I recently had the pleasure of attending an exclusive press day for TBS’s funny new comedy Clipped at their wonderful set (Soundstage #19 to be exact) at Warner Brothers studio in Burbank. This sitcom is the latest series from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the mega talented Emmy®-winning creators of Will & Grace. Normally I wouldn’t wax esctatic so much about anything in my self-titled blog, but being a big fan of the work of these talented showrunners, I can’t help myself dang it!
“The cast really elevates the material,” said Mutchnick. Indeed they do. This hilarious sitcom stars Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), Mike Castle (Family Trap), Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black), Ryan Pinkston (Tower Prep), Diona Reasonover (Swadhisthana), Matt Cook (True Blood), sitcom veteran Rejinald VelJohnson (Family Matters) and six-time Emmy® nominee George Wendt (Cheers). Christa Flanagan (Mad TV), Lisa Schurga (Leverage), Dana Powell (Bridesmaids), and Betsy Sodaro (Animal Practice) play the hilarious Doyle sisters.
Ben’s staff at Buzzy’s includes Mo (Cook), his best friend and total opposite. Mo sees the best in people, which explains why he’s been able to put up with Ben since childhood. Also working at Buzzy’s are A.J. Salerno (Castle), the cool and popular kid who was once a great baseball player until a shoulder injury pulled him out of the game and into the barber shop; Danni (Tisdale), who could be doing bigger things with her life if she weren’t too busy trying to figure out if a fling with A.J. on prom night means they’re more than just friends; and Joy (Lapkus), the eternally optimistic and naive receptionist who is the object of Mo’s affections…even though she’s already taken. The multi-camera comedy centers on a group of co-workers who all went to high school together in Boston but ran in very different crowds. Now they find themselves working together at Buzzy’s, a barbershop that was recently bought by one-time loser Ben (Pinkston). Since taking over the establishment, Ben has become the boss to many of his old classmates and he’s not afraid to flaunt his more powerful position.
As a lover of the classic sitcoms of the 80’s and 90’s and being that I’m a big fan of Mutchnick’s and Kohan’s work over the years, I really enjoyed Clipped as it is somewhat reminiscent of the wonderful sitcoms of that phenomenal era in TV comedy but with a modern twist with all the improvisation that goes into the show. It also reminded me of any easier time…ah the 90’s. Before social media and our texting culture. So much time I had on my hands…to watch sitcoms.
“The cast was representative of every strong comedy troupe such as UCB, Groundlings and Second City as well as the Steppenwolf,” said Mutchnick. “We’re not like Aaron Sorkin and we’re not like Larry David,” he added. Yeah, so if you ever need an ethnically ambiguous character actress with UCB level 5 improv creds, you all know who to call lol.
The nicely decorated set showed details about the various characters that make up this talented comedy ensemble. “And each hairdresser’s station reflects their own style and personality,” added Kohan.As for why the show took place in Boston, Kohan said, “Max went to school in Boston and was very familiar with it.”
“We wrote the whole season one before it premiered. TBS and Kevin Reilly have a vision for what they want that network to become. And it’s very compatible and it just worked out that way. And you can definitely talk about more subjects that you can’t talk about on network TV,” said Mutchnick.
“I’m a big fan of Max and David’s. There’s nothing like this show out there,” said Ashley Tisdale. The cast is very close-knit. “We all got together and attended Lauren’s (Lapkus’) show last week,” she added.
“I think I’m much softer than Charmaine. She has more edge than me,” said Diona Reasonover. As for potential love interests for Charmaine, “She’s open. She’ll take Janelle Monae and one of the Seans…Sean Penn, Sean Kingston. Like me, she’s a QPOC, you know a Queer Person of Color,” she added.
“I love how my character is so naive, doe-eyed, wholesome, and religious,” said Lauren Lapkus. “That’s so different from me in real life,” she added with a smile.
“It is great to work with David and Max. And it felt comfortable working on a show that takes place in Boston,” said George Wendt, who also played a Bostonian on the long-running hit series Cheers.
And Buzzy’s character is also gay. “Max (Mutchnick) takes all the gay out of it. No gay hands,” said Wendt. “He plays on Grinder, but is only allowed to swipe, but not touch by his partner Tommy (VelJohnson).”
As for advice he’d give to young performers, Wendt said, “To have fun. Make every part of it fun. Even the rejection. And enjoy the process and all the preparation.” Well said. I tip my hat to you George Wendt.
More info at http://www.tbs.com/shows/clipped.html