Writer Jeff Schaffer described the cast of The League as “the Justice League of comedy all-stars,” and if you attended the NY Comic Con panel for FXX’s smash hit comedy, you’ll know exactly why. It’s not like I needed any more convincing either, as I’ve been watching this hilarious look into Fantasy Football since the very first episode, and haven’t stopped laughing since.
Finishing off my Comic Con experience on a high note, Sunday started off for me with this riotous panel featuring the following talents: writers Jeff Schaffer and Jackie Schaffer, Stephen Rannazzisi, Katie Aselton, Mark Duplass, Jon Lajoie, Jason Mantzoukas, and Paul Scheer. Only missing Nick Kroll, these tremendously funny people showed why The League can rely so heavily on improvisation and still be one of the funniest shows on TV.
Starting the panel off, we were given a special screening of a future episode titled “Flowers For Taco,” which was just as funny as always. I won’t give anything away, but it’s a very Taco heavy episode, and could be one of the best performances from Lajoie yet on the show. Audience members were crying with laughter during the episode, and that didn’t stop when our panel started.
Updating us on the status of the cast’s own Fantasy Football league, Jon Lajoie was revealed as the number one team so far by a longshot, with Jon throwing shots at Jeff who was bragging about scripting predictions about this year’s NFL games and being right. Lajoie may have just gotten lucky though, because he autodrafted his team and ended up with Peyton Manning – could you get any luckier? While there’s no Sacko, Jeff described last place losers as sporting a “giant bowl of shame” because everyone on the cast and crew knows the league standings, and then Paul added the loser is also beaten and raped by the entire Sons Of Anarchy cast. “Ron Perlman gets to stick his balls in our mouth.”
One of the greatest dymanics on the show is Rannazzisi’s relationship with Aselton, who play husband and wife, but so much of their raunchy comedy comes from interactions with their daughter Ellie (Alina Foley) and other children. Rannazzisi recalled a scene where he has to fake sexual intercourse with Aselton while a boy watches, and how he kept apologizing to the boy’s mom who was watching off camera. Aselton has her own take on what the child actors are subjected to though, as she joked, “Parents are putting their kids on this show! It’s not my problem!” Rannazzisi did give his real methods though, saying, “I just don’t look at the kids, I don’t look them in the eye.” That’s probably for the best.
As the show has progressed, Mantzoukas’ character Rafi has become a crowd favorite (walking on stage while flipping everyone the bird), and Jeff described what makes Jason such a strong asset to the squad. Remember when we first truly meet Rafi at that house party, and he explains that he’ll be fine to drive after popping a mint and crapping the booze out? That was completely improvised by Mantzoukas, and thus Rafi was born. Rafi is the one character that has absolutely no boundaries, being written like he’s “living in his own personal Grand Theft Auto.” The sheer aggression of Jason’s comedy is what Jeff loves, which he also said Stephen possesses, but Rafi takes it to an entirely different, hilarious level. In the words of Mantzoukas – “GATTACA!”
The other fan favorite, stoner character Taco, is known for is constant pot smoking. Actor Jon Lajoie was asked if he’d ever received any “gifts” from fans, much like how Mantzoukas once received a knife. “Everyone wants to get high with me all the time, which is fine.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t always look great to Jon, because while you may be offering Taco drugs, Jon sees it a little differently in the situation. “Creepy ass stranger offering me some drugs? I appreciate it, but I can kind of afford my own. One guy gave me a bag of coke, and I’m like, ‘What? You didn’t watch the show.'” Might want to keep those gifts legal, fans.
So what can we expect from what’s left of The League this season? Jeff assures us that, “In episode 11, vinegar strokes will make an appearance.” Uh-oh, whose soul are we going to see into next? Jackie then chimed in, “We have a story on the board for the finale that relates to more bathroom issues for Kevin. Jeff and I looked at each other like we just can’t do this to Kevin again, but they already picked us up for next year so…”
Yup, you heard it fans, you’ve got another season of The League coming your way for sure, and hopefully more to come after that. Looking further into the future, Jackie revealed some teasers saying, “We’re going to meet Ruxin’s sister who has IBS and lives with a dentist in Milwaukee in the season finale. Also, a rival plastic surgeon we’ve talked about since season one, Andre’s nemesis and ultimate competitor,” and then Jeff chimed in, “[You can expect] a few more NFL cameos, a few more people walking in.”
Knowing The League is guaranteed more episodes after this season makes me a very happy writer. No comedy on television has the knockout chemistry and commanding humor this non-stop laugh-fest sports, and this Comic Con panel was just a tiny example of the hilarity achieved every week. These Sunday warriors had me missing the first slate of NFL games on the day, which did me a favor so I didn’t have to watch my Houston Texans get embarrassed by the St. Louis Rams, but I couldn’t have missed football, wings, and beer for a better reason. If you’re not watching The League every Wednesday at 10:30PM EST, you better have a damn good reason.