NBC’s new comedy “Undateable” debuts on NBC on Thursday night, introducing primetime audiences to a host of fresh comedy faces.
In the sitcom, actor/stand-up comedian Brent Morin (in his first series TV role) dons khakis and button up shirts (and occasionally, bicycle shorts) to play Justin, a bar owner, with some personal dating quirks. He quickly becomes roommates with Chris D’Elia’s leather-jacket wearing Danny, a man who has no trouble getting ladies, but a lot of trouble keeping them.
With Justin comes his group of friends – Shelly (Ron Funches), Burski (Rick Glassman) and Brett (David Fynn) – and an inspired Danny takes them all under his romantic tutelage.
As it turns out, filming the show reminded Brent of his early days in Los Angeles, when he came out to go to film school, and met Chris.
“[At] this particular point where Justin is, and where he meets Danny — it’s kind of nostalgic. It reminds me of when I was 19, because the way my character’s kind of like scared to ask the girl out a little bit… and the way Chris’ character is always trying to give him advice like he’s a god, and my character’s like, ‘You’re an idiot,’ and he’s like, ‘Nah… I know what’s best,’ — that kind of relationship reminds me so much of when I was 19 and he was like 26,” Brent told AccessHollywood.com.
Brent told us more about his early days in Hollywood, his friendship with the man who is now his co-star, and how the folks behind Conan O’Brien’s late night shows gave him the freedom to pursue his dreams — when he wasn’t standing in for Andy Richter.
AccessHollywood.com: You were a production assistant for Conan O’Brien’s ‘The Tonight Show’?
Brent Morin: Yeah… I was a general production assistant there. So I would be in the office and get ‘em coffee sometimes and do that kind of thing.
Access: Did anyone know that you had an interest in doing something more than behind the scenes work?
Brent: They did. They started to pretty early on because I got asked to come down and stand in for Andy Richter at his podium when they would do camera blocking. … They asked me, ‘Hey do you mind standing in? Don’t be nervous.’ … I was already doing standup every night. I was like, ‘Yeah. I’ll do it,’ and I did it and I read it and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re comfortable doing that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I wanna do this kind of stuff.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, then just stay down here.’ So then I became the set PA/Andy Richter’s stand in for the entire ‘Tonight Show with Conan’ [run] and through about three years of ‘Conan.’
Access: That’s actually really nice, that doesn’t always happen to people.
Brent: Actually, I’ll tell you this, the best thing that happened was, I was doing standup every single night. … I was like, ‘I’m gonna treat this like a job, I’m going to treat my standup like a career and if I have to do something on the road, I’ll risk getting fired or have to quit.’ … After I did [comedy festival] ‘Just for Laughs’ and I started doing ‘Chelsea [Lately],’ certain things were starting to pick up, but I was still at ‘Conan’ as a PA [so] I would have to ask my boss and my boss was the coolest dude ever. I actually owe a lot to him because towards the end, I was like having to leave all the time. The year I booked ‘Undateable,’ I was getting asked to go on meetings and auditions every single day.
Access: In one of the first episodes of ‘Undateable,’ your character calls Chris’ character ‘Fonzie.’ Was there a little Richie/Fonzie connection between you and Chris originally or were you a little cooler than that?
Brent: You know, it’s funny, people ask me how close I am to this Justin character and honestly, I’m not really that close. He’s like a lovable loser, shirt tucked in, lemon drop-drinking guy. I’m like shirt tucked out, sometimes I don’t shave. It’s very hard for me to be in a relationship and I like to have a few drinks.
Access: What is your relationship like with Chris now? You’re no longer that 19-year-old kid. Does he ever treat you like that or because he is older or… because he’s so much taller?
Brent: It’s funny. We still bust each other’s balls, like [we do] in the show. It’s like big brother/little brother. That’s the best way to describe it. Like he’s so proud of me and he’ll tell me privately, like ‘Dude! Look where you are! Remember when we used to play bowling allies? This is so awesome. You worked so hard, like I’m so proud of you.’ We have that kind of love… but it’s still like bust balls, compete with each other type thing. The only difference is like, in the show, Justin usually takes it and kind of like owns it and in real life I’ll come back at him, but it’s still big brother/little brother. I still go to him for advice because even though, in a sense, I used to watch him play the Laugh Factory and I couldn’t get in there, and… I’d see his name on the marquees at The Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store and now my name’s on the marquee at the Laugh Factory [and] Comedy Store, and we’re on the same shows now… and it’s kind of like I’m settling into — and he’s settling into like — not being an equal, because he’ll never let that happen (laughs). He always tells me, ‘I will always be above you,’ jokingly. … It’s a fun, like completely friendly competition hilarity. Today, we were like, ‘This is so awesome that we’re doing this together.’ Like that’s the goal. You want to work with your friend.
“Undateable” premieres Thursday night at 9/8c on NBC.
-- Jolie Lash