I will never look at Mac & Cheese the same way after watching Steve Byrne’s Happy Hour on Comedy Central. If you have no idea what I mean, check it out and join the rest of us Steve Byrne Fans who can’t wait for Sullivan and Son, Steve Byrne’s brand new comedy sitcom premiering July 19 on TBS.
“The show is about a guy who joins the business world rat race as a corporate attorney, but ends up going back home to take over his family’s bar that’s being sold,” Byrne explained to me. It’s about the break from the paycheck-to-paycheck living and “finding what’s really meaningful in life, like family and friends,” as he put it. Sullivan and Sonis a bar comedy, so like in Cheers, also by writer Rob Long, the main setting for the show is the family bar that Steve Sullivan (Steve Byrne’s character) begins to run. Byrne says that Sullivan, once a big time lawyer but now in a small town, “plays a kind of patriarch of the neighborhood by helping out and managing the rest of the characters.”
The first thing critics and reviewers jump to in Steve Byrne’s comedy is his Korean-Irish heritage, but Byrne noted that these cultural influences don’t even play a major part in his routines. “I was born in America, and I don’t even speak Korean. It’s just like The Jersey Shore isn’t very Italian,” he joked.
Steve Byrne went to Kent State in Ohio to study theatre, “I never had the intentions to be a comedian! I went to New York City after college,” he said, “and just walked up and down Broadway looking for a job. I ended up in a comedy club that offered me work.” And success followed. In New York, Byrne was performing 7-8 times a week and his advice to up-and-coming comedians is to just keep getting on stage. “Get up on stage as much as possible, write, develop you own view of the world, but there’s much you need to find out on your own. There’s a stage and you gotta tell jokes,” he said.
So how does a successful stand-up comic transition to a successful actor? “Stand-up is a very selfish occupation. You wear what you want, say what you want, but acting is a long laborious process.” Just like rehearsing a play, sitcom actors “rehearse to put on the show in front of our live studio audience.” So which feels more natural for the comedian? “I’ve been doing stand-up for 14 years and acting for 2 months. They’re both extremely fun, and in the end you’re getting tons of laughs.” And that’s Steve Byrne: smart writing, en pointe deliveries, and just tons of laughs. The show premieres on TBS on July 19–here’s a trailer.