Glenn Howerton co-writes and produces FX's cultishly beloved TV show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; he also plays vain pretty-boy, Dennis R. Reynolds. The cast recently toured with a live version of the show, in which they reproduced an episode called “The Nightman Cometh.” SF Weekly chatted with Howerton on the eve of last week's San Francisco performance, discussing, among other important topics, Danny
DeVito's balls and the dangers of fingering poop on television.
SF Weekly: What's it like performing “Nightman” for a live audience?
Glenn Howerton: It's so fun. Audiences are flipping out. It's palpable. People seem to really take ownership of the show because it started so small and spread by word of mouth. People are going over to their friends' houses, bringing the DVDs, and sitting them down and saying “You have to watch this fucking show.”
SFW: How do you guys strike a balance between being funny and disturbing without just putting people off?
GH: We spend a lot of time talking about that. I guess it all comes down to you have to justify the characters' actions. The audience has to believe that the character believes that what he's doing is going to work.
I think it's a major, major failing in a lot of different TV shows and movies that the writer and the people involved think they can get away with the character just doing something silly or funny and by virtue of the fact they're doing it, it's supposed to be funny. One of the funniest things about the show to me is watching the characters justify their actions. They're trying to basically do the most selfish and horrible things but somehow finding a way to say, “Hey, this is OK because it serves purpose A, purpose B or purpose C.”