‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Creator on When They’d Stop Making New Episodes

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the longest-running live-action comedy series in history. The show’s creator and the man behind Mac, Rob McElhenney, says when they first started back in 2005, the intention was to create a series “that would run for a very long time.” Well, mission accomplished.

So when will McElhenney and the rest of the gang call it a day?

The 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' Cast
Kaitlin Olson, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Danny DeVito of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” | Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Rob McElhenney always had a feeling ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ would be wildly successful

In an interview McElhenney did with Rolling Stone in 2019, he said he gets the question “Were you expecting the show to be as successful as it is, or run as long as it has?” a lot.

“Our knee-jerk reaction used to be that we never anticipated anything like this,” he told the publication. “But the truth of the matter is, we were pretty confident at the time. I remember really believing that we had something we thought was pretty special.”

The Mac actor contributes the show’s success partially to the face that it’s so unique.

“It was different than anything else that we had seen on TV,” he said. “And most important, it was something we wanted to see on TV. So we felt like we had a shot. Now that could have just been the ignorance of youth. And the bravado of having zero experience in that field, and not really realizing how hard it is. But we felt pretty good.”

‘It’s Always Sunny’ will end if the gang isn’t all together

So what would it take for McElhenney to say goodbye to It’s Always Sunny after all these years? One of the gang wanting or needing to leave the cast.

Fans of the show will remember the episodes in Season 13 where Glenn Howerton was missing. McElhenney says he feels that those episodes just didn’t work. The dynamic was off.

RELATED: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Creator Says the Show Doesn’t Take Political or Social Stances

“What we learned in that season is that it’s either all of us, or it’s over,” he said. “We tried to make it work, but save for that final episode, which was a bit of an outlier because of the five-minute contemporary dance at the end, the show just doesn’t work as well. Yes, we can get away with it, but that is when it becomes us doing it for the wrong reasons. And the wrong reason would be if we’re not all in.”

“The second that one person says, ‘I’m done,’ then it really is done,” he added.

As long as the ‘It’s Always Sunny’ cast wants to keep going, the writers feel like they could go on ‘forever’

As long as the gang wants to stay, McElhenney says the show will go on. And it can truly go on, and on, and on…

“Once we realized the story engine was this tool we could use and pump culture through and see what came out the other side, we realized we could probably do it forever. I truly believe we can do the show forever,” he said.

RELATED: The ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Creator Says the Handling of Mac’s Sexuality Upset Their LGBTQ Audience

The creator says the most important thing to him at this point is to keep delivering “on the promise of the show,” which is to stay true to the absurdist tone fans love so dearly.

“Part of the thing that people like about Sunny is they don’t really know what to expect. That’s part of the charm,” he said.