Sullivan & Son's Steve Byrne on Handling Hecklers, Cheers, and Opening for Mariah Carey
Recently, TBS rolled out its latest attempt at the popular medium, Sullivan & Son, adding some fresh content to a nighttime comedic lineup featuring reruns of CBS's syndicated sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Sullivan & Son is the brainchild of standup comedian Steve Byrne. Byrne gained notoriety through his edgy stage routine, like comparing stirring a bowl of mac 'n' cheese to the sounds of a woman masturbating, plus a series of bit parts in film. But now in Sullivan & Son, Byrne is getting a chance to be the lead man, and he's making the best of it.
The show draws a lot on Byrne's own personal life, in particularly a multicultural family and growing up with Pittsburgh's blue collar attitude. Of course, the show's twist is its heavy use of lowbrow humor, plus prominently featuring Christine Ebersol, who plays Byrne's mother, a heavily accented, dirty-talking Korean mother. Think of Amy Hill in Margaret Cho's All-American Girl.
Byrne and other cast members of Sullivan & Son, including Ahmed Ahmed, Owen Benjamin, and Roy Wood Jr., will be spending their weekend on the Miami Improv stage.
Cultist got a chance to ask some Byrne some questions regarding the show, his standup, and his relationship with executive producer Vince Vaughn.
Cultist: Your new show on TBS is called Sullivan & Son. Are you trying to pay some sort of homage to Red Foxx? And are what other sitcoms give you inspiration for Sullivan & Son?
Byrne: I would never try to duplicate anything as awesome as Sanford and Son. Single handedly one of the funniest shows, ever. I just named the bar Sullivan and Son because it reminds me of neighborhood bars you would see in blue collar cities. Those are exactly the bars I enjoy hanging in and that's truly the inspiration for the show. Other shows that inspired Sullivan and Son would be all the great traditional sitcoms I watched growing up: Rosanne, Drew Carey, Home Improvement, The Cosby Show, and obviously Cheers. We never wanted to be Cheers -- we have our own set of characters that have totally different voices -- but we did refer to it in terms of what made them so darn successful.