The FX comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has broken records for lasting 15 seasons and counting. It was not a runaway success from the beginning, though. FX added Danny DeVito to the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast for season 2, something which original cast member Kaitlin Olson reveals they weren’t initially happy about.
Olson was a guest on the BASIC! podcast on Oct. 19 to discuss It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She explained why the cast initially resisted the idea of DeVito, but quickly changed their minds when they met him.
‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ needed to do something drastic for season 2
Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day created It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Olson joined the cast after an audition. Their first season was only six episodes, but FX CEO John Landgraf believed in it. He just wanted to do something to ensure the show made it.
“John was smart enough to know we had something special,” Olson said on BASIC! “People weren’t watching it but we needed to do something to get attention rather than just give up on it. He suggested that we bring on a famous actor and that was not something we were excited about. We were this tiny little underground show. I had done little things here and there and so had the guys but nobody knew who we were which was kind of exciting.”
Danny DeVito won over ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ cast member skeptics
By 2006, when It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia began its second season, DeVito was more known for his films. He not only starred in hit comedies, but directed them too. Early in his career, DeVito starred on Cab as dispatcher Louie De Palma. Sunny would mark his triumphant return to series comedy, although he had done guest spots including several on The Simpsons.
“But John knew Danny and he suggested the guys meet with him,” Olson said. “I think within seconds of meeting with him they were like okay, this is going to be just fine. To their credit, they worked it in really nicely. This character is just the older version of all of us. So it wasn’t like we were bringing in something that was going to feel out of place. Danny just nailed it. He’s just a genius and it’s the best thing that happened to us.”
The fans still needed a little convincing
Olson recalled It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans resisting DeVito’s casting. Fortunately, they gave him a chance and embraced him as part of the gang.
“The fans who were watching from the start of the series were very, very upset that we were bringing in a famous person,” Olson said. “One of the great things about our fanbase is that they take ownership over it. They’re like, ‘We were there from the beginning, we’ve been listening since the beginning, we’ve been watching you from the beginning.’ And that’s so great and they did not want us to ruin it by bringing in a big name.”