First, it was announced that Arrested Development will not only (eventually) be revived on the big screen, but also for a short run on TV. Shortly thereafter, the funnyman’s new NBC comedy Up All Night was picked up for a full season. And on top of all that, TVLine revealed that he would reprise his role as Devon Banks on 30 Rock.
TVLine caught up with Arnett just before he was hit with so much good news, but fortunately that didn’t make him any less inclined to gush about his latest project.
TVLINE | Congratulations on the success of Up All Night. Has the reception exceeded your expectations?
It has. The ratings stuff is beyond your control, so it’s nice to see that we’ve done better that we had hoped for. Really, our job is just to try to make the episodes as funny and as good as possible — creatively and from a quality standpoint — and if we can get people to watch here and there, then that’s great. And I’ve got to say, NBC has been really great about promoting the show and getting it out there. I’m really happy with it. My main focus now is enjoying working on the show — and I’m really lucky that means working with so many great people.
TVLINE | I have to say, what I find so appealing about the show is that it’s so endearing. There’s a lot of funny, but also so much heart. Plus, it’s really grounded in reality, with some heightened moments. Do you notice the same things with each script you receive?
Oh, totally. Thematically, all the stories come from something that resonates with the writing staff and [executive producer] Emily Spivey herself, so the kernel of every story comes from a real place. And like you said, everything has to be a little heightened because obviously we’re not just making a documentary. A documentary about this subject would be drab. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Are you finding that there’s more room for improv as the show progresses?
Yeah, there always is. We’re very lucky that we have such great writers and get to work on these really fun scripts, but there’s always an understanding that we want to make the best show possible. If stuff comes up and you feel like you want to add something, there’s definitely improvising. It’s all a collaboration.
TVLINE | Your character Chris is the polar opposite of both Arrested Development‘s Gob Bluth and Running Wilde‘s Steve Wilde. Is that what drew you to him?
When I read the script, I really just related to the story because it felt really close to where I am in my own life right now. That was the first time I’d experienced that.
TVLINE | So, what’s next for Amy and her well-meaning parents on Up All Night?
Chris and Reagan are about to realize that their car situation is not really the safest or most responsible for young parents, so they’ve got to deal with that. There will be some strange car shopping involved. I’m really happy with next week’s episode.
TVLINE | Is there any talk of Chris heading back to work at some point? Or will Up All Night remain grounded in the stay-at-home dad/working mom storyline?
I’m not really sure — wait, is that what you’re pitching? [Laughs] As of now, no, but you’re going to see them trying to figure out what works. It’s just like real parenting; There’s no point in having a plan because nothing goes as expected.
TVLINE | Will Forte was so funny as Chris’ friend on last week’s episode. Is there anyone else coming up that you’re excited to work with?
I just shot with Richard Schiff, who’s playing Christina’s character’s dad. He’s such a great actor and such a smart guy, and his instincts are so great. We were just doing this very simple little scene and he brought some really great things to it. I brought zero ideas, so he made me look like a chump. [Laughs] I haven’t shot with Blythe Danner yet, but we’re about to start working together, so I’m excited about that episode with the two of them.
TVLINE | Given the scope of funny folk you, Christina and Maya have worked with, I have to imagine there are more guest spots planned. Has anyone reached out to you about coming on?
Yeah, there have been a few friends of mine that I’ve talked to about coming on, but it would be foolish of me to reveal any names because then you would print that and I would look like a fool. So, my question to you, Megan, is why would you ask me that and why do you want me to look like a fool? [Laughs] And I already look like a fool, so why do you want me to look like a bigger fool? Honestly, there are people we’re talking to and friends of ours that really like that show. If we can continue to make good episodes, then yeah, that would be great!
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