What It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia's True Goal Is With Its Comedy, According To Glenn Howerton

Glenn Howerton as Dennis on Always Sunny
(Image credit: FX Productions)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia wasted no time in defining its signature sense of humor when Season 1 premiered over a decade ago. The hit sitcom’s unapologetically awful protagonists (arguably the villains of their own show) made millions of fans bust a gut with their absurd antics. However, despite the Gang’s apparent moral vacuity, the actual point of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia isn’t to promote their ideology - at least, not according to co-creator and star Glenn Howerton. 

Uproxx recently caught up with Glenn Howerton to chat about the fifteenth season of It’s Always Sunny Philadelphia (a milestone that makes the show the longest running live-action sitcom in television history). In between discussing his love for Pink Floyd and his disdain for the Beatles, Glenn Howerton revealed the true goal behind the dark comedy of Always Sunny. While some may view the Gang’s perpetually ignorant mindsets as a creation designed specifically to offend as many people as possible, that’s not actually the case. Glenn Howerton explained: 

It’s not, it really isn’t. The way the show is talked about, it’s as if that’s our goal, or that our goal is to push the boundaries of what’s decent or whatever. And that’s never the goal. That being said, what is the goal is to make people laugh. And often in order to do so, you have to kind of shake them up a little bit. That’s my feeling. The best jokes to me, are slightly acerbic and make you go, “Oh, shit! Can you say that?” That’s just what I like because I like to be provoked. I like to be poked by art.

Just like any comedy, the main goal of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is to get a laugh. However, Glenn Howerton is completely aware of the show’s inherently satirical nature. The Gang has seemingly discussed just about every hot-button issue known to humankind, from gun control to political scandals to homophobic rhetoric. But the inclusion of these topics isn’t meant to merely shock or offend - rather, Glenn Howerton hopes that the show will convince viewers to re-examine their own beliefs. He said: 

For me, it’s more raising questions, forcing people on any side of a particular issue to sort of face what is often absurd about their point of view, or the reasons behind their point of view. Because the truth is as far as I’m concerned, most of the time, the reality lies somewhere in the middle. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. So poking fun at the extremes on any side of any given issue or argument is… I mean, I think that’s just what the show’s always been about.

The first two episodes of Season 15 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will aired on FXX on December 1. Episodes will be available to stream the next day on FX on Hulu and FXNOW. Plenty of other TV options are on the way in the new year, however, so be sure to swing by our 2022 winter and spring premiere schedule for what to watch and when to watch it. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.