Casey Wilson to star in ABC comedy pilotMar 2, 2015
Kelli Giddish gets lead; Ben Chaplin, Casey Wilson join pilots
It's "Happy Endings" for Saturday Night Live alumna Casey Wilson, who landed a lead in the ABC comedy pilot six months after her ouster from NBC's late-night program.
Endings revolves around a couple who, after breaking up at the altar, must figure out how they and their four friends can maintain their relationship. Wilson will play one of the friends, who is bitterly single.
Matt Walsh interview with Time Out ChicagoFeb 28, 2015
Upright Citizens Brigade's Matt Walsh fronts a sports bar-set comedy.
After playing a part in vaunted ensemble projects like the Upright Citizens Brigade, Dog Bites Man and The Daily Show, Chicago native Matt Walsh is on his own with Spike TV's new Players. Well, not totally alone: The sports bar-set comedy about two brother-owners, premiering Tuesday 2, costars fellow UCB alum Ian Roberts, and episodes are created using the game-focused improvisation that's been Walsh's calling card since early UCB shows in Chicago.
The show is based on your experience working at a sports bar. When was this?
In college during the summers. Our suburb had never had a sports bar so it was like when a Starbucks opens up and everyone is talking about it. Nobody'd seen Pop-A-Shot inside a restaurant before. We'd get done with work at 2am and have a bar breakfast: hard-boiled eggs and Slim Jims, with beer. The waitresses would do aerobics in the restaurant. It was like a little YMCA camp.
Though you created the show, your character is almost secondary to Ian's character in the first episode. How did that decision come about?
I had the idea that the two brothers would be polar opposites. Maybe I'm lazy: I'm all for having other people be funny. Ian's a strong improviser, and because he's the straight man, all plots have to go through him.
You've mentioned that you and Ian have a dynamic when playing together. What is that, exactly?
We have a shorthand-chemistry or whatever-where we know where the other is going. And we can sustain bits for a really long time. There were times we would goof around so much on stage that we'd ruin the show. We'd take fake guns and fire them. It kinda distracted the actors.
Are there particular roles you fall into when improvising with him?
Ian's very logical and I'm more, oh, random-I can't think of an adjective to describe myself.
Well, you already said "lazy."
I know. That's a great way to characterize yourself. I guess I'm the crazy person.... I don't know. Maybe I need some therapy.
The Upright Citizens Brigade was known for its antics in Chicago. You once staged a suicide and threw a dummy off the roof of a building. Ever cross the line?
There was one UCB show where I came out and said a green Ford Focus was blocking an ambulance. I'd come back later and say, "The license plate is this; please move your car." Then at the end, I'd announce the guy died and say, "Thanks a lot." We've accidentally given hits of nitrous to people on stage.
Uh, we'd have a balloon and try to not let the person huff it. But they'd accidentally do it. Or, not accidentally-we'd let somebody do it. But we only did that once, and it was stupid.
Aside from the show, you currently have a Chicago Bears podcast called Bear Down. Have sports always been a big part of your life?
Definitely. I'm from a big family, and one of the rites of passage for the boys was that we'd go see the Bears or the Bulls. We didn't necessarily get to bond with our father unless there's a big event to go to. I had three older brothers and three younger sisters, and I got beat up by my older brothers. And you can't beat up the girls, so I had nowhere to take out my anger.
Did you play sports, then?
I played football in high school, and I actually did gymnastics for a year or two. I wanted to try something different, and I wasn't coordinated enough for hoops.
Do you still have those skills?
I'm doing this interview in a headstand right now. I'm holding an iron cross on the rings.
Players premieres Tuesday March 2 at 9:30pm on Spike TV.
Natasha Leggero cast in NBC pilot from Reno 911! creatorsFeb 28, 2015
Last month, NBC made the wise choice to order a comedy pilot from Reno 911! creators Tom Lennon and R. Ben Garant called The Strip, about a former child star (Lennon) who owns a Hooters-esque eatery in a strip mall outside Las Vegas. Today comes further exciting casting news: Cedric Yarbrough (from Reno 911!) will play a bar regular, and comedians Natasha Leggero and Dave Holmes will play a waitress and a gay Christian bookstore owner, respectively.