10 Things I Learned at the ‘Always Sunny’ Panel at Vulture Fest

Always Sunny
As part of the first-ever Los Angeles Vulture Fest, the cast of Always Sunny in Philadelphia hit the stage to crack jokes, talk shop, and discuss the history of one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. The conversation was all over the place, so instead of guiding you through the presentation, I’m going to pick out a few nuggets to highlight.

10. Back in the Writers Room February

While there’s no firm air date yet, creator Rob McElhenny revealed that the Always Sunny writer’s room is gathering in February. Shooting is expected to begin in April and McElhenny expects the show will be back on the air next fall.

9. Lethal Weapon 6?

After an audience member said he read on Reddit that the show is directly involved with Lethal Weapon 5 being made, Glenn Howerton joked “if you read it on Reddit, it’s true.” When it comes to the possibility of a few LW6 jokes creeping into the next season, McElhenny didn’t have a firm answer.

“We’ve already done a few episodes about it, and if you know our show we will beat that horse into the ground.

As far as casting goes, Charlie hopes Lethal Weapon 5 has room for a couple more minions.

8. Rob McElhenny Loves ‘The Golden Girls’

Discussing their upcoming multi-cam idea, McElhenny mentioned a few of his favorite comedy shows. While 90s staples like Seinfeld and Friends were mentioned, there’s one show in particular that McElhenny seems to have a soft spot for.

“Golden Girls is one of the greatest shows in history and it still stands up.”

7. They Don’t Think the Show is Important

The first people to raise their hands during the Q&A were two girls sitting next to me. After Wayne Boggsing it and earning eight tally marks on their white shirts, the two professed how much they love the show and how culturally important they think it is. When asked why the show was so important, the cast struggled to come up with an answer.

“I will never say Sunny is important,” revealed McElhenny.

For Howerton, the characters are the only thing that matter.

“The characters in each episode represent a point of view that exists in the world that we tend to fucking despise but we try to explore that mentality in a way that is truthful to the characters and satirizing [….] we try to attack hypocrisy on all sides.”

6. Glenn Howerton is One Coy S.O.B.

When asked if Dennis would return next season after he walked out on the gang during the season 12 finale, McElhenny turned to the crowd and asked who wants to see Dennis come back. The crowd started cheering but Howerton didn’t budge.

“I will say this, in all sincerity. All joking aside, I love these guys and we have a blast, but I mean… we’ll see.”

Regardless if Dennis comes back or not, McElhenney insists the team has a few surprises up their sleeves.

5. Hero or Hate Crime

One of the funniest episodes from last season, ‘Hero or Hate Crime’ was the product of finally using two old notecard ideas in the writers room. For years, a notecard with the words “Watch Out f****t” sat unused because the team wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Thematically, the episode came from McElhenney’s own interest in what words are considered appropriate and why. The F word was said throughout the writer’s process, but McElhenney said that no one used the n-word in the writer’s room.

“Why is it appropriate, or why do we feel like its appropriate to say this word but not that word?”

Another card in the room was “The Gang Wins The Lottery,” so the team was finally able to cross off two old ideas with one episode.

4. Sloppy Film Style

Part of the show’s charm is its low key filming style. While sitcoms are typically a multi-cam production, Always Sunny is a single cam show. In order to make it easier for the gang to stand around and improvise, the crew just lights up the entire set (instead of specifically using flood and key lights to make the actors look their best) and films from multiple angles. While the cast revealed the lighting and director of photography are often annoyed by this, it imbues the show with the filthy, dirty quality the characters all have.

“The trade off is our show looks like shit,” joked Howerton.

3. FX Supported ‘Always Sunny’ From Day One

Now that Always Sunny is going into its 13th season, it’s easy to think that FX has become extremely supportive of the show to accommodate its success. The reality is, FX was always supportive of the show, and even pushed the gang to make it edgier during the first season.

“During the first season they pushed us further,” said Day. “I don’t think we were planning on being as topical in the first seven episodes but they pushed us.”

McElhenney gives them credit for being so hands on and helping “form and shape the show into what it is.”

2. The Gang Is Growing Up

At the beginning of the panel Charlie revealed that he just pitched a new idea to McElhenney and Howerton in the hallway before the show. While he didn’t reveal the joke at first, as talk turned to the changing political climate and the outpouring sexual harassment allegations, he felt comfortable revealing the joke.

“Is it okay to call Dee a bird now?”

Yup, even though calling Dee a bird was always inappropriate, the gang might finally be changing with the times.

1. Fan Backlash Led to Gay Mac

At the end of Always Sunny’s 11th season, Mac finally came out of the closet. But, by the time season 12 started, he was already back in it and some fans of the show weren’t happy.

“We got a lot of feedback on Twitter that people were so happy and then they him back in the closet,” revealed Olson.

In Howerton’s opinion, “it was just time.” The gang agreed that there are only so many jokes they could make about Mac’s sexuality before having to settle on one.

“Is that something that people do?” asked Devito. “They go out of the closet and then they go back in the closet and then out of the closet and then back into it?”

“Have you seen the show?” replied Olson with a laugh.

While the cast states the backlash led to the final coming out scene, Devito isn’t so sure.

“They don’t know what the fuck they’re doing,” he said with his trademark Frank smile.

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