sf sketchfest

The Party Down Cast Reunites — But Stop Asking About a Movie Already!

Photo: mradamscott/twitter

“We don’t know.”

Sorry, Party Down fans. That is all Adam Scott had to say about the prospect of a much-rumored movie version. But let’s look a little closer at a running gag from Saturday’s show on the second-to-last day of SF Sketchfest. Because we think it applies here. The five central stars of the show — Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr, and Ryan Hansen — all took the stage at Cobb’s Comedy Club wearing black pants, white shirts, pink bow ties, and finger splints. Only three questions into the event, moderator Paul Scheer asked about their hands.

“What the fuck!?” “What does it matter!?” “We’re here to talk about Party Down,” all five shouted over one another. Not more than twenty minutes later, Marino nursed his splinted finger after opening a beer and once again Scheer inquired: “Are you okay? What happened?” The response: “What the fuck!?” “Would you quit asking already!?” “We just want to talk about Party Down!”

This went on through the entire show. At one point during the audience Q&A, when a fan in the upper level asked about their fingers, Scott and Marino left the stage, found their way upstairs, and screamed into the fan’s face to let it go and just let them talk about Party Down already.

Now, there’s a strong chance the shtick was nothing more than a product of a preshow “Wouldn’t it be funny if … ?” moment. But since the cast offered just three words about the night’s biggest question, it only seems fair to read more deeply into those five splinted fingers. It all smelled heavily of “Hey everybody, can’t we just focus on how enjoyable this show was for us and for you and just stop asking about other things?”

That aside, the rest of Saturday’s two-hour reunion was full of cast members talking about the show’s birth, favorite guest stars, and their collective proclivity for shitting in one another’s unoccupied trailers, not flushing, and turning up the heat before leaving. It’s abundantly clear that this was, and remains to be, a close-knit bunch.

There were so many anecdotes crammed into the event. Too many. The highlights:

  • Marino said he always wanted the last episode of the show to begin with his character (Ron) telling the team he has terminal cancer and that he would be dying soon. Then the chirpy theme song would cut in. The rest of the episode would be the catering crew working Ron’s funeral and trying to follow complicated instructions left on barely functioning video tapes, thus displaying that even in death Ron manages to screw everything up.
  • Everybody had wanted to do an episode where they cater a pet funeral, but dogs are too expensive. Scott said that paying for extras was already hard enough for the show to pull off, and “one dog equals about 100 extras,” he said.
  • Caplan divulged the secret to Party Down’s ability to seamlessly fold in new guest characters every episode: “The Adam Scott Hollywood 45” — the 45 minutes Scott would spend with guest stars at lunch on their first day of shooting, asking them questions and genuinely making them feel welcome.
  • Scott said the series finale for Party Down only drew 16,000 viewers. Hansen had never heard this before and nearly hit the floor laughing when he heard that number.
  • Four of the five cast members told stories about promoting the show on the road, with Hansen and Starr traveling to a Cox Cable office in Arizona, where they essentially tried to sell a small room full of cable employees on pushing the Starz network to their customers. Not to be outdone with depressing Starz stories, Scott and Caplan took a trip to Starz headquarters outside of Denver, where they were greeted by giant banners and table toppers throughout the cafeteria promoting Party Down. Scott said he asked somebody if they had those kinds of ads around college towns and other target markets, and they replied, “No, just here in the building.” Scott noted that when a network is going that far just to make sure people in their own building are aware of the show, you know you’re in trouble.
  • Apparently, the only real note anybody at the show ever got from the network was “more boobs.”
  • As a matter of setting the record straight, everybody told the story of Jane Lynch’s last day on set — a story that played a prominent role in her recent book Happy Accidents. As the group told it, they were all brainstorming what to do for Lynch’s last day, and Marino threw out the idea of getting her a stripper. Unexpectedly for Marino, everybody loved the idea and momentum built behind it. Over the coming days, Marino grew more and more weary of his own idea, eventually going so far as to say he wouldn’t contribute any money. Well, the idea stuck anyway, and after Lynch’s final scene, they sat her in a chair, played music, and the stripper came out. Caplan said it was “funny for maybe 2.5 seconds,” then immediately awkward. So awkward and horrible that Hansen had to jump in and break the mood by scooping up Lynch into a slightly less awkward waltz. Of course, Marino received all the blame and every Glee fan who purchased Lynch’s book now likely considers him a world-class asshole.

Party Down Cast Reunites at SF Sketchfest