NBC's new television show Marry Me has become a breakout hit this season. Set in Chicago, the series follows longtime couple Annie and Jake ( played by Casey Wilson and Ken Marino ) on their way to the altar.
Annie has two gay dads with the same first name. Kevin 1 is played by Tim Meadows, who some may know from Saturday Night Live; Dan Bucatinsky, from TV's Scandal, plays Kevin 2.
Kevin 1 and Kevin 2 are now officially engaged, competing with their daughter on a recent episode.
We called the odd couple up during a quick break from the filming the show.
Windy City Times: Hey, guys. I'm calling you for Windy City Times.
Tim Meadows: I know your paper.
WCT: I was hoping you would since you spent a lot of time in Chicago with Second City.
Tim Meadows: Yes, you are right. I know Boystown.
WCT: With the show being set in Chicago, did you spend time here filming?
Tim Meadows: No; everything we've done has been here in L.A. I would hope that if we do continue to do this show we would be able to do some exterior things in Chicago. That would be great.
Dan Bucatinsky: I've only been there once in my life, so I would love to go but, no, it's all here in California.
Tim Meadows: You'd like Boystown, Dan.
WCT: Come visit and I will take you out for drinks there.
Tim Meadows: Promises, promises...
WCT: Your characters seem very similar. Will there be more differences between them in future episodes?
Tim Meadows: Well, for the pilot one of the things that I was told was that [show creator] David Caspe said that the characters are like twins, basically. When they met they found that they were very happy that they found each other because they're exactly alike.
As we started doing these episodes, I think our personalities have definitely affected the way they write the characters. Dan's character is much more emotionally similar I would say, right?
Dan Bucatinsky: To me.
Tim Meadows: To Casey, and to you. I think the writers kind of start playing on that more.
Dan Bucatinsky: Yes, I think at the beginning we were much more kind of interchangeable in terms of like insert gay dad here in a way. I think that now we really are emerging as two very different characters.
Even in the last episode, just the notion of Kevin longing for his motorcycle days, and my Kevin being more the worrier, more of the anxious, nervous person. For lack of a better phrase, I think you're going to see emerge more of a real maternal side to my character, which is kind of true of me in life, too. I do think that we're starting to find our differences. It's been really fun to play those differences as well as the similarities.
WCT: Are the differences in the characters possibly from one of you being straight in real life and the other one being gay?
Dan Bucatinsky: I certainly feel like the more authentic and the more honest I was with the kind of person I am in life, in my roles, the better I was as an actor.
Of course I feel like certainly straight actors can play gay roles, and gay actors can play straight roles, and we have for years, but there is something about the essence of who you are that you cannot possibly remove from the roles you're playing.
So in a kind of delightful way, I think Tim's straightness maybe has worked its way into the kind of gay character that he is, and my gayness has worked into the gay character that I'm playing. I think it kind of compliments each other.
We never met before doing the show, and I feel like we instantly fell into a kind of chemistry that is one of those things that you can't really predict or count on, but it just happens. I can't say for sure that that has anything to do with our true sexualities, but I don't think you can really extricate any of those things from who you are.
Just like I'm a white Jewish guy from New York, and Tim is black and from Detroit, these are all parts of who we are, and they all work into playing sort of funny, authentic characters. I do think the more authentic you are as a person, and you bring that to your role, the better it winds up playing.
Tim Meadows: I agree. When I took this part I didn't think about this guy as a gay character and he is this lifestyle, and it's different from what I do or live my life. The things that I thought was what things do I have in common with this guy? I'm a father, I have kids, I know what that's like. I know what it's like to be in love with somebody, I know what it's like to live with somebody, and I know what it's like to really share your life with somebody.
I figured if I use those things as the foundation for who my character is, then it wouldn't matter if he was gay or straight or Black or white or whatever. I would just be playing a relationship basically with two people who are in love, and so much in love that they have gone through a lot of obvious problems in their lives, because they were gay at a young age, and they adopted a kid at a young age.
I just take stuff from my own life, and adapt it to who this character is.
Dan Bucatinsky: I think as funny as this show is, it's kind of ground breaking. This is the first time there's been a show, where three of the seven main characters are gay, and where two of them are a married couple with a grown child, and it's an interracial couple, and it treats it as just two people who share their lives with each other.
We're not playing our attraction for the male form every week. We're playing being parents with engagements, weddings, and marriage. I think you'll see in tomorrow's episode, which is a bride war situation aspects of our relationship, and the upcoming engagement that are sort of unique to a gay couple, and ones that are absolutely relatable to anybody who has a kid getting married.
WCT: Did you have the opportunity to add anything to the Kevin role that was not scripted?
Dan Bucatinsky: It's a very collaborative and playful environment to work in. The scripts are so tight but there's always room for us to throw in a riff and we ad-lib a lot. I think over the episodes we've done a couple of things either from our life, or just funny details have worked their way in. I'm wondering if any actual biological stuff has worked its way in?
Tim Meadows: No, nothing that we improvised from. I mean there's been talk about figuring out what we do for a living because we were so wealthy, but we don't have any explanation for how wealthy we are.
Dan Bucatinsky: We own a stationery store. There may be a chain of them is what's in my mind.
We've also all talked a lot about how given our ages, we probably met in high school and had Casey early on, which in the '80s I think there was a line of dialog about how hard it was to be two guys raising a daughter on our own. I think we've made references to the fact that we were probably among the pioneers of two guys in the '80s raising a kid.
WCT: How do you make your characters more real?
Dan Bucatinsky: I guess I approach any kind of acting job trying to find out what's real with that person no matter how crazy the storyline is. I thought it was really cool that they wrote that scene that way where my character wasn't even aware that he was afraid of making a commitment, and make it all legal. I think he liked everything the way it was, and didn't want to ruin it.
That's a real thing that people go through. I was married. I know I had second thoughts about it before I did it, and then after I did it.
Tim Meadows: Well, I think it's always a balance. It's always a fine line especially in a comedy where the responsibility is really to deliver funny in a constant way. The writers are amazing on the show. They have the impulse to create the notion of an opportunity for their future son-in-law to get to know the two dads better then that becomes a way into finding out a fear that one of them has, and then another fear that the other one has.
I think things we were trying to do with the last episode was to connect these characters together. Since we did the pilot I think the actors have gotten to know each other a little bit better, and we've all got our timing with each other a little bit better.
WCT: What is it like working with actors Casey Wilson and Ken Marino?
Dan Bucatinsky: It's great. I'm a huge fan of David Caspe and his writing. I'm also a huge fan of Casey Wilson. She is one of the great, unique female comedians and I love working with her. I love watching her work.
Ken Marino and I were in acting class together 20 years ago, and it's been so lovely to become friends with him again and to watch his brain working all the time. Casey is a screenwriter and a writer, and Tim's a writer and an actor, and I'm a writer and an actor, and Ken is, too, and I learn so much watching the two of them constantly trying to up their game. I feel like you're only as good as your co-stars, and they always make us better. So I love working with people who are that good.
Tim Meadows: Yes. I agree totally. One of the things that I love about working on this show is that I've been in jobs in the past where I was the hardest working person on the set. On this show, I'm probably the least hardest working person on the set. One things I really admire about Ken and Casey is that they both carry a lot of the work on this show. They have a lot of scenes, it's a lot of dialog, and they both do extremely well.
I agree with Dan, too; I enjoy watching them work because it's just fun to watch. I've seen the product before and seen Ken's show. I actually did a show with Ken called Leap of Faith years ago. I've done improv with Casey at Upright Citizens Brigade. I've got to work with them both before but I never got to work with them like this where you see the whole machinery.
Dan Bucatinsky: We all help each other, too. If you come up with a line everybody believes that funny wins regardless of who has the line.
I'll pitch a funny line to Ken, Ken will pitch a funny line to me, I'll pitch a line to Kevin, to Tim all the time, and vice versa. It really feels like we've become good friends and good collaborators.
Tim Meadows: In this show it's like people are generous, and funny is the number-one thing.
WCT: Excellent. Well, come visit Chicago soon and congrats on the TV engagement.
Dan Bucatinsky: Thank you.
Marry Me is on every Tuesday on NBC at 8 p.m. CT.