Interview: Eddie McGee breaks down new comedy pilots Swipe and Eddie’s

Eddie McGeeEddie McGee is a man who is juggling a lot right now and all of it is very exciting! Following his time working on The Human Race, Shooter, Drop Dead Roses, and more, he’s now establishing a creative space for himself within the comedy pilot world. He has two different shows in the works in bar comedy Eddie’s alongside Swipe, a series about being young and trying to date in Los Angeles. Both of these shows are in the midst of pitches with various suitors and are coming off of premiere showcases this past month in the greater Los Angeles area.

Want a little more news about the projects, how they came about, and what Eddie (also known for being the original winner of CBS’ Big Brother) looks for in specific roles? Check out our new, all-encompassing interview, where he also talks about his role in the spooky YouTube Channel Don’t Turn Around, which also recently launched a new website.

CarterMatt – So what is the ultimate endgame with Eddie’s and Swipe?

Eddie McGee – With Swipe, ultimately we’re looking to land it somewhere on VOD, where it’s Netflx, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, CBS All Access … That’s our goal for everything. With Eddie’s, we’re looking at NBC, ABC, CBS, major networks. Ultimately, it’s just us trying to land them somewhere that we can bang out thirteen episodes for a single season and do what we love to do. That’s our ultimate goal.

You’re a guy who seems to have a lot of irons in the fire right now as an actor, a producer, a narrator, and a lot of different stuff. What’s the material that is appealing to you right now?

Eddie’s came about because of my friend Alex Scrymgeour. Alex and I met on a film that we shot together in Spain five years ago and he actually came out for AFM about a year later. He popped down to the beach bar I was working at that night and we hung out; we had a burger and a beer. I think I wound up getting in a fight with some junkie outside and kicking some drunk kid out and he was like ‘I love the idea of writing a bar around you. I’ve always been a fan of Cheers.‘ I was just like ‘yeah, okay. Whatever you want to do.’ I never thought twice about it.

Then, he rolled into town around a year ago and he had a script for the idea he had. We went from the script to the screening within 51 weeks and I’m super-super proud of. Did that appeal to me? You’re god—n right it did. Your buddy writes a show about you owning a beach bar. How do you say no to that as an actor?

So that one came about that way, and the Swipe show is a totally different animal. It’s very Three’s Company Sex in the City. It’s an edgy show about navigating the dating scene in Los Angeles. That one just appealed to me because it was so different coming off of Eddie’s.

For Eddie’s, why the setting of Venice? It’s really a place I’m surprised isn’t used more as a primary setting.

Venice is its own character. It’s a fantastic backdrop. You have everything from bums to junkies to hipsters, you got the poor, the rich, and the famous. You have anything and everything in that area.

There’s going to be an obvious comparison between you and the character — you both share the same name and McGee’s is a name of bar in the show. How much of yourself is in Eddie the character?

There’s always a bit of me in every character I play, but the Eddie who runs the bar is a little more reserved than the Eddie McGee in real life, let’s just put it that way. He’s nicer and gentler. He’s a nice guy.

As someone who’s gone through what you have, are you going to Alex with various thoughts and experiences?

Absolutely. When we sat down, me, him and [David Brzozowski], the whole storyline came out of some old war stories I had, things I’ve gone through and s–t I’ve dealt with. The main plotline I’m dealing with in the pilot is a land developer coming in and trying to shut the bar down to bring in high-rises to accommodate the tech flux [happening nearby]. That was something I dealt with at one of the bars I was working at on the west side, so I brought that to Alex and David and they ran with it.

Community seems to be a real theme of the project. Does that speak towards sort of the importance of these social gatherings, places that are somewhat forgotten about in this era?

Yeah. The motto over at Eddie’s is that every hour is happy hour and that everybody’s welcome. It’s Venice, so it’s a really diverse place to begin with. We’re diverse not for the sake of being diverse, but we’re bringing Venice to life. I know Alex is a big believer that unfortunately, in TV nowadays, a lot of people are being rewarded for being scumbags. You look at It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — all these characters are f—ing lowlifes. They’re s–tbirds! At the end of the day, they end up thumbs-up and making the day.

With Alex, that’s one of his things with TV today — you don’t have a Sam Malone from Cheers to look up to. He wants to put something together that is non-disparaging and a feel-good comedy. It’s a place you want to go to at the end of the day and it’s something you can watch with your eight-year old and your eighty-year old. There’s not a lot of that in TV anymore.

George Wendt is a name that is going to catch many people’s attention right away. What was it like getting him on board?

It was great working with George and he was on Alex’s wishlist for characters on the show. He was a huge Cheers fan and loved the idea of having George come in and being at the end of his bar, but have him be the exact opposite of what he was in Cheers. In Cheers he was that clean-shaven accountant and now he’s playing the salty sea captain who fishes all night, comes in, brings the catch of the day into my kitchen, and sits down to have a cocktail. He doesn’t drink beer; he only drinks rum. It was amazing to work with George.

In moving into Swipe, what are we seeing with your character over there? What is he like?

My character Sean is newly broken-up, out of a relationship with a girl. He’s down in the dumps and kind of broken up on love and girls and dating in Los Angeles. His two buddies, played by Taylor Owen and Bryan Dobbs, are trying to navigate the dating scene and get their s–t together as well, but they’re trying to pull my hopes and spirits up.

It’s interesting that I don’t know how many edgier dating comedies, like a Sex in the City, are out there right now. Do you think there’s a hole in the market for Swipe?

I definitely think there’s a spot for Swipe and I truly believe it will land somewhere. If this was fifteen years ago, our goal would be to land at HBO or Cine

Are there any particular things you look for in terms of characters to play?

I love characters that I can dissect and take a part and work to understand. I like a challenge of being the broken-down war vet on Elementary or NCIS: Los Angeles or being a guy on a dating show who wakes up with a dildo in his bed and doesn’t know how it got there. It’s all fun stuff and it’s just part of the art. I love the diversity and I love to be able to test my range. Sometimes I hit all the notes and sometimes I don’t and I just have to keep working on it.

I know you’ve also got the Don’t Turn Around YouTube channel, which is a really awesome place for some scary, text-based stories. What’s your day-to-day role over there?

So, Paul Hough and I started the channel about three years ago, I guess. Paul is the creator and the mastermind and the grunt worker. I’m just the face; I’m just the voice. And the great thing about our new site is that it engages readers in these text stories where they get immersed. Here you can click and read at your pace. We’ve actually gotten emails from teachers already who say ‘I love your site. Thanks for giving the kids something to engage with. You’re helping them to read, and it’s great that they can do that at their own pace.’ That’s been pretty cool.

Paul’s the creator for all of that, but I get to narrate a few here and there. I’ve been working with him for around 15 years and he’s awesome. I absolutely love him.

If you want to see more from Eddie’s, be sure to take a look at the trailer below! We want to give a special thanks to Eddie for taking the time to do this interview with us – It’s always a pleasure to talk with him. (Photo: Eddie’s.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!