Danny DeVito Interview: ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ Broadway, and ‘Triplets’

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Danny DeVito
Kaitlin Olson as Dee, Charlie Day as Charlie, and Danny DeVito as Frank in ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (Photo by Evans Vestal Ward/FX)

Danny DeVito was part of a TCA table read for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 13. The episode they read has Mac (Rob McElhenney) officially come out to his father through an interpretive dance. Frank (DeVito) tries to be supportive in his own way too.

DeVito stayed after the read to talk with reporters more. Other episodes this season see Frank and the gang try to solve an escape room and try to make Paddy’s pub great again. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT on FXX.

Is Frank Reynolds more your signature character now over Louie from Taxi?

Danny DeVito: “Yeah, I think it’s Frank unless you’re a kid. Then it’s Mr. Wormwood. Really, I get a lot of people who grew up with Matilda. So, I do get a lot of Mr. Wormwood and that’s really fun because it’s, ‘I’m going to Guam. Hurry up, the speedboat salesmen are coming.’

I’m from Jersey, a little bit outside from Philly. But wherever I go now, since the show’s been on and very popular all over the world basically, I mean, people will say to me things like, ‘Go Philly! Hey, Philly!’ something like that, you know. So, I think all the people that I’ve encountered so far, no matter how base we are, they just think of it as kind of a cool thing and a feather in their cap, Philly people. They like our show, I think. And we like Philly too.”

Have been asked to do anything so debased that you’ve taken a pause and said, “Maybe not for this one?”

Danny DeVito: “There have been very few things that I’ve said no to. There was one episode that I didn’t want to do, but it was they wrote it as a joke. I get thrown out of windows. I come out of couches naked. I puffed myself up like that makeup was really amazing to do, a lot of fun. I bled all over everything. I’ve done everything. I mean, not everything, because we have a…you still got to do another season of the show and there are probably going to be other things. If anybody thinks of anything that they want to see me do, you can write to them, and if it’s outrageous enough, they’ll put it in the show.”

Do you worry about political correctness and getting in trouble for things you thought everybody would laugh at?

Danny DeVito: “I think the main thing about that is abuse. The main thing about that is respect. There’s funny and then there’s abusive and then there’s jokes and everybody kids each other about stuff. But when there’s the violation of personal space, then I think you’re in a big mess. Since all of this has gone on, women need to be heard and listened to and that’s great, but I really don’t feel like the majority of the comedians in the world or people who poke fun at themselves and each other are abusive. I don’t think that’s the case. There are rare, rare cases of that, and they’ve come to the surface.”

Arnold said he saw the Triplets script. Have you?

Danny DeVito: “No, I haven’t seen it. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that but I’m looking forward to it.”

How’s Dumbo going?

Danny DeVito:Dumbo’s beautiful. Tim (Burton) is a genius. It’s really a movie that’s going to be for everybody. We love Dumbo. He’s our precious friend and I think in the hands of a visual artist like Tim, Disney’s got something really special on their hands because that was an experience. It was a really wild, great, fun, colorful experience with Dumbo.”

Was it interesting working with Tim again all these years later?

Danny DeVito: “Tim and I have worked together four times now. It’s always a pleasure. We stay in touch. I go to see his art shows. I’ve done things like that. Even though we weren’t making movies together for a while, we are good friends and we keep in touch.”

How was your experience on Broadway?

Danny DeVito: “That was my first time on Broadway. The amazing thing is doing Arthur Miller, it’s great words. I’ve done two plays now since we’ve been doing Sunny. One was Sunshine Boys which was Neil Simon, so great writing. Arthur Miller, you just can’t beat that gift of language.”

What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned?

Danny DeVito: “Before you go on a long road trip, you should take a leak. Very, very important. As you get older, the bladder’s like, ‘What?'”

What is your favorite TV comedy of all time and why?

Danny DeVito: “I think it’s I Love Lucy because I grew up watching her and Ethel dig themselves into major, major holes and try to get out. I kind of look at It’s Always Sunny as like I Love Lucy on acid.”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Danny DeVito
Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney, Danny DeVito, and Charlie Day in ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (Photo by Patrick McElhenney/FX)

Did Broadway change your Sunny work?

Danny DeVito: “No, I’m looking forward to finding some other play to do too. I really love the experience and I got t to work with terrific actors and wonderful Arthur Miller words. To be an actor, I relish the thought of doing it again.”

What are your thoughts on a Taxi reboot?

Danny DeVito: “I don’t think about that. I don’t think about the reboots and the remakes. I think about possibly doing new things. Although I guess you would say I did the Arthur Miller that’s been done before, but I enjoyed doing it. And Sunshine Boys was lots of fun.”

What is your love of theater about?

Danny DeVito: “Well, theater’s a great thing. I’m an actor so I like to entertain you. It’s great to have an audience. In the theater, you do the shows like live audience, it’s give and take, it’s really good. Taxi used to be in front of a live audience every Friday night. That was great. So movies totally different and television without audiences, but I really dig doing theater. I want to do more of it.”

What career achievement are you most proud of so far?

Danny DeVito: “I love all the things I’ve done. I’m really very lucky to have been in so many good – had so many good parts. It’s great to work with good writers. It’s nice to be with friends.”

What haven’t you done yet that you’re dying to do?

Danny DeVito: “Keep going. Tomorrow morning. You’ve gotta wake up in the morning. That’s the big thing so I haven’t done that yet. Gotta do that.”

Have you kept in touch with Mara Wilson since she became a writer herself?

Danny DeVito: “Yes, yes. As a matter of fact, Mara and I were together. We had a reunion with Matilda. If you buy the Blu-ray for Matilda, in the middle of the Blu-ray I put a garden party that we had with all the grown-up kids. You get to see Bruce Bogtrotter and Lavender and Matilda and Mrs. Trunchbull was there. Embeth, Miss Honey was there.”

Did it happen very quickly when you started acting?

Danny DeVito: “No, it didn’t. Every actor’s got a lot of things they have to – it’s not an easy task becoming an actor and getting work, so you have to keep in there and be positive about it and just keep being tenacious and going after it and look for that. It’s like hunting, look for the right thing so you keep working on it and don’t give up and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it.”