Ten years is an eternity in comedy, considering the physical beating the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has taken over that period.
Getting cancer, set on fire, crippled, held hostage, whacked, divorced, pregnant, stranded, quarantined, trapped and fat shows you how dedicated the Gang of Rob McElhenney (Mac), Glenn Howerton (Dennis), Charlie Day (Charlie), Danny DeVito (Frank), and Kaitlyn Olson (Dee) is to the noble and steady-paying craft of physical humor.
The deranged intensity of Always Sunny must surely take its toll on the cast. It’s fair to wonder what their process is and how they cope with the pain. Do the actors behind the booziest characters on television toss a few back before the cameras roll?
“I have tried that, and that’s actually a really bad idea,” Olsen confessed to Yahoo. “You miss out on a lot of good acting opportunities, because you’re just drunk.”
They’ve become so accustomed to playing comedy drunk, the cast used the topic to knock the season ten opener almost out of the ballpark in “The Gang Beats Boggs,” an episode on-par with past baseball-centered plotlines.
Competition is at the heart of all of these characters but they weren’t fighting with each other, rather they collectively chased baseball history — a 1998 home run race of their own. And by baseball history, we’re talking about the urban legend of Mr. Wade Boggs, Hall of Fame slugger. According to baseball legend, Boggs supposedly drank 107 beers in one day — though the number is disputed. Charlie Day went on Jimmy Fallon to talk about the story of filming with Boggs ahead of the premiere.
The Gang has more modest sights of topping 70 beers while on a cross-country flight to Los Angeles. Drinking 70-plus beers is “insane” as Dennis says, because it’s nearly physically impossible to accomplish without a trip to the emergency room or a visit from the Grim Reaper, or both.
Once the Gang gets into this “Wade Boggs-type thing,” the episode takes off. All of the usual fun is there, Frank asking a stewardess for condoms and poisoning a frat boy, Dennis entering the mile-high club by banging desert trash and Mac playing the role of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Nobody likes Selig, a guy who takes himself too seriously, so it works out perfectly.
Now, drink 50 cheap beers and you’ll start seeing things. Not in blurry twos or threes. That’s chug a 40oz in the back of a van parked outside your high school stuff. Once you’ve passed the 30-rack club a mile high in the air, you start seeing angels. Or Red Sox. Charlie hits the delusional stage of his performance high when a ghostly Wade Boggs (played by the man, the myth, the legend himself who’s alive and well) shows up to provide inspiration. The five-time batting champion gives Charlie the pep talk he needs to earn his pace amongst competitive drinking’s finest.
In Always Sunny, we’re inclined to count Dee out. We know how this story ends. But from the start, Dee is determined to best the boys one chug at a time. And in her corner is a real angel, Boss Hogg from the Duke’s of Hazzard (the original Boss, Sorelle Booke, passed away in 1994). I guess we can really do some cool things with holograms these days. Drunk Dee wouldn’t know the difference.
Once Dennis and Frank, and his alter-ego Dr. Mantis Toboggan, tap out, all we have left is the McGwire/Sosa rivalry between Charlie and Dee to sell this “Wade Boggs type-thing.” At 70 beers, Charlie and Dee are a shit show, giving us some of the series’ best drunk work.
Some drink to be cool, others drink to maintain a buzz. For the Paddy’s Pub Gang, ten years of follies over every drink imaginable is the only way of life they know. We’ve yet to get tired of it and the cast clearly has fun acting like a bunch of comedy drunks.
“Some of the funniest stuff we do just barely makes it into the show because everybody laughs,” DeVito told THR. “Many, many times we mess up each other’s stuff because we’re bustin’. We’re all guilty of being pretty frivolous about that. Just a bunch of unprofessional assholes.”
Charlie – 71 beers, went 1/1 with a double
Dee – 70 ½ beers, grounded into the luggage carousel
Dennis – 21 beers, scored on a single with desert trash, demoted to the farm team in North Dakota
Frank – 19 beers, sent to Dr. Mantis Toboggan for further testing, headed to the disabled list
You can find Chris Longo on Twitter and discuss the merits of Wade Boggs’ all-time booze record.