My Boys Blog Week EightBrendan Smith is one of the writers on 'My Boys.' He is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and lives in Silver Lake, CA with his dog Ozzy. He likes Iron Maiden, green chili cheeseburgers, and The Big Lebowski.
Notes from the Writer's Room, Week Eight
Hello, boys and girls. Welcome to some quick post-game notes for episode #207.
We have an absolute blast shooting “My Boys,” and every day spent “on set” is a good one. But I haveta say… there are three specific days that stand out for yours truly. 1) The day we shot in Wrigley Field. 2) The first day of shooting for my first episode (“Superstar Treatment”). And 3) the day that Martin Mull showed up to work on our little show.
I’ve often thought that… if the actual production crew genuinely laughs at a scene - you know, the sound dudes, the camera dudes and the grips - that’s a pretty good sign that things are working. Because those guys have to sit through the same bits over and over and over again. So if they’re still chuckling a few hours into the shooting of a particular scene… you’re on to something.
Well, kids, the crew laughed the entire time that Martin Mull worked with Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan. Because Martin went off as soon as he was through with our scripted lines. Trust me, he came up with incredible improvised bits for Dr. Clayton, “the therapist who won’t shut up.”
As you might imagine, there’s some hilarious “couple’s therapy stuff” on our cutting room floor. Unfortunately, we only have twenty-one minutes to tell our stories each week, so there’s no room for a three-minute rant about “Canadian cooking” or the “Vietnamese gal who works at Suzanne’s candle shop.” I got to see the rants, though, and they were awesome.
Martin is definitely one of our favorite comedic actors of all time, so it was totally fun having him around. (A bunch of us were big fans of an old show called “Fernwood 2 Night,” starring Martin and the equally kick-ass Fred Willard. “F2N” was a spoof of late-night TV, set at a small television station in the mythical town of Fernwood, Ohio.) I think that Martin had fun with us, too. Turns out… Martin was fan of Jim Gaffigan’s, so he was really glad to do some scene-work with “another great Mid-western comic.” He’d also worked in the past with our Executive Producers, Jamie Tarses and Eric Gilliland, and their presence on the set just made Martin that much more comfortable. (Eric ran “Roseanne” back when Martin was a recurring character on that show.)
A. This Jeannie Gaffigan’s second appearance as “Meredith” this season, and we love having her around. The Gaffigans crushed their little car scene, and went through it in just a few takes. (I’m thinking that they did their homework around the dinner table.)
B. We were also really psyched to see David Pressman return as Kenny’s old nemesis, “Mexican Freddy.” (James Taylor really did play at Ravinia, by the way.)
C. Co-wrote this episode with my buddy Courtney Lilly. Me, Steelers. Courtney, Eagles. But we manage to make it work. (We’ve written together a couple of times before, including the season 1.0 finale. You know, the Wrigley Field slash P.J. & Brendan kiss episode.)
D. We should really put a camera on Bunin’s hands when we shoot the poker scenes, because the dude is constantly busting out crazy little card and poker-chip tricks. (He’s a great poker player - in case you didn’t know – so he’s got a giant bag of Vegas-y table moves.) If you get a chance to re-watch the episode, pay attention around the 9:15 mark. Buni throws a poker chip out on the table… on its side… and catches it between his fingers without looking as it spins back. Good stuff.
E. "Dr. Clayton" mentioned Mia Francesca? Well, kids, it's a great little restaurant near Wrigley Field. (3311 N. Clark St.) Had a great group dinner there – courtesy of “Mr. Sony” – back when we shot the season 1.0 finale.
F. We kinda wrote the “marriage is important” song to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” but Martin is such a great musician that he turned the bit into a little bluesy number.
G. Other major comic influences circa the “Fernwood 2 Night” era? The first three or four seasons of SNL, Monty Python on TBS, and SCTV.
H. Our Fearless Leader and Jamie Kaler kinda had a little “double entendre” competition on the set (re: the stewardesses) while we shot the last scene in Crowley’s, and the result was the “Air Mike” run. “I could pitch on this all day,” said Betsy… as she happily shuffled back to her chair in the video village.
I. Jamie Kaler is bringing his stand-up routine to the M-Bar in Hollywood (1253 N. Vine St.) this Saturday, July 26th at 9:30. Reid Scott is also hosting the show. If you're in Hollywood this weekend... I'm just saying.
J. Here’s a couple of lines from #207:
“Nobody’s getting chicken!”
“Well, there’s a newsflash: The mob’s not fair!”
“The Hendershoots are coming! The Hendershoots are coming!”
“Finally! A Newman brother who knows how to spend his money!”
“Why am I not drinking? It’s a school-night, people.”
And a great improvised line from Jim that DID NOT make the show – “If he says one more thing about his trip to Peru… I’m gonna punch Mike in the face.”
There’s only two more episodes to go. Please, recruit your friends!
Puppies and kittens,
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.”