Tell me about the Nightman Cometh. Give me the oral history—from an idea to the season finale to the stage play.

We barely ever have any idea what’s going to sort of become a phenomenon and what’s not. So when we first created that episode in our minds it was just like any other episode of the show. For whatever reason that song just really struck a chord with our audience and actually I would even say it brought a bunch of people who weren’t fans to the show.

Honestly, I don’t know why. I’m too close to the show to know why. There are plenty of other things that I thought were funny that people never talked about at all. It was just an afterthought when we saw how well it caught on. And it’s not like we didn’t think it was funny. We thought it was really, really funny, the concept of the Nightman and the Dayman vanquishing his foe and what does it all mean? Is it some weird metaphor for Charlie having been molested as a kid? It’s hard to say. Is it the result of these weird suppressed nightmarish memories that this kid had (laughs)? I dunno.

That was kind of what we thought, that it was all this thinly veiled metaphor for rape, basically. Which normally isn’t funny but we found out a way to make it funny and so we thought well that’s kind of amazing so we went with it. And people really caught onto it, so then we decided ‘We gotta give people more of that.’ And it gave us an opportunity to expand on it, which is why we wrote the musical in the fourth season. And we’re all pretty musically inclined so we liked the idea of doing a musical anyway. So we felt it was a good opportunity for that and then people really responded to the musical and essentially a friend of ours doing a show in L.A. asked if we would come onstage and sing a few songs from the musical with him and it evolved into doing a full length musical. And that went so well that Live Nation approached us about doing a tour, so here we are.

Besides for maybe the Liberty Bell episode that you did there hasn’t been much in the way of holiday episodes. When did the Christmas special move from an episode to a DVD?

We’ve been talking about doing a Christmas special for a while and so our thought was this will be a good opportunity for us to do something that really is special and different from the show in some ways. The Christmas special is definitely going to be a long, long episode of Sunny, but in our minds, in the very few ways that we are restricted by television, we can throw even what few rules we do have out the window and really create something kind of amazing. And the idea of doing our take on the age-old Christmas special was just too irresistible and the idea of being able to get away with anything by making it straight-to-DVD made it even more irresistible honestly. It’s pretty nuts man.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s fifth season premieres on FX Thursday, Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. That same night, The Nightman Cometh to the Beacon Theatre. Either way, you’re covered.

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