Andy St. Clair: comedy writer on new “Sirens” special

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Two years ago Chicago lost another great writer/performer to the lure of Hollywood. Andy St. Clair spent years on the Second City Mainstage and touring company in ”Campaign SuperNova (How Many Democrats Does it Take to Lose an Election?),” “Studs Terkel’s Networking,” and the Mainstage show, “The Taming of the Flu.”

Still, he’s not quite sure how he ended-up a staff writer for Denis Leary’s new series, “Sirens.”

Set in Chicago, Sirens is a single camera workplace comedy about the raunchy lives of three single EMT guys.  Subjects range from online bestiality porn to smelly homeless people to how women look from behind in tight yoga pants.  Guy stuff.

Let’s get the important stuff out of the way, how hot is Denis Leary?

Still a “10” after all these years.

How did you get the job?

We (Paul O’Toole is Andy’s longtime writing partner and SC improviser) wrote an original spec script. It was a little aggressive. Sensibilities were similar. I had a long conversation with Bob( Fisher, “Wedding Crashers”), he’s the nicest man in Hollywood.

He gave us the job, or threw us a bone, like, just hire these idiots! I had to move out of Chicago to get a job writing about Chicago!

Can you relate to the characters?

I just play stupid most of the time, I just stumble into stuff. I’ve been doing that character my whole life – it’s not a thing.  One of the characters is gay. The main two guys are friends – Hank and Johnny, while the newbie is very cool and open. The gay thing was never talked about in the room.

How long did you write?

We started writing in mid-June and finished in November.

What is the angle you bring to the writing staff? And how big is that staff?

Everyone came from different backgrounds. We were all just thrown into the mix, talked about everything. We figured out the story we wanted to tell.  We worked off of characters, not even outlines.

We’d write a page or two of lines. Come back and dissect lines. Write better jokes. The room was pretty young for first time writers.  My only other show was “Brickleberry” (Comedy Central).

How does it feel to be reviewed? 

The Chicago reviews toughen you up for others. I haven’t read hardly any of the reviews. We stopped working in November and we weren’t in the editing room or anything, I’m now watching them with everybody.  And I’m thinking, ‘oh that made it,’ or that ‘didn’t make it.’

What’s up next for you?

Performing at IO West and Second City – Hollywood. Auditioning for pilot season. And writing. Everything with writing gets done after acting. We’ll audition at two p.m. and writing at three. Working on getting jobs I guess.

Carey Lundin is director/producer of the award-winning documentary, Jens Jensen: The Living Green. Reach her at careylundin@gmail.com.

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