News Column

Cop comedy 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' to premiere Tuesday on Fox

September 15, 2013


Sept. 15--Comic Andy Samberg was looking for another cop comedy like "Barney Miller" when the idea of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" came up.

Both he and executive producer Dan Goor admitted they are big fans of that 1974-1982 comedy series.

The more they talked about it, they realized there had not been a half-hour cop comedy show in a while and that it could be "somewhat "unexplored territory," said Samberg in a teleconference with Goor and co-executive producer Mike Schur. And, there was another reason the idea of the show appealed to the young actor.

"Well, I definitely was going to get to wear a cool leather jacket, which was appealing, and honestly, I've always enjoyed cop comedies as well as cop dramas as well as cop films and TV," he said. "I like the procedural aspect of it and I also really like the workplace aspect of it."

A native of Berkeley Calif., Samberg got his start as part of the Lonely Island, a group of three California-based writer-performer- filmmakers whose short films aired on It was Jimmy Fallon, whom they met while writing for the MTV Movie Awards, who suggested they audition for "SNL." Samberg was hired as a performer in 2005, with his friends Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer added to the writing staff. Samberg, who has won an Emmy for original music and lyrics along with Justin Timberlake and his friends, left "SNL" in May.

In his new full-time gig "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," he stars as Det. Jake Peralta, a guy with a definite sense of humor and a new captain (Emmy winner Andre Braugher) who has a by-the-book attitude and a lot to prove.

For Samberg, playing opposite Braugher, known for his work on TV's "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Gideon's Crossing," "Hack" and the films "Duets" and "Salt," is surreal.

"As an actor, I am in awe of him," said Samberg, who turned 35 in August. "He knows exactly how to play drama and has so much experience in that regard. So I am learning from him every day watching how he approaches things.

"As a person, I think he is fantastic. He couldn't be warmer ... Comedically, he gets better every day but he really started off great, in my opinion ... I feel our characters play perfectly into our experience leading up to this point."

In the series, Braugher's Captain Holt is on Jake's case all the time but it's not what you think, said Samberg.

"I don't think that he's testing his ability so much as his potential. He sees that Jake is a good detective with a lot of good instincts but that he could be a really great one and a leader. And he's choosing to be lazy and selfish and play in his own lane and he's challenging him to be more."

And, even though Samberg is being handed a script complete with jokes every day, he said there is still room for spontaneity.

"There is always a writer on set and a director-producer and that week's director and the whole cast -- many of whom are trained comedians and writers as well. So even if we're going off a scene that's written, if we feel it's not totally clicking, we'll brainstorm and end up with alts and give ourselves as many choices in the editing room as possible."

For Samberg, the whole idea of having done films, "SNL" and now having his own sitcom is a situation that makes the actor feel grateful, he said.

"It feels more and more impossible every time I do something new. When I was 8 years old, I decided I wanted to do 'SNL' and that was pretty much all I thought about until I was actually on it. So everything, from the point I got to audition, really has been icing ... It's so far beyond what I imagined happening to me. Yeah, it feels incredible. I feel incredibly lucky."

Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360


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