Corddry Talks on the 'Winner' Set
'Daily Show' veteran gets a lead role and a wig
"My God, I'm starting to look like my brother," Corddry raves, before providing commentary. "Rob said, losing track again, staring at himself in the mirror, making it the most distracted interview ever."
Corddry is sitting in the make-up chair on the set of his new FOX comedy "The Winner" and the reliably bald actor is getting a crash course in the differences between the kinds of basic cable wigs he'd get as gags on "The Daily Show" and the caliber of hair enhancements given to network stars.
"That was a wig that we had in the closet for years that I threw on," he marvels. "This is the real deal. This wig cost two-and-half million dollars."
The wig, which didn't really cost $2.5 million dollars, is a major plot point in an episode titled "What Happens In Albany, Stays in Albany," set to air on Sunday, March 11, the second week of FOX's three-week, two-episodes-a-night audition for the comedy, which was created by "Family Guy" veteran Ricky Blitt. The tight scheduling puts a lot of pressure on "The Winner," but in late fall, before the premiere was announced, the cast had bigger worries -- living up to pressure of shooting on the same soundstage as a little hit called "Dharma & Greg."
"This set is haunted with their massive talents, you know?" Corddry muses. "I wear a band around my wrist -- I don't have it on now -- but it says WWJED, What Would Jenna Elfman do?"
"The Winner," which features Corddry as Glen Abbott, a socially awkward Buffalo man who launches his belated "Wonder Years" at 32, is the former fake news correspondent's first crack at network stardom. The reason for the attempted transition is simple.
"Absolutely, no question, the cash," Corddry cracks. "I came from 'The Daily Show' and that's basic cable. I went from 1994 Toyota Corolla to an Acura. The kid's moving up. It's a highly rated Consumer Reports vehicle."
In truth, Corddry wanted the chance to expand beyond his "Daily Show" persona.
"At 'The Daily Show,' I was just doing one thing and it was a fun thing, but it was so confined. I call it the golden, furry cage," he says. "So I do feel like I'm able to spread my wings a little more."
Glen Abbott -- a "Wings"-obsessed virgin who lives with his parents and quickly becomes best friends with the son (Keir Gilchrist) of the woman (Erinn Hayes) he loves -- is certainly different.
"He's definitely not stunted," Corddry explains. "He's child-like in the sense that he's open to change and experience, right? But he discovers it as he goes. If he were stunted, he wouldn't learn anything, but he's such a wide-open vessel. He really discovers things half-way through a sentence, like he'll realize he's saying something a stunted person would say or a child would say and he tries to assimilate it."
And how do they keep the character's age-inappropriate friendship from getting creepy?
"It's just not having any scenes where I touch him or actually molest him. That's what really helps us."
Instead of molestation, the "Albany" episode finds Glenn accompanying his friend to a Spelling Bee in New York's capital, a trip that allows Glenn to reinvent himself (hence the not-$2.5-million wig). Along the way, they throw in an "All That Jazz" reference, a stab at Faye Dunaway and an aggressive amount of double-entendre.
"With actors, we just want to work," Corddry says. "We'd do anything. But when something like this, something that's really special comes down the pike, the instances are few and far between."
"The Winner" premieres on Sunday (March 4) night at 8:30 p.m. ET and 9:30 p.m.