Denver sitcom Those Who Can't may have future on Amazon after all, says Adam Cayton-Holland
After the pilot's debut, comedians Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl thought their Amazon-produced Grawlix comedy series, Those Who Can't, was dead in the water. While two other shows were picked up, The Grawlix crew heard....nothing. But now Amazon has commissioned the Denver comedy team to write six new scripts for the series, Cayton-Holland tells us, and there's a strong possibility that they will eventually see the light of our computer and tablet screens.
Westword: During the recent High Plains Festival, you recorded a live podcast with Marc Maron where you said Amazon had just requested six new scripts from you. I know things have been hush-hush on that, but are you now allowed to talk about this on the record?
Adam Cayton-Holland: Yeah.
So you're writing six episodes that will tentatively be produced?
So here's what happened. The pilot was made, and ours had one of the highest viewer ratings, and was pretty well reviewed. There were some bad reviews, but those people trashed everything. It was a pretty big success for us. Then Amazon said, "We're gonna do the show! It's happening, it's happening! We're picking you up -- it's happening!" And then it didn't happen. The date they'd given us had passed, and we see in the media that Betas and Alpha House was getting picked up, and that none of the other ones got picked up. But we didn't hear jack-shit.
Meanwhile our agents and managers are like, "It's okay; it's still all right." And then cue a month of silence and us tearing our hair out, before Amazon contacts us and was like, "Hey, what do you think of writing six new scripts?" And we're like, okay. Of course.
So they say the goal is to make the show. We're writing these six scripts, and they're due in November, and we have a holding contract with Amazon through January, so none of us can really do anything until then.
What do you mean, do anything?
We can't do anything major, but it's not like anyone's throwing stuff at us from Denver. I can't be the star of a sitcom, and neither could Ben or Andrew. We could be the guests on a sitcom, or a late-night spot or something. We have the holding deal for the next six months.
And the scripts are going great. We just got a call from Amazon and they're like, "These are so fucking funny, you guys are knocking it out of the park!" So it's interesting.
You've had some experience working in L.A. and auditioning during pilot season. Contrasting that with working here on your own projects with the other Grawlix comedians, is there a creative surge you get from this environment versus that one?
Well, as soon as we started doing The Grawlix, a lot of my comedy friends -- people who were way further along in their careers than I was -- were like, "This is so great, who are you making this with?" And I'd spent enough time in L.A. to realize that all anyone wants is a group of people to collaborate well with, and money to get their projects made. And everything else you do is just a hurdle to get there. You act in the shitty TV series, hoping you raise your stock, so the next time around you can say, "Here's something that me and some friends made." And then you work on it on a much smaller scale.
It's a grass-is-greener scenario; because I would love to be on TV, and all that shit. But they would love to be making a web series that's turned into a pilot they can film in their home town. So all I can say is that it felt right, intuitively, to all of us. So we're working on those scripts right now.
But no guarantees?
There's no guarantee that they're going to make it. But they're paying us. So it's not a waste of time; they're not like, "Hey write six scripts, assholes!" They're paying us a good amount of money, more than any of us have ever made. And so we're all sitting here writing scripts.
I really want to make the show, the scripts are fucking hilarious, but if nothing comes of it, I look at it as we're getting paid to learn how to write scripts really well. So it's interesting. We'll see what happens.
Click here to view the pilot for Those Who Can't and leave a review of your own.
For more comedy commentary, follow me on Twitter at @JosiahMHesse.
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