On the pod, the guys revisit The Nightman Cometh from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 4, Episode 13 with special guests, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Cormac Bluestone.
Charlie Day: [whistles]
Megan Ganz: See, you got one.
Charlie: I do the like musical theater-y sounding phrasings, like that's very like Sondheim-y I think.
Megan: What? Which is?
Charlie: Like this little chord. I-I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if enough about music to know. But I feel like this is like [sings] I saw him in the woods.
Megan: Oh, yeah [laughs]
Charlie: [sings] Standing alone in the woods. Yeah. Did he see you, Carol? No.
Charlie: [sings] I tried to look his way but he turned and said good bye. Oh, I'm sure we'll meet again one day. But how? Maybe I will pass him on the subway, and he'll look my way. But he's blind. Maybe he can smell me or he'll sense me, but also lost his nose in the war. Then he'll rub up, and he'll feel me. But he lost his sense of feel.
Megan: See. It ain’t that hard.
Charlie: [sings] Come one, come on to a beautiful show. Gonna be awesome and some other stuff. Dee dee dee dee doo dee dee dee doo dee dee doo. Some other musical stuff.
Rob McElhenney: And now who are you?
Cormac Bluestone: Who am I?
Glenn Howerton: Have we started?
Rob: We have a guy, uh-
Glenn: We have a guy here.
Charlie: There's a guy here.
Rob: We have a guy here. Now he-he's-
Glenn: That's Jimmy Doyle.
Rob: -Jimmy Doyle from Season 1.
Cormac: That’s right.
Charlie: And Season--
Glenn: Oh, yeah.
Charlie: Eight? For The High School Reunion?
Glenn: Is that-- Was that what it was? Seven, it was seven.
Cormac: It was seven? Frank's Little Beauties.
Charlie: 'Cause Mac was fat.
Glenn: Can we- can we see Cormac's face or is his mic too high? I want to make sure we're getting all that - that beautiful mug there.
Megan: Yeah. There you go.
Glenn: There we go.
Megan: You got it.
Cormac: I'm Cormac Bluestone and, uh-
Charlie: Yeah. Resident composer of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Charlie: Long-time pal.
Cormac: I'm so excited to be here.
Megan: Oh, good.
Cormac: I-I just gotta say that. I'm so excited to finally meet you.
Megan: Uh-- Me?
Cormac: Yeah, you.
Cormac: Uh, and I just-- you know it's just-- I-I never thought that I'd be in the room with, like, the three of you again, just like with the pandemic and everything, and so much has changed. So--
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Glenn: Yeah. Yeah.
Rob: You'd never thought we'd be in a room together again?
Charlie: Fatalistic thinking.
Cormac I-I think one of us was gonna perish. Yeah.
Charlie: Fatalistic thinking.
Rob: One of us was going to perish?
Charlie: Fatalistic thinking. [crosstalk]
Cormac: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I-I don't want to say who, but, uh, their odds were laid, odds were laid. That's [crosstalk]
Rob: We've established it wouldn't be Charlie 'cause he's the healthiest of all of us.
Glenn: Well, now, did we?
Charlie: We did, we did. I won outright.
?Cormac You won.
Glenn: You did. We didn't
Charlie: I won in the sense that you win the competition and get all the points. We are here today to talk about The Nightman Cometh.
Megan: Yes, we are.
Charlie: Which I had forgotten until this morning. I was like, "Oh right. I should watch it".
Glenn: Me, too. I did the same thing. I'd forgotten and I was like, "Oh shit, I need to--"
Charlie: Uh, and I have to say I thought I just knew it all. I was like "Well, I know it so well". But there were lots of surprises in there. Again, I think one of the best episodes we've done. I think fans have reacted to it in that way.
Megan: Let me give just a little information about it just so you know, um, of course, everybody knows [crosstalk]
Rob: There is a structure. We do have [crosstalk]
Megan: We do have a tiny bit of structure.
Rob: We-we forget about it, but there is structure-
Rob: -to the podcast-
Rob: -now Megan has insisted.
Cormac: You do such a good job on this thing.
Cormac: I don't know what the [crosstalk]
Glenn: Don't kiss her ass. Don't kiss her ass, man. [crosstalk]
Rob: Don't-don't come on here and get-get her head.
Megan: I really appreciate that.
Rob: It's already hard to get her head through the door.
Megan: Okay. Well, uh, The Nightman Cometh is Season 4 Episode 13. It aired on November 20th, 2008, which means next year around this time it'll be 15 years since it aired. Uh, it was written by Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, and directed by Matt Shakman.
Charlie: Oh yeah.
Megan: And music composed by Cormac Bluestone.
Cormac: And Charlie Day.
Rob: In so many ways it feels like it was yesterday. I feel like we just shot that. I have so many memories of shooting that episode-
Rob: -and it was 15 years ago.
Charlie: But I want to talk about how that thing begins unless you guys have got something else you want to put on the table.
Glenn: How the episode begins-
Glenn: -or-or how we conceived of it?
Charlie: Both 'cause they're connected. Uh--
Glenn: Yes. Yes they are.
Charlie: The way the episode begins, you know, I'm in the, uh- in the back room and you hear me start singing this song [sings] Come on, come all, for a--
Megan: To a beautiful show.
Charlie: To a beautiful show. It's gonna be-
Rob: Awesome and [crosstalk] stuff
Charlie: -awesome and some other stuff. Dee dee dee dee doo dee dee dee doo dee dee doo. Some other musical stuff. And then you guys are icing me out. And then it's a whole conversation of why would you write a musical just to write a musical? Who is it against? What's the, uh-- Who's the mark? And, of course ultimately, there is an ulterior motive in the episode. But that came out of the fact-- Do you guys remember when we-
Glenn: Oh, yeah.
Charlie: -trying to break this episode?
Glenn: Oh, we had a whole-- there's a whole other storyline that got broken that we decided to [crosstalk]
Charlie: Yeah. At one point, we were kicking around like they were trying to like break into a bank or something for a specific reason, and the musical was a distraction while they were-
Charlie: -jumping back and forth doing this other thing.
Glenn: The other version of it was that there was a rival bar. There was a bar that-that-that we had some kind of a prank war thing-
Charlie: That's what it was. That's what it was.
Glenn: -going with. And they had pulled some kind of a prank on us, and we were gonna pull the ultimate prank by-- but we needed them outta their bar. And in order to do that, we-we created a musical and that we were all in the musical-
Glenn: -because that would prove that like we couldn't have done what they're saying we did because we were all on stage. And then we were gonna do a whole thing where like whenever any-- someone was off stage, they'd be going over to the rival bar to like. So that was the ulterior motive. And then-- and-and we were sort of obsessed with this idea of like, "Well, we can't just do a musical for no reason." Like-
Charlie: Yeah, right.
Glenn: There's gotta be some other reason-
Glenn: -why we're doing it. So then we just decided, "Well-well, let's just write that in. Let's just make that-
Glenn: -the thing. Ju-just like lean into it.
Cormac: I-I never knew that about what that other story. But, uh, just like as I've been thinking about this episode, so many things like fold in on itself because I don't know if you guys remember when we did the tour of Nightman Cometh, we showed an episode during that tour.
Cormac: And it was the gang reignites the rivalry, which-
Cormac: -sounds like that storyline.
Charlie: Oh, that' interesting.
Glenn: Yeah. You're-- Wow, I never put that together.
Glenn: I never thought about that because I do think that we had always had this thing in mind of like, "We should have some kind of a rivalry with like a younger bar," you know?
Glenn: And, yeah, I never put that together that-that was--
Megan: No storyline gets wasted. They all get done, eventually.
Rob: No. No. [crosstalk] It gets pitched one season, it goes on a card-
Rob: -and likeit comes out eventually.
Glenn: It gets recycled. Yeah.
Charlie: We'll get around to it eventually.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Charlie: I was, um, delighted with all the rehearsal scenes before the play. So, I think what I really remembered from the episode was the play and the performance. But the rehearsals was like--
Glenn: Yeah, because we changed a lot of it. I think what's probably seared into our memories more than anything is the live shows because that's the most recent-
Glenn: -stuff that we did even though it wasn't that far removed from shooting the episode. You know, we-we had-- There was a whole song, uh, there's a whole, uh, Nightman song-
Glenn: -that, uh, we had to cut from the episode because the episode was just too long. We had to lose some-
Glenn: -stuff that, uh, made its way into the live show.
Rob: Uh, It's Nature, Shit Happens.
Charlie: It's Nature, Shit Happens.
Cormac: [crosstalk] got cut as well-
Rob: My song.
Cormac: -uh, Troll in My Hole.
Glenn: Oh, right. There was a-- Right, right, right. There was a whole thing at the end where [crosstalk]-
Cormac: No, we, uh--
Glenn: -the transformation or--
Cormac: We wrote that song for the tour 'cause we just felt we were short when we first had to perform at the Troubadour.
Charlie: Oh, oh, we [crosstalk]
Glenn: Oh, the first song.
Cormac: But you also had the song you d-- It's the opening song.
Glenn: The opening song. Right. Where I'm like- where I'm-- He's like spinning around.
Cormac: You like find you voice in it, like you jump up this, uh, "I got a troll in my hole."
Glenn: Oh, right, right, right.
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Rob: Yeah, if we could fi- if we could find those.
Glenn: [sings] I got a troll in my hole.
Troll: That's right.
Glenn: My hole of an apartment.
Troll: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [sings] I control your soul. That's my department.
Glenn: Everywhere there's troll living-
Troll: That's right, troll-
Glenn: -living in your hole.
Troll: Right up your hole there,
Glenn: -making you eat their moles, make you scrub their fat rolls,
Troll: Scrub their balls,
Glenn: And all of this and more.
Glenn: I got a troll in my hole.
Troll: He's got a troll in his hole.
Glenn: I got a troll in my hole, my hole of an apartment,
Troll: I control your soul, that's my department,
Glenn: Everywhere there's trolls living, living in your shit hole where they get to eat their moles, make you rub their fat rolls-
Troll: Make you scrub their holes.
Glenn: -this and more.
Troll: He's got a troll in his hole.
Glenn: I would love to hear from your perspective, like what- what your journey was for the-- like, what was the first time we contacted you? What was the first piece of information you were given? Did we give you a script?
Charlie: Had you written music before our show-- before this episode?
Megan: Never had written music.
Glenn: Wait, what?
Cormac: I'd never written-- I'd never watched TV before.
Charlie: No, but you hadn't written music for Sunny before that.
?Glenn: I'd never picked a guitar.
Cormac: Yeah. I'd never written for Sunny. It was my first thing and, uh, I--
Glenn: You'd written music, I mean, you-you--
Cormac: Oh, yeah.
Glenn: I was gonna say--
Cormac: I-I was totally writing musical theater.
Cormac: And Charlie came to a show, I'd been doing a show in y-- for years in New York. And when I moved to LA, I brought kind of the best of it. And Charlie saw the show and he was like, uh-- it was, you know, Bar Hoppers,
Cormac: And you're like-
Glenn: Is that before you knew each other?
Cormac: No, this is--
Glenn: Oh, okay.
Cormac: We knew each other. This was in LA-
Cormac: -like at the St. Nick's pub.
Glenn: Oh my God. St. Nick's.
Rob: St. Nick's.
Cormac: And, uh, Charlie after the show was like, "Oh, that was really good. You know, we're about to do this musical episode." We were [laughs] I don't-- You did not meet it this way, but you're like, "We were gonna hire a professional, but we should hire you."
Cormac: And, uh--
Rob: That sounds like something Charlie would say.
Glenn: It does.
Charlie: No, bullshit.
Rob: Yeah. Yes.
Glenn: He-he would say it-- You- you he would say it in a different way.
Rob: You-- Yeah, that is something-
Charlie: You don't think I would have a sensitivity to know? Like, you-you-
Glenn: I got--
Charlie: -heard that wrong.
Glenn: I think if you-- I think you would word it- you would word it differently.
Charlie: Come on.
Glenn: But it is one of those things.
Cormac: He did not mean it that-- You know, because I knew you-- I think you guys had written the script. You were in pre-production for it. And, uh, you talked to these two and, uh, you sent me a script. And, uh, you're like, "Come in tomorrow, come into Fox, and we'll sit down and go through everything." And I was like, okay, "I gotta take my shot." I wrote drafts of all the music and then I came in and I recorded it on a CD. And then you and me sat in a room for, I don't know, four or five hours and kind of took all our ideas and matched them together.
Charlie: I think I had like loose versions of some of the songs.
Cormac: You had really strong ideas. Like-like, I listened to them, I'm like, "This was all Charl--" like little boy, tiny boy, little boy. You were like, "Oh, it's gotta be Sondheim-y." I was like, "It needs a little form."
Glenn: Well, how do you guys- how do you guys know each other?
Charlie: Uh, Williamstown, uh, summer of 1997.
Glenn: Where all of your friends come from?
Charlie: Where all my friends come from. Yeah. It's-
Cormac: We met--
Charlie: -two-two apprentices and-- Yeah.
Cormac: And Hornsby was there that same summer--
Cormac: Three of us.
Charlie: Uh, yeah.
Charlie: Um, and then right after, uh, like when I first moved to the city, I had an apartment on my own for a year, and then with a- with another buddy. And then the year after I lived on Cormac's floor for, uh, as long as I possibly could until he got rid of me. Uh--
Cormac: I was like, "Get out."
Glenn: It seems like there was a lot of that with you two in the old days.
Charlie: Well, it was a studio apartment-
Charlie: -too. It was like a room and-
Glenn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Charlie: -a bathroom.
Charlie: And, uh, so this dude in a sleeping bag on a wood floor.
Charlie: Cormac, we did a lot of jamming out, a lot of writing funny songs together.
Cormac: I've played, we-we played a lot of music together. We played a lot.
Charlie: Yeah. We played a lot of music together. So, yeah, when we were doing it, I-I'm sure in my mind I was like, "Yeah, if Cormac wants to come on and help sort of arrange these in a way that--" like, I have a limitation. Like, I can do some chords and be like, "Here's a melody. Now-
Glenn: What are the--
Charlie: -what are the nine other parts doing?"
Glenn: Do you remember like, you know, in terms of the-the songs and what they were about and some of the lyrics, I mean, we were involved in some of that, right? Like in the-- because it was--
Charlie: Sure. [crosstalk]
Glenn: Because we were writing the episode together. So-- But-but I don't remember how much, how involved we-- Rob and I were in the- in the conceiving of the lyrics of the songs. I don't know if we--
Charlie: I don't remember any of that because I would imagine a lot cause it's all tied in, right? Like, I mean, there's the dialogue backstage about like-
Charlie: -you know, you're going for gasp and that's all-- I think that-that was all scripted.
Glenn: Yeah, we-we-- I remember talking about the-the subjects of the songs. And then they would go off and--
Glenn: I remember, uh, us-
Glenn: -ta-- coming up with and talking about, just to be clear.
Rob: Yeah. Well, we were trying to figure out what-what-
Rob: -would be a fun song for Dee.
Rob: And coming off that-
Rob: -yeah, she would just write-- just [crosstalk]
Glenn: Yeah, just literally write it.
Rob: Which I definitely remember also, um, a few years later, the bird, that's- that's how the Birds of War was, it's the same idea, which is-
Rob: -do a song and then make the song about clarifying what the song is actually about.
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Glenn: Yes. Clarifying what you mean by the song.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]
Megan: That song I love. And also in a similar vein, the very first song that Charlie was referring to that he comes out singing, um, come one, come all to a beautiful show.
Megan: Was that scripted or was that just you making that-that song--
Charlie: I don't think that was scripted, come one, come all to a beautiful show. Uh--
Rob: I-I think the script was you came out and said, "I wrote a musical."
Charlie: Yeah, I think so.
Charlie: I think that was like [crosstalk] we need something more--
Glenn: And, yeah, I think that's on the day you felt like it needed more pizzazz-
Charlie: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah. Yeah.
Glenn: -so to speak. Yeah, and so you-you just like, "Yeah, that's right."
Charlie: Well, what can we do here? Uh, but, um, a-a couple things. Wait, uh, I'm eating because I'm uncomfortable.
Charlie: Is that an improv? Uh, that was an improv, right? Or was that scripted? That's like my favorite line. Like--
Rob: There's a lot of baby Snickers stuff in there. What [crosstalk]
Glenn: Yeah, there was--
Charlie: There was a baby Snicker run.
Glenn: But I don't know if that was in the li-- just in the live show or there was a baby Snickers run in the episode that we cut.
Rob: Yeah, there-there's a lot in the episode I was watching last night that I thought- I thought was-- I thought there was more in the episode than actually is.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Rob: And a lot of it, we cut out and put into gag reels. A lot of it was just in the live show. And so we have this hazy memory of what the-
Rob: -episode was and it wasn't.
Charlie: One-one of the things I love is just how straight all those rehearsal scenes are played.
Charlie: Now, I'm obviously bouncing off the walls, but not in a comedic way, in a just like purely angry way.
Charlie: Like-- And you guys, it's all very natural and very small.
Glenn: Yeah, I-I like that, too. Yeah, we-we all are-are all like we're not playing it for laughs, it's like a genuine confusion about the boy soul thing-
Glenn: -and whether the- whether the scene is about a rape and--
Glenn: You know, like it's all-- yeah, it's all played very grounded.
Megan: Yeah. Dennis, can you take a five? Just a little detail of how you're holding your hand when you're doing that feel so specific. I'd like you to take a five.
Charlie: Would you take five?
Glenn: I don't know why-
Glenn: -but I remember- I remember -- working on that. There were so many different versions of that where we just kept going back and forth. It's like a five and-and it would be a five.
Charlie: But the idea of [crosstalk] take a five is funny.
Glenn: A five only?
Glenn: Yeah. I-- [chuckles]
Charlie: All five.
Glenn: A-all five?
Charlie: Yeah, yeah. Please be gone for five.
Glenn: Those-- The five of the minutes.
Megan: There's so many specifics there in those rehearsal scenes though that feel like they're taken from, you know, like the kind of people that you meet in-
Megan: -small town theatre like that type.
Megan: Like, "Please-- Artemis, please do not speak to the talent." Also, I love abo--
Glenn: That's what it was.
Megan: -detail about Artemis, when you say, "I could have Artemis do the song," and her head pops up.
Charlie: And her head pumps up. Because she--
Megan: And she is so ready to do it.
Charlie: Yeah, just that look, you know, she's dying to be in the play.
Glenn: No, you-- That was- that was a big impetus behind wanting to do this episode, was wanting to mess around with the dynamics of community theater, like having all-
Glenn: -come from theater. We were like, "Let's-let's do a thing where we get to insert some of the things that we remember from the sort of the corniness of like--" I-I remember that's where the gum bit came from, too. We're like, "Are you-are you chewing gum?" And it's like, "He said, no gum."
Charlie: Yeah. He said no gum.
Glenn: You know what I mean? Like the teacher's pet was always like-
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Glenn: -he said- Yeah, no, he said no gum.
Charlie: He said no gum. He said no gum--
Glenn: Yeah. Yeah.
Charlie: Also, um-- Those were often done with just someone playing a piano. Like, that was-- there was no like orchestras.
Charlie: And the woman that we got--
Charlie: -who plays-- Gladys was--
Glenn: Who then Dennis recruited to play his grandmother in D.E.N.N.I.S. System. Same actress.
Charlie: Oh, yeah. Yeah. But the-- She came on and just started improving and just talking about-
Charlie: -whatever she was saying and--
Glenn: It's in the bloopers.
Charlie: It was unbelievable.
Rob: She was just [crosstalk].
Glenn: That-that-that scene in the bloopers--
Megan: I have those bloopers. If you guys wanna watch those.
Rob: We should watch those. Those are always just fun.
Charlie: This is Gladys. She's going to be playing the piano instead of me tonight.
Gladys: Yes. And I will live through the Coolidge administration. And I never thought that I would ever be at my 99 years of age being with such beautiful people.
Charlie: We're good. I love that. All right. Now she knows all the songs. Everything's fine.
Dee: Why? Why?
Charlie: There's a little last-minute ditty that happens, okay? And so, Gladys, can you just get out there and get us started, please?
Gladys: I'll try.
Charlie: Yeah, well, don't try, just do. Okay. You've been snipping at me all morning and you've been-- you told me the cool story like a hundred times.
Gladys: Quiet down.
Artemis: Come on girl [crosstalk]
Glenn: Quiet down. Oh, come on. I can't do this.
Glenn: Trying to stay in it.
Gladys: Oh. I've been through the Coolidge administration, but I never thought it my 99 years of age, I would be with such beautiful people.
Charlie: Okay. Glad-- We-we don't have time for like--
Gladys: Well, take time.
Charlie: Well, don't snip at me. You've been snipping at me all-- No—Don’t give me the shush. Don’t you give me the shush.
Glenn: Look how much fun she's having.
Charlie: Yeah, she's amazing.
Glenn: Oh, what a delight.
Megan: That is, uh-
Charlie: What an absolute delight she was.
Megan: -Mae Laborde.
Glenn: Mae, yes.
Charlie: She played Gladys. She was born on May 13th, 1909-
Megan: -and she started her acting career at the age of 93.
Charlie: And the-the absolute pinnacles is her flipping through the pages when Dee sings her own song and saying, "What is happening?"
Gladys: What is happening?
Glenn: Best delivery of one of our most iconic lines that we've written into a thousand episodes, "What is happening," it's our favorite line to write for a guest star.
Charlie: It is our favorite line if we can--
Glenn: And she-- no one has ever delivered it better than she did-
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Glenn: -I don't think, no.
Charlie: Tip of the iceberg. Um, she was amazing. Descending on a sun, I stole that from Sweet and Lowdown where Sean Penn descends on a moon and is a great sequence-
Charlie: -where, you know, he-he wants to-- you know, he's making this big deal about like he’s gonna descend on this moon, and then he gets like-- He-he's really proud of it. And then the stagehand comes by, and he's like, "That's a hell of a drop. Man could break his neck." You know, and then he gets like nervous and his-- he-- descend is so like-- But I-I was watching that 'cause I couldn't remember if we-- if I did drop down or if I didn't.
Cormac: You did.
Rob: We cut away, but we like cut away and we cut that in your [crosstalk]
Charlie: We cut away so quick. Yeah. But I--
Cormac: I know that we did--
Charlie: Coming down on-
Glenn: Yeah. Yeah.
Charlie: -you see it for like half a shot.
Cormac: I think you're strapped to it. So you had to cut [crosstalk]
Glenn: To unstrap.
Charlie: Yeah, right. Right.
Cormac: You'd get unstrapped and then come off.
Charlie: Yeah. That's what it was, a technical thing. So, I remember there was a big debate about, uh, whether we would sing this live while recording it, or we would lip-
Charlie: -sync to pre-recorded versions of the song.
Cormac: That was one of my first things. I think I said when I came on because I had so much experience and stuff, I was like, "We gotta do it live," and it was so funny when we did it. Uh, it-- it's just so much harder to do it live. No one ever does it. Our playback guy on the episode--
Glenn: "You gotta have a click track. You gotta have--" Like-
Cormac: Those-- Yeah.
Glenn: -you gotta make sure that the rhythm is the same in every take.
Cormac: Those new pieces are really expensive, too.
Charlie: It's tough editing-wise.
Cormac: The playback guy, he had a couple Emmys. He did like the Scrubs musical, the Drew Carey musical. And he kept saying to me, "What are you guys doing? You do the pre-records, and you lip sync. This is ridiculous." So during editing, I was getting calls like, "They don't know what to do with any of this. How does this all go together?" Blah-blah-blah.
Glenn: What we cut together was a mixture--
Glenn: of-of us singing live when we were filming. And the pre-recorded stuff, as I recall, we-we-we-we spent a tremendous amount of time while the mixer -
Cormac: They built like a little booth.
Glenn: -spent a tremendous amount of time. Like-- Yeah.
Glenn: [crosstalk] time.
Charlie: But the-the-the live performance aspect of it is what makes it so funny. Like, if it was polished-
Charlie: -it wouldn't be funny. It's the fact that it's unpolished and, you know, people are singing off key and like, uh--
Rob: And those musicals that you're talking about, the episode itself becomes a musical-
Rob: -versus-- right. So like Scrubs, for example.
Rob: And you'd need that to be polished. And we've done versions of that on this particular show, but this where you're putting on a performance, you have to do it live.
Cormac: I-I think almost every single--
Charlie: Otherwise, it seems- it seems we're recording live.
Glenn: Well, the-- I think these were the exact conversations we were having.
Rob: Why we don't write.
Charlie: See, that's why we don’t hire a professional. You know what I mean?
Glenn: That's right.
Rob: Have you figured out that first Christmas present yet? Well look no further than down. That's right down there at your underwear.
Glenn: Are you telling us to give people our underwear as a gift 'cause that seems--
Rob: No, I'm saying get-get them a new pair from me MeUndies.
Charlie: Could I give some of my current undies if they are MeUndies?
Rob: Why-why-why would you even ask that?
Charlie: Well, uh, because of my experience. MeUndies are the absolute snuggliest, most comfortable undies in the game. Maybe I'm sporting a pair the recipient doesn't have yet, right?
Megan: I don't think that they'll want your old undies once they get their MeUndies. Um, plus MeUndies holiday collection also has bralettes, and PJ sets, holiday sweater prints, classic plaids for dads, and the softest loungewear ever in sizes XS through XL.
Glenn: What if I am the recipient?
Charlie: Well, Glenn, this year you're in luck because MeUndies is encouraging you to do holiday your way. And if your way is gifting yourself to bunch of underwear, more power to you. Just dispose of your old underwear responsibly.
Charlie: Okay, Glenn, we'll talk about--
Glenn Mm. What does that mean?
Rob: Sell it on eBay.
Charlie: To get 20% off your first order free shipping and 100% satisfaction guarantee, go to meundies.com/sunny. That's meundies.com/sunny.
Glenn Guys, I have an announcement.
Rob: He's got an announcement. Glenn's got an announcement.
Glenn It's a medical announcement from our friends at Raycon. Do you or a loved one suffer from chew volume anxiety, CVA?
Charlie: It's a very serious condition that does not get talked about enough but deserves to be, especially with the holidays coming up.
Rob: When you want to block out the sound of annoying relatives chewing their food or chewing your head off about your life choices, we here at the Always Sunny Podcast recommend that you drown them right out with a sporty new pair of Raycon wireless earbuds.
Charlie: Plus you, as the gift giver, will love that they start at half the price of other premium audio brands. So go ahead, take a look at the holiday bundles for the fitness lover or gamer or CVA sufferer in your life.
Glenn Which you can find in Coles or Walmart.
Charlie: Yeah, but why not try, uh, you know, just buying 'em from us, uh, your trusty friends. So, uh, right now you can go to buyraycon.com/sunny to get 20% off. Or you could, uh- you could save even bigger and get 30% off Raycon's exclusive holiday bundles.
Rob: That's buyraycon.com/sunny for 20% off your Raycon purchase, buyraycon.com/sunny.
Charlie: My little black sailor's cap that I wear is a homage to, uh, when I was in college, and I decided I wanna start doing plays. There was a theater club, not a program. There's like a club, and they did plays in like a church basement. And the guy who ran it was a guy named Tom Kirkman. And uh, he, uh- he like he used to be a priest, but he wasn't priest anymore. And, uh, or maybe he still was, I don't know. But, um, lovely guy. I really appreciate him putting me in plays and-and, you know, uh-- But he always wore like a little sailor's cap, like that was like-
Charlie: -his thing. And he wore boots and he would go-- he would breathe through his teeth, like after rehearsal, and he would go, "That was awesome. Magic," you know. And like, that was his style. Anyway, it's not-- Story fizzles out, but a little-a little tip to old Tom Kirkman. So I owe him a debt of gratitude.
Glenn: I like that.
Cormac: How about Troll Toll? Where did that come from?
Charlie: Well, both Troll Toll and Tiny Baby Boy came a little bit from the musical I used to do with Hornsby, Paperboy. Uh, so up at Williamstown Hornsby and I used to improve this musical about a paperboy who moves to the city.
Cormac: Oh, yeah. I remember this.
Charlie: And Tiny Boy was loosely based on a song called like Happy Thoughts that he and his, or kind of funny thoughts. He like starts-- He gets a girlfriend, and he's having kind of funny thoughts, and then the song gets darker and darker where they're like, you know, like, "Maybe we could also get a ski mask and rob a bank," and kind of funny thoughts, you know, and they're like, "We-we-we'll shoot the clerk." They're like, "Yeah, let's shoot the clerk." And, you know, uh, is playing against like a sweet song. And then Troll Toll was same like, uh, where he-- Jimmy the paperboy winds up in a bad part of town and he's just like, "Oh, it's homeless people
Megan: Who, uh, was the first one who realized that hole and soul-- when boy's hole and boys soul, who-who put that together first?
Charlie: That soul and hole sound..
Glenn: I-I think-- I-I remember us talking about that in the writer's room for sure. That was definitely something that-
Glenn: -uh, that was like a big laugh in the-
Glenn: -in the writer's room.
Rob: Seems like a Marder and Rosell
Cormac: That is such a funny one. I mean that-- I mean I, uh-- You watch this episode, it's like one of those episodes you're like, "This is from that episode. This is from that episode."
Cormac: "This is from--" It's just like wall to wall, the jokes-
Cormac: -um, the song's musicals great. But like, there's just so much from this episode.
Rob: The audience that we had in there, I believe we discussed this before.
Cormac: Oh my God, they--
Rob: Who-who was that audience? Wasn't an audience of people who had no-- They'd never heard of the show, seen the show. They thought maybe they were there to watch a play.
Glenn: An actual play.
Rob: I don't know. But we--I don't think we warned them. We just did it. And I think there was a lot of confusion.
Rob: A lot of confusion. Nobody found it funny.
Rob: They were being forced to laugh.
Megan: Imagine if you had no context for what it was that you were about to watch-
Megan: -and then all of a sudden, um, that was the play that was presented to you.
Rob: I think we did run it from start to finish, right.
Charlie: We did.
Glenn: Yes. Over and over.
Rob: So we just- we just performed the play. And then it is what it is. And then we did pickups later.
Glenn: And we shot it like-like a live show basically.
Glenn: And then we went in for coverage-
Glenn: -and shot each moment and each scene like we-
Megan: I feel that.
Glenn: -would a normal episode-
Cormac: That was all Shakman.
Glenn: -as I recall.
Rob: Those cat eyes, I-- you can't see a god damn thing. You can't see.
Glenn: Yeah. And the live show, you just painted your eye lids.
Rob: That's right because you can't see what those cat eyes.
Rob: You can't see anything. And they-they-they're-
Rob: -just scratching your eyes. Oh, they hurt.
Cormac: You can see through them?
Rob: So you-- they give you just a tiny little eye hole so you can kind of get this out. But really it just feels like-
Glenn: Moving around. So--
Rob: -there's some thing scra-- Yeah, it moves around, and it feels like it's just scratching your eye the whole time.
Cormac: So I remember when we did Troll Toll, I-I'd written this like little baseline that you came in with and you're like [makes sound]. And you have to talk and snap at the same time and I remember--
Rob: [crosstalk] that.
Glenn: Dud, you're-you're struggling with that, I remember.
Rob: Oh, I'm sure. Talk and snap.
Glenn: Well, also you-you wanted him to snap, [makes sound]
Cormac: Yes and I was like, in between--
Glenn: And you were doing [makes sound]
Rob: But what's so great about Cormac is he's so patient. He's-
Rob: -so patient. So for an hour I-I'm-I'm trying to do this thing and he's like, "You're doing great-you're doing great." There's no way I'm doing great after an hour. And Glenn's just like, "Jesus Christ, man."
Cormac: Well, that's so funny because I remember every time that song would start, I'd be off stage like going really big-
Rob: Yeah. Yeah. You know--
Cormac: -to help you out.
Megan: But you're stage momming him. That's great.
Rob: Yeah, stage mom.
Cormac: Well, here I am, 14 years later I realized you couldn't see me. I'm just like doing this for the crew. I-I--
Rob: No, but just knowing you were there made me feel better.
Charlie: Also, you-you-you had to write like-- Uh, that's so funny. I remember you writing that whole [makes sound] And then-then you had to do a very specific thing just to get Danny into the song, which was like [makes sound] Like, "Here it is. Coming your-- Time to start singing."
Glenn: Do you remember that? Yeah. 'Cause he never knew when to come in.
Cormac: Well, I remember, I'd written like a draft of Troll Toll. It was this loungey thing and you're like, "No, no, no, it's gotta be like [makes sound]." You like-- And I was like, "Oh yeah, we're doing this for Danny." And I was like, "Oh, it's like little blues thing." And of course it just put all the onus on Danny. Like-like so many of the songs are just lyric, lyric, lyric, lyric, lyric, lyric, lyric. You know, it's just like jam packed wall to wall. Uh, but yeah, he-- uh, on the tour, every night, he would hit that. But we'd ha-- the whole band, like just guys four and everyone just go, "One, two, three."
Charlie: You gotta do the whole song.
Megan: Well I wanna get into all the music 'cause-- as-as you pointed out, Cormac, this-- there's so much in this episode to get to. And, um, to that end, I was really nervous that I wouldn't ask all the questions that like a big fan of this episode, uh, would ask.
Megan: So you guys ready for the super fan to ask you all his questions?
Glenn: Yeah. I'm excited.
Cormac: You're gonna have to sing the songs, though.
Megan: Okay. All right, uh, we'll just bring out our-our super-fan, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Charlie: Whoa, are you kidding-
Rob: And here he is.
Lin-Manuel Miranda: Hi.
Glenn: Nice to meet you.
Charlie: Are you kidding me?
Lin-Manuel: Hey, buddy.
Glenn: Oh, man. Wow.
Glenn: Wow. Holy shit.
Charlie: How are you?
Lin-Manuel: I'm good.
Glenn: What a treat.
Lin-Manuel: [unintelligible 00:30:21]
Charlie: Are you familiar with musicals, with the-
Lin-Manuel: Oh my goodness-
Charlie: Do you have any sort of sense of how to write a-
Lin-Manuel: Long time, first time. Happy to be here. Um, yes, I love this episode. Um, and I have so many questions. I'm so glad we have the composer here, too.
Charlie: Wait, we have to talk about you for a minute.
Lin-Manuel: No, we don’t, really.
Charlie: Uh, I have to talk about-
Lin-Manuel: Oh, okay.
Charlie: -you for a minute. Uh, so I saw Hamilton-- We were talking about Hamilton yesterday?
Glenn: Yes, we were.
Rob: It was so exciting we were talking about it yesterday and I was looking over at-
Megan: We were.
Rob: -Meg and was like, "Oh, this is gonna be so good."
Glenn: Oh, you gu-you guys knew, so-
Megan: In the writers' room-
Glenn: -I didn't know-- Yeah, I had no idea you were gonna be here.
Charlie: And I was-
Charlie: -saying like-like if you didn't see it without Lin-Manuel playing, you didn't see the musical-
Charlie: -and so I'm there, we're in New York, and we're watching the play. And like I'm looking at-at you and you're like performing. I'm like, "I feel like this dude's looking right at me," but I'm like, "He can't- he can't- he can't see me."
Rob: "Can't see me."
Charlie: "He can't see me."
Lin-Manuel: No, I took my cat eye lenses out.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah. I-- Cat eye out, man. And then when, uh, it came time for the bow, you were doing the bow, and the whole place going nuts. I was blown away, as-- of course, and you-you point at me and Mary Elizabeth and you go, "Holy shit, Charlie and the waitress."
Glenn: Yeah, you said it during-- He said it-
Lin-Manuel: I like said it in the bows like on stage looking for everybody else.
Charlie: And I was like-
Lin-Manuel: Like there's 13-
Charlie: -what is [crosstalk]
Lin-Manuel: -1,400 other people there and on my way I was like, "Oh, Charlie and the waitress."
Glenn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: From on stage.
Charlie: Dude, you left. And then we went backstage and we saw you and you were amazing. And-and, uh, you left Jon Bon Jovi waiting. That guy had to wait. That's like-
Glenn: Bovine Joni?
Megan: Mr. Bovine Joni.
Rob: Bovine Joni had to wait.
Charlie: Bovine Joni just sitting in the wings.
Glenn: Bovine Joni had to sit and wait his turn.
Lin-Manuel: Was he there that night?
Charlie: I think that's who it was, yeah.
Glenn: "Wait your turn, Bovine."
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Charlie: Fucking Obama, everyone had to wait.
Lin-Manuel: If I had more presence of mind, I would have turned to you and said, [sings] "I was that baby boy-
Charlie: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: -that little baby boy was me."
Rob: [sings] I once was a man.
Glenn: So that's how you guys met?
Rob: So are you saying that we've-
Charlie: You guys [crosstalk]
Rob: -inspired you? I think-
Charlie: We inspired him.
Rob: -is what we're getting to.
Charlie: That's where Hamilton--
Rob: Is that right?
Megan: He had never heard of musicals before.
Lin-Manuel: It's-it's-it's the snake eating its tail, this episode right now.
Lin-Manuel: I came to thank you for all--
Glenn: All the inspiration, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: Yes, indeed.
Megan: Well, uh, the nice thing about you being here, Lin, is that you can answer once for all, um, does anyone write a musical for no reason-
Megan: -uh, or is it always versus?
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. It's always versus. What's the con?
Lin-Manuel: The-the long con-
Megan: What's the angle?
Lin-Manuel: -for Hamilton and it was a six-year grift. Um, no, um-
Glenn: Who were you writing that versus?
Lin-Manuel: Who was it versus? I guess-
Glenn: Yeah, right, right, right.
Lin-Manuel: I wanted to ask you guys about your history with theater and musical theater because I know for me it was like that was the place where I found any crust of cool in high school, And it was the place like-- where like I could exist outside my grade. And I could exist like-- I-- you could collaborate on something that that was not just like the drudgery and horror of high school.
Lin-Manuel: And-- uh, so I was wondering, and then s-- you know, you guys have chops. I was watching the live episode on the way here and the hole inside my apartment bonus song where you're just like wailing-
Lin-Manuel: -like Freddie Mercury, like you guys have to have done musicals in school.
Glenn: I did a lot of musicals.
Rob: I thougt--
Lin-Manuel: I wan- I wanna hear the entire biography. Yeah. I wanna hear-- Yeah.
Glenn: I did a bunch of like really random musicals that most people have never heard of. I did a musical called, uh, Starmites.
Lin-Manuel: Oh, wow.
Glenn: Do-do you know this musical?
Lin-Manuel: It's-- That's like a very cult flop musical.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: I don't know it.
Glenn: I did a musical called Celebration, was written by the same, uh-uh, team that wrote, uh, The Fantasticks.
Glenn: Henrik and A Little Night Music.
Lin-Manuel: Oh, shit.
Glenn: Um, that was by far the hardest.
Glenn: Uh, I-I ever-- 'cause I had to- I had to play the cello while singing an extraordinarily difficult song.
Glenn: But I had--
Lin-Manuel: Sondheim’s always the hardest.
Glenn: I was like I was playing the cello along and I was like, "Oh my God."
Glenn: I-- It was- it was- it was crushingly difficult. Um, yeah, there's [crosstalk]
Megan: Harder than, uh, The Nightman Cometh.
Glenn: Much harder than Nightman Cometh.
Lin-Manuel: And-and, Charlie, what's your musical background? Because to me, your musical background, "Oh, these things just make sense to me."-
Charlie: Yeah. Well, okay, so both my parents-
Lin-Manuel: -which is one of the best.
Charlie: Both of my parents are music teachers.
Charlie: My mom taught like kindergarten through eighth grade. And my dad, like, uh, was college professor. And, um, growing up, I remember my mom doing some productions of-of-- she-she put on like H.M.S. Pinafore-
Glenn: Oh wow.
Charlie: -and The Mikado and-
Charlie: -um- and The Wiz. A-and I was too young to be in these things. But I remember like the eighth grade kids were doing these plays. And I would see them, so I was introduced to it. Then in second grade, we did, uh--
Glenn: You say-- Sorry, when you say she put on.
Charlie: She was like the musical director -
Glenn: Got it. Okay.
Charlie: -of the school.
Charlie: So like, you know, she was a music teacher. Like-
Charlie: -you-you-you're going to Mrs. Day's class for kindergarten through eighth grade.
Charlie: So then, uh, I did a-- I did James and the Giant Peach, and we did a musical version and I sang that song like [sings] smile though your heart is breaking or whatever.
Charlie: It was the first time I had to like, sit and do a song. And then I didn't do shit until high school, my senior year, which I did South Pacific.
Glenn: But you were playing- but you were playing music. I mean, you were--
Charlie: Uh, yeah. I-I started like-- I kind of rebelled against it. And then like, once I got into high school, I picked up the guitar, started writing little things. And then--
Glenn: But you started-- That wasn't your first instrument. You-- Were you playing like trumpet or something?
Charlie: Oh, yeah, I had some piano lessons, which I ditched at 10. I played trombone.
Charlie: And then I ditched trombone. And then, uh, I picked out the guitar, and I sort of half learned that.
Charlie: And then back to the piano. But, um, then I get to college. And I do, um, Sondheim's Into the Woods.
Charlie: And I-- I'm just like the guy who goes like, "The slotted spoon can catch the potato."
Lin-Manuel: Were you the narrator?
Charlie: Nope. Just like a ga-- like [crosstalk]
Lin-Manuel: Just a guy.
Charlie: Like a dad? Yeah.
Charlie: Uh, but then I started like-- Do you remember the Bravo Channel? Like, um-
Glenn: Of course.
Charlie: -before it was-
Glenn: Uh, for--
Charlie: -all this reality show, they would play plays.
Glenn: Yeah, right.
Charlie: And they-they had Into the Woods on there a lot. It was like on a lot. And I would like get home after like hanging out with my buddies, and I'd make myself like a gin and tonic [laughs] And I would watch like-
Lin-Manuel: Into the Woods.
Charlie: Into the Woods. I was like, "God, this is so good." I didn't think I liked this before, and I really like it now. And so, I don't know, it's, uh, like, I-I've had a long relationship with musicals, but also never really been a part of them. Like, never done one professionally.
Charlie: Don't have a huge desire to kind of like like and don't like them.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. Most people's relationship.
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah. This is [crosstalk]
Rob: Can we talk about Stephen Sondheim for a second. Because-
Rob: -um, I-I-- he's been referenced so many times on this podcast. We talked about him yesterday.
Rob: I know he was a friend of yours, a mentor of yours. Uh--
Charlie: Wait you knew him?
Charlie: Oh God.
Rob: And he-he just passed this past year.
Lin-Manuel: Passed in November, yeah.
Rob: Yeah. Um, and I-I think our audience would prob- -I don't know how-how-how big a fan of musicals our audience is, but I-I know Stephen Sondheim only from what I've heard about him from you guys. And I've watched musicals my-my whole life, but I never realized what a like m-massive, uh, piece of musical theater Stephen Sondheim has like given to this culture, correct? He was like, he's a- he's a--
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. I-it-- I don't know what the analog would be in another-- It would be like Scorsese for film or it would be Spielberg for film. Like he just redefined it-
Lin-Manuel: -on his terms.
Lin-Manuel: And the crazy thing about-- one of the most remarkable things I think about Stephen Sondheim's career is that his mentor was Oscar Hammerstein II, like, adopt-- not like only mentor, but adopted dad. His-his mom dropped him off at Oscar Hammerstein's house. They were neighbors.
Lin-Manuel: And he was just like, "I don't wanna leave. Don't make me go back to my mom. [laughs] Can I hang out with you?"
Lin-Manuel: And he always said, "If Hammerstein were a butcher, I'd be a butcher." Um, so-
Lin-Manuel: -he's mentored by like half of Rodgers and Hammerstein-
Glenn: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Lin-Manuel: -but his shows are totally different. You know, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote like Oklahoma and South Pacific.
Lin-Manuel: And these--- Sound of Music, like these very like wholesome-- you know, it-it kind of defined what musical theater was, but they were also these very naturalistic musicals. And Sondheim took that and wrote Sweeney Todd about a homicidal barber or-
Lin-Manuel: -a presidential assassin musical. And he just, you know, I-I-I think the-the lesson of Sondheim's career is one-- first of all, it's like variety. Like, he never repeated himself. And two, he just never-- he always just kind of took what you would say as like, "That can't be a musical," and he would turn that into like the [laughs] best musical.
Lin-Manuel: Um, which of course brings us back to the The Nightman Cometh.
Charlie: Yeah. You think that coincides with like the '70s just in general, like what film was doing, you know, where you have like the movies of the 50s, and you have a lot of happy endings or, you know, a much more kind of big polished thing. And then the '70s people start being like-- actually the guys just go on a motorcycle ride across the country, and then they're shot to death. You know what I mean?
Lin-Manuel: I think it-it-it really is, was a reflection of who he was. One of the things Oscar told him in one of his early musicals, he started showing Oscar stuff when he was like 15 years old, um, was, "You're trying to write like me, don't write like me. If you write what interests you, like-
Lin-Manuel: -you'll be ahead of everybody else."
Lin-Manuel: That was his big advice to young Stephen Sondheim.
Glenn: How do you feel about that? I mean, do you- do you-- you probably agree with that sentiment-sentiment clearly. I mean, I know that-that-that for us was always our guiding principle was, you know, let's just do what we think is-is funny and hope that other people like it, you know, 'cause it's our best shot at making something original since there's only us-- you know, we're-we're the only people that could conceive of something that only we can conceive of. So let's do that. You know.
Megan: To bring it back to The Nightman Cometh, you're talking about pursuing just kind of what you love and-and making that to keep things original. What's interesting to me about this is it's a musical that you guys made. And you-- usually, I imagine you workshop musicals in front of audience, so you have some idea of how-
Megan: -they're gonna hit once you get to like the big venues. But you guys made and recorded a musical and released it to the world in its fully finished form. The only way that it will ever exist.
Lin-Manuel: And I-I have a follow up question about this because it also emerged on what looks like the most insane chicken scratch pile of paper and then gets translated by Artemis- [laughs]
Charlie: Yeah. Yeah.
Lin-Manuel: -into English, um in the--
Megan: She added words.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. Yeah.
Lin-Manuel: So I'm curi-- well, I'm curious how you guys workshop the musical among yourselves. Like, how do you find boy’s hole, boy’s soul.
Charlie: I mean, the beauty of what we're doing is like you have an absolute bailout parachute with a joke, right? Which means we don't have to do anything in earnest, which means that we can fall right flat on our face. Like, yeah, sure, there's a piece of me that is always like, "Yeah, I'd like to write a musical. That'd be fun." I don't have the guts and balls to actually write a musical and put it in front of the world, but if I write a musical that's a joke about musicals, then I'm safe, right. And-and kind of like our-our show is such a good sort of like, um, practi-- like play box for-- uh, sandbox like playground for kind of trying things, which is like, "I'd like to write a David Bowie-esque rock song."
Charlie: I can do it on our show. Or like, "I wanna try an English accent, but it's-- it can be bad."
Glenn: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Charlie: You know, like--
Lin-Manuel: I do have a question about the English accent, which is your accent as the Nightman. It's very David Bowie in Labyrinth to me.
Lin-Manuel: Here's your troll. Here's your toll troll.
Rob: Yeah. I have no idea. I'm just trying to keep up.
Rob: I'm just trying to keep up. I can't remember--
Megan: You’re going for gasps.
Lin-Manuel: There's something quiet- there's something quiet about it that's very like David Bowie as Jareth. “Well, love, here's your toll troll.”
Glenn: Yeah. Yeah. [crosstalk]
Rob: That's what I was going for.
Rob: That's all Bowie in Labyrinth. Thank you.
Charlie: Yeah. Uh, do you wanna write another musical? Are you, is that a whole.
Rob: Yeah, he's always writing. I'm always writing.
Charlie: You're never gonna not write musicals.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. That's, I-I've worked really hard to get good at it, and so I want to keep doing it. But-but the thing is always like finding the idea that pursues you. Like it can't just be, you know, I've- I've written ideas where I've-I've written my weight and I go, "Oh, I think I'm done."
Lin-Manuel: Like, I'm not interested in pursuing this anymore.
Lin-Manuel: Um, that's what's so kind of beautiful about this episode is you can tell in, I mean, just in the context of the story, Charlie was possessed by an idea.
Lin-Manuel: And he saw it through, like, he actually did something very impressive. And the-the side of Charlie that this unlocks in the episode, like when he is screaming at Dee.
Lin-Manuel: I mean, we have never seen Charlie like that.
Charlie: Yeah. The full theater tyrant.
Lin-Manuel: Full thea- so explain to me where the full theater tyrant came from, because--
Charlie: Well, I think that's just a funny concept.
Lin-Manuel: But he's just so powerful.
Lin-Manuel: Like, and Charlie's never really powerful.
Charlie: I thought you, like, that's a dynamic that happens in the theater. Like, I'm sure Glenn, you've seen it like in the Julliard days, where it's just like this extreme tension about this ridiculous thing that people are doing.
Charlie: But also underneath it, he's trying to get this girl to marry him and he’s got everything riding on it.
Glenn: That's right.
Charlie: You know what I mean? Like, he's like, I-I need this play to be good.
Glenn: To your last shot.
Charlie: It's your last shot because it's my last shot. I'm gonna propose to this woman.
Lin-Manuel: There's moments where your IQ goes up 100 points.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, that's true.
Lin-Manuel: Like when he goes turn the page over, nothing. That's when you'll sing. [crosstalk] That is brutal. Is that--
Megan: This, I wanna play this section. 'Cause it’s one of my favorite moments.
Charlie: He's in his pla- he's in the zone.
Dee: Charlie. This is my big song.
Dee: Everybody else has a big song. I deserve to have one.
Charlie: Do you.
Dee: Don't screw me like this. Charlie.
Charlie: Don't screw you. Oh, I'm sorry. D um-
Lin-Manuel: [crosstalk] your hands.
Charlie: “-let me try to remember something. Let's see. Was it, did Dee write a musical and-and come to Charlie with it? No. Charlie wrote a musical and came to Dee with it. And the gang. And the gang likes to screw it up and make it about themselves and take it away from Charlie and ruin his hopes and dreams. So let me tell you something. Dee let me break down a scenario for you. I could cut the song. Okay. Because I wrote it. I could have Artemis do the song. Okay. Because I'm ready, not write it. Or I could strap out a wig and I could do the song myself. So you tell me little Ms. All That. What do you want to do? Song or no song?” A funny thing happens when you're doing a scene like that where like, I'm just screaming at Kaitlin. Right. And I feel her feeling screamed at like, I can feel her starting to be like, "Well, he is, whether it's the actor or the character, this man is fucking screaming at me."
Charlie: And I can't like soften that blow. I can't be like, "All right, well let me back it off a little bit 'cause she's getting upset." Like, I gotta stick in it. So like I have to like turn the nice side of my brain off.
Glenn: That's funny 'cause you're giving her exactly what she needs as an actor by doing it.
Charlie: I know-I know.
Glenn: Again, in your mind you're like, "I'm upsetting her."
Charlie: I know-I know. But then there's a side of you where you're like, "This is abusive in a way."
Glenn: Yeah. But, of course, in Kaitlin's mind, she's like, "Oh, this is great." Like, is it right? I am getting screamed at. I, um that's how I'm supposed to be reacting. [chuckles] So it's a very genuine reaction.
Charlie: She plays it great.
Rob: There's nothing more abusive than the level of stalking that goes on in this particular episode.
Charlie: Stalking the waitress.
Megan: Of the waitress.
Charlie: Oh, my god.
Rob: And even in-even in the end when you're like, "Well, I'm coming."
Megan: I didn't sign anything, so I'm coming back tomorrow. That is sinister. That's sinister.
Charlie: Completely wrong.
Megan: And-and yet people have really used that song as a proposal song. I've seen YouTube videos-
Megan: -of people literally proposing in real life using-
Glenn: We gotta- we gotta put that in the podcast. [crosstalk] I would like to see a few of those.
Fought the Nightman, lived as Dayman
Now I'm here to ask for your hand
So if you want to marry man,
Will you marry me?
Won't you come on stage and join me
In this thing called matrimony?
Please say yes and do not bone me
Please just marry me?
[crowd clapping and cheering]
Megan: As you were saying, you wrote it with us out, which is, it's supposed to be funny. It's not supposed to be that good. And yet everybody loves it. They love the songs. Like you-you somehow looped around again to create something that isn't a joke. That is genuinely -
Charlie: Yeah. I mean this is the power of music, man, I'm sure you have experienced this, is that it reaches people beyond what, uh, now I’m doing the George Bush thing originally-- It's reaching into your soul, uh, I don't know, can just tap into it like that.
Charlie: I was-it was, I didn't know anything about, uh, Hamilton when I- when I went to go see it, I just heard it was a hit. Uh, I didn't know anything about you. I went to go see it and, you know, 10 minutes into the play, I'm like, okay. Oh, it's like we're rapping, right?
Rob: Like this is--
Lin-Manuel: 10 minutes rapping.
Charlie: Yeah. Then-- and then by the end, like it was a completely--
Rob: it's primal. It's the primal. It hits you in a different--
Charlie: Yeah. It was like, hits you on a different, that hit me in a-in a way that very few pieces of art actually have, and like, just something about the power of combining music to whatever. Like if you nail it right, I don't know, actually.
Glenn: I know it's, it hits you in a totally different way. Yeah.
Charlie: Way, even in our goofy kind of like, "Hey, we're doing a silly bad musical. The songs stick with people."
Lin-Manuel: But you know, it's funny 'cause I'm so allergic to meta-musicals. Like, there's their-their own genre where they're like, "We're commenting on the fact we're doing a musical." Isn't it so hilarious that-
Lin-Manuel: -we are breaking into song? Um, I kind of generally hate that shit.
Lin-Manuel: Like, I'm just like, "Stop apologizing for the thing you clearly love to do."
Lin-Manuel: But that doesn't-
Lin-Manuel: -that doesn't come across in this episode. Like, what comes across is that Charlie earnestly, this show came out of him and he's using it-
Lin-Manuel: -of course, for sinister ends, but it doesn't ever feel like you guys are commenting that musicals are bad.
Lin-Manuel: It feels like, uh, Charlie is inept at making what he wants to have happen-
Lin-Manuel: -happen. And like the vanity of your characters is always gonna upend you stage freeze. Don't say stage freeze.
Lin-Manuel: Just fucking do it.
Charlie: The joke Isn't that musicals are bad. The joke is that we're bad at doing them.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah-yeah, and that you sabotage yourselves.
Rob: [crosstalk] We're not making fun of the show itself.
Lin-Manuel: But no, you guys are working your ass off. Like when-when-when, the Nightman comes out and he-he's finally doing his earnest awesome karate and they're laughing, it's like, oh God. [crosstalk] Yeah. It's such a dejected little aside.
Megan: I also love the little moment where Dennis is backing up to grab the gun, and you-you don't wanna turn around and grab it because-
Megan: -you want it to be subtle. So what you do is you flail around behind you-
Glenn: Yeah, I had to flail around, yeah.
Megan: -for someone holding it like just, uh, through the door for you. That's a little detail. I think that, again, it brings up, like it evokes such high school productions.
Megan: And it's so nostalgic to watch, like even the sets and the way that the couch is painted onto the wall-
Megan: -and the everything it just has. And then contrasting that with the subject matter that you're talking about. Uh, yes-
Lin-Manuel: So dark.
Megan: -it's so dark.
Charlie: Do you write on piano when you go? Do you sit at a piano?
Lin-Manuel: Yeah-yeah, I-I can't play trombone. I can't play it.
Charlie: You don’t write on trombone?
Lin-Manuel: I don't write on trombone. No. I-I only ever learned piano, I took piano lessons as a kid.
Charlie: So, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: And so I-I have my keyboard hooked up to my computer and I use-I use-- I wrote in Heights like on Garage band, like used-
Lin-Manuel: -that to arrange it and then, uh, graduated to Logic for the subsequent shows.
Rob: Yeah. Can we talk about your process for a little bit? Um, 'cause I found it fascinating when we were- we were in New York, we went out to dinner and we went to see a comedy show. And then, um, you were like, I gotta get home because I found this fascinating. He said this to me at dinner, said, "I can't stay out too late tonight because I gotta get home because my boss is expecting me to deliver a song by the end of the day tomorrow." And I thought he was joking and I laughed and he was very serious. And I was like, "Who's your boss?"
Glenn: Right- right, serious.
Rob: He’s my--
Lin-Manuel: My boss--
Rob: I mean, he was like, "But you were-you were earnest insofar as you had to deliver this to your boss." And I was like, "Who's your boss?"
Glenn: His boss [crosstalk].
Rob: And he's the head of music at Disney. What's his name? Who's also a friend?
Lin-Manuel: My buddy, Tom MacDougall.
Lin-Manuel: He runs-he runs music for Disney. And I was writing a song on, uh, for an assignment for him. Yes.
Rob: And-and I just found that fascinating 'cause to me if there's any artist in the world living right now who doesn't have a boss, it's me. However, I but I found it interesting. First of all, obviously, you're respectful of somebody who's paying you, you're a professional. Paying you and they have an expectation of delivery. But beyond that, it almost felt like you enjoyed the constraint of knowing that you had to get something done.
Lin-Manuel: Mm. Yeah.
Rob: Is that a part of your process?
Lin-Manuel: Yes. I think this says more equal amount about you than it does about me. That you are fixated on my having a boss.
Lin-Manuel: 'Cause you're like, "Well, I'm instantly resentful of anyone who would call themselves my boss."
Charlie: Glenn, I thought we were Rob's boss.
Megan: Yeah. Aren't you?
Glenn: We are. We just don't talk about it.
Charlie: Don't wanna trigger anything.
Lin-Manuel: You don't have to say it. I love a deadline. I love a deadline. That's-that's what I love. And, um, when I'm- when I'm working on something to know that we're gonna meet about what I write every week, that's the best way for me to get anything done. That was how—In the Heights got written, how Hamilton got written. You know, I-- when I started writing Hamilton, I was-- took me a few months to write the opening song. Took me a year to write the second song, which was-
Charlie: Wow. Oh my God.
Lin-Manuel: Half just like not writing the song and-and half just me not committing to finishing it. And it wasn't until Tommy Kale got involved and was like, let's just put a date where you're gonna perform as many songs from Hamilton as you can. And that and we'll just commit to that like seven months from now. And I wrote 11 songs.
Lin-Manuel: So that-that tells me that like, I need a deadline.
Lin-Manuel: To get anything done.
Charlie: Yeah. Because then you can just keep chipping away at something. At a certain point, you're like, "Okay, I have to move on." And only when you've moved on from it, can you go back to it and be like, "Oh, it's not as bad as I thought it was. Or it's even better."
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. And also, I'm sure you guys are familiar with this, like, my favorite part of the process when I'm working on a musical is bringing the song in and then being like, all right, like, "Here it is like guts out. Like what do we think? What's confusing? What could be better? What did you like, what didn't make sense?" And-and I'm sure that's how you guys work too, in terms of like-
Rob: It is, and I think this is a great lesson for young artists and people who are trying to get into-into creating anything is the idea of iteration. Um, we talk about this quite a bit, which is oftentimes people are afraid to put out-- To show people what it is that they're working on at-
Rob: -early stages. 'Cause they wanna perfect it. Not realizing that there is no perfection. And like so much a part of any collaborative art is to get other people's opinions. And if you don't put that, if you don't have either an external, uh, party who's putting on that limitation or those guardrails of saying, we need it by this date, then you have to do it internally and just say, look, by this date, I'm gonna show it to people and there's no- that's not a failure. If someone says, oh, that's pretty good, but what if you tried that this, or what if you tried that? That's all a part of the process. And even the-the people who are the greatest in the world at it, like to hear that. I think like an audience member to hear that-that you also fear that.
Rob: -and also will sit down yet at an early stage and show it to somebody and take notes, I think is really inspiring.
Charlie: You say, thrice of my war-- That one, that number, which is so all fu- all that-that the King's numbers are so good. Did those come quickly writing-wise or?
Lin-Manuel: Those came away from the piano.
Lin-Manuel: So those came as like a tune in my head.
Lin-Manuel: I was actually on my honeymoon when I wrote King George's song.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. I was on an island in the South Pacific with my wife. There was not a piano anywhere.
Lin-Manuel: Now, how do you do that? It's just in your head?
Lin-Manuel: I j- Well, I think the reason it's so catchy, and again, like your own bullshit becomes a part of your process. Like-
Lin-Manuel: -for me, I don't have very good piano chops, so a melody has to survive my chops.
Lin-Manuel: You know, and so like that song was so catchy, it had to survive the two weeks I was on vacation and stay in my head, and I wrote down the words. As like I'll like I put words to the melody once it was in my head. And they were pretty close to what the final words would be, but I just sang it to myself.
Charlie: Did you take a video or?
Lin-Manuel: And it had to survive-- No-no I just had, it just had to survive. And-and I think that's why it's the catchiest song in the show. Like it was just stuck in my head for two weeks.
Megan: But this is an interesting song to write on your honeymoon because it's about a very dysfunctional relationship.
Lin-Manuel: Yes, but it's also a breakup song.
Megan: That's true- that's true.
Lin-Manuel: Like it's-it's actually a breakup song. It's like, "No, you-you'll be back and you're stuck with me.
Lin-Manuel: So, maybe, let's not look too deeply into that.
Charlie: Yeah, It's a perfect song. I'll like every time then I'll-- It won't even be on I'll just like start singing it, I don't know why. It's in there.
Glenn: Yeah, it's in there.
Charlie: It's in there for life now I think.
Lin-Manuel: That's how a lot of us feel about The Nightman Cometh.
Charlie: Yeah-yeah-yeah. [laughs]
Lin-Manuel: It's it really is. I mean it's--
Charlie: Trying to get it right in that skull where it stays forever.
Glenn: Yes. You do have a knack, Charlie does have a knack for writing very catchy melodies. Sort of catchy-catchy things that just grab you right away.
Charlie: I could have been a good commercial jingle, writer.
Glenn: Yes for sure.
Megan: The-the lyrics too, I think are so catchy and almost because they're so not specific. Like I'm thinking specifically of the last song. Um,” if you want to marry men, will you marry me?” Like little things that are added in.
Charlie: Yes. It's not even men it's man.
Lin-Manuel: If you marry man [crosstalk].
Glenn: When you wrote that, were you calling her “man”? Like, if you wanna marry man.
Glenn: Or-or was it like if you want to marry man?
Charlie: I knew it'd be funny as both.
Glenn: I am man.
Charlie: And like it's also like a bad lyric.
Charlie: But it's like calling her man, which is also weird.
Megan: Please say yes and-
Charlie: -but also like-
Megan: Do not bone me.
Glenn: Do not bone me.
Lin-Manuel: What I love is it's-it's the beginning has like the rigorousness of like a Bach Cantata. There's like a chord for every note. It like [mimics] it just gets-- It's like very like fugue like almost. And then it goes to the like craziest hard rock melody. Like [sings].
Charlie: That's because we don't know what to do.
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Charlie: Uh, you know what? I-I can start this time. Have you guys ever counted, uh, all the way up to 75?
Glenn: To 75? Like just, what do you mean? Just because?
Charlie: Well, yeah, I guess there's a reason. That's because that's the number of, uh, high-quality vitamins, minerals, whole foods, source, superfoods, probiotics and adaptogens, and AG1.
Glenn: You know, um, I'll be honest with you guys, hearing 75 of all of those things, every time we advertise for Athletic Greens, it kind of becomes like this, uh, sort of amorphous blob of a number. But, you know, when you break it down and-and-and count it out one by one, I mean that is that 75 is a lot of nutrients.
Charlie: Yeah, and they're all together in one place. All together in one place and it's hard-hard to get any group of- any size together in one place. It's hard enough to get the four of us together in one place, uh.
Glenn: Yeah, no it is. Uh, that's why we have to do this remote thing.
Megan: To make it easy, Athletic Greens is going to give you a free one-year supply of immune-supporting vitamin D, and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athleticgreens.com/sunny.
Glenn: Again, that is athleticgreens.com/sunny to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.
Lin-Manuel: This thing just make sense to him.
Glenn: Yeah, it just makes sense to him. It makes no sense to me.
Lin-Manuel: It sounds like a James Taylor song, like it's so beautiful-
Lin-Manuel: -without the lyrics on top.
Charlie: But, uh, but the tiny boy baby boy's a total Sondheim rip off, with-with those kinds of chords like--
Lin-Manuel: Right, this is- it's a chord jam but the chord on top is very like- it's like--
Charlie: It's a major seven.
Lin-Manuel: Major seven, yeah.
Charlie: Well I don't know these words you’re saying.
Charlie: That's the thing that-- This is why I never pursued music, because all that shit-- I can't- like I can't get that shit-
Rob: Oh yeah, that's perfect.
Charlie: You good.
Lin-Manuel: It's just names for what you're doing.
Rob: Right, right, right.
Lin-Manuel: That's really all it is.
Charlie: Yeah. Right, isn't that it?
Glenn: Yeah, it's a- it goes--
Charlie: That [crosstalk].
Rob: Wait, can I ask you something again, 'cause then, this-this name keeps coming up. What is it about that, that makes it sound like Sondheim?
Lin-Manuel: Um, because it sound- sounds like-- No, Sondheim would never use like a major chord when he could do like a weird seventh chord or a second or fourth, like he just did interesting voicings.
Charlie: At the end of the words is why I kind of like [music] or like, you know, uh, [music], you know, those kind of chords?
Charlie: You know, I-I don't know, like I don't know, you would know, but--
Charlie: Yeah, or-or maybe this is why I was doing for [music], yes that. I’m in the woods--
Lin-Manuel: I wish.
Charlie: I'm going walking, I'm in the woods, I'm looking for a little butter now. Like it's the- isn't like it's all that kind of shit.
Rob: What was his take on the boy’s hole thing.
Charlie: I'm looking for a hole, a-a hole any hole-
Charlie: -any hole is for a rabbit. I don't eat rabbit.
Lin-Manuel: So, wait-wait-wait-
Charlie: You should.
Lin-Manuel: -but ta-take me from you finding that very Sondheim-y right hand, to the call and response of ooh, ah.
Charlie: Oh that is-
Baby Boy, I need you.
I want to touch you boy.
If you only knew, what I’d do to you.
I need you boy.
If I was that boy, that's inside of you.
Lin-Manuel: It's also in, um, in Waltz time.
Cormac: [laughs] And it's a Waltz.
Charlie: Uh, it's a Waltz.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three.
Charlie: I think if I knew all the things you're supposed to know, I wouldn't be able to do it. And that's like where your dynamic comes in great. So I can be like, okay, here's some bump, bum, boom, bum. You know?
Cormac: I was like, what is Glenn doing on stage at this point? So we added these little s and o's and he did the [inaudible 01:00:12]
Lin-Manuel: Uh, If you only knew [crosstalk]
Glenn: There is a discovery, there is a new discovery, [crosstalk].
Lin-Manuel: Even though you're singing them in a high voice, they're deadly earnest lyrics.
Lin-Manuel: If you only knew.
Megan: What I did-
Lin-Manuel: What I’d do to you.
Megan: If I was [crosstalk].
Lin-Manuel: I wasn't, what's inside of you, Inside of you. [crosstalk] That's like '80s like metal lyrics. Like that is so ea- that's Journey. If you only knew what I do to you, but set against this is insane. Yes.
Megan: Yeah-yeah, and-
Charlie: If you come for insane, you've come to the right place.
Megan: Also, so much of what I love about this episode is, you know, those rehearsal scenes before the musical begins, sets up so many jokes that pay off like Dennis and Mac switching and then that paying off in like the-the hug that they do. That's very awkward.
Cormac: It's a sexually charged cord.
Megan: Sexually charged embrace.
Megan: Um, but setting up those things and the Dee wanting to throw in a song and then having those things all like pay off, uh, during the musical.
Lin-Manuel: Oh, yeah. I have a question about, did you guys write Dee as a solo or is that?
Charlie: Cormac did write that. Yeah. Yeah. Which is that we, he wrote some kind of melody.
Rob: I think you wrote the lyrics and then--
Glenn: We co- we wrote the lyrics. I'm pretty sure. [crosstalk] I know we came up with the idea of just-just to be clear, like clarifying, you know, the previous song.
Cormac: And I think I've written it more like a song like, just to be clear, I did not write that song and would never have sex with a child. Just to be clear. Just to be clear.
Lin-Manuel: It Sounds like a Taylor Swift song.
Cormac: Right. I was thinking about when we were writing this, one of my concerns when we were kind of writing it was, I hope we're not, our goal here is not, we're trying to write a bad musical bad. I-I think we're trying to write a bad musical as well as we can.
Lin-Manuel: As well as Charlie can.
Cormac: Yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: No, no. The Muse has visited Charlie. [crosstalk].
Charlie: Well, yeah, I mean that's because there's the piece of me that is dying to be in musicals, sing songs, write songs and then there's the piece of me that's too insecure to ever like really pursue it. So it's that sweet spot of like, "Well, if I just earnestly do it and then we make it funny, then you can get away with it." But like--
Megan: Um, can we talk about the Troll Toll song.
Megan: And, uh, and what that is sort of modeled after? And is there like, anything special about coming up with that? I mean, obviously soul and boy’s soul and yeah.
Charlie: Boy’s soul?
Lin-Manuel: It is a two-lyric song and yet devastatingly affected.
Lin-Manuel: I've got to pay the troll toll to get into the boy’s soul. And then they say, what's that name? The [crosstalk].
Cormac: Hey, hey, hey.
Lin-Manuel: How do you find the form of this thing?
Rob: I just was just playing the chords I knew and so I was like, okay, the, you know, the-the major chords are the love songs and the minor chords are the bad guy, you know? So it was, y-yeah, it was like as simple as like a bluesy kind of like, uh, [crosstalk].
Cormac: I heard it and I was like, "Oh, this is blues."
Cormac: It's-it's St. James Infirmary right?
Glenn: Hey, hey. [crosstalk]
Megan: That's a good thing that could work in any musical really. Just saying what'd you say?
Lin-Manuel: What'd you say? Hey, hey, hey.
Lin-Manuel: And then what was-what was Danny's reaction to this? How was what was his level of--
Charlie: Danny was gung-ho to do it but he did a little-
Cormac: I-I had, i-i-it's the craziest story, and I'll say it as quickly as possible because I-I had met Danny a few times but so we show up at the high school 'cause we did this whole thing at one location. And the night before I was nervous. I was like, "What else can I give these guys to really make it click?" And I thought lyric sheets, we have the script, we have the music, lyric sheets. Just the song, a page with lyrics.
Cormac: So I sent that off to the second [unintelligible 01:04:08] and they printed him out. And I meet Danny and we run the song once or twice and I turn around to my piano player. I said, "But, Danny let's do it one more time, this time." And I turn back and he's halfway out the door. And on his way out, he grabs some papers off my music stand and just takes everything and disappeared for the rest of the day. And, of course, and I thought- I-I thought you were all messing with me because I swear to god, every single cast member and every single crew member all day were asking me, "Hey, any more of those lyric sheets around?"
And Danny had just taken them out the door. So of course Danny like slays it the next day when we record. Cut to - a year later when we did the tour or when we were rehearsing for the Troubadour, we all went over to his house to do this first rehearsal. I bring my piano player in, Rhea like brings us into his to their piano. And they're she's like, "Oh, you can just clear some stuff off and work here." And I remember picking up a book and there were all the lyric sheets and music marked up. He brought it home. He'd worked on it which is like--
Glenn: Why do you have to take everybody's copy?
Megan: He wanted to be the best.
Charlie: Just a little quirk, you know, such a- such a nice little--
Rob: He wanted us to fail.
Glenn: He wanted us to fail.
Megan: So he'd stand out.
Cormac: He's the GOAT man. I mean he liked he-he worked on that stuff and he he's so amazing. He-he-he like just killed that stuff. And, uh, seeing that stuff at-at his home like a year later I was like, "Oh this is a guy."
Lin-Manuel: Also he wanted to rehearse it nude in the set.
Rob: Yeah that's right. That's right.
Glenn: You know I he's also you know one of the most delightful things about Danny is he still continues to approach things with a youthful exuberance.
Glenn: You know what I mean? Like-like he's okay to not be necessarily the best at something as long as he's having fun. Like he-he just has this like childlike exploration.
Megan: You see that in this scene where he gets assigned to the troll and he’s so excited.
Charlie: Yeah. One of the comedy tricks is always like trying to subvert the expectations. So you're expecting him to be pissed that he's gonna be the troll and like offended so--
Glenn: Yes, right, right.
Charlie: The second he's excited you'll be like well that's a joke, right?
Rob: His entire social media presence is based on him taking pictures of his-
Megan: Troll foot.
Rob: -feet in different locations and calling it troll foot in-
Charlie: That’s true.
Rob: -New York, troll foot in Paris.
Rob: And it's just that-- That’s how much he embraced it.
Charlie: Did that come before or after the musical?
Rob: That came after the musical.
Glenn: That was not always. Yeah. Well, after. Yeah, yeah.
Charlie: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
Lin-Manuel: Dayman becomes Nightman. Danny DeVito became troll foot.
Charlie: He became troll foot [laughs]
Glenn: Troll man. Troll foot.
Rob: I mean this-this episode was truly, um, the first-- This was our-our way to understand how the audience at large was experiencing the show.
Rob: Because there was no social media-
Rob: -at the time, there was no-- We were making a television show. So we did nothing live. We had no indicators as to whether or not people were watching the show or enjoying it. Uh, we have no interaction with fans other than- other than out on the street or like Nielsen ratings.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Rob: So, the very first time we performed this, um, was at the Troubadour and it was mind-blowing. We had people like who knew every lyric to every song. They knew every line in the episode and they were laughing before we were delivering them. To work in television and to be able to go out and to-to perform live-
Rob: -what a gift. What a gift that you get to see on a nightly basis how things were being received.
Charlie: Although I guess like when you're doing a play obviously people aren’t singing along. Um, have you played like some concerts or some venues where people have the opportunities to sing along.
Rob: Well, I went to show in London of Hamilton six months ago. The entire theater sang every single song.
Glenn: Every single song.
Charlie: Oh, really? That's awesome.
Lin-Manuel: Well, Hamilton was a really interesting case because I remember when no one knew the words when we started previews.
Charlie: Of course.
Lin-Manuel: And-and people were going on and sort of talking about the show and watching that front row slowly become like the live teleprompters-
Lin-Manuel: -over the course of the first year.
Lin-Manuel: Because we-we didn’t release the cast album 'til like a month after we opened on Broadway.
Lin-Manuel: And that was our ambassador more than the show was. You-you know, you can only serve 1,400 people at a time-
Lin-Manuel: -uh, on a given night, but then the way that album went out into the world was really like totally unexpected and then-
Lin-Manuel: -and then [laughs] it went from like we're showing a new show to reading on Twitter like whatever line I fucked up that night. They're like we saw it tonight and he fucked up this line.
Rob: Right. That-that's the--
Lin-Manuel: They know it.
Rob: That's the downside of audience feedback.
Charlie: Yeah. Those both sides. Right. Is there another example-
Charlie: Um, and, uh, forgive me for not knowing but like of the person who's writing the musicals starring in them? Like has that been-- I mean I'm sure it's been done-
Charlie: -a few times but like what a-- What?
Charlie: You-you felt like-like, uh--
Glenn: Well, you're-you're about it in-in a theater setting like in a Broadway setting?
Charlie: Yeah. Like-like big Broadway hits-
Charlie: -where the person is also the writer.
Lin-Manuel: Um, there-- It-it was very much the case in the beginning of musical theater like George M. Cohan famously did that. Like he wrote Yankee Doodle Dandy, and starred in Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Glenn: Uh-huh [crosstalk], sure.
Lin-Manuel: Um, and then there were-- And now it's more of a thing like, again, like Sara Bareilles, like went in, wrote Waitress, and then went into Waitress. She's amazing in it. Um, there's a young theater writer named Shaina Taub who's like, incredible and starring in her own shows. So, um, yes. But it's-it's-it's rare. Yeah.
Charlie: It's part of what's so electric about seeing the performance, right? It's like--
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. I mean, for me, the hope is always that it lives beyond me. Like-
Charlie: Ohm, yeah, that's-
Lin-Manuel: -you know, that's-that's--the-the hope is you just write something really good that lasts. Um--
Cormac: I love In The Heights, and I remember seeing that. I-I remember thinking, "What's gonna happen when this guy leaves the show?" And, uh, I mean, it's a terrific show. It lives on. The movie's awesome. But I remember seeing you, and thinking, "What-what happens when Lin-Manuel leaves the show?”
Rob: The Piragua guy [laughs]
Lin-Manuel: I just get older.
Rob: You just get old.
Lin-Manuel: And play the [crosstalk] and then when you were at a drive-in about to get into a fight, the words of the Piragua will calm you down.
Rob: That's what we- that is what we were listening to.
Glenn: You heard that story.
Lin-Manuel: I did hear that.
Rob: We were listening- we listening in the high school we were listening to and it was Piragua was the song.
Charlie: Okay. [crosstalk] That's right.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah-yeah. But he heard Piragua, and it brought him back.
Charlie: Yeah. Calmed you down for a second. Yeah.
Rob: Yeah. Like it-it centered me again. And that is the power.
Lin-Manuel: Just that he thought, keep scraping by.
Charlie: And that is the power of your music.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah. So, okay. Troll Toll. I want-I wanna hit every song in this. I'm sorry.
Megan: No, no. I-I- we have to be thorough, so thank you. Um, so you've done Little Baby Boy. And Just to be Clear, so I think Dayman is next to talk about.
Lin-Manuel: Right, which was in the previous episode. This was a reprise for It's Always Sunny fans.
Megan: The whole show was built around this particular song, which is really just a chorus twice, which is smart.
Lin-Manuel: Right, right. But wait a minute. But when you watch the episode, there's also like, um, like you're saying other stuff, like it builds to--
Charlie: That was Cormac, so.
Lin-Manuel: Like, you've got some counterpoint going on.
Lin-Manuel: I don't know what Danny exactly is doing, but like, you're doing like [sings].
Lin-Manuel: Like you did add stuff to it.
Cormac: We-we--I-I just--again, it was like, what is everyone doing during this? And I-I really like harmonic music when everyone's doing stuff. And, uh, so I just arranged it, and got there on the day, and I think we cut half of it. Just, I-I overwrote it, and, um, and we cut some of it, we-we added, um, [music] I am the ruler of night and darkness, a master of bird and song.
Glenn: A master of bird and song. Right.
Cormac: And then--
Lin-Manuel: Go on.
Cormac: You are the teacher of bird and men. Winner of contests near, and far. Yeah.
Lin-Manuel: Winner of contests near and far. Master of bird and song.
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Cormac: So that was kind of how we liked wrapped ups. Weird.
Megan: I also like, it's not part of the song, but the lead into that I really love, because it's, uh, that song starts the third act, and Dee gets us up to speed by saying, uh, you once were a boy, and now you are a man, and I am in love with you. And that just gets us like past--
Lin-Manuel: That's right.
Lin-Manuel: It's like that's the resolution. Now let's get to like.
Charlie: Your [crosstalk]
Lin-Manuel: That chord progression also reminds me of-- from the original one, it was, “they hate you Nightman, and you don't belong to them”.
Charlie: Oh, yeah-yeah. Yes. Which was me just riffing on the day.
Lin-Manuel: When I miss your cold hands so much.
Megan: That voice comes back. That Oh, back.
Charlie: Well, that at the end where I come down and I sing the final song where--
Lin-Manuel: Explain the tongue in the back of your throat thing you're doing there.
Charlie: It's, uh, Christopher Guest, I stole it from Christopher Guest from-
?Rob: Oh. From, uh--
Charlie: From Waiting for Guffman from a scene that I think was cut from-from. So it's in like one of the songs he sings in the outtakes.
Lin-Manuel: A penny for your thoughts, is it that way?
Charlie: It might have been a penny for your thoughts.
Lin-Manuel: Oh God, that's, yeah.
Charlie: Well, or maybe it's--
Glenn: A penny for your thoughts.
Lin-Manuel: A dime for your dreams.
The cut stuff in Guffman is better than most musicals.
Charlie: Well, I mean, [crosstalk] big Guffman influence in this episode too.
Lin-Manuel: Oh yeah, for sure.
Charlie: It's just like the seriousness of a play that's not good.
Megan: It's very funny.
Glenn: Right-right. Yeah.
Megan: It's, uh, well that transitions into the last song, really, which is your, um, proposal song, um, where you descend and-and quite a piece of stagecraft too. You descending like it doesn't seem like that big of a production. And then you somehow have a sun that descends.
Lin-Manuel: And it's a secret. No one else knew else, knew it was a sun.
Charlie: And then Mary Elizabeth's flipping through the-the pamphlet to be like, "Wait, this is another song I got to sit through."
Glenn: We were done. Yeah, I thought we were done.
Rob: Uh, now we made a very-very-very big mistake. Uh, when we did the live version of this show. We thought we had to- we had to stick, uh, to the truth of the cannon. And in the episode she says, no, of course, and storms out. But when you- when you pack a room full of 3,000 people.
Glenn: Oh, right.
Rob: -and Charlie comes down and and he's singing the song, Will You Marry Me- Will You Marry Me? We put Mary Elizabeth out in the crowd.
Rob: And we put a spotlight on her and we had her say, no.
Glenn: The audience turned on her.
Charlie: The audience [crosstalk] The boos were.
Rob: The boos, I am surprised she didn't get ripped apart.
Megan: Like they were married in real life.
Rob: [crosstalk] Fuck you. Yeah. They're already married.
Glenn: Fuck you. [crosstalk]
Megan: They’re already married.
Rob: Even that like, I remember the first time Mary Elizabeth was like, "Hey guys, like, you know, they're like really vicious."
We were safe out here.
Rob: All we had to do was just have her say yes. Just have her say yes. It doesn't matter.
Lin-Manuel: Theater things can happen.
Charlie: They would've gone crazy.
Megan: But I do love in the episode after she says no, there's a really sweet moment where Frank says to Charlie like, she's not worth it, man. [laughter]
Rob: Yeah. I like [crosstalk].
Megan: Like he's comforting.
Charlie: I thought the rape scene went really well.
Megan: I thought the rape scene went really well.
Megan: I have it here.
Frank Reynolds: It was a great musical, Charlie. You did a great job. She ain’t worth it. [clapping] [applause]
Megan: Especially nobody just writes a musical for no reason.
Charlie: I am here. I am- I am past here.
Frank Reynolds: And by the way, I thought the rape scene went really well.
Charlie: I-I-I am here. I'm here with it. And that was awful for me. And if you bring this up back to the apartment tonight, I'm going to smack you, I swear to God.
Rob: Well, we gotta do another season of this show. We're going into Season 16. Um, if you ever wanna write a musical, um, for us,--
Lin-Manuel: I could not-- I would not possibly presume to improve on this incredible today.
Rob: That's right. That's right. So, it is Disney. It is a Disney show now, so it's all in the family. We could call your boss.
Lin-Manuel: [laughs] That's right. Call my boss.
Glenn: That's true.
Rob: We could call your boss, Tommy. Is Tommy his name?
Rob: Tommy Bill. Tommy.
Lin-Manuel: What if Glenn was lying?
Charlie: [sings] Give us Lin-Manuel.
Rob: [sings] We only need him for a week now.
Charlie: [sings] Get him off the stage, Tom. Get him back in Hollywood.
Charlie: Come on, let's write a song right now.
Lin-Manuel: These things just make sense to him.
Charlie: Then we'll rap or something.
Megan: Yeah, yeah.
Rob: Look, you'll make one-twenty-fifth of what you make now per week-
Rob: -but it'll be a lot of fun for us.
Glenn: I think it'll be less than that actually f-- We'll-we'll-we'll--
Rob: Less fun?
Glenn: Yeah, less fun.
Lin-Manuel: [laughs] Ooh, less fun.
Rob: Less money. All right.
Glenn: He doesn't need the money.
Charlie: We'll work something out.
Rob: We'll work- we'll work it out- we'll work it out with Tom. And Tommy will let him know.
Glenn: Yes, exactly.
Rob: [laughs] Your boss will let you know.
Lin-Manuel: "You don't have a boss." I cannot tell you how mad he got when I said "You don't have a boss."
Glenn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: There's no one in the w--
Rob: I was--
Lin-Manuel: You don't have a boss?
Rob: I was frustrated.
Lin-Manuel: You wrote Hamilton. You don't have a boss?
Rob: Why- why do you-- You don't have a boss, man. Can I just break this down for you? You don't have a boss. And he'll-he'll write to himself--
Charlie: And that's-- Tommy was like-
Lin-Manuel: That was at the drive.
Charlie: -"Is that right?"
Charlie: "Lin-Manuel doesn't have a boss? I'm gonna tell you about his father's debts."
Rob: But I think you're right. You did rightfully say like, "I think you're talking to yourself, man." Like you're getting very worked up about this.
Glenn: That was it, yeah.
Rob: And I was like, "Well, maybe I am."
Glenn: Yeah, yeah.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah, you-- Yeah, it was- it was like, uh, sort of just-- you were ready to mete out justice. There was no way-
Rob: Yeah. [laughs]
Lin-Manuel: -to mete out justice to--
Rob: Robb justice was there.
Charlie: There's no one that does justice to this situation.
Lin-Manuel: Rob Justice- Rob Justice showed up at our dinner and be like-
Megan: He always shows up when you want him.
Lin-Manuel: -"Who told you you have a boss?"
Charlie: You wanna write Rob Justice real quick? You know that I can do it.
Lin-Manuel: Oh, we can do it.
Rob: I think it's very telling, um, that-that somebody else who reached out, um, about Nightman and then became a fan of the show is Bobby Lopez.
Rob: Um, he's a big fan of Sunny, which is really cool, like to hear that too-- I mean, Bobby is one of the other giant pillars of-of musical theater right now.
Lin-Manuel: Yeah, wrote The Book of Mormon,-
Rob: He has been incredible.
Lin-Manuel: -wrote Frozen.
Rob: And the fact that he really enjoys what you guys do is-is awesome.
Cormac: He said, uh-- Didn't he also do Avenue Q?
Lin-Manuel: Yeah, he did Avenue Q.
Cormac: That was his first every-- He said he'd watch Nightman Cometh every night he was in rehearsals for Avenue Q.
Glenn: Oh, my God.
Charlie: It's crazy.
Glenn: It's wild, yeah.
Rob: I believe I'm gonna--
Lin-Manuel: [laughs] You guys, it's-it's about putting on a show. Like it-it hits the same sort of like pleasure centers in your brain that Guffman does that, like, yes. They may not be great at it, but they are doing their damnedest to put on a show.
Megan: Yeah. Just even down to the costumes. Like the ill-fitting costumes-
Megan: -and she's gonna rip the pits, but they can't because they're expensive and you have to return them.
Charlie: [crosstalk]No, don't it's rental. Don't-do not rip that.
Lin-Manuel: The cognitive dissonance of Dee dressed as like Princess Peach while holding a coffee thing.
Lin-Manuel: Like it doesn't make any fucking sense.
Glenn: She was dressed like Princess Peach. That was always the idea. Right.
Rob: That was the look. Yeah.
Glenn: She was dressed like, uh, yeah, that princess. That's the Mario Brothers.
Lin-Manuel: [chuckles] Princess.
Megan: And then the Dayman being symbolized with a silver-like onesie and the codpiece.
Charlie: Which is about the original Dayman-Dayman, Nightman--
Glenn: Obsession with the--
Charlie: -but just your little improv of taking the thing off and being like, "Now I'm a man, see."
Megan: It takes a minute to get the reveal is true
Rob: Well Lin, this has been an honor to have you-
Rob: -have you here.
Lin-Manuel: Cormac. You as well. [crosstalk]
Megan: Could we play us out with some Dayman? Just-just a little
Cormac: Who's gonna sing that?
Fighter of the Nightman
Champion of the sun
You are a master of karate and
Friendship for everyone
Dayman, oh, fighter of the Nightman
Oh, champion of the sun
Oh, you are a master of karate and
Friendship for everyone, Dayman.
Rob: Stage freeze.
Glenn: Don’t say stage freeze. Just do it.
Charlie: Fucking do it, man. Yeah.