Joe from Joeonthetube.com hooked me up with a press pass so I headed down to the Fox lot to cover the red carpet arrivals for the premiere of FX’s new show “The League,” a comedy about a group of guys in their 30s who obsess over a fantasy football league as their only escape from their mundane lives.
This was my first time covering an event on a major studio lot, so please indulge me with a little preamble about the journey.
After checking in with the security guard at the gate and being told to “take a left at the Julie Andrews mural” (which, as I could see, was just beyond the giant mural of Luke battling Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, which is the definition of awesome), a car passed by, driven by the pleasantly smiling Mary Steenburgen. Then I looked to my left and there was a crew shooting a scene on a mock New York street scene set, one that I know I’ve seen in a hundred movies and TV shows. They had two Chapman cranes sitting idly by, the cocky bastards.
I power-walked to the Darryl F. Zanuck theater, where they had set up the red carpet and an FX logo backdrop behind a red velvet rope, and I joined my fellow photogs. Now, when I say “fellow photogs,” let’s just be clear that I was the only one carrying a consumer grade camera that was purchased used off Craigslist in 2003.
And mine was the only camera running on severely depleted AA batteries that had zero chance of lasting the entire event.
It was also windy and pretty darn cold, even by non-L.A. standards, and I was the only one who didn’t bring a jacket; but my adrenaline, aka worry that I would screw it all up and look like an amateur buffoon, kept me from getting hypothermia.
So after I asked about 25 questions to the organizers and press people, prefacing each with “This is my first time, as you can see (pointing to my janky-ass camera),” the arrivals of the cast began…so here they are…
Enough guys, let’s add a little glamour into the mix…
I was able to speak with Paul Scheer, he of the unbridled tooth gap, whom I used to see on stage at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NYC and who has been enjoying success on shows like Human Giant and 30 Rock
I asked him about going from UCB to TV, using improv on the set, and how he developed his character…
His character “Andre” is a big success in life but is still the loser amongst his group of high school friends. He may make more money than them, but he will always be their punching bag, and this is reflected in how he’s treated in the fantasy league.
“There’s a lot of me in Andre but only at certain points…he is like when you first walk into a party and you feel self-conscious and you want to hide in the corner, but he’s like that all the time.”
Scheer was excited to work with series creators and executive producers Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Marcus Shaffer due to their impressive resume of having worked on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Borat and Bruno.
Take note improv performers: Jeff and Jackie went around to all the comedy theaters and watched tons of improv when they were casting the show (including the Del Close Marathon at UCB).
The show is heavily improvised — no rehearsals — they work from a 10 page outline for the show and then “beat out” individual scenes on the set.
In reference to the guys in the league being pretty plain looking and their wives really hot, Scheer said “Yeah, we’re like the ugly Entourage.”
They just finished shooting the whole season, and Scheer’s character will have a stronger arc than most others.
Coming up (2010?): Scheer and Rob Riggle’s new show “Funny or Die Presents…” will be on HBO.
Don’t miss the series premiere of The League tonight at 10:30pm after an all new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which is currently the funniest frackin’ show on television, so The League better bring it; no pressure)
Now an entertainment reporter and a certified paparazzo because I did it once,
Dan’s Scriptomatic Cinematic Telematic 3D!
[originally written on assignment for joeonthetube.com]