A few years back, Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf — NYU buddies with big filmmaking aspirations — wrote a TV pilot about a pair of hapless brothers with big filmmaking aspirations. Then they shelved it in favor of something more instantly doable — a web series called Next Time on Lonny, starring the doe-eyed Anfanger as an aspiring reality star with a knack for over-the-top trouble. It paid off.
Ben Stiller discovered Lonny, then Anfanger and Schimpf. Lonny got a big-time backer in Stiller’s Red Hour Films — and those fictional filmmaking brothers, er, conceived in Anfanger’s parents’ basement got their very own series. Big Time in Hollywood, FL features Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson (Nurse Jackie) as a pair of wannabe Scorseses whose lives go spectacularly awry when their exasperated parents (Medium’s Kathy Baker and Glee’s Stephen Tobolowsky, both splendidly game) kick them out of the house.
With the aid of their sweetly dimwitted buddy Del (a scene-stealing Jon Bass, Broadway’s The Book of Mormon), the pair concoct a scheme to keep their cushy lifestyle that backfires, leading them on an adventure that rivals their homemade productions.
Stiller praised the youthful Anfanger and Schimpf for their ability to unite their cast and create a series that gleefully obliterates the scripted-comedy mold.
“As I was watching the dailies come in, seeing the trust that was with the actors and what Dan and Alex have — they have a very special thing together,” Stiller said. “It just emanated out to everybody else, and I saw people taking chances.” People who include veteran risk-taker Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) as a boundary-busting P.I., Marcus Giamatti as a cop named Jim Zdorkin (say it five times as fast as you can) and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Cuba Gooding Jr. on drugs.
Asked at a recent press event how Big Time Cuba differs from real-life Cuba, Gooding chuckled, “I’m not a crackhead and I don’t shoot at people on a yacht in a thong trying to get my point across!” Big time, indeed.
Big Time in Hollywood, FL. premieres Wednesday, March 25 at 10:30pm ET/PT on Comedy Central.
Check back soon for Channel Guide‘s exclusive interviews with the Big Time’s Alex Anfanger, Lenny Jacobson and Job Bass!