Larry David Gave Rob McElhenney This Advice About ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is now filming its 14th season, tying it for the longest running sitcom with Ozzie and Harriet. Sunny is going to pass them given FX’s commitment to the show. Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day couldn’t have imagined this when they created the show.

Rob McElhenney | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

The Television Critics Association visited the set of Sunny in Van Nuys, CA where they recreate the interior of Paddy’s Pub, Frank and Charlie’s apartment and Dee’s apartment. Co-creator and star Rob McElhenney spoke with reporters about what keeps It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia so inspired for 14 years, and some helpful advice from Larry David he’s going to follow. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 14 premieres Wednesday, September 25 at 10PM on FXX.

Larry David told Rob McElhenney to avoid a ‘Seinfeld’ mistake

When the creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm offers you advice, you listen. 

“I was talking to Larry David at an event and he was like, ‘Hey, can I give you a piece of advice?’” McElhenney shared. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take a piece of advice.’ I was expecting some sort of comedic breakthrough, something about the episodes, something about an approach to the show.”

Larry David
Larry David attends HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones” premiere| Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, for HBO

David sort of betrayed his own attitude, as he always claims he’s going to stop doing Curb Your Enthusiasm.

McElhenney continued, “He said, ‘Don’t be an idiot. Never stop. Just keep doing it. One, because it’s the greatest job you could ever want and two, because if you do a final episode they’ll just destroy you for it.’”

If they ever had to end, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans may not be as harsh as the Seinfeld fans were.

The Glenn Howerton doll from season 13 still exists

In season 13, Glenn Howerton was expected to have a limited availability because he was also filming the series A.P. Bio. It turned out Howerton would appear in every It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode, but one joke saw a sex doll made in his likeness to replace him. 

“It does exist,” McElhenney said. “I think the props department has it. I should probably take that home.” 

The world keeps providing ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ with storylines

Early episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia saw the gang try crack and go to abortion rallies to hit on women. Recent episodes tackled Me Too/Times Up and had Mac come out. McElhenney is confident they will never run out of story ideas.

Rob McElhenney
Rob McElhenney arrives at the Vulture Festival Los Angeles | Gabriel Olsen/WireImage

“Just turn on the news, man,” McElhenney said. “Look online, look through social media. There’s no shortage of places that the human condition can take you to satirize. That’s generally what we do.”

Somehow ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ has never gotten in trouble

Considering the hot button topics it plays for laughs, and since all of the characters are reprehensible people, it’s surprising It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has never had a big scandal. McElhenney says it’s because their audience gets it.

“Our estimation from the very beginning was that the audience would be along for the ride if they knew where we were coming from and where our hearts were at and what we were trying to say. We found that to be the case,” McElhenney said. “I think we try to make that abundantly clear and that our audience is savvy enough to recognize that we’re not advocating bad behavior. We’re satirizing it.”

Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson
Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The gang always gets their comeuppance too. It’s not like they prosper by taking advantage of others.

“The characters are one way, the way that the show handles that is we’re never celebrating that behavior,” McElhenney said. “It’s very clear that as a show we’re saying this behavior will always get you right back in the same place which is absolutely nowhere.”

This episode was a game-changer for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Do you like those episodes where the gang sings? We still can’t get “What Are the Rules” out of our heads. You have this landmark episode to thank for that.

“Early on, season four was The Nightman Cometh,” McElhenney said. “For us, it was fun to do a musical just because it was such a big stretch. I don’t know that I expected the audience to respond the way that they did. Subsequent to that season, we’ve done multiple musical episodes because it was so well received. That was the biggest surprise to me.”

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ realized Rob McElhenney’s fantasy

Although they film in Los Angeles, Philadelphia pride is strong for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Philly Chase Utley once made a cameo.

“In the show, my character desperately wants to have a catch with Chase Utley, so much so that he writes him a fan letter begging him to have a catch,” McElhenney said. “Chase assumes it’s a 12-year-old boy. It turns out it’s a man in his mid-30s at a time. I was unable to have a catch with him. I believe Charlie had a catch with him, Dennis had a catch, everybody had a catch with him except for me.”

Real life came through for McElhenney when the Phillies called.

Chase Utley and Rob McElhenney
Chase Utley and actor Rob McElhenney | Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

“In real life, this past year they retired Chase Utley’s number in Philly,” McElhenney said. “The Phillies called and asked if I would come and Chase would throw out the first pitch and I would catch it. That would be our catch.”

Not only did McElhenney get to have a catch with Chase Utley. He also got to see how Philadelphia responds to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

“They showed the clip of the fan letter that I sent to him.,” McElhenney said. “As soon as it started and you heard our theme song, it was like 45,000 people started cheering. You realize wow, everybody here knows the show. Whether they like it or not I don’t know but they know it just based on the theme song. I got to go out there and experience that which was really awesome.”