The NBC sitcom Undateable could be described best as Cheers—The Next Generation. Not only does the show have a great comedy cast with hot chemistry, but also it’s set in a bar where anything can happen–and often does.
The big news is that Undateable is doing a live broadcast on Tuesday, May 5—twice, for both the East coast and West coast. And the next week the outrageous season finale will air on Tuesday, May 12. Of course fans can always watch the full season of episodes of Undateable on NBC.com.
Since stand-up comics make up most of the cast, the tapings on stage 18 at Warner Bros. have become a laugh-fest with the comedians going crazy in front of the live studio audience. So executive producer Bill Lawrence said he had the idea of giving the viewers at home the same “insanity experience we have on the set. The way we shoot is that everybody does the scene the way it’s written. Then we do the scene again and they will say and do whatever they want. They’ll go into the audience and do stand-up. We have live music elements like a comedy/variety show. It’s really lively and cool.”
Of course a lot that can go wrong with the spontaneity of a live show. Lawrence admitted, “The guys like to crack each other up so bad they can’t finish the scene. And the fines for cursing on air could bankrupt the network. But going live captures what makes this show work—a riotously funny cast who have a knack for creating ‘happy accidents’ and riffs, fun-runs during the course of the show.”
Undateable centers around mismatched roommates Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) and their odd group of friends. The gang includes Danny’s sister, Leslie (Bianca Kajlich), Shelly (Ron Funches), Burski (Rick Glassman), Brett (David Fynn), plus new waitress Candace (Bridgit Mendler), who’s like a little sister to the gang, and musical Amanda (Victoria Justice). They all hang out at Justin’s bar trying to solve each other’s problems over beers. Even though they enjoy giving each other a hard time, they always have each other’s back.
Voted one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch,” comedian Chris D’Elia (of Whitney fame) stars as Danny Burton, a man who resists adulthood. He said his first reaction to the news of doing a live show was “really excited, and then I thought of the worst case scenario of messing up, someone makes up a line and you don’t know what to say back to him. The one most likely to do that is Brent.” Brent Morin agreed that he could lose his composure. He plays Justin Kearney, a bar owner who’s in over his head, and Brent said “It’s going to be crazy.”
Ron Funches, who plays the loveable bar regular Shelly, said he’s happy to be “doing something special with people I love, and going live is fun, that’s why I perform stand-up all over the U.S.” Also a regular at comedy clubs is Rick Glassman, who plays the painfully honest bar regular Burski. Glassman noted he’s also recurring on another series The Comedians on FX starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad.
With HBO’s Game of Thrones to his credit, British actor David Fynn plays Brett the gay bartender on Undateable, and likes the improvisational quality the show has encouraged. “It tests your creativity with lines. That’s not good if you’re doing Shakespeare, but we’re doing great comedy,” he mused.
Bridgit Mendler and Victoria Justice interject the crowd-pleasing musical elements into the show. Behind the scenes is Bill Lawrence, the imaginative producer-writer behind the brilliant comedy Scrubs (also Spin City and Cougar Town), who is working with Undateable’s creator-writer-producer Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Made of Honor). The show was inspired by the book “Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do that Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex.”
NBC has gone live with 30 Rock and other series in the past, and the network has scored big ratings with its two live musical productions, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!. Now Undateable Live! joins the fray. #