TV funnyman Jason Lee to play Maya Rudolph's love interest on 'Up All Night'
Things are about to get turned upside down for Ava on “Up All Night” when comedic funnyman Jason lee returns to television as her new love interest.
The actor, best known for his starring role on “My Name is Earl” will make his debut as Kevin, the next door neighbour of Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) who meets Ava (Maya Rudolph) in an episode titled “First Night Away,” airing Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Two.
“It had been a while since I had done any kind of comedy on television so it was really, really cool to come back and work on a great show,” says Lee, during a recent conference call.
In the episode, Reagan and Chris spend their first night away together since becoming parents and leave their daughter Amy with Ava. While navigating the world of babysitting, the self-indulgent talk show host meets Lee’s character Kevin, who is also a single father.
“I think Ava’s very likeable, sweet, innocent and my character brings that out in her and I like that she’s not afraid to be that way around this guy,” says Lee.
“She’s still very kind of smart ass-y and joke-y when they’re around other people and whatnot and it’s all fun and endearing, but I think it brings out a cool side of her and it certainly allows me to do something a little different… kind of play it a little straighter.”
Before playing the title character on “My Name is Earl,” a role that earned him two Golden Globe and SAG nominations, Lee made his mark in such films as “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” and “Almost Famous,” not to mention the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies. He also starred on two seasons of “Memphis Beat,” which was recently cancelled.
Now a recurring character on “Up All Night,” Lee says it has been wonderful to get the chance to work with such amazing actors, all of whom are also parents, himself included.
“(Maya) is very playful and everybody’s just been totally inviting, there’s a lot of improv and goofing off and I feel right at home so I thanked them immensely for making it comfortable for me.”
Since its debut in September, “Up All Night,” has received rave reviews from both critics and fans alike for its originality and strong performances from the series’ leads. Lee says he definitely got a sense of this chemistry and why the show works so well from being on set.
“It’s also the talent of the actors and there’s certainly a lot of talent between the three of them. The writing is (also) really sharp and… it’s got heart, it’s accessible,” says Lee.
He says there is also a sweetness to the show that he thinks is “very cool.”
“It’s a well-rounded show. It’s believable, it’s very cool in that way so I think that’s a big part of the appeal for me,” says Lee.
It doesn’t hurt that everyone from the actors to the writers are happy to be there, adds Lee.
“There’s a great energy on set… it feels like everybody’s eager to make a good show and that’s always a good sign.”
Lee’s debut episode will also feature guest stars Chris Diamantopoulos as Ava’s ostentatious boyfriend Julian, and Jennifer Hall.
Missed an episode of “Up All Night?” Catch up online at CTV.ca.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!