We live in a network-TV landscape where hit shows like 2 Broke Girls behave as if “edgy” comedy means Asian stereotypes and saying vagina multiple times per episode. Then there’s the Parks and Rec gang, who thrive instead on jubilant comedy-dork experimentation and have turned the show into a mini SNL-style launching pad.
So says Amy Poehler, and she isn’t alone in thinking ‘Cheers' is pretty much perfect. On the thirtieth anniversary of the show's premiere, GQ sat down with just about everyone who made it and asked them about creating Sam and Diane, the birth of Norm!, Woody Harrelson’s one-night stands, and many other secrets of what became TV’s funniest guy show of all time:
Danson: I’ll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley and Rhea were carrying that week’s episode, and the guys were just, “Let’s play hooky.” We’d never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, “You want to try some mushrooms?” I’d never had them, so I’m handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George, and every sixty seconds or so he’d poke me and go, “Breathe.” [gasp] And I’d come back to life.
Harrelson: I was a little worried about him. It looked like his face was melting. I think I may have been freaking a little myself, but I had to be cool about it.
Wendt: We got into serious trouble for that. I think we thought Jimmy and Les and Glen would have more of a sense of humor about it. We did it because Ted was doing it. He’s sort of a reluctant leader. He didn’t try to flex his influence. He’s just eminently followable.
Danson: My job playing Sam Malone was to let the audience in, to love my bar full of people. And that informed my life. I mean, we’re so different [in the cast], some of us. Miles apart. [But] when I see anyone from those days, I tap into that instant love for them. I don’t care what they do, what they say, how different we are: I love them, because it was eight hours a day, eleven years, making each other giggle and laugh and being a team. There was no weak link.
This interview with Amy Poehler’s parents is absolutely wonderful! “They sound just like us!” —-my mom.
Our favorite bit:
What was your favorite sketch of hers on “SNL”?
EILEEN: I was thrilled with her Hillary Clinton. I mean, Hillary Clinton!What about least favorite?
BILL: I guess the one-legged hyperactive farting girl.