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Old 11-23-2009, 01:11 PM   #1
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TV TVSquad Interviews Andy Richter On The Short-Lived "Andy Barker, P.I."

Andy Richter: The TV Squad Interview
Posted Nov 23rd 2009
by Nick Zaino

If you never managed to catch Andy Barker, P.I. when it originally aired two years ago, try not to beat yourself up.

Though the show had an impressive cast, led by Andy Richter as a CPA-turned-private-investigator, and including Harve Presnell, Tony Hale, Marshall Manesh, and Clea Lewis. It was also created by Conan O'Brien and Jonathan Groff.

But it only lasted six episodes, and didn't seem to get much push from NBC. Watching it on the newly released DVD, Andy Barker, P.I.: The Complete Series, it's hard not to feel the show could have had legs if given the chance.

All's well that ends well, though, and Richter is happier than ever, paired again with Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show, getting to do what he calls a "silly little comedy show" without dealing with the backwards world of the sitcom. I spoke with Richter earlier this week about Barker and being back with Conan.

Do you think Andy Barker, P.I. got a fair shake when it was first out?

Oh, certainly not. Absolutely not.

It was sort of just, you know, shoved on TV and meant to go away.

Do you think from the start it was meant to...

Yeah, kinda. Kinda. You know, I say this as kind of neutrally as possible. I think it's just a statement of fact. It's not really sour grapes. I mean, granted, there's just a skosh of sour grapes to all of this, but there just was really not much promotion. It was a network that already had some critically-acclaimed comedies that not many people were watching and they probably didn't need another one.

They apparently decided at some point that, 'This show is not going to be a big breakout, runaway hit so let's just kind of cut our losses and put it on, and if magic happens, then great, we'll get behind it. But we're not going to get behind it before. We're not going to really get behind it before and push. We're going to put it on.'

It's basically like a friend of mine once referred to it - they shove you out on an ice float and push you out into the water and go, 'All right, now, thrive!'

And like I say, it's not sour grapes. I don't know that, they might know something I don't just about the way people watch television. I'd be terrible at picking television shows.

Did you go back and watch the show at all?

A little bit. A little bit.

I don't watch a lot of stuff of my old stuff. It doesn't feel particularly pleasurable. And that's more just garden variety self-loathing.

Was there anything about this series that you were particularly proud of or that you particularly enjoyed?

Pretty much everything about it. It's a great, refillable structure that could have gone on for many, many years, which you're always trying to find. Even knowing that the actual concept of a show, the shell of a show, or the gimmick of a show, is not the whole thing. The main thing is the execution.

Because you can have two entirely different shows about, say, a hospital in outer space. One could be great and one could be awful, just depending on the execution. But this show, in it's concept, just kind of the hybrid of a detective sitcom kind of thing, we didn't set the world on fire but it certainly was unique.

And it certainly had a great structure for writing jokes in, for filling up with jokes, week after week. And on top of that, in the incredibly risky business of casting a comedy, they did an amazing job of finding - in each role of the show, they did as good as they possibly could, or as well as they possibly could, finding somebody great to be in that role, to be a great caring, generous performer, and to make the characters come alive. And then it was also filled with a lot of really funny, clever jokes.

Top to bottom, I really though tit was a great show, and there's six of them, and you can get them on DVD now.
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Old 11-26-2009, 02:58 AM   #2
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Default Unfortunately, for Andy...

...there are two "camps" who have opinions of this series: one faction agrees that it was one of the "smartest" and funniest sitcoms in years...and the other groaned, "Oh, not him again...". And the latter was the in the majority who tuned out all six episodes. Not for nothing did NBC quietly shift it from Thursdays at 9:30(et) to Saturdays at 8 for the final episodes. The only reason the network bought "ANDY BARKER" in the first place was because they co-produced it, and had to keep Conan O'Brien happy until he took over "THE TONIGHT SHOW" from Jay Leno. Of course, their attitude was, "Just because we bought the show doesn't mean we have to like it".

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