“I’m thinking the next year or two we’ll explore a way to get the gang back together again,” co-creator and producer Dan Etheridge revealed toward the end of a Party Down panel discussion Sunday at Vulture Festival LA. The full cast was on hand for the event, including actress Megan Mullally, who joined Party Down in the show’s second season.
“I want to do it again,” she insisted. “Can’t we do the show again?” She called performing on the show the most fun she’s had as an actor, a sentiment echoed by other cast members.
“It was truly a blessed time. It was truly the most fun I had doing a job,” shared Jane Lynch, who appeared in most of the series’ first season before she departed to honor a prior commitment to star on Fox’s Glee (she returned for the final episode of Party Down’s season 2, which wound up being the series finale).
Party Down centered on a group of struggling actors and writers trying to make it in Hollywood, relegated to working for a catering service to make ends meet. Each of the season’s 10 episodes was built around a different catering event for the Party Down crew, including, in season two, a surprise birthday party for Steve Guttenberg (who played himself in the episode).
In a surprise for the Vulture Fest audience, Guttenberg came out from behind a curtain to join the Party Down team on stage.
“I knew that it was going to be great,” Guttenberg said of the episode, rated by many fans as the series’ best. “I was really psyched to shoot the show. I was really thrilled to be there…It was really a lot of fun.”
Party Down did not attract a big viewership during its run on Starz. “Sixty-five thousand viewers,” producer Rob Thomas, co-creator and producer of the show, noted of one set of Nielsen figures. “I had never seen a number that low.”
But the sitcom has steadily gained devotees over the years and on Sunday a ballroom full of fans greeted the Party Down talent as rock stars. There had been talk after the show ended of bringing back the series as a movie, but that idea ultimately fizzled. If there is a reunion in the future, it apparently won’t take shape on the big screen.
“I don’t think a movie is in the cards,” Etheridge commented. Adam Scott, one of the first actors cast on the show, concurred, commenting, “I don’t know about a movie.”
Producers revealed the circuitous route Party Down took to Starz. They first pitched HBO, Thomas said. The network was keen on the project, but cooled after series co-creator Paul Rudd became unavailable to star in it. From there, producers pitched FX.
“At the end of the day they [FX] decided it didn’t fit well with [It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia],” he revealed. The pilot “sat in our collective drawers for two years.”
They later showed a pilot episode to Comedy Central, Thomas said.
“It was 30 minutes without a laugh,” he recalled. “We went to Showtime with it…They loved it. [But] the head of Showtime said, ‘I don’t know how to market this show.’” He added Starz “was really was our last stop.”
Along with Lynch, Mullally and Scott, cast members Lizzy Caplan (“Casey Klein”). Ken Marino (“Ron Donald”), Martin Starr (“Roman DeBeers”) and Ryan Hansen (Kyle Bradway”) traded stories of their favorite episodes. For Marino, it was one that co-starred Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who was thrust into the headlines more recently after she said she had an affair with Donald Trump before he ran for president.
In the episode, “She’s the one who [performs a sex act] on me,” Marino recalled. “Tries to.”
In addition to Stormy, there were a number of R-rated memories shared at the panel discussion, including discussions of nudity on the show and Mullally’s recollection of shooting a scene where the Party Down characters cater an orgy. “This is a little too real for me,” she recalled.
Starr, who currently stars in Silicon Valley, now ending its run on HBO, appears up for a cast reunion of Party Down, if it happens. He considers that series one of his best experiences in the business.
“This was maybe the only job where every time we wrapped we stayed around [the set],” he commented. “This was a fun place to be.”