We spoke with the Eastbound & Down actor by phone leading up to the season finale of Comedy Central’s Review, in which Daly plays a sad-sack TV critic who reviews real-life situations like racism and divorce by going out and experiencing them firsthand.
Where are you today?
Well, funny you should ask! I’m at the Americana mall [in Glendale, CA] and I’m here because I’m going to be a presenter at the American Comedy Awards in New York. I realized I do have a tuxedo but I don’t have cufflinks. So I’m here to buy cufflinks today. I forgot the fact that they play loud music here.
So, just hanging out at the mall…
Today and every day! I literally just need something to keep the cuffs of my shirt closed.
That’s the plight of a comedian going to an awards show?
I’m telling you! And this tuxedo, by the way, is one I was convinced to buy 10 years ago when I got married and it’s been hanging in my closet ever since. It’s only dragged out occasionally for comedy bits.
I’ve been a big fan of the first season of Review. I didn’t realize it is actually based on an Australian TV show.
It’s a real under the radar show. I don’t even think it aired on their network TV – I think it was on a satellite channel that’s their equivalent of basic cable. In Australia itself it’s a cult hit and over here people haven’t heard of it.
How did you first hear about it?
The Australian broadcasting company that produced it sold the format of the show to this international format company, and they sent it around the world to try and get other people to make the show. I heard they tried to make a version in England and another one in Holland – the Australian creators said they saw a version of their show in Dutch and didn’t understand any of what was being said. So they sent it to Comedy Central and Comedy Central immediately thought of me to adapt it here. I was like, “Yep, that makes perfect sense. That’s me.”
Why does it make perfect sense for you, do you think?
Well, I love to play characters who are stuffy and nerdy who either then have a dark side or are pushed to a breaking point. Both of those things might be true of [my character] Forrest, actually. It seemed like an opportunity to play those two sides of the person, which is something I love to do and something I got to do on Eastbound & Down and Reno 911! It’s an idea I’ve been playing with for a long time.
Who do you imagine Forrest is, and how did he get this job as a reviewer of life circumstances?
We talked a lot about Forrest’s backstory. We don’t necessarily talk about it a lot on the show itself because we feel like the show is Forrest’s show and he might not explain his backstory. But we know for ourselves that he was a movie reviewer, and not a particularly bright one. But he got himself to a point where he was reviewing movies for a local newscast in the Midwest or wherever, and got caught up in a plagiarism scandal – because, in our backstory, Forrest reached a point where he was no longer able to stay awake for an entire movie. He would fall asleep after about half an hour of every movie he went to see, so he started plagiarizing other people’s reviews just to get the job done. He got called on it and lost his job and is now trying to fail upwards in the great American tradition of taking on a more ambitious project. And, well, you see how it’s going.
I’m a little worried about him, to be honest.
Yes. As well you should be. He’s kind of a dumb guy taking on a really dumb job with a level of commitment that is inevitably disastrous.
Is he even going to survive this season?
Oh, I don’t know! Of course, I do know, but I won’t tell you. The season ends in a very satisfying way that if it had to, in a very unfortunate world, could be the series finale. I want to give you a teaser and not a spoiler and say it ends in a very stunning and exciting way.
What’s been your favorite scene to shoot?
I keep giving the same answer but it’s true. The road rage smash-off with me and [The League’s] Jason Mantzoukas smashing the hell out of cars, me with the baseball bat and him with a tire iron, on the overpass on the 110 freeway at rush hour. We were very acutely aware that this was a once in a lifetime experience. We enjoyed it to the fullest. That was my favorite thing to shoot. Probably my least favorite thing would be having sex with that sex doll. All of the sex. I would say all of the sex has been miserable.
Photo: Danny Feld / Comedy Central
In the episode about pancakes, how many pancakes did you actually eat during filming?
I think I probably ate the equivalent of one pancake. The rest went into a bucket sitting next to me. Any time I got the opportunity to spit one out, I did. But unfortunately I had a lot of pancake in my mouth. I probably had 15 pancakes in my mouth and I swallowed one. But what that means is that I had a gallon of Aunt Jemima’s syrup in my mouth at various times throughout that day. I ingested a lot of sugar that way. That’s the job!
I really liked the episode where Forrest reviews “Revenge.” There was a lot of poop in that episode…
Yeah! A funny story about that one is that the Australians who created the show came over to America just to visit us and meet us and answer any questions we had. They came and sat in on our writers’ room on a day when we were working really hard to figure out how the revenge thing could end. Everything our writers’ room was throwing around was about poop and what could happen with poop. It was nothing but a team of writers talking about poop for an hour and these poor guys are sitting there in their worst nightmare of what happens when you hand your show off to somebody else to adapt. It just goes into the toilet. Weeks later as we’re in production they’re like, “Hey can we drop by the set and visit you when you’re shooting?” And they just happened to come on the day when we shot the end of the “Revenge” segment with the shit bomb and we’re wrestling in shit in the front yard. We’re like, “Sorry guys, it’s a smart show!” I felt bad for them.
What was the poop in that scene made of?
I believe it was brownie mix. Mixed with some actual squished up brownies. So actually quite delicious!
At this point, do you know if there will be a second season of Review?
No. We’re talking about it. We’re trying to figure it out. Comedy Central is over the moon about the critical response, the fan response to the show. And they themselves really love it creatively. It just all comes down to dollar and cents, ratings and production budgets. I would love to do another season. We just have to figure out how from a purely cold, calculating business perspective. I hope it can be done!
If you get a season two, is there some particular life experience Forrest will definitely need to review?
There’s a bunch. We had a wall full of things we wanted to do. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I’ll just say this: It’s kind of surprising to me that in the entire first season we never saw Forrest have any experience with prostitution. So… something is coming.
Catch the season finale of “Review” on Thursday, May 1, on Comedy Central.
Photos by Photo: Michael Yarish / Comedy Central