Glenn Howerton co-created It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney. He’s starred with them and Kaitlin Olson in it for 14 seasons too. It looked a little dicey in season 13 when he was doing double duty on A.P. Bio, but Howerton managed to do both shows.
Speaking with the Television Critics Association about the show’s upcoming 14th season, Howerton shared why he’s so committed to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns Wednesday, September 25 at 10 p.m. on FXX.
Glenn Howerton knows he can’t do any better than ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
Howerton was committed to A.P. Bio for two seasons and would have done more, but it’s not a tough sell getting him to come back to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
“This is the greatest job,” Howerton said. “I don’t know that I could ever have a job as great as this. One of the beautiful things about it is we’ve always, I think, done a really good job of supporting each other and working on other projects because I think it’s important to us as human beings to support each other as friends, basically at this point family.”
Not only does It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia afford Howerton time to do A.P. Bio or Olson time to do The Mick, but it makes Sunny better too.
“I think we also recognize that it’s important for the show for us all to have different outlets for our creativity and to just get out there and do other things so that when we come back together, it makes us appreciate this show more,” Howerton said. “It makes us appreciate each other more. I think ultimately makes this show better.”
Glenn Howerton knows he’ll never have as much freedom as ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
Being a creator and star means there are few people over Howerton’s head. Even if he creates another show, there could be network notes.
“FX has just always been so supportive and given us such a tremendous amount of creative freedom,” Howerton said. “I think that’s the other thing too. As much as I love all the things that I’ve done outside of this, I don’t know that I’ll ever get to do something where I get the amount of creative freedom that we get on this show to tell the stories that we want to tell and bring something that is so singularly out sense of humor.”
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia may slow down, but it won’t stop if they have anything to say about it.
“Maybe we’ll take breaks here and there but I don’t know if we’ll ever stop until they kick us off,” Howerton said.
Glenn Howerton directs two episodes in season 14 of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
It took 14 years, but now Howeton adds directing to his list of credits.
“I directed an episode called ‘The Gang Chokes,’” Howerton said. “‘Then I directed the episode called ‘The Gang Gets Romantic.’ I certainly had a good time. I thought everybody was going to give me a much harder time honestly, especially Danny [DeVito]. I thought Danny was going to really rip into me. He kind of does that with new directors.”
‘Chokes’ and ‘Gets Romantic’ are the first two episodes in season 14.
“Whenever you’re starting back up, the gears are grinding a little bit as we’re sort of getting back into our rhythm,” Howerton said. “So I think me being a first time director while that’s happening, it was a little slow in the beginning.”
Acting while directing was Howerton’s biggest challenge.
“It’s definitely challenging to play both roles,” Howerton said. “You’re sitting in a scene, you’re going, ‘How do I act in this scene while also thinking about what my scene partner’s doing so that I can give him notes afterwards?’ In some ways, we’ve kind of been doing that all along. It’s just a little bit different because all of a sudden all of the responsibility was mine.”
Glenn Howerton explains the title ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’
It wasn’t always called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It wasn’t even always set in Philadelphia.
“When we made it as a home movie, we were originally playing struggling semi-successful actors that lived in L.A.,” Howerton said. “I was actually at the gym one day and I just had a mix. I had my iPod on Shuffle and the Ah-Ha song ‘The Sun Always Shines’ on TV came on my iPod shuffle and I was listening to it and thinking that’s funny. The way life is portrayed on television, especially with sitcoms, is like everything’s great and sunny and fun and funny.”
Howerton already knew the characters were going to be the lowlifes they ended up playing, so that would make the idea of “Sunny” funny.
“The behavior that we’re portraying is so awful, so the juxtaposition between how things are portrayed on TV versus the darkness of what’s happening in real life kind of struck me as funny,” Howerton said. “So originally it was called It’s Always Sunny on TV. “
Then came Philadelphia.
“So then when we set it in Philly in a Bar, the working title was It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and we thought we’ll come up with something better,” Howerton said. “It’s probably a similar story to Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, that show. They were just like we’ll just call it that until we figure out what .”