In "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Andy Samberg plays Jake Peralta, a crack New York detective who ignores the rules and lands on the bad side of his new captain, Ray Holt (Chicago native Andre Braugher).
The new Fox series is one of only a few sitcoms in the past several years set in the world of the police force. That it recalls the 1970s sitcom "Barney Miller" isn't a mistake, according to Mike Schur, the show's co-creator and executive producer with Dan Goor. The two worked together on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."
"We pretty quickly realized that there hadn't been a half-hour cop comedy in a while," Schur said during a recent conference call with reporters. "In this day and age where there are 10 million shows about every genre, every setting, every location that is possibly imaginable by the human brain, that made it seem like kind of an exciting challenge. And we were both fans of 'Barney Miller.'"
Samberg, who left "Saturday Night Live" last year after several successful seasons on the late-night comedy show, chose a cop comedy as his first post-"SNL" project mostly for the wardrobe.
"I definitely was going to get to wear a cool leather jacket, which was appealing," he joked. "And honestly, I've always enjoyed cop comedies as well as cop dramas as well as cop films and TV. I like the procedural aspect of it, and I also really like the work place aspect of it. When it comes to work place comedies there is really no one else I would want to work with than these dudes."
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" premieres at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 on Fox. Goor and Schur talked more about creating "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," while Samberg munched on beef jerky.
Each week does Andre Braugher get to ask, "What's wrong with you?" or a variation of that to Andy Samberg's character?
Mike Schur: Yes. The answer is yes. Most of the episodes involve Andy's character, Jake Peralta, doing something which requires Andre Braugher's character to say some version of, "What the hell is wrong with you?" That's a pretty constant theme. For example, right now, during this conference call, Andy is eating a giant bag of beef jerky. I think if Captain Holt were here he would be staring blank-faced at Andy and saying, "What is wrong with you?"
Andy Samberg: "Peralta, that's way too much sodium for you." Not to mention…
How much can you change Andy's character without sort of upsetting the balance between the two characters?
MS: Well, it's a good question. It's one we talk a lot about in the writing room, and I think that the central tension of the show comes from the fact that Jake doesn't really want to be changed that much and Holt really wants to change him and they butt heads a lot. That will be the dynamic that's set up in the pilot. Holt is a guy who wants to make the best precinct in Brooklyn. Jake is his most talented detective but he also doesn't really do things the same way Holt does, and that is a source of constant irritation and annoyance. Because as long as Jake is closing cases, which he does because he is good, he has a leg to stand on in terms of the way he conducts himself. That dynamic is the central dynamic intention in the show.
Andy, how is working on "Nine-Nine" better and different than working on "SNL"?
MS: He can't answer you because his mouth is full of beef jerky. I'm not kidding.
AS: I wasn't expecting to be asked a question. It's better in that, for me any way, it's much less stressful because the hardest part of "SNL" for me was having to create something new every week. And with this I have basically just scripts handed to me every week that are already great and a bunch of jokes that are already written, which is the hardest part of comedy, in my opinion. So in that regard it's been a lot less stressful for me.
Certainly, the hardest part changing has been waking up early versus staying up incredibly late with "SNL," which is much more my element, but I'm adjusting nicely. And I say that with full confidence knowing you can't see the other two's eyes rolling as I say it.
Is there any advice that someone at "SNL" gave you that you're using now for your new character in "Nine-Nine."
AS: No, but I will say that I took a cue from Amy Poehler in terms of feeling confident about making this decision. Not just because she seg'd successfully out of the show into a show, but because she literally did it with the same guys.
MS: Was seg short for segue?
AS: Seg was a shortening of the word Segway, yeah. And by that I meant, she rode a Segway out of "30 Rock," all the way to Los Angeles and onto "Parks and Rec." Stay tuned for the documentary.