It was a sleeper at first, an extremely low budget sitcom loosely based around an Irish bar in Philly, but over four seasons, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has caught the attention and ardor of many with their loveable yet despicable characters and straightforward, plot-revealing title cards. Comprised of a core of three original creators—Rob McElhenney (as Mac), Glenn Howerton (Dennis) and Charlie Day (Charlie)—as well as Kaitlin Olson (Dee) and a latecomer Danny DeVito (Frank), the show follows “The Gang” and their forays into an incredible array of illegal, immoral, blasphemous, dishonest and in general bad ideas.
As you might expect, it’s pretty funny.
On the eve of the premiere of their fifth season, Always Sunny’s Howerton talked about the evolution of the show and some offshoots thereof, including a straight-to-DVD Christmas special and a musical called The Nightman Cometh that the cast is briefly touring based around the “Nightman.” You’d have to see it.
Are you done editing for the new season?
We are editing today. I am actually driving, I’ve got a couple of other little side gigs that I got going on. I do cartoon voices as well, so I’ve been doing voices for the new Seth MacFarlane show, Cleveland, that’s coming out, and I’ve also done a couple of voices for this Nickelodeon show called Glenn Martin, DDS.
Who are you on the Cleveland show?
I play a bunch of different characters that just kind of pop in and out, but my one recurring character is named Ernie Krinklesack, he’s the kid next-door neighbor who is Cleveland Jr.’s best friend at school.
The Internet has been really good to you guys and you’ve been really good to it. When editing, how much do you decide what ends up on the cutting room floor and what turns into DVD extras, Internet exclusives, etc?
We’re very hands on about everything where this show is concerned. It really is our baby, and we have a hard time letting anything go. It’s the only way for things to really turn out the way we need them to or the way we like them to, so we often work overtime to try to do these web exclusives, DVD extras and things like that. We’re always approving cuts, and we’re just very hands on. It’s just the way we are with this show.
I think it’s one thing when you’re writing and producing and creating a show obviously you care about that show, but when you’re writing and producing and creating it and it’s your face out there, you tend to have an even tighter grip on it. It’s all us, so the success or the failure of the show is all based on how much work we’re willing to put into it and how much time we’re willing to dedicate to it. It’s also why you don’t see us doing a lot of stuff. I hear a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, why do these guys only do 13 episodes a year?’ I think they think it’s because that’s the amount FX orders when the truth of the matter is we spend 11 months out of the year crafting every single one of those episodes, and I like to think that’s why it stands out.