The pairing of 30 Rock favorite Jack McBrayer and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog sounds like a match made in heaven. Both ends of the comedy spectrum coming together on a new live-action Cartoon Network show fills us with excitement but also left us wondering: what does that show actually look like? Fortunately Robert Smigel, Jack McBrayer and producer Michael Koman were on hand at Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss the premise of the show, the I Love Lucy style format, and the Conan sketch that started it all.
The show was born out of a now infamous segment that McBrayer, Smigel and Koman worked on together years ago. Smigel recalled, “What really triggered it was the remote I did with Jack on the Conan show a couple of years ago at The Wiener’s Circle. I mean, I’ve known Jack many years and Michael [Koman] and I have worked together at the Conan show for many years. This particular segment just happened by accident. I wanted to do something at The Wiener’s Circle because it was a natural place where people insult you and was originally going to be for Conan but he wasn’t available to do it, to come in that week and so I thought of Jack.”
“Because we look exactly alike. Tan and blonde,” McBrayer added.
Smigel laughed, and continued, “And then after The Wiener’s Circle it just hit me that would be a funny way to do a sitcom and he’s the only person I ever thought would be funny with Triumph in a sitcom and now we’ll see.”
So what is the best part about having Triumph as a co-star? McBrayer says, “You really don’t know what’s coming your way. The only time we’ve really spent time together was at The Wiener’s Circle, you are enmeshed in chaos, it was coming at you from all sides so it was good to have an ally, and yet still an ally who will cause trouble. But I’m excited to see what stories we’ve got coming on, we’re going to incorporate some of those elements of the remotes within the episodes so there will be some real life interaction with people on the street. I can’t wait!”
Producer Michael Koman was also on hand to detail the format of the actual show. “I don’t know if we’ve explained that the show is taped in front of a live audience. It’s multi-cam. So its going to be in that style of I Love Lucy, that feeling of watching a live performance.”
Smigel chimed in, “It’s going to have that Lucy/ Ethel quality with Triumph trying to drag Jack into his schemes.”
Koman explained, “The premise is that Triumph and Jack were co-stars when Jack was a child on a Lassie type show in the 80s and that show ended years and years ago. Jack left show business and went on to a normal life and Triumph was never able to get his footing in show business without him. So he’s come crawling back and insinuated himself back into Jack’s life with the hopes that he’ll be able to drag him back to do a show together of some kind.”
Smigel also mentions that Jack’s former TV mom would also be on hand to keep Triumph in line, much in the way that Robert Reed parented his TV son Greg Brady behind the scenes of The Brady Bunch. Jack’s TV mom? Played by Academy Award nominee June Squibb who, as Smigel puts it, “can dish it back to Triumph too.”