Courtesy of Robyn Von Swank
Wyatt Cenac admits he’s a skeptical person. He often suspects things are too good to be true and will “wait for the other shoe to drop” — except when it comes to aliens on TV.
“I’ve seen things, man,” Cenac said. “I’ve seen practical effects and CGI, and I have to say that television can make a convincing alien.”
Cenac stars in a new pilot for TBS from Greg Daniels (“King of the Hill” and “The Office”) and Conaco (Conan O’Brien’s production company). He plays a journalist investigating a town where citizens claim they’ve been abducted by aliens.
“The network will make a decision hopefully before the end of the year,” Cenac said.
While the crew edits the show in Los Angeles, Cenac keeps busy hosting Night Train with Wyatt Cenac, a weekly comedy show in Brooklyn, N.Y., and touring stand-up. He’ll begin a three-night string of shows at Acme starting Thursday.
Cenac spent four seasons as a writer on “King of the Hill,” his first job in television following a move to LA. This came when Daniels was planning a move of his own. After spending much of his career working in animation with both “King of the Hill” and “The Simpsons,” Daniels transitioned to live-action work with an adaptation of British
sitcom “The Office.”
“The Office” and its Indiana cousin “Parks and Recreation” became critical successes, and Cenac took a correspondent gig on Comedy Central’s satirical news program “The Daily Show.”
For Cenac, it’s interesting to be back with Daniels following their journeys post-“King of the Hill.” Before “The Office,” NBC tried its hand at adapting the hit U.K. sitcom
“Coupling,” which didn’t bode well for the network.
“There’s a version of this story [where] ‘The Office’ could’ve flamed out,” Cenac said. “Instead it turned into this very successful thing. In the same way when I left ‘King of the Hill,’ I might not have made my way to ‘The Daily Show,’ and I could’ve taken whatever job was in front of me.”
Since his tenure at “The Daily Show,” Cenac has spent much of his time doing stand-up.
Vulture listed his special “Brooklyn,” named after the borough he calls home, as one of the 11 best stand-up comedy specials of 2014.
In his special, Cenac describes his experiences drinking at bars in his neighborhood: “I find myself thinking even the white people must think, ‘Sh–, this is a lot of f—ing white people. We did not move here for all these white people; we could’ve stayed in Tribeca for this.’ ”
Since filming “Brooklyn,” Cenac has continued to see changes in his neighborhood that would fit the tone of the special; however, there’s nothing Cenac wishes he could’ve included.
“I’m [not] like, ‘Oh, I wish I could’ve talked about the rise of Crossfit gyms,’ ” Cenac said, adding that if he finds something he may have included on “Brooklyn,” he’ll just find a different way to talk about it.
“Will you talk about Crossfit gyms at Acme?” A&E asked.
“I don’t know,” Cenac said, laughing. “I don’t want to say I won’t. I might have an amazing experience with Crossfit gyms on the way to the show.”