For a show as funny as “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” the series has only been awarded one Emmy nomination. Like a bad punch line to a joke, that nomination came this year and was for the Outstanding Stunt Coordination category. With outlandish, creative, and admittedly controversial topics being addressed every week, however, series co-creator Glenn Howerton—who plays Dennis on the FX turned FXX show—is not surprised that the program hasn’t garnered very much Emmy love in its ten season television run. The series’ guerilla-style origins—among other things—is an unfavorable aspect of the show’s history and something that constantly fuels Academy voters’ apathy towards the program. Less than a day after “Modern Family” was awarded with their fourth consecutive Best Comedy Emmy this year, I sat down and spoke with the hilarious comic about his show and the state of television comedy as a whole.
Why don’t you guys ever get any Emmy love?
I don’t know if you saw last week’s episode, but we did an entire episode, essentially, about that. I’m not really entirely certain, all I’ve got are theories, and I’d be happy to spout them for you, but I don’t really know. I mean, I think first impressions are huge in this business. I think we started as a very, very small show, and I think we looked so low-budget and FX wasn’t known for comedies, and I don’t think people really paid any attention to us. We didn’t have Danny [DeVito] on the show, and I think because it took so many years for it to grow its audience, it just, I don’t know.
I think that first impression of a low-budget, we-don’t-need-to-pay-attention-to-this-small- cable-comedy thing kind of stuck. It seems like, though, the Emmys, in general, they really love cable dramas. But, they don’t really seem to love cable comedies. I could be wrong; I don’t pay that close attention to it. I wish I knew, my friend.
But do you honestly think Modern Family is the best comedy out there?
To be honest, I haven’t seen a ton of episodes of Modern Family. But, the episodes I have seen, I think are great. Because I work in comedy, I actually don’t enjoy watching most comedies just because it’s hard for me not to just sort of analyze it, break it down structurally, and be overly critical of it, you know what I mean? Not for any other reason other than it’s what I do for a living. I just don’t watch a lot of stuff.
But, the episodes I have seen of Modern Family, I’ve really enjoyed. I think it’s a great show and I think it’s very, very difficult to consistently make a funny show on a network, A; because you have more restrictions, and, B; because you have to do more episodes per year. I’m always very impressed by the fact that I’ve never watched an episode of that show where I wasn’t laughing consistently from start to finish, and I think that’s a hell of an achievement. There are other shows that have won multiple Emmys, and I won’t name any names, where I simply don’t understand why, and I would not put Modern Family in that category at all. I think that’s a very funny, smart show.
Is there anything your show can do to, push you into Emmy territory?
I don’t know that there’s anything we could do. I know that there’s nothing we would do. Even if somebody said “Hey, all you got to do is this.” I mean, look, we would do it if we didn’t feel like it was compromising the integrity of our show, or what we like to do on the show. If it was just sort of a matter of like “hey, if you just tweak this a little bit, and it’s not going to change anything, and you’ll win an Emmy,” it might be worth a shot. But, you know, I do and I don’t care about winning an Emmy. It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers, I guess. I don’t know, really, who sits on the Emmy board, I don’t know if those are my peers. It’s weird; I just don’t pay attention to the politics.
Would it change anything at all for you? If you won?
Look, I have an ego. Do you know what I mean? I’m definitely not so anti-awards and things like that that I would be like “oh, … that.” I wouldn’t get up and do a Marlon Brando thing, and just be like “Yo, what about the Native American thing?” But, would it change — I don’t think it would. I don’t know. I don’t really know. I think, probably, many, many people who probably have ignored us for many, many years might perk up a little bit and say “well, maybe I should pay attention to this show, maybe I should watch it.” I think most people, at this point, nine seasons in have either watched it and didn’t like it, or, they watch it and they love it and they’ve already made up their minds about the show. I don’t know that it would make much of a difference.
Having this perceived vision of your show, what was your reaction when you first heard that the show would be moving from FX to launch the new FXX channel?
I didn’t really have a strong reaction at all. I wasn’t disappointed or excited, just kind of, I don’t know. It’s odd; you would think that there would have been a bigger reaction from all of us. But, I think, all three of us were just kind of like “Okay, let’s do it.” You know? I guess mildly honored to be launching an entire new network. Maybe slightly worried that it wouldn’t work out, but not that worried. I don’t know, I think all of us kind of feel like our audience is the kind of audience that will find the show no matter where it is.
Most savvy young TV watchers these days, you punch in the title of the show you want to watch, and your DVR finds it, and then you record it, and then you watch it, and it doesn’t matter what … channel it’s on, you know what I mean? It just kind of is. We were a little bit bummed that FXX is, at least initially, in less homes than FX, and that’s definitely a disappointment, I know, to the fans, and definitely disappointing to us, as well. I would say that would be the only thing that I had sort of a strong reaction to, but we’re not really asked to consult on those decisions, so I think we just took it in stride. It certainly didn’t effect what we were doing on the show. It’s the same show.
Howerton is absolutely right. “It’s Always Sunny” is the same show on FXX as it was on FX. It is as sarcastic and over-the-top hysterical as ever. Maybe this shift to a new network will finally give the series the award recognition it so deserves.
For me, please…PLEASE…for the love of Glenn Howerton’s ego, give the guy an Emmy. It’ll do a lot of good.
By David Morris