By Candace Havens
There are few comedies these days that make me laugh out loud. After watching three episodes of LA TO VEGAS airing Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Fox, I can tell you it’s one of the few. The writing and the acting come together in this one to create a funny, irreverent half-hour about a specific group of characters who take the same flight from L.A. to Vegas and back again, every weekend.
From executive producers Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy, Own Burke, Steve Levitan and Adam McKay, the workplace comedy is twisted and seldom politically correct. It’s refreshing. Captain Dave (Dylan McDermott) headlines the ragtag crew which included flight attendants Ronnie (Kim Matula) and the guy who makes me laugh the hardest, Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham). Then there are regular passengers Colin (Ed Weeks), the stripper Nichole (Olivia Macklin) and Artem (Peter Stormare), a gambler.
The idea came from executive producer and creator Lon Zimmet, who used to play poker and take the same flight the show is based on when he was younger. “There were so many great characters on that flight,” says Zimmet. “And I was trying to think of a new idea for a show, and that seemed to be something fun to write about.”
McDermott is honest about the fact that he probably isn’t the first choice to lead a comedy, so he decided to grow a porn-stache to prove a point. “I think that no one really thought of me for this role because no one ever thinks of me as funny,” McDermott says. “That was the beginning of this. Luckily, I had worked with Will Ferrell on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and I had done THE CAMPAIGN with him…I knew that he knew I was funny. And Chris Henchy knew I was funny, who was also a writer on the project. But nobody else did. I knew I had to prove myself as having a sense of humor. And I thought the mustache was such a great idea because mustaches are so out, and they’ve been out for so long. So, I just thought that’s a great beginning.”
“The first thought was bravado and cocky and kind of a bro,” Zimmet says about Captain Dave. “And then the more interesting element of the character was, ‘But what’s underneath that? Where’s the vulnerability, and where’s kind of the sadness behind that?’ And Dylan plays that perfectly. He can nail the jokes and the big bravado of it but also get to the humanity behind it of a guy who, at the end of the day, is sort of lonely and searching and aspiring to something more behind all of that. And Dylan just nailed it.”
This is a case where clever casting gives depth to a show that might have been to over-the-top without it. It has me laughing from start to finish.