Charlie Day, star and executive producer of the FXX comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” renewed through its 12th season, has a faint idea of what accounts for his show’s long-term success and popularity. “It’s a 10-year-long study in the effects of alcohol abuse,” joked the actor at the FX network’s joint celebration for the 10th season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the premiere of “Man Seeking Woman” at the Directors Guild of America theater on Tuesday night.
Both Day and his co-star Glenn Howerton, who also exec produces, acknowledged that staying funny for 10 seasons is no small feat. “It’s tough maintaining a funny bone in this world,” Day said. “And as you get older, it gets continually challenged.” Howerton agreed: “The funny bone goes from [existing] just [for] pure joy to survival. You have to make yourself laugh in order to survive.”
Season 10 of “Sunny” will find the Paddy’s gang tangled up in a cult, exploring CrossFit, debating the mental health situation in America and dealing with the National Security Agency. Frank, Danny DeVito’s character, may even retire (don’t worry — it won’t last).
“These guys are like my kids,” DeVito said of the cast. “The most f—ed-up, demented, scumbag kids,” he clarified, before also divulging that the show’s writers consider him to be their “toy soldier” and someone willing to “get strapped to a rocket and stuck up a cat’s a–” in the name of work.
Celebrating simultaneously was the cast of “Man Seeking Woman,” eager to kick off their show. “I’m so proud of this thing,” said Jay Baruchel, who plays a quirky twentysomething on a comical quest for love. “I’m a nerd, and I was raised on Monty Python and stuff, so the stuff that I find funny is usually kind of odd. So when I read this thing, it was quite clear to me that it was something I should be a part of.”
Comedian Eric Andre, who plays Baruchel’s best friend, is excited to see how audiences will react to the show’s element of surrealism (veering from normal to the bizarre, i.e., dead birds falling from the sky, or a congratulatory call from President Obama on scoring a girl’s phone number). Andre characterized the show as “a rom-com on mushrooms. It starts out like a Meg Ryan movie, but then it slowly turns into a Salvador Dali painting.”
Simon Rich, show creator and author of the short story collection “The Last Girlfriend on Earth,” on which “Man Seeking Woman” is based, was elated to see his concept come together into a series with such a strong cast. “Jay carries this thing on his back,” Rich said. “The show wouldn’t work without him. It sounds hyperbolic, but I feel that he’s like a contemporary version of of Buster Keaton. He’s unbelievably root-able and sympathetic, and he plays every scene with incredible naturalism and truthfulness, regardless of how insane the premise is.”
And those premises certainly are outlandish. The pilot finds Josh Greenberg (Baruchel) on a blind date with a literal troll, while his ex-girlfriend (Maya Erskine) starts dating Adolf Hitler (guest star Bill Hader) while other bizarre scenarios unfold.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” returns to FXX on Wednesday at 10 p.m., followed by the premiere of “Man Seeking Woman” at 10:30.