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David Alan Grier talks ‘The Cool Kids’

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David Alan Grier talks ‘The Cool Kids’ (promotional photo courtesy of FOX)

With 166 combined years of entertainment experience, the cast of Fox’s new Friday night comedy, “The Cool Kids,” may be well-seasoned, but they will stop at nothing as long as it leads to a good time.

Led by “In Living Color” vet David Alan Grier, the motley group of mischief-makers includes Vicki Lawrence, Leslie Jordan and Martin Mull.

“The Cool Kids” was co-created by Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Paul Fruchbom.

Grier says the mood on the set of “The Cool Kids” is always upbeat as he and his cast-mates discover new layers in their characters and have fun toying with the sassy-seniors concept.

“We are having a ball,” Grier told me of the four rowdiest residents of Shady Meadows retirement community. “I had never met Leslie Jordan or Vicki Lawrence before we started working together, but I’ve always been a big fan of their work. Leslie is one of the funniest dudes I’ve ever worked with. I had actually met Martin Mull when I was in high school and I’ve been a fan of his as a musician, a comedian, an actor and a painter ever since.”

Grier describes his character Hank as “an old cranky guy.”

“Hank is the kind of guy I used to be scared of when I was a kid, but deep down, he’s a pretty nice guy. He’s a big softie at heart but he’s a cranky dude and that crankiness intensifies with age. We all know people who are perpetually cranky and you have to wonder what they were like as a kid.”

According to Grier, the root of Hank’s crankiness is probably connected to his wife having left him for a retired football player.

“That has a lot to do with it, but I think we’re going to see Hank’s wife before too long. I don’t know who my wife is just yet but I’m pretty sure she’s coming back pretty soon to toy with Hank,” he said.

A multi-camera show, “The Cool Kids” is shot before a live studio audience. Grier says a good audience can energize the performers onstage while also letting them know when something isn’t working.

“A good audience can feed you and they can help you,” he said, “I remember when we were doing ‘The Carmichael Show,’ the writers came up with a joke about President Obama. After we did the joke the first time, the audience told us we had to change the joke. When you’re doing the joke in the writers’ room, it’s not an honest response because everyone in the room has a vested interest in that joke either bombing or killing. The audience will let you know if it works.”

The episode of “The Cool Kids” scheduled for Nov. 2 at 8:30 p.m. is titled “The Cool Kids Rig an Election.”

“This is probably our most political episode,” said Grier. “We’re trying to rig a local election for the leaders of Shady Meadows so that we can do more activities that we want to do. Stuff like … sitting around and watching TV (laughs). The other guy who tries to take the election wants us to do stuff like go bicycle riding and hiking. We’re lazy. We don’t want to do that.”

According to Grier, the cast of “The Cool Kids” shoot multiple versions of scenes with different jokes in each.

“We’ll toss one out and try another one until we have the funniest version of that scene. You get a chance to stop, go back and really hone it. We’ve had some pretty funny outtakes and once we get started, it’s hard to get back but we’re usually pretty good.”

On Oct. 19, Fox ordered nine additional episodes of “The Cool Kids,” bringing the first season total to 22 episodes.

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