Denis Leary delivered a profanity-fueled riff to weary journalists limping to the finish line Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.
A frequent target of his barbs: PBS, which occupies the final two days of the press tour. “I know, you’ve been here for 14 days? Twelve. And you’ve got two days of fucking PBS coming up, right? So the FX day is your fucking last chance.”
Leary acknowledged that he’s a PBS supporter, which didn’t stop him from taking another shot at the public television mainstay.
“How many fucking shows are on PBS that they merit two fucking days?” Leary joked.
The “Rescue Me” alum then cracked wise about the TCA panel cliche of actors blathering on about their characters.
“What do you want to know?” Leary asked the assembled journalists. “Please, let’s not get into that whole, like, us talking about our characters and all that stupid shit. Every fucking asshole actor’s been talking about that for the last 12 days. Let’s try to steer away from that and have a good time, what do you say?”
While Leary was reluctant to delve into the motivations of his character, he did divulge the origin of his upcoming comedy. On the show. Leary portrays Johnny Rock, an over-the-hill would-be rock star who, after spectacularly failing to gain stardom, gets the band back together for one last shot at the spotlight.
Leary, who said that he came up with the idea for the show toward the tail end of “Rescue Me’s” run, told the crowd that he was inspired by his encounters with musicians, famous and not.
“I was much more interested in the guys who should have been famous,” Leary said. “I thought those guys were really interesting. They had the same haircuts as they had back in the New Wave and the punk rock days, because they were still working at college gigs .. and they blame the world and not themselves for failure, and I thought that was really interesting.”
Despite the show’s fascination with musical never-weres, a number of successful musicians — such as Greg Dulli and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl — appear on the series. That was the source of another peeve for Leary.
“The thing that’s galling thing about Greg Dulli and Dave Grohl is that they’re great songrwriters, they’re great performers. They’re big rock stars. But they’re also great actors. Like, we did a lot of improvisation with those guys and they were great. I can’t be a rock star in real life. Those guys are rock stars and they can fucking act, which is kind of sucky. It’s not fair,” Leary griped.
Reminded that he had some measure of success with his 1993 song “Asshole,” Leary remained unswayed.
“Yeah, but it’s still a fucking comedy song, you know?” Leary noted. “I wasn’t really getting laid off the asshole song, I got a lot of guys going, ‘Dude, you’re cool.”