Tacoma FD

Tacoma FD stars tell what makes TruTV’s firefighter comedy click

Tacoma FD season 3 is in full swing on TruTV, where the firefighter comedy has carved out a niche amongst unscripted series. What makes it so hilarious? Is there anything that’s been too weird for them to tackle? And how many more years do they hope that their off-the-wall project is going to run?

Stars Eugene Cordero (who plays Andy Myawani), Marcus Henderson (Granville “Granny” Smith) and Gabriel Hogan (Ike Crystal) recently joined me for an interview to discuss the comedic inner workings of Tacoma FD and dish on how much fun they’re having behind the scenes. If you’ve missed any of Tacoma FD season 3 so far, you can still catch up on demand before tonight’s new episode!

Brittany Frederick: How did you each come to Tacoma FD originally, and what was it about the show that made you want to jump onboard for the ride?

Gabriel Hogan: For me, it was [series creators/stars] Kevin [Heffernan] and Steve [Lemme]. I didn’t know these guys yet, Super Troopers and their pedigree of the comedies that they had done. I had to jump through the hoops, make no mistake. I auditioned for it and everything. But then once I got there and spent time with these guys and everybody, it’s literally the most fun I’ve ever had at work, ever. I’d do this for ten more years.

Eugene Cordero: Ten more years? I don’t know. (laughs) I was drawn to Kevin and Steve’s point of view. Their brand of comedy is something that’s not necessarily in my wheelhouse or something that I normally do. They own it so well. The script of the pilot was so great that after reading it and after meeting those guys, of course you wanted to work with them and for them. Even just the audition process—they set up such an awesome environment to make it feel like you were part of the team.

Marcus Henderson: It’s so comfortable, yeah.

EC: It didn’t end. It continued after three seasons now and hoping for ten more years, literally. Even if we’re joking about, it does feel like it’s just us hanging out with our friends. If that means that we’re going to hang out with our friends for ten more years, then let’s do it. It gives us an excuse to get paid to hang out, really.

MH: This came up, and one of the things I’d put on my vision board prior was that I really wanted to be a series regular on a show. It was almost like the heavens opened up and sent me the script, because I laughed my ass off for a while. Then eventually when I did audition for it, it just felt like I already had the job when I was in the room with them. They seemed to dig my vibe pretty early, so I just went ahead and considered myself cast when I left. When my agent finally called me and told me I got the offer, “Well, you’re late,” is what I said.

BF: The situations your characters get into are by design exaggerated and ridiculous, but you have to sell it as being normal and serious for them. How many takes do you blow just losing it laughing?

EC: Every take.

MH: Thousands.

GH: Tons.

EC: Every take, I think they have to to cut it early or they have to make sure that it’s not on us at certain times. They can tell from the first time we either read it or we shoot it when it’s a wide [shot] on all of us. You can tell who’s going to lose it quickly in that scene, and then it’s just like “Well, we’ve got to get the footage with them not in it in order for us to [finish].”

GH: We’ll do it to each other. These guys will do it to you off-camera. (laughs) We’re not even on camera. I’m like “Wait. Go somewhere else, man. You’re killing me.” Eugene, he’s like “It’s not even your coverage! Stop it.”

EC: I constantly say “It’s not your coverage,” and they do it. It’s not us guys, it’s Marcus. Marcus shows up on days he’s not even supposed to be there to try to make us break in the middle of our takes.

BF: Do you have particular favorite Tacoma FD moments that really struck with you guys?

EC: We have so many awesome guest actors this season. We have [UFC champion] Stipe Miocic on. We have Whitney Cummings on this season. We have David Koechner on this season. All of those episodes are amazing and those are three of the episodes. So watch out for those ones, plus the ones that are just the gang. We do more ridiculous stuff this season.

GH: The chili cook-off one is really, really good. Kevin Heffernan’s so funny in it. I watched it multiple times and it literally makes me laugh so hard every time he does his… I don’t want to ruin and spoil what happens to him, but tears. So funny.

MH: The cook-off episode should not be confused with the cookout episode, where they have to be talked to in a woke kind of way and learn about different cultures.

BF: Now that we’re into Tacoma FD season 3, how much are you bringing to your characters? Is there a certain amount of improv or have the characters become a little more tailored to who you are?

EC: After the pilot episode and after Kevin and Steve met us, the writers’ room did a really great job of incorporating what we already brought to the table and making it part of the character. There’s like a line between what is our personality and what the character does that is blurred sometimes, and that’s what’s fun about it. That’s why we’re able to riff so much on the show, because we get to play in that way. It just makes it possible to want to do this for ten more years.

GH: You create something and then they write to it…They see what you create and how you interact or how different characters interact, and they write to those strengths like “Oh, that’s funny.” This is why the situation is funny—if we put Ike and Andy in this, they’ll interact like this because they have to. Andy’s character was [originally], I think, a bald, fat, white dude. [They have] their ideas of what it is until we put it on its feet and then they go “Oh, that’s what that is now,” and then it becomes something else.

BF: Is there anything that was too crazy or logistically impossible for the show, or is it anything goes on Tacoma FD at this point?

EC: I think we get excited about things that seem like they’re impossible to pull off, especially character stuff. If it seems so ridiculous I feel like it’s a goal of Marcus, Gabe, and I especially to go like “No, no, no, don’t change anything. Let’s try to make this happen. We’ll try our best to not laugh through it or not make it ridiculous and just try to own it the best we can.”

GH: We create impossible situations for ourselves through our ridiculous improvs. We’re like, “Where do we go now?” Then it gets more and more out in space.

Tacoma FD airs Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on TruTV.

Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.

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