Ear Candy: The Always Sunny Podcast

Ear Candy: The Always Sunny Podcast

Monday, 7th February 2022
Artwork (credit: Simplecast)
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Sick of failing auditions and studios sitting on their scripts, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day set about writing, shooting, and starring in their own pilot for a sitcom – despite no film-making know-how or financial backing.

The result was Netflix’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a raw and riotous anti-sitcom about a gang of amoral narcissists who co-own an Irish bar but spend most of their time scheming against one another and seemingly everyone who crosses their path. FX liked the pilot enough to order a low-budget first series, which premiered in 2005.

Now in its 15th series and the longest-­running US live sitcom ever, with a global cult following still lapping it up, a watch-along podcast was long overdue, but The Always Sunny Podcast was worth the wait.

McElhenney, Howerton and Day present what is essentially an episodic directors’ commentary, charged with the electric chemistry that comes from writing and performing together for almost 20 years. They admit to having no structure in mind. The 30- to 45-minute episodes meander, but it’s a lot of fun to hear them find their footing. The insights and anecdotes come thick and fast. Two minutes in and we’ve already learned how personal foibles often inform character traits – with, for instance, Day’s lactose intolerance accounting for his character Charlie’s obsession with cheese.

Having tackled thorny subjects from the start (the first series explored racism, abortion and gun control), it is interesting to hear them discuss which episodes hold up politically. The show is clearly a social satire that aims to expose ignorance of all kinds, but Day, for one, is aware that sometimes even the way they were trying to say, “This is wrong”, is now wrong.

But the main draw is the laughs. Many of their riffs are as hilarious – and as tasteless – as the show itself. So tasteless, in fact, that the catchphrase for the podcast quickly became “cut that” (their order to the podcast’s producer, Megan Ganz). You can see where their characters get it from.