How ‘Sunny’ Crew Branched Out of Philly

Actors' characters are stagnant, but their careers keep growing

While the characters on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have been stuck at Paddy’s Pub for nine years, the show’s five main actors have ventured out of the perpetually luminous confines of Pennsylvania’s largest city.

Charlie Day plays a lovable buffoon on “Sunny,” and his work on other projects captures that natural magnetism. He shined in the ensemble comedy “Horrible Bosses” alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston, and was recently heard in the charming “Monsters University” and bringing the comedic elements of “Pacific Rim.” He also hosted “Saturday Night Live” at the end of 2011, drawing some of the best ratings the show had that year. Plus, he finally scored a date with the Waitress from “Sunny”— actress Mary Elizabeth Ellis plays his failed love interest on the show, but they married in 2006.

Rob McElhenney has been largely focused on “It’s Always Sunny” and only appeared on a few episodes of “Lost” due to a blossoming friendship between himself and exec producer Damon Lindelof. His wife, Kaitlin Olson, who plays Sweet Dee Reynolds, is the busy one. She’s voiced roles on “Family Guy,” “Unsupervised” and “Brickleberry,” and could be seen in last summer’s hit comedy “The Heat.” The “Sweet” in her name is ironic on “Sunny,” but not so in real life.

Glenn Howerton, the self-obsessed Dennis Reynolds, has dabbled tin search of the right fit. He appeared in the “Crank” film series and had a recurring role on “The Cleveland Show” for a few years. For a while, he and fellow “Sunny” writers Day and McElhenney were working on a Fox pilot called “Boldly Going Nowhere,” a modern day sci-fi comedy. It has since been put on hold, but the project is not entirely dead.

As for Danny DeVito, the mysterious and gruff Frank Reynolds — added after season one — he’s continued a career full of surprises. He voiced the title character of “The Lorax,” goofed around in “Reno 911!: Miami” and appears in the upcoming drama feature “The Wilderness of James.” He also is co-starring with former “Taxi” driver Judd Hirsch in “The Sunshine Boys” at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theater.

The only thing expected of any “Sunny” cast member is the unexpected.

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  1. G says:

    Glenn will be in FX’s “Fargo” adaptation too.

  2. Kaiju Cowboy says:

    Glenn Howerton was just on The Mindy Project last night, which may turn into a multi-episode arc, plus he was in “The Strangers,” a major horror hit.

    And nine years in, Sunny in Philly still delivers the funny. The first three episodes of this season were hilarious. The key is that they do the opposite of every other comedy — they don’t pair up all the cast members into couples and focus on relationships, they focus on the comedy of cruelty and they get the mix right.

    Make mine Sunny!

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