Tyler Labine has kept us laughing out loud throughout his career, both on the small screen with television shows like Reaper and in theaters with movies like Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. Now, he gets one of his biggest roles to date in writer/director Rob Pearlstein’s Someone Marry Barry.
In the film, Labine plays the title character, an obnoxious and politically incorrect man who seriously lacks a filter between mind and mouth. As much as his friends (including Damon Wayans, Jr., Hayes MacArthur and Thomas Middleditch) care about him, they have long since grown tired of his disgusting antics and decide to find him a wife so that she can deal with him instead. However, Barry ends up finding the love of his life on his own in Melanie Miller (Lucy Punch), a woman every bit his match.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Labine for an exclusive interview while he was in Los Angeles promoting Someone Marry Barry. We talked about what drew him to this movie, why comedy will always be harder to do than drama and what it was like working with Lucy Punch.
Check it out below and enjoy!
It’s always great to see bromances like the one here. What in particular drew you to this project?
Tyler Labine: There were lots of things. The script was really great and Rob Pearlstein was a very… I wouldn’t say aggressive, but he was an interested suitor. He came after me in the best way possible and I just really liked the project and I really liked him. I thought the idea of taking this usually secondary type of character that’s like a sidekicky jackass friend, which I have been known to play from time to time, and give him center stage and flesh out that kind of character and see what that guy’s all about, was really interesting. I thought this was a really cool opportunity to do that. You never get to do that normally. You just see one or two sides of this guy, and this was a movie all about getting to know that guy completely, so I dug it.
The character of Barry is a challenging one to play because on the outside he’s a jerk, but there are things about him that are quite likeable. Was it challenging for you to balance out the attractive qualities of the character with the unattractive ones?
Tyler Labine: The line that we tried to walk with the movie and the character was the same with the character of Mel, played by Lucy Punch. There’s always the danger of falling into that kind of unlikeable Jar Jar Binks character zone where it’s like, whoops! We had the best intentions with this guy, but it fell into this like no man’s land. So we had to constantly be aware of the limitations of what people will accept and what they won’t accept to follow a lead character, you know? They have to be behind this guy and want him to get the girl and get his friends back and all that stuff. So Rob and myself were just constantly discussing whether I had gotten too disgusting. We’re walking a line which is a fun way to walk, but sometimes you end up getting a little too pervy.
There’s all these little lines drawn in the sand when you’re talking about a woman’s breasts that you never really knew existed before. You have to get a little deeper about what’s off-limits for this guy. So when we did cross the line we were like, “Okay, nobody’s going to like that guy,” but it was an interesting challenge.
People think that comedy is easy, but it’s not. It has always been harder than drama. It’s easier to make people cry than it is to make them laugh, is it not?
Tyler Labine: Oh yeah, and the thing with comedy is like it’s one thing to make something funny, but we were trying to make the story keep that ball in the air for an hour and a half. You can’t just make a bunch of little vignettes that are funny or disgusting or whatever. We really had to make sure that people got on board with Barry. So yeah, funny is one thing but you have to make it a church. That’s what I was talking about with the sidekick character; you come in and steal scenes and do funny, goofy things. This was like trying to do that and retain the audiences’ admiration and respect.