- Cast:Lisa Kudrow,Lance Barber,Robert Michael Morris
|Series cast summary:|
|Lisa Kudrow||-||Valerie Cherish 21 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Lance Barber||-||Paulie G. 21 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Robert Michael Morris||-||Mickey Deane 21 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Laura Silverman||-||Jane Benson 21 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Damian Young||-||Mark Berman 21 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Malin Akerman||-||Juna Millken 15 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Robert Bagnell||-||Tom Peterman 14 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Kellan Lutz||-||Chris MacNess 15 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Jason Olive||-||Jesse Wood 13 episodes, 2005|
|Kimberly Jeppson||-||Shayne Thomas 13 episodes, 2005|
|Vanessa Marano||-||Franchesca 12 episodes, 2005|
|Lillian Hurst||-||Esperanza 11 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Dan Bucatinsky||-||Billy Stanton 9 episodes, 2005-2014|
|Bayne Gibby||-||Gigi 9 episodes, 2005-2014|
In April 2014, it was officially announced by HBO, that The Comeback will return for a eight-episode season, after nine years since its first season.
The idea of the show came during a friendly lunch between Series Creators Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King. Both of them were not looking to work on a new show, but then Lisa came up with an idea, of which she had been thinking, about an actress that is phony, and so desperate to get back to the spotlight, that she agrees to be in a reality show called "The Comeback". Michael thought the idea was brilliant, and the lunch became a four hour meeting. According to Lisa, after that, the entire show was practically done.
Michael Patrick King stated that after making a second season of the show after nine years since the first, one of the freakiest thing was that they could get back the real house used as the filming location for Valerie's (Lisa Kudrow's) house.
The show was praised by being ahead of its time, and among the possibilities for its cancellation is Michael Patrick King's belief that people where not ready for it, because there was nothing like it on television. That was proven right, when television channels started doing reality shows using the same format, often inviting faded stars to comeback to the spotlight, or showing people's lives on intimidating and disrespectful levels. One of the shows came to be the hit The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2008) franchise, which its humiliating level is quite similar to what Valerie goes through in "The Comeback".
Although rumor has it, that the show was cancelled because of low ratings, on several interviews (EmmyTVledgends.org, The Writers Guild Foundation and Kevin Pollack's Chat Show), Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow have stated that they never knew the real reasons.
Lisa Kudrow said in 2010, that if the show were picked up for a season two, the character Paulie G. (Lance Barber) would've ended up getting fired, Gigi (Bayne Gibby) would've been in charge of the sitcom, it would've become a huge mess, and Valerie's marriage would've been on the rocks.
The Osbournes (2002), The Anna Nicole Show (2002), and the second season of Pöörane seiklus (2001), were the basic inspirations for the humiliating level they were heading to achieve for the character. Also, they stated that only after watching raw footage of The Osbournes (2002), that they discovered how boring the raw material is, that's why they came up with the idea of the episodes to be "raw footages".
Michael Patrick King stated that the only thing they changed from the pilot is that Valerie's (Lisa Kudrow's) and Mark's (Damian Young's) sexual life is intense. They did change it, because they thought that among everything bad happening around her, a dead end sexual life would be too brutal for the character. They wanted the audience to know that "the character had love, but was choosing to walk in front of a train instead".
Each episode begins with color bars, over which are superimposed the words "The Comeback: Raw Footage", indicating that viewers to the actual HBO series The Comeback (2005) are watching unedited video footage for the fictional reality show "The Comeback".
The roles of Mickey and Jane were written specifically for Robert Michael Morris and Laura Silverman.
Michael Patrick King stated to The Writers Guild Foundation in 2012, that none of the action or dialogue in the show was improvised. He said that the improvisation happened only during the writing process. During their meetings, Lisa improvised dialogue and action as Valerie, while Michael tried to transcript as much as he could. For Michael, those were the toughest moments, and he really thought about hiring a stenographer to do that, because everything Lisa did and said, during improvisation, was so rich, that he was always afraid to lose any of it.
Lisa Kudrow's middle name is Valerie, and during an episode of Friends (1994), in which her character is going through a name change, she changes it to Princess Consuela Bananahammock, but she was "gonna let her friends call her Valerie".
Director James Burrows, who makes uncredited guest appearances during the show as the "Room & Bored" Director Jimmy Burrows, also did a guest appearance as a director in the sixth episode of Sõbrad (1994), when Joey is acting as Al Pacino's body double.
In the years between the show's first and second seasons, Robert Michael Morris had been diagnosed with stage IV melanoma, and was still battling the cancer during production of the show's second season. Despite being deemed uninsurable, Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow convinced HBO that Morris would be able to complete the project, which he did.
For nine years (time passed between the first and second season of the show) Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King often talked about Valerie, both wondering where she'd be.
On 2017's ATX Festival, during a one hour special interview about The Comeback, Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King stated that a 3rd season is a possibility.
Michele Weinberger (Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)), Phoebe Buffay (Sõbrad (1994)), Valerie Cherish (The Comeback (2005)) and Fiona Wallice (Web Therapy (2008)) are Lisa Kudrow's most famous characters to date, and all of them have a lot in common. They all share a tragic past that has isolated them from the others, making them create and live in their own particular world, as a self defense sense, to avoid and surpass the suffering, causing the fake impression that they have a shallow or ignorant personality, when in fact, they are just in conflict with the ordinary social understanding of living. Although each one of them goes through very humiliating moments, they do not have a mean or disrespectful nature with the others (not even Fiona, whose personality is inclined to take advantage of the situations). They also share self-unawareness, but ironically they have overwhelming self esteem and confidence. All of the performances had been used in the past somehow, and she later brought each one back, to become the characters that people now know. Lisa has already stated on Kevin Pollack's Chat Show, that she likes to make humor with the "slice of life" kind of thing. Michael Patrick King defined, during their Writers Guild Foundation interview, that she first deconstructed a character from the inside out, to later build it all over again. Lisa also stated, that she doesn't like her characters to be mean, or to deliver degrading situations, because it's not her style, and the audience does not deserve that kind of disrespect.
Lisa also remembered that there was another moment when she argued with Michael. She thought that it wasn't important for Valerie to touch the back of Mark's hair in the end of the Palm Springs episode. Michael insisted she do it, because it was a very important moment for the character. During the Writers Guild Foundation interview, she agreed that she couldn't be more wrong, because it turned to be everyone's favorite moment.
Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow stated to The Writers Guild Foundation, that although HBO initially didn't get some of the ideas during the writing process, the channel gave them their full support and creative freedom for its production.
Ranked #6 on the 2013's "10 Great Cringe Comedies" by Time magazine.
As her character, Gigi, is supposed to have gained weight between the first and second seasons, for her reappearance in an episode of season two, Bayne Gibby was required to wear a fat suit.
Robert Michael Morris' network test for the role of Mickey Deane was his first ever audition. After the test, Morris presented his future co-star Lisa Kudrow with a necklace, which she immediately put on. She later recalled: "It was really beautiful and sweet ... it felt like a good luck charm."
While they were writing the pilot episode, Michael said that Lisa came up grumping that "there's a water thing... there's a water in the wall and she doesn't want to deal with it". She didn't know exactly what was that supposed to be, she just had that idea. That "water thing moment" became to be the water leaking that messed Valerie's "IT WALL".
Robert Michael Morris, who played Mickey - Valerie's unconditional friend and hair stylist, died on May 30th, 2017. According to Michael Patrick King during The Comeback panel discussion at 2017's ATX Festival, Morris called him a day before to let him know that he wouldn't be able to make it to the Festival and he didn't want anybody disappointed.
According to Lisa Kudrow, she performed the character "Favorite Actress On A Talk Show" in the past during her acting classes at The Groundlings. That character was brought back to become Valerie Cherish.
Michael Patrick King said that Lisa Kudrow never argued with him, except once, when Valerie (Kudrow) and Paulie G. (Lance Barber) have the double vomit. Every time Lisa spat the shake to fake the vomit, she automatically turned her face off-camera, because she didn't want to make the audience feel disgusted. On the last shot, Michael was yelling at her to do it right, and she finally did it while angry.
Entertainment Weekly placed this show on several lists: #79 in the 2007's "New TV Classics"; #10 in the 2009's "10 Best TV Shows Of The Decade"; #8 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows From The Past 25 Years"; #9 in the 2014's "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever"; #12 in the 2014's "HBO: 20 Best Original". The magazine also campaigned for its return, and also stated that it was "tragically cancelled".
Lisa Kudrow stated to emmytvlegends.org, that she was afraid she wouldn't get the role of Phoebe Buffay, because James Burrows was very serious and laconic about her performance during one of her last auditions, making her think he didn't like her. During this show, Burrows makes a few guest appearances, and expresses his dislike of Valerie Cherish, by being very serious and laconic towards her. Burrows and Kudrow have a nice relationship in real-life.
Michael Patrick King revealed that one of the references for the second season will be The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2008), which is, ironically, quite similar to the first season of this show.
Vanessa Marano was approached about reprising her role as Francesca in season two, and wanted to do so, but scheduling conflicts between this show and Switched at Birth (2011) prevented this.
At one point during season one, Jimmy (James Burrows) tells Valerie that the real reason "I'm It" was cancelled, was because they hired a monkey to star in its last season. Despite its success, Sõbrad (1994) also had a monkey character named Marcel.
Michael Patrick King took three weeks to write the pilot.
Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997) also wore a back brace in high school for scoliosis.
During season 2 people discussed if Mickey's health condition was a fiction plot or not. The truth is that Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow already knew at that time that Robert Michael Morris, who plays the mentioned character, had a stage 4 melanoma. They've opted to respectfully use the fact in the series to increase the reality approach and the metainformation so widely used in the show. Acording to Michael Patrick King during 2017's ATX Festival, that's why the critically acclaimed 2nd season's finale means a lot to them.