‘Sullivan & Son’ star Steve Byrne brings castmates Ahmed Ahmed, Owen Benjamin and Roy Wood Jr. to the DC Improv


Steve Byrne doesn’t run a bar, he plays a guy who runs a bar on TV. (Robyn Von Swank)

Steve Byrne seems like a good guy to have a beer with. Maybe it’s because the comedian runs a bar on TBS’ “Sullivan & Son” 
(10 p.m., Tuesdays), the sitcom he co-created with Rob Long (who worked on another show about a bar that you may have heard of — hint: It rhymes with “beers”). It could also be because Byrne’s first suggestion for drunk food in D.C. is Ben’s Chili Bowl. Whatever the reason, you’ll have the chance to drink a few beers while watching Byrne — and his “Sullivan & Son” castmates Ahmed Ahmed, Owen Benjamin and Roy Wood Jr. — perform stand-up comedy at the DC Improv this weekend.

You perform at the DC Improv nearly every year. Some comics say they love the staff and the low ceilings. Why do you come back?
Yeah, comedians love to trap the laughter, so maybe it’s cheating, in a way. The thing I like the most is: So many comedy clubs these days are part of these outdoor malls and it’s the worst. This is actually located in the city and there’s so much to do.

Do you and your castmates hang out in the city during downtime?
Roy and I both have an appreciation of really bad food. We’re going to pitch a show to the Food Network called “Fat Bitches” where we just go and eat the worst things we can. One of my stops in D.C. is always Ben’s Chili Bowl. We always go there, whether it’s for lunch or right after a night of boozing. It’s great.

Do you do touristy things, or is it mostly just eating and boozing?
Absolutely, I gotta work it all off. Every time I’m in D.C., I walk the Mall, I go from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. I’ve been to that Air and Space Museum so many darn times and every time I’m in there I learn or discover something new.

How are the “Sullivan & Son” stand-up shows different from your solo shows?
I get to spread the wealth. It’s a lot of fun because we’ve developed these set pieces, so there’s a lot of interaction. The last 20 to 30 minutes is all improv and stuff we’ve collaborated with over the last three years on the road, so it’s very Rat Pack-y.

Has touring together helped with filming the show?
It’s helped us become better comedians and it’s helped us become better actors. The show and stand-up has been a very symbiotic thing for all four of us. And everybody gets along — that can’t be faked.

Vince Vaughn executive produces the show. How involved is he?
He’s there every taping. A lot of people are shocked by that, even a lot of the guest stars. He contributes quite a bit to the story. His big thing is making sure the story tracks, that everything stays on point. He’s just a great partner.

You have a new special, “Champion,” available on Netflix. Why should people see you live this weekend, instead of just curling up and streaming the special?
“Champion” was something I busted my butt on. Now that I put “Champion” out there I’ve kinda shelved it. But the joke about being a champion, about flipping the perception of winning in a marriage, I wrote that a month before the special. I’m really proud of it and it’s still new to me, so I’m going to do that as a tent pole to get me through my other material that’s still fresh.

DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW; Fri. & Sat., 8 & 10:30 p.m., $25; Sun., 8 p.m., $22; 202-296-7008. (Farragut North)

Want more comedy?

When it comes to Onion’s new satirical site ClickHole, take the bait

With her emotional speech at the Gloria Awards, we saw a new side of Amy Schumer: her heart

A study just named D.C. the fourth funniest city in America. Let’s figure out why.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read
Next Story
Rick Snider · July 31