Imagine two brothers who are polar opposites working together trying to run a successful sports bar. One is a free-spirited gambling addict and the other is an uptight stickler. This March, Spike TV’s vetting that concept on the air.
Matt Walsh, who has appeared in comedy hits “The Hangover” and “Old School,” stars as Bruce, the typical man’s man who loves women and booze. He spends most of his time drinking and gambling on the job, trying to score dates with the cocktail waitresses at the same time.
Ian Roberts, who has appeared in blockbusters “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights” and “I Love You, Man,” plays Bruce’s brother Ken, who is all business and gets frustrated with Bruce’s irresponsible antics.
“Our relationship is like oil and water,” Roberts said in a college conference call that The Lantern took part in. “We are constantly butting up against each other.”
Many of the fights between Bruce and Ken are inspired by the relationship Walsh has with his real brothers.
“I am borrowing a little bit from my childhood when I was beaten up from my brothers,” Walsh said. “Our fights were always fiercer than the ones with my friends.”
“Players” takes place at a sports bar in Phoenix, Ariz., a place Walsh says is a perfect town for a sports comedy series.
“It’s sort of everywhere America,” Walsh said. “People will buy it because it’s a great town for sports. They have legitimate sports franchises we reference in the show.”
Roberts says having the show set in a sports bar allows for great comedy. Since sports bars are where men do the majority of their drinking, he says this creates a great opportunity for “Players” to explore what happens when men “let loose and get a little crazy.”
Most of the dialogue in “Players” is improvisational, unscripted conversation made up on the spot by the actors. Walsh and Roberts say this adds more hilarity to the series and sets it apart from other shows.
Their duo’s on-screen chemistry can be credited to the actors’ days of working together at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and Los Angeles. UCBT trains aspiring comedians the art of improv, stand-up and sketch comedy and was co-founded by Walsh and Roberts, as well as comedians Matt Besser and Amy Poehler.
“Ian and I have been working together for 15 years,” Walsh said. “It was just natural we team up.”
“Players” premiers Tuesday, March 2 at 10:30 p.m.
To see clips, outtakes and extras of the show, visit spike.com/show/35512.