TBS is known for reruns of sitcoms like the legendary “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Everyone Loves Raymond” and “Family Guy.”
But now the Atlanta-based cable network is putting two new sitcoms on the air, “10 Items or Less” and “My Boys”.
“My Boys” follows Jordana Spiro as PJ, a Chicago sports writer and is ‘just one of the guys’ involved in weekly poker games, trips to bars, and coaching a men’s softball team.
“My Boys” also stars University of Nevada Las Vegas graduate Michael Bunin as Kenny. Bunin started out in theatre and starred in many plays and commercials, as well as in guest-starring roles on the NBC comedy “Scrubs” and the CBS thriller “CSI.”
“My Boys” is Bunin’s first starring TV role, and I sat down with to talk about acting, UNLV and “My Boys.”
Alkan Donahue: You’re going from commercials and guest starring roles to a starring role. What is that like?
Michael Bunin: It’s weird going from five to 10 lines to being a regular. Guest starring can be hard. Each set has its own atmosphere, and it relaxes me on the job now having a steady cast and scripts.
AD: TBS isn’t known for original comedy. What do you think “My Boys” will bring to the cable network?
Bunin: A lot of opportunity. It appeals to a lot of people, not just one focus group. It’s like real life. People sit around and play poker, drink beer and poke fun. I think it will attract a lot of women that have guy friends.
AD: Your character’s description says he always ends up being “just friends” with the girl. Any connection with real life?
Bunin: Yeah, I got teased a lot for taking girls to coffee, that’s the birthplace of that. I am a little more shy at times, and it’s a fun thing to play.
AD: The characters drink a lot of alcohol on the show. What’s the fake alcohol like?
Bunin: At first I thought, “This isn’t that bad,” and after drinking it all day, I was like “Can somebody give me a real beer please, someone?!” Sometimes we drink shots on the show and those are actually Snapple. It’s interesting to see what the crew comes up with for all the fake drinks.
AD: You have a history of improv comedy, including the long running Improv Olympics. Do a lot of the cast members improvise lines on the show?
Bunin: There’s a good amount of improvisation, not to say the show is improvised though. The director will follow the script and then do alternative takes or just let the scene go on a little longer. We’ll improvise funny moments to help expand the story, and after watching I recognized at least one improvised line in each episode.
AD: You were a boxing reporter, and now “My Boys” mixes sports and comedy. How do you like the mix?
Bunin: Baseball is my favorite sport, and to have it centered on the show makes it fun to do. It’s nice having a script that kicks around a lot of baseball terms.
AD: Typical sitcoms have the four camera-laugh track concept, but “My Boys” doesn’t feature either of those. Do you think its better for the show?
Bunin: We’re not reinventing the wheel here. The single camera has been (done) before, but I definitely think it benefits our show. The single camera format allows real moments mixed in with the comedy, and that’s what makes this show so relatable for viewers. It’s just a bunch of friends hanging out.
AD: How did UNLV and Las Vegas prepare you for your acting career?
Bunin: I love UNLV. The theater department there is excellent. It gave me and everyone else a chance to really be part of a process.
AD: Any last words about the show?
Bunin: It’s one of TBS’s first original scripted show. We have tons of support from the network, and no one is afraid to come to work. So it’s hard to predict if there will be a second season. It’s a good show that people will really like, and if they are happy with the numbers, we’ll come back and do it again.
“My Boys” complete first season can be seen on TBS.