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For 14 years, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been pushing the limits of comedy. Their fist season had episodes on abortion and child molestation, and since then they’ve tackled crack, dumpster babies and more. But, the cast of Sunny once said they’re even sicker outside the show. 

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang is surprised
L-R: Rob McElhenney, Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney welcomed reporters to the set in season 4 when they were filming “The Nightman Cometh.” Between takes they described how they’re even darker than It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia when they joke amongst themselves. 

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ is actually toned down

If you find It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia offensive, then you probably don’t want to know what they joke about in real life. 

“We joke around,” Day said. “It’s different types of jokes, probably more cynical, a darker sense of humor. We save the light stuff for the camera.”

So “Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire” and “Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender” is their light comedy? Howerton confirmed.

“There’s a certain amount of truth to that,” Howerton said. “There’s real, real dark sh*t that goes around.”

The ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ gang has to push themselves

This was back in season 4. The gang kept it going for 10 more seasons and an upcoming 15th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Day said they test each other to keep it fresh.

“I think we’re constantly testing ourselves to see what is still funny,” Day said. 

Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton in Paddy's Pub
L-R: Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

Howerton didn’t specify what they say that’s too much for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but you can imagine. 

“I mean, we definitely do that with each other when we’re joking around,” Howerton said. “Somebody’ll say something that’s a little f*cked up and I guarantee you that whoever picks up on it is going to make the darkest, darkest most f*cked up joke out of it that you possibly can.”

A lot of improv makes it onto the show

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia allows the cast to improvise. While they save their edgiest stuff for private jokes, a lot of the improv still makes it onto the show.

“Some are scripted and some come in the moment,” Day said. “Some  come because it was well scripted and then it leads to a better idea or joke but it’s just what you saw. Take one was one thing and take two is the same thing with slightly different things thrown in. Then what we edit together is sort of the best of the best moments.”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Mac, Dee and Dennis walk down the street
L-R: Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

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Howerton said they improvise while they’re writing the scripts, too.

“I think because Rob and I and Charlie are actors on the show, there’s a tremendous amount of improvisation that goes into the actual writing process,” Howerton said. “So a lot of the writing actually does come out of improvisation. After that first draft is written, the three of us get to doing rewrites, a lot of that happens. Then when Kaitlin comes on, she always comes in and makes it funnier. She’s always adding flair.”