The new 2016 cast of MADtv on The CW on finding their roles, and team bonding

MADtv‘s revival happened quickly.

Four months ago, The CW announced it’d reboot the old FOX late-night sketch comedy series from the 1990s and 2000s, with the original creators finding a new cast. Two months ago, they announced their new cast. Last week, they premiered in primetime!

It’s more than a whirlwind for the eight comedians thrown into the network TV spotlight: Carlie Craig, Chelsea Davison, Jeremy D. Howard, Amir K, Lyric Lewis, Piotr Michael, Michelle Ortiz and Adam Ray.

I caught up with two of them between tapings.

How have you and the rest of the group bonded since getting cast, because you weren’t a pre-existing sketch troupe. Did you have team-building exercises, whether the group did so on your own, or whether The CW or producers set stuff up for you?

madtv_lyriclewis_chelseadavisonChelsea Davison: “We’ve bonded more than I ever could have anticipated, and I think you can see that chemistry between us on the show. We haven’t done any team-building exercises (beyond getting food and drinks), but I think we have all been very open and willing to connect and so it’s just happened naturally. Plus all the excitement and adrenaline helps us immediately feel bonded since we’re on this roller coaster together.”

Piotr Michael: “I have to give huge credit to Julie Ashton, our casting director. She chose a brilliant cast of really approachable, smart, funny and creative people. We first had our opportunity to bond partially during the audition process as we went as a group to test for the network. Then again we got closer during the first promo photo-shoot where there was some downtime in-between and instant reactions to our poses and photographs, poking fun at each other and getting to know what made each of us laugh. It’s an odd thing, but when the casting director does a really great job on any show, the finalized cast always seem to be part of the same family. Maybe it’s our shared love of comedy and performing that pushes egos aside and opens up to having pure fun. That helps the bonding begin, and definitely after our first live taping did we all become comedy war veterans together.”


Do each of you feel as though you already fit specific roles within the group?

Michael: “I know Julie kept her eye out for a diverse and multi-talented cast from the start, and we definitely have our strengths. For me, I love and work hard to do comedic impressions, and that really helps the writers come up with pop-culture references to parody faster than with original characters. However, many of the other cast members hit the ground running with their unique and developed original characters and those can be brilliant as the show progresses and they reprise those personas for the fans.”

Davison: “I have to agree with Piotr, that we are a diverse cast in every sense of the word. We not only look different which allows us to tackle different characters, but we bring different specialties to the process that help us do a bigger range of sketches and jokes. Some people may have more defined roles so far than others, just like happens on any sketch show, but everyone is getting to show off their unique comedic voice.”


MADtv episodes air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT (8 p.m. CDT/MDT) on The CW.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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