Happy Dad: Damon Wayans Talks About Jr.'s Hit Sitcom, His Own Pilot, and TV's Reality Illness

Damon Wayans Jr. brings top comedic chops to his role as Brad on ABC’s Happy Endings (Wednesdays at 10/9c) — no surprise given the very funny family tree from which he fell. So when the producers of the freshman comedy got wind that Damon Wayans Sr. was game to return to the small screen via his son’s show, they immediately got to work breaking Brad’s dad.

Here, the alum of such TV fare as In Living Color, My Wife and Kids and The Underground previews his Happy father’s day, shares a peek at his CBS comedy pilot, and weighs in on what’s wrong with TV today.

TVLINE | Being a longtime fan, from your In Living Color days, I’m excited to speak to you. I think your son has attached himself to a hit.
Oh, thank you for saying that. I hope it goes on for… forever!

TVLINE | The resemblance between you two is extremely uncanny.
Oh, he’s a lot more handsome than I ever was. He’s the “new and improved” model.

TVLINE | You’ve spent recent years almost exclusively writing and producing. Why’d you decide to go back on camera for this?
It’s my son! The producers asked him if he thought I would do it, he and I had a conversation, and I told him I’d love to. I want to see him successful, and anything I can do to contribute to that….

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TVLINE | Tell us about Brad’s dad.
Brad’s dad is mad and bad, and a bit sad…. [Laughs] And he’s a bit of a cad! No, he’s a guy with a strong military background who was never able to tell his son that he loved him. After he has a medical scare, he decides it’s time, but he just can’t bring himself to do it. That’s something I cannot relate to because I tell my son I love him way too much. Even when our family has an argument — “I hate you!” “I’ll punch you in your face!” – you walk away going, “I love you, though,” because you never know what’s going to happen. So to play this character was a bit of a challenge, but it was fun.

TVLINE | Do Brad and his dad get caught up in any antics?
Yeah, we go out and party with his friends, because after I’ve had this scare I decide I’m going to live life. At one point I steal a monkey from this zoo….

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TVLINE | Oh, it’s one of those kinds of nights out. What can you share about the sports radio pilot you’re shooting for CBS this month?
It’s going to be good — hopefully I’ll get the chance to do another show again. My character is based on [ESPN’s] Colin Cowherd, and he’s recently married (The Chicago Code‘s Cynthia McWilliams plays the wife), he has a crazy ex-wife, and he’s got a nut (Dollhouse‘s Eliza Dushku) who works with him on his show. He’s constantly trying to manage these three women and also be a macho sports reporter with a really strong point of view.

TVLINE | I’m curious: Who out there today makes you laugh?
Someone who’s not a Wayans? Vincent Oshana and Wil Sylvince are two young comics I’ve taken with me on the road, and they make me laugh because they take chances. Today with cell phones in the [comedy] clubs, it’s hard for people with stature in the comedy world to be irreverent, because the 24-hour news cycle will get a hold of something you did and next thing you know you’re apologizing for trying to be funny.

TVLINE | And from where you sit, what is TV doing right and wrong these days?
There are way too many reality shows. Reality TV is, first of all, not real, and second of all it dumbs down television. There’s nothing like a well-crafted story with an interesting character that you want to see win, someone that inspires you. I can watch classic shows on Nick At Nite, and I’m always moved in some way. But when I watch reality TV, I get sick. The only emotion I have is I wish they would all [go away]!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Paco says:

    I just found this show and I L.O.V.E. Max. My new favorite comedy.

  2. Amanda says:

    Love Happy Endings and love Damon Sr for his views on reality tv!

  3. Emily says:

    Happy Endings is the new “Friends” sitcom I decided to try and it is really growing on me, in no small part due to Damon Jr’s character. Also, Damon Sr.’s new show sounds like it could be a lot of fun. (But then, I think I would probably watch Eliza Dushku eat paint.)

    • Kris says:

      Yeah I agree, its the closest thing to Friends I’ve seen in a long time. Too bad the ratings kind of suck so I dont expect it to stick around.

  4. Crystal says:

    You know, I didn’t think I would like Happy Endings, but I’ve seen a few of the episodes, and I end up actually laughing out loud at them. To me, that’s the best review I can give of a sitcom – it truly makes me laugh!

  5. Patty says:

    I watch so many shows and didn’t want to add another show, but Happy Endings just proved itself to be funny. And I’m also sick and tired of Reality shows already.
    Glad he’ll be guest starring with his son – and the resemblance IS uncanny – wow!

  6. I’ve always been a fan of Damon Wayans and miss his work on “My Wife & Kids.” His response in regards to the hits and misses of modern television is on target. Reality TV is very hit-or-miss and would be better-served during the summer months when most scripted-shows aren’t in season. Television is in dire need of well-written shows and, thankfully, NBC and ABC have delivered the past two years with Parks & Recreation, Community, Modern Family, Cougar Town, and Happy Endings.

  7. Tausif Khan says:

    “Who out there today makes you laugh? Someone who’s not a Wayans?”

    The only response I have to this is the same as Dave Chappelle had on the Chappelle Show about losing out on acting jobs, “There are more of ’em?”

  8. Tausif Khan says:

    While the Colin Cowherd show sounds like a Damon Wayans show- Alpha male needs to calm the roost. This does not sound like an Eliza Dushku show-playing second banana and sometimes deferential workmate to a blowhard. Also the way the role is described I will be surprised if Eliza can make it work (I hope she does though). Also Michelle Beadle is the only reason to watch SportsNation when Cowherd is on the air.

  9. Whew. Such a negative sweeping generalization of Reality TV, Damon! I guess it’s well deserved after such visual vomit like Jersey Shore, anything by the Kardashian clan, and D-List (a sharp jab in the eye to Kathy Griffin). But there have been some gems like Celebrity Rehab, The Locator, Find My Family, Intervention, and a few more.

    Reality TV is only “real” if the producers let it be real, and don’t prompt the people on the show. I hope you’ll change your mind about Reality TV once you’ve seen the project I’m pitching right now: A Week With My Father – http://www.aweekwithmyfather.com a show that reunites fathers and their sons.

  10. Godson Joseph says:

    I love Wayans family to death. I love all the shows from old school, to now. I want to be part of the family respect 2 u guys. I love Kim, Damon Keenan, Shawn, Marlon. God bless your mother.