Undateable’s Chris D’Elia & Bill Lawrence Talk Striking Out

In every person’s life, there comes a time when things just aren’t going your way. That’s the premise behind NBC’s new comedy series, Undateable. The show is inspired by the book “Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex,” by Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle. OHSOGRAY chatted with series creator Bill Lawrence and star Chris D’Elia about their own hilarious experiences being undateable.

You’ve mentioned not wanting to be too gloomy about this stage of life for the characters. What are some of the ways that they’re going to cope with the challenges of being undateable and are any of these familiar with experiences that you’ve had?

Bill Lawrence: The biggest thing for me is, you know, it’s really about trying to climb your way into adulthood. To me that means, right when we join the show it’s a struggling bar and it’s, you know, Chris’ sister is played by Bianca who just got divorced and hasn’t moved past it yet. It’s a young man that hasn’t had the security to ever ask out the girl he loves and even Chris’ character, it’s a guy that deep down inside thinks any girl that he would want to be with long-term is the type of girl that would never want to be with a guy like him long-term. One of the things we really took great pains to make sure we do, even if it’s subtext, is get everybody in that group over as many hurdles as possible the first year.

As far as my own experiences, I tried so hard when I was living in New York running Spin City to look like a young, cool, rockstar type, you know, I wanted people to think I was edgy. I was not edgy. I was – I had never really tasted a martini, I drank beers occasionally and I really liked romantic comedies. But I died my hair white thinking that would change things and instead it just made me look like such a loser, so.  I think that’s Brent’s character a bit.

Chris D’Elia: Anything with loser can be Brent’s character. You’re saying undateable lessons I’ve learned in my own life? Yes, I used to – I mean dude, I used to lie a lot. Just because –

How’d that work out?

Chris D’Elia: I mean it worked out great until you have to remember all the lies, you know what I mean? But yes, I would just –

Bill Lawrence: By the way, how many times when you were younger Chris, you could get to that point where you’re like, “I just can’t keep track of all the lies.”

Chris D’Elia: Yes, it was like a very serious drama that you’d watch and be like, “I can’t keep track of all the lies.” But I remember like I would just say stuff to girls and be like, “Yes, my family and I, we went to the opera.” And I’d never been to an opera, like, but that would like be – because I would think, like, if the lie was a big one, she would never question it because why would I make up a big lie, you know? But then eventually I got into my, you know, my later 20s and I was like, “I don’t want to be the guy who does this.” I just kept doing it because that was what I was doing and then realized you can’t be an adult that just lies about going to the opera, you know what I mean? Like that’s just –

Bill Lawrence: I had the same issue –

Chris D’Elia: Because then you’re not a kid who’s just making up lies, you’re a crazy person.

Bill Lawrence: I had the same issue in my 20s and the only thing I could do to stop it initially — and my friends all gave me shit for it — was I just decided that if anybody ever asked a follow-up question that I would come clean. So I would have a lot of really weird conversations with people, they’d be like, “Hey did you see that new Kevin Costner movie?” and I’d go, “Yes.” And they’d go, “What was your favorite part?” “I didn’t see it.” And then they’d think I was insane. The message there I think is people behind undateable are liars.


Undateable premieres Thursday, May29th 9/8c on NBC.