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FX is looking to get back into bed with one of the stars partly responsible for turning the cable network into a storytelling powerhouse, as comedian Denis Leary will return to wreak a brand of havoc entirely different from what he did as Tommy Gavin in the fireman drama Rescue Me. FX has given a pilot order for a comedy called Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, and while the subject matter will no doubt hit the same kinds of tasteless depths, it’ll be from a purely comedic angle, and will be about thirty times more infuriating to writers hoping that title gets shortened before too much longer.
The project will follow Leary as Johnny Rock, a down on his luck musician who begins trying to reclaim seat in the limelight by getting the band back together. Just the way I described it gets on my own nerves, because it doesn’t even try to hide the “we’ve seen it all before” side of the story. I think that Leary and FX definitely buck expectations most of the time, and this could be a great concept in spite of itself. I think Leary’s 2001-02 cop comedy series The Job is immensely rewatchable despite adhering to certain generic sitcom tropes, so I’d give Leary’s 50-year-old rock star a shot.
Even though Rock may goonishly share his last name with the music he plays, the character epitomizes someone who shares the last name as “Shitty Human Being.” He could have had it all when he was 25 years old and singing for the early 1990s band The Heathens, whose road from sold-out show to sold-out show was covered with alcohol and any kind of drunk that could be drank, smoked and snorted. And so before they could even properly reap the rewards of their first album’s release, the band was broken up thanks to Rock having slept with just about all of the important women in his band members’ lives. So why would they want to even get back together with him at this point? Maybe they don’t.
Assuming they don’t play the same kind of generic “old guy doing young things” jokes that made Last Vegas a generic trip to the theater, this could be a biting look at a rock & roll culture that doesn’t get skewered that often. I’m a little more worried about actual rock musicians coming in and fitting themselves awkwardly into the storylines, as Deadline said there will be. Dee Snider is a lock for sure. There will also be original music, which is enough to later my gag reflex already.
FX is keeping it up in the air as to whether they’ll be keeping SADARAR, as I’ll now begin calling it, on the flagship network or if they’ll sit it with the other comedies on the FXX offshoot. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to feature language and situations that make it inappropriate for country music fans.
Leary is producing USA Network’s EMT comedy Sirens, along with IFC’s Marc Maron comedy Maron, and it’ll be good to get him back in front of the camera. He’s one of those comedians that instantly rubs people the wrong way, and he should push that to extremes with this comedy. Below is one of my favorite Rescue Me scenes, with Leary at his best in the middle of a terrible situation.