When IFC ordered a series from Los Angeles sketch-comedy group the Birthday Boys, the septet wasn’t starting from scratch: Not only did it have eight years of performance experience under its belt, but it also had Bob Odenkirk—a man whose face belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of sketch comedy—as a collaborator, frequent star, and executive producer. That said, television remained a new frontier for the Birthday Boys, and the 10 episodes they made last year—now available on Netflix—provided a crash course in TV production for them.
Ahead of the season 2 premiere of The Birthday Boys tonight at 11:30 ET on IFC, EW sat down with Jefferson Dutton, Dave Ferguson, Michael Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell, and Chris Vanartsdalen at IFC headquarters in Manhattan to talk about what they learned.
1. Standards & practices doesn’t do jokes about child molestation.
TIM KALPAKIS: There was a fun sex romp comedy movie trailer called Molesters. [Everyone laughs.] That one made it through the group, made it to IFC, and came right back. [Laughs.]
JEFFERSON DUTTON: When they rejected it, [they said] “We don’t even have to tell you why this won’t work.”
KALPAKIS: It was the only time ever that the note was “We can’t do this.”
DUTTON: It was “No, we can do no version of this.” [Laughs.]
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was the premise?
KALPAKIS: It was in the dog days of summer, and seven adult guys are hanging out in the cul de sac of a suburban neighborhood.
DUTTON: “Another bummer summer.”
KALPAKIS: “Man, this summer is boring.”
DUTTON: A van pulls up.
KALPAKIS: A cherubic new boy in town struts by [Laughs.] and everyone goes “Whoa!”
DAVE FERGUSON: Like Michael J. Fox when he sees the 4-by-4 [in Back to the Future].
KALPAKIS: With some cool music. And then it was just a hard cut to prison. They’re like, [dejected] “Man, this summer…”
FERGUSON: The only thing that’s unfair about shooting that down is they do get their comeuppance.