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Wednesday
Feb092011

INSIDE WITH: LONNY ROSS OF 'ANGRY OLD MAN & GAY TEENAGE RUNAWAY'

Lonny Ross & Fred Melamed are 'Angry Old Man & Gay Teenage Runaway' | Photo courtesy of Atom Films

By: Keith Huang

Here's the pitch: Lonny Ross ("30 Rock") and Fred Melamed ("A Serious Man") sit on a bench and talk. That's it. And it works beautifully. In a new Atom.com series launching today, the unlikely duo filter their  tête-à-têtes through crazy lenses: gay teenage runaway and angry old man. But how did they meet? And why are they hanging out? We don't know. Each episode is a tight two minutes, so we may never find out. Instead, director Brennan Shroff lets us bask in Melamed's Old Man hat, Ross's eyeliner and talk of pigeons and Cobb salads. Life, as it has been said, is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans. I see a lot of life here. And here's what good ol' Apiary pal Lonny Ross had to say about it:

So, Lonny, it's been a long time since you were on The Apiary. You haven't called, you haven't written. Do you even remember us?
You sound like the comedy website version of my parents. Of course I remember you, I keep your home page up on my computer all the time. It goes behind the porn, so if someone walks into the room or knocks on the door, I quickly click off the porn window and there you are and I’m in the clear.

Well, I searched for "Lonny Ross" on Twitter, but nothing came back. Are you not into the social-media whatnot? Because clearly that's not you updating your Facebook page. Or is it?
If I publicly said what I was up to all time I’d constantly be getting arrested. Though why it’s illegal to have animals mate publicly within 1500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship, I’ll never know.

 

Are you gay, or do you just play gay men? Because, you know, according to a '30 Rock' Wikipedia entry, "Josh Girard auditions to get back into the TGS cast, confessing that he has been reduced to online gay pornography." That's pretty meta.
Ha. Maybe this character (Gay Teenage Runaway) is what Josh has become. Cut to a new Wikipedia entry one minute after you post this interview, "Lonny Ross has hinted at the fact that Josh Girard may now be the Gay Teenage Runaway in his Atom.com Web series."

Yes! Use a few more adjectives to describe this "Gay Teenage Runaway," please.
Immature. Uninformed. Entitled.

And for "Angry Old Man"?
Cranky. Downcast. Put Upon.

The "Angry Old Man," of course, is played by the great Fred Melamed. When the cameras aren't rolling, is Fred angry or old? My gut tells me no, that he's super cool. Like Stephen Tobolowsky.
Fred’s actually more Gay Teenage Runaway than Angry Old Man.

No, Fred is a great guy, great storyteller, and a very warm person. He’s also a great actor and voice-over artist to boot! I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase “to boot” before. Similar to doing a scene with Alec Baldwin, the guy inherently makes you better, and makes you work harder because he’s so naturally good.

Fred Melamed | Photo: Atom FilmsSo can we expect an "Odd Couple" vibe going into this series?
Sure. The series is based on an actual conversation I overheard in Bryant Park of an old man yelling about Mexicans, and a very effeminate male voice trying to calm him down and give his point of view about the Mexican people. And I just listened to these guys go back and forth about it. So my friend Brennan Shroff and I wanted to do this thing where we pinpoint one of the many dysfunctional conversations and friendships happening all over New York City at any given moment.

That's a pretty deep mine of material. Will there be more episodes after this batch? Or will it depend on an 'x' number of hits?
We got eight of these short webisodes this time around. Not exactly sure what it takes to get picked up for more, as far as hits go, or if they just like the series and that’s enough. We’d love to take these characters off the benches of NYC and bring them to Miami Beach.

And what's your elevator pitch on "Chosen Guns." It sounds pretty interesting.
Not really at liberty to discuss.

Boo. Lastly, I remember seeing this video of Fred Stoller meeting you, which was pretty epic. What were the details, and when are y'all going to shoot something together again?
Fred is a guy I’ve had on my radar to meet for awhile. I’m a fan of his stand up, and I’ve been told that I remind people of him. Even Alec Baldwin said that to me. So I finally met him in Los Angeles and we meet up occasionally at the Grove in Los Angeles and he tells people I’m his younger brother. They totally buy it.

Fred just had a film he wrote and starred in at Slamdance called "Fred and Vinnie," and we’re working on a fun idea together for a film. But you may just see us do something on the Web together before that happens.

And just to spite you, Keith, I will most likely play another gay or questionably gay character. So there.

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