Fun Facts About ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’

7 minute read

By Jonny Hughes

Over the course of many funny seasons, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has transformed from an experimental, low budget comedy into one of the most original and popular shows on television. Distinctive, despicable, and sharp, there is no other comedy quite like It’s Always Sunny. This is largely due to the narcissism portrayed by the main characters.

Since it’s so unique, there are tons of brilliant facts about It’s Always Sunny that will you greater appreciation for its comedy and production. Here are 10 fascinating facts about the Paddy’s Pub crew.

10. The Show Has the Cheapest Opening Credits Ever

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia started out on a very low budget. In fact, the pilot reportedly cost under $100 to make.

The now-famous opening credits — which has been the same for 14 seasons —  are the cheapest ever used on TV. The credits simply show shots of streets and landmarks in Philadelphia, all of which were shot by the gang on a digital camera while driving around the city. This explains why some of the shots are out of focus and always shaking. Moreover, the catchy theme music is a public domain song, Heinz Kiessling’s “Temptation Sensation”.

Although the show has changed and evolved over the years, it still retains the charm of a low budget comedy. This is a big part of its appeal and what separates it from other shows.

Source: Screenshot via 20th Television

9. The Cast Don’t Drink on Set

Since the characters are poorly functioning alcoholics, alcohol is regularly a major component of the plot. Plus, since they run a bar, the gang has a constant supply to fuels their wild schemes and constant arguing. It is rare for a beer bottle not to be in a shot as each member regularly drinks regardless of the time of day.

However, during a Reddit AMA, Glenn Howerton (Dennis) revealed that the cast never drink on set. Instead, they use substitute liquids to stand in for alcohol. Howerton added that drinking during filming was bad for insurance and that they did not want to put the show at risk.

One thing is certain: with the amount of “beer” that they go through in the average episode, it would be extremely expensive. Source: denofgeek.comScreenshot via 20th Television

8. Charlie Writes Most of the Songs Himself

Anyone who considers themselves a fan of the show will know that many of the highlights come from Charlie’s music. This includes the hilarious and extremely catchy song “Dayman”, which he later turned into a brilliant dramatic musical titled “The Nightman Cometh”.

Typically, the lyrical content of Charlie’s songs is extremely strange and disturbing. As such, his musical talents are a key source of humor on the show.

While Charlie is shown to be surprisingly artistic on the show, actor Charlie Day is also very talented in real life. In fact, Day has written and improvised plenty of the music featured on the show.

Source: Screenshot via 20th Television

7. Danny DeVito Only Joined Because His Kids Were Fans

The polarizing humor of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was difficult to get off the ground. In fact, it was close to cancellation after the very first season. In a bid to boost ratings, the network asked the showrunners to bring in a star.

Brilliantly, creator Rob McElhenney recruited none other than Danny DeVito, who joined as Frank Reynolds. DeVito’s character has since gone on to become a fan favorite and is considered integral to the show’s success. However, it was DeVito’s children that should be credited with persuading the star to join as they were enormous fans of the show already.

After coming on board, DeVito enjoyed being on the show so much that he quickly became a regular. Frank would join the gang in all their wild schemes, which would see his character gradually become more depraved.

Source: Picture via Shutterstock

6. The Original Premise Was Very Different

Originally, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was to be very different. So different that it wasn’t even set in Philadelphia!

Titled It’s Always Sunny On TV, the original pilot was set in Los Angeles. Instead of running a bar, the gang was struggling actors in the film industry. The pilot demonstrated similar humor and storylines, but ultimately it was e a very different show to the one that we know and love today. The creators took the pilot to a number of networks before it was picked up by FX.

In an additional fun fact, prior to the pilot getting made, McElhenney and Howerton first had a film idea about a man telling his friend he might have cancer, while the friend had really only come by to borrow a cup of sugar. This cringe-inducing tale was quickly incorporated into season one as the episode “Charlie Has Cancer”. Source: Bustle.comScreenshot via 20th Television

5. Guillermo Del Toro Cameos in Season 8

While shooting his role in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Charlie Day was approached by the popular director, who told him that he was a huge fan of the show and would love to be a guest star. Unsure on how true this statement was Day later emailed Del Toro, who confirmed that he was serious and they arranged for him to appear on the show.

This would happen in the season eight episode “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre”, where Del Toro briefly appears as gibberish-speaking Pappy McPoyle. He reprised this role in season 11 for the episode “McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century”. The extremely odd, depraved, and incestuous McPoyle family has become fan favorites. They regularly appear as antagonists to the gang.

Source: Screenshot via 20th Television

4. The Game of Thrones Series Creators Wrote an Episode

In season nine, the episode “Flowers for Charlie” was written by none other than David Benioff and D.B Weiss, who are best known for being the series creators of Game of Thrones‘ TV adaptation. As huge fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, they inquired about writing an episode as a change of pace from their normal duties in Westeros. The result was a very well-received episode, which was a parody of the book Flowers for Algernon.

In the episode, Charlie becomes smarter after taking a pill, but this change in his character is not well-received by his friends. Elsewhere, the gang attempt to take on “Charlie work” by catching a rat, but end up getting high on gasoline.

Interestingly, The League, a show regularly compared to It’s Always Sunny that also airs on FXX, released an episode that very same evening called “Flowers for Taco” that had a similar plot.

3. Rob McElhenney Gained 50 Pounds of Fat for Extra Humor

In season seven, Mac (Rob McElhenney) walked through the door to Paddy’s Pub to reveal that he had gained around 50 pounds of fat. This was not McElhenney letting himself go, but instead his plan to add extra humor to his character.

McElhenney stated that this weight gain was his way of fighting the trend of actors getting more attractive as the show grows in success. In the show, Mac wanted to gain weight to become the same size as a bodybuilder and justified his constant snacking as “cultivating mass”.

While it offered the show a new comedic direction, the extreme weight gain — and later loss — was actually extremely dangerous. The rest of the cast and crew were on the fence about it, with Charlie Day describing it as “disgusting”. Source: itsalwayssunny.wikia.comScreenshot via 20th Television

2. They Were Not Nominated for a Major Award Until 2013

Although it struggled with ratings early on, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has since exploded in popularity. Moreover, the quality has been lauded by many, with some claiming it to be the funniest thing on television.

Even though it was setting such a high standard for around a decade, It’s Always Sunny was not nominated for a major award until 2013. Even then, the nomination was an Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program, which they did not win.

In a form of revenge, during season nine, they poked fun at the Emmys with the episode “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award”. In the episode, the gang is upset that they have never even been nominated for a “Best Bar in Philadelphia Award”. So, they go to great lengths to try and win one. In a very self-aware episode, they attempt to be like the other bars. However, in the end, they realize that they cannot change who they really are. Source: startribune.comScreenshot via 20th Television

1. There Are 3 Real-Life Couples on the Show

Although the characters may make it seem otherwise, there is a lot of love behind the scenes.

Although Dee is constantly ridiculed by Mac on the show, their actors are a couple in real life. After hiring Kaitlin Olsen to play Dee, Rob fell for her when filming season two, claiming that he found her to be the funniest woman in show business. They are now married and have two children.

Another brilliant fact is that Charlie Day is married to Mary Elizabeth Ellis. On the show, Charlie is obsessed with Ellis’ character, only known as the Waitress. He follows her everywhere, much to her annoyance. The couple first met in real life after playing incestuous twins on Reno 911.

Finally, Glenn Howerton is married to Jill Latiano, who guest-starred in an episode where Dennis seduces her using his legendary “D.E.N.N.I.S System”.

Source: Picture via Shutterstock

Jonny Hughes


Jonny Hughes has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2015.