One good idea can change your life: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Rob McElhenney, an under-employed actor/waiter, thought of a funny scene: imagine a guy telling his pal he might have cancer, and the friend’s reaction is just to want to get out of there as fast as possible. That waiter/actor’s simple comedic vignette turned into one of the great television shows of all time, transformed his life and those of his friends, and scored him a beautiful wife.
Pretty amazing. Of course, it was also about execution: he did not just chuckle to himself and move on; he shared it with friends, they wrote it out then actually filmed it with handheld camcorders, he pitched it to television networks, and they have kept coming up with even funnier stuff for 10 years now and counting!
Still, it started with a simple idea.
The show is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and it’s fun to see three different iterations of the iconic scene. First is the original no-budget “pilot” they cut of the scene.
Later, when they were seeking to add a female to the cast, they asked her to read that scene in her audition. Here is the audition that added Kaitlin Olson to the cast and gives us her take on that scene (audition starts at 2:25 but intro sets it up). By the way, McElhenney is now married to Olson.
Finally, there is the scene with Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day as it appeared on Episode Four of Season One of FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. You can view it on Amazon (free for Prime members) – Charlie Has Cancer; or via YouTube’s new pay section – Charlie Has Cancer.
The show is now in Season 10 on FX sister station FXX, the continuation of an amazing journey that began with one funny idea.
[Update September 20, 2016] It’s Always Sunny has been renewed through 2019 – more mayhem and joy to come! Season 12 launches in early 2017.