No need to wait long for an f-bomb when Denis Leary is presiding over the TV Critics Association panel on his new FX series, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll. In fact, reader advisory, this panel was more of an f-minefield, thanks to Leary vigorous use of a particular term. Break out the asterisks for a salty ride.
Because FX’s sessions arrive late the two-week TCA grind, Leary began by saying: “I know you’re bored f *** ing titless right now.” He then launched into a tirade about more boredom to come during TCAs’ final two days, with PBS showing its wares on Monday and Tuesday.
Leary talked about his new show — he stars as ‘90s musician Johnny Rock, who is attempting a career revival — but he also punctuated the conversation with questions about sports scores for games he was missing while onstage.
But Leary was happy to crow about the show, for which he is creator, star, writer, director and composer of original songs. He referenced FX honcho John Landgraf’s earlier remarks about 1,700 shows on TV now: “Now there’s 1700 and f *** ing one!”
Fellow cast members John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies, Elaine Hendrix, Robert Kelly and John Ales. At the top of the session, he begged reporters not to ask any f . . . that is, annoying questions about character.
But he did address the character issue when talking about the show’s inspiration, an idea he said he’d been kicking around since his long-running FX dramedy Rescue Me ended in 2011. But first a little story: Leary talked about his last visit to TCA when Rescue Me ended, with series co-creator Peter Tolan.
As Leary describes it, Tolan pulled down his pants onstage, revealing “really gay underwear, and this was before he came out of the closet. I already had the idea before that.”
He added that Landgraf wanted Leary’s new show right away but Leary had a few years of movie commitments to get out of the way before he could sign up.
But back to his character, Johnny Rock: Leary is a musician himself and has kept ties with many of his Emerson College colleagues who later became musicians. Through them he got to meet Boston rock stars, including members of Aerosmith and the Cars. But, he says, he became most interested in “the guy who should have been famous… the idea of a guy who had blown it (but) didn’t want to blame himself.”