Emmy-winning writer Jay Kogen has been a producer on landmark shows such as Frasier, The Simpsons and The Tracey Ullman Show. Now he's writing for a new generation of sitcom viewers, via the Nickelodeon sitcom Wendell & Vinnie. The comedy, which airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c, stars Jerry Trainor (iCarly) as a childish adult who's given custody of his precocious 12-year-old nephew (Buddy Handleson). Nicole Sullivan and Haley Strode also star. Kogen explains why we should adopt Wendell & Vinnie.
TV Guide Magazine: I have time to watch one more show. Why it should be yours?
Jay Kogen: Because I know people. Tough people. People you don't want to cross.
TV Guide Magazine: Who should be watching Wendell & Vinnie?
Kogen: Our show is mainly designed for prison inmates and their children.
TV Guide Magazine: What happens if we don't watch your show?
Kogen: See question #1.
TV Guide Magazine: Give us an equation for Wendell & Vinnie.
Kogen: Two and a Half Men minus a man, times The Odd Couple, plus Oliver Twist, divided by The Big Bang Theory minus Chuck Lorre.
TV Guide Magazine: Finish this sentence: "If you like ___________, you'll love our show."
Kogen: Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the best thing anyone has said about your show?
Kogen: "Funnier than I thought."
TV Guide Magazine: What's the worst thing?
Kogen: "We're changing your time slot again."
TV Guide Magazine: Who was right?
Kogen: They both ring true
TV Guide Magazine: What's an alternate title for your show?
Kogen: Wendell's Billion-Dollar Giveaway
TV Guide Magazine: Tell us something fun about your cast.
Kogen: They can survive in the forest with only a buck knife, a rope, and a team of hair & makeup artists. Jerry Trainor, who plays Uncle Vinnie, is not only the most gifted comic actor working today, but he's also one of America's foremost clog dancers. For him it's not dancing unless there are wooden shoes pounding the ground. Buddy Handleson plays 12-year-old Wendell and he's insanely talented for his age, which is a very young 63. He keeps his skin so young by never chewing his food. Haley Strode, who plays Taryn, was at one time going to become a heavy weight boxer but during her road to the Olympics, fell in love with both acting and not being punched unconscious. Nicole Sullivan plays Aunt Wilma and she's famous for being able to communicate with the dead. She has the "voice from above" which allows her to talk to the deceased relatives of our cast and crew. She says mostly they complain about the weather and wish Lena Dunham would cover herself, for heaven's sake.
TV Guide Magazine: Come up with a premise for the spin-off.
Kogen: The life of a school hallway extra!
TV Guide Magazine: If you weren't producing this, what series would you most like to be an executive producer on?
Kogen: The Simpsons or To Catch a Predator
TV Guide Magazine: Pick a show with which to start a fake feud.
Kogen: Rock Center with Brian Williams. I hate that jerk!
TV Guide Magazine: With what show would you like to do a crossover episode?
Kogen: Game of Thrones. It'd be a normal Wendell & Vinnie with more wolves and jousting.
TV Guide Magazine: How will your show change the face of TV as we know it?
Kogen: In an effort to teach the children about science, we feature a major surgery every show where the kids learn how to perform operations from the first incision to the last stitch. In next week's episode Wendell makes a new friend, Vinnie gets a dog and we show you how to do a hip replacement at home.
TV Guide Magazine: What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?
Kogen: Creator of Modern Family, mainly because I was not the creator Modern Family. I just said that to impress a chick.