 2 weeks and will be shot in the classic 3 camera sitcom setup in front of a live studio audience. He also made it a point to say Triumph will be the Todd Bridges to Jack’s Gary Coleman.
Michael Koman chimed in to discuss some of the challenges in making the show. “There’s multiple difficult things about the show. Triumph is not just a character insulting people, he’s part of a story. Another is that he is interacting with people who have feelings about each other and we have to believe that. Plus, it’s a live multi-camera sitcom. It’s a live performance.” Smigel jumped in and exclaimed his excitement to get back in front of a live studio audience.
Finally, a question was posed to Triumph regarding whether or not he truly has a heart of gold.
I had a five hour lunch with Gary Marshall about his just last week. Gary said to me, Triumph…I have to urinate. I know I just went five minutes ago but I have to go again. Please be patient with me Triumph. I appreciate this. And from that, I learned I should have a good heart at the end of every episode.
After a beat, Jack smiled wide, made the motion with his hand and sang, “…The More You Know!”
It was the perfect way to end the interview. Keep an eye out folks – their new Adult Swim show will be premiering later this year.
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