Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme have been making people laugh for decades, most notably as part of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which came together in 1990 at New York’s Colgate University. The group’s films Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread and last year’s Super Troopers 2 are now widely considered cult comedy classics.
Their latest project, Tacoma FD, is wrapping up its first 10-episode season on truTV this week, and the pair sat down with HTTV recently to talk about the series.
“Tacoma FD is our new show on truTV and it’s a show about firefighters in the wettest city in America,” says Heffernan. “And it’s basically Super Troopers in a fire station.”
“Right down to the mustaches,” Lemme chimes in.
Heffernan and Lemme explain that the impetus for the new series is rooted in their vanity.
“The thing that inspired us to make this show was an intense desire to get on TV,” Lemme says, adding that they incorporated popular elements of their earlier hits while creating the show.
“Super Troopers are on the most deserted stretch of highway, so they have a lot of downtime,” Lemme says. “What’s the equivalent of that for firefighters? The rainiest city in the country.”
The storylines in Tacoma FD include antics from real departments, as told to the duo by the likes of one of Heffernan’s cousins Lt. Bill, a firefighter who was hired as a technical director for the production.
“Also, we’ve talked to a bunch of firefighters,” adds Heffernan. “And when Super Troopers came out, firefighters said to us, ‘Cops are pretty funny, you know, but you know who’s really funny? Firefighters.’”
Because Tacoma has such a wet climate, fires don’t have much chance of starting and getting out of control, leaving the department plenty of downtime for shenanigans. In fact, Lemme and Heffernan decided that the crew of Tacoma FD would only actually fight one fire each season of the series.
“In the first season, it takes place in Washington state, so what makes sense?” Heffernan asks. “Fire in a weed dispensary. Weed dispensary catches on fire, we’re sent in to put it out. Hilarity ensues.”
“It’s basically the world’s biggest hot box,” Lemme explains.
Lemme and Heffernan also talk about other projects they have in the works, including a cannabis-themed sequel to Beerfest. One of the producers of that film, Bill Gerber, is currently enjoying the success of another film he produced, last year’s A Star is Born.
“While he’s really super hot we’ve been talking about doing Potfest” Lemme reveals.
“We have to come up with a good plot though,” muses Heffernan. “When we wrote it, weed was illegal. And now it’s not.”
However, Lemme reminds his partner that they’ve already come up with a new plot for Potfest, explaining that he recently found notes with ideas for the project. Their lack of recollection of the event leads me to believe their brainstorming meeting was in large part a smoke sesh.
“I didn’t remember it either, until I found it,” admits Lemme.
Check out the full interview with Heffernan and Lemme on HTTV, including more hijinx from the firehouse and how work on the show has given them a new appreciation for real firefighters.
Besides Tacoma FD, Heffernan and Lemme can be enjoyed on the small screen in their stand-up comedy special ThePotential Farewell Tour on Amazon Prime. The Tacoma FD season finale airs on truTV on Thursday, May 16.
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