PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Wesley Taylor, Performing Broadcast at the O'Neill Theater Center

By Sophia Saifi
29 Jun 2013

Taylor and Paul Schoeffler in Rock fo Ages.
Photo by Joan Marcus
So we made these backstage videos called "Rock of Ages Productions" and then that was sort of our learning curve. That’s how we figured out how to do it and how to collaborate. Mitch and I really developed this beautiful working relationship where we totally complimented each other, and then I left Rock of Ages to do The Addams Family. Our separation from each other made us miss collaborating and we were like, "Let's do something together!"

The Addams Family was a year and a half of my life, and after 400 performances it starts to get really hard to keep things fresh. It was sort of one of those things where I was desperate to create, to make things of my own and just own things. So then the two of us made "Billy Green," and it was again the two of just beginning to learn how to get better at a series, and then "It Could Be Worse" was born. Jacob Gordon, the central character of "It Could Be Worse" is a culmination of Mitch and I.

Question: A pushover?

Taylor: Well, in a lot of ways this doormat character, this pushover, that’s more of Mitch's struggle. My struggle is not to say, "I'm the victim, I'm the victim." But it seems in a hilarious way that these situations and scenarios seem to constantly happen to me, and instead of quitting the business, I have decided to laugh at the humiliation and exploit it.

I am most attracted to embarrassment comedy in the first place. Like "Veep" and "Girls" and "Louis" and "Curb" [Your Enthusiasm), and all these shows that are my templates. It's basically one of those things where Mitch and I were just like, "Why don't we just actually tell all these stories that we have been experiencing?" Change all the names and change all the details. There are a lot of people who know the truth behind some of these stories and it has been fun.

Taylor on "Smash."
photo by NBC

Question: You get to have the coolest people to guest star on "It Could Be Worse" and some of these people are from "Smash." What was your experience like on the show?

Taylor: I loved working on the show I think that it is really tough and really challenging when you are a television show on a broadcast network. There is so much money at stake that there are so many chefs in the kitchen. One creative decision has to get the approval of 20 different people and those people all have different tastes. How can you ever honor the integrity of a creative decision from the beginning to the end? It’s almost impossible.

In fact when I look at the shows on all the major networks there are very few that I actually need to watch. A lot of the ones that are successful are a little safe for me, like "Modern Family," shows that I love but don't need to see every episode, like I do "Homeland" or "Breaking Bad" or "Walking Dead" or any of those shows.

Unfortunately I think if "Smash" was on Showtime, things would have been different, like it was originally was supposed to have been, and then on NBC things were very out of people’s control. It is hard to track where it all went wrong.