Exclusive Interview With Glenn Howerton On The Wilderness Of James

"Coffee Town"

WGTC: Coffee Town was one of my favorite comedies of last year.

Howerton: Oh really? Man, thank you. I appreciate it!

WGTC: Yeah I thought it was really funny. How was that whole process with doing CollegeHumor’s first feature?

Howerton: It was really fun! I mean, for me, the great think about doing Sunny is that it’s afforded me the luxury of being picky about what I want to do. Not that I’m being offered everything and saying no all the time, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. I’m not saying that I’m constantly getting movie offers. But it had that same kind of character-driven, dialogue-driven style of comedy that I’m drawn to, and that makes me want to do Sunny, and that I like as a writer. I don’t know, it just struck me as really, really funny. When I read it, I just laughed a ton.

It felt like it would be a good opportunity to get together with some guys I didn’t know as well as I know my guys on Sunny, and do something different. Also to do something where I’m not playing a complete psychopath. To show people I’m not really a psychopath in real life. That is a character I play. So to stretch myself a little bit but still do something in the world of comedy, which I love.

Steve Little and Ben Schwartz are insanely talented. They really come from a total improv background, where I don’t. We do a lot of improvising on our show, but those guys are just so quick. Brad (Copeland) knew exactly what he wanted as a director. He wrote the script, so obviously he knew what he wanted. It was quick, it was fast, it was furious and it was really, really fun. It was tough for me to play the not-funny guy though.

To play the main guy who is kind of surrounded by the crazy, funny ones. Not that I didn’t have funny moments, but that was the other thing that I knew was going to be challenging for me but fun. To play the lead who’s not always the one who’s being funny.

WGTC: I saw you put out a call for scripts earlier in the year. How’s that working out for you guys?

Howerton: Not great, but we knew it was going to be a total diamond in the rough, needle in the haystack sort of situation. So we’re still going through those scripts as we have time, which we don’t have a lot of. We got an insane number of submissions from people.

But it was kind of our way of saying, and I still believe this, that no doubt that some of the best filmmakers and screenwriters are not in LA. They’re not in New York. They don’t have agents and they don’t have the opportunity for someone who can actually get something made to read their material. So it was our way of saying, “Hey, let’s give it a shot. If you’ve got something you think is good, send it to us, and who knows?”

It was always a long shot. It hasn’t happened yet, we haven’t found anything yet that we are really excited about, but we’re still combing through those things. It was an interesting experiment. It’ll be interesting to see if it pays off at some point.

WGTC: In terms of Sunny, it’s been 9 seasons now, and I think each season you guys stay fresh and get more innovative. How are you doing that after 9 years?

Howerton: How we do it? I don’t know, but I will say that we have to do it. Luckily, I feel like we’ve created a world on that show where we can go to some pretty outrageous places, almost in the way that animated shows can do it. Live-action shows often can’t. So it affords us a larger palette to paint on than I think other shows have, just because we’ve established that we’ll go to some pretty strange and off-beat places.

And yet we always try to do a few smaller, really simple character-driven episodes and then we’ll do some larger, kind of, more topical things. There are always things to draw from in the news and human behavior and relationships. We’re just constantly mining those things and constantly mining the characters to try and find out if there are parts of these characters that we haven’t found yet. Parts we can explore, parts we can exploit to surprise people.

We’re still having fun. The only reason we’re still doing the show is because we’re still finding things and we’re still having fun. It’s just great, man. It’s the dream. To get to work with my closest friends and to get to make something funny and something that makes us laugh. And to have so much freedom. We basically can do whatever we want, which is amazing.

How we do it? I don’t know. We just do it.

That concludes our interview, but I’d like to thank Glenn for taking the time to talk. And be sure to check out The Wilderness Of James!