Damon Wayans Jr. is back in the brand new CBS comedy Happy Together, making its series premiere tonight at 8:30 PM ET/PT. In this new show Wayans Jr. plays Jake, an accountant married to the love of his life Claire (played by Amber Stevens West). Jake and Claire have a very comfortable, if routine, marriage until one of Jake’s clients, superstar pop singer Cooper James (Felix Mallard), decides to move in with them to avoid the paparazzi following a public breakup.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Wayans Jr. before tonight’s season premiere to discuss what makes the show so appealing, his relationship with his co-stars and trendy pop-star hairstyles.
MW- Hey Damon, how’s it going?
DWJ- Good Matt, How are you?
MW- Doing fine on this sunny Monday morning, big premiere tonight of course for Happy Together, your new show here on CBS. The show particularly hits home for me as it shows a period of time people in my life are finding themselves in but before we get to that I want to ask you what drew you into this project back it was first pitched to you?
DWJ- First of all I really laughed at the pilot when I read it, I thought it was really funny – that made me want to have the meeting with Ben Winston and Tim and Austin, the writers of the show. When Ben told me that this was loosely inspired by his actual life it really pulled me in because I always feel like it’s great t be a part of a project that has bits of truth in it, I feel like there’s longevity there.
MW- Those bits of truth are exactly what I brought up earlier where there’s this period of time where people find themselves wanting to stay home and watch a movie, maybe you go out a few times a month and all you’re thinking about is going home to drink some wine and fall asleep. It seems like that’s the story that’s being told through this show is that transitionary period in someones life…
DWJ- Yea, I feel like this show is unique because that’s where I am personally also in my life. I don’t really love to go out, I do love my significant other, I like spending time with her – so it’s been really cool to play a character who actually enjoys being in the relationship that he’s in. You do kind of get into that routine though, that “Netflix and chill” minus the chill, you’re just Netflixing [laughs].
The cool thing is this pop star comes in and he kind of lets us know that we’re not as old as we’re acting, we still have some time to live it up and appreciate each other more in active way. Then in turn we give him some normalcy. It’s like a weird kind of unorthodox family.
MW- People definitely do fall into those ruts and this show’s premise is a great way to look at yourself and say, ‘Let’s go out to dinner tonight instead of eating leftovers for the fourth day in row.’
DWJ- Absolutely, that’s what I like about this show. It’s this couple who are in love with each other and now they have this young guy in their life who is sort of challenging them to really show up for each other. It forces them to put their best foot forward.
MW- And from the trailers I’ve seen it looks like you, Amber and Felix (Mallard) all get along really well. It seems like there is great chemistry between the three of you, what’s it been like working with those two?
DWJ- Oh, it’s been great, it’s been really great. Amber is one of the happiest people on earth, one of the hardest working people on earth – she has no ego or vanity when it comes to comedy. Same with Cooper, I mean Felix [laughs], who plays Cooper. It’s been great, nobody has the egos, nobody is difficult, everybody is just there to play and have a good time while being funny.
MW- It’s funny you called him Cooper because I wanted to ask you about that. Cooper James is the most perfect boy band, pop-star name I think I’ve ever heard. I’m shocked there hasn’t been an actual Cooper James.
DWJ- I know, so am I [laughs]! It’s the perfect name, I’m surprised no one is really named that in music.
MW- I can see it in my mind, Cooper James on stage with frosted tips wearing an all white jumpsuit.
DWJ- [Laughs] You got to have the frosted tips.
MW- So ahead of the series premiere, what do you want people to know about the show before they tune in tonight?
DWJ- You should tune in if you want to laugh. You should tune in if you want to see some really fun character work. Also with the world we’re living in now with everything being so tense I feel like this is a great way to tune out for 30 minutes and just enjoy some light-hearted comedy.
We’re not really talking about the major issues, and these issues do need to be talked about, but this show doesn’t tackle them. It’s really just about watching these people and their relationships with each other, it’s like a cool 90’s show. It’s like Friends…but not, at all [laughs].
MW- Frosted tips and 90’s TV are two things I’m definitely here for more of. Thanks so much for the time today Damon and good luck with the show, it’s been awesome talking to you.
DWJ- Appreciate you bud, take care.
Happy Together premieres tonight at 8:30PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.