Fans of the comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine were heartbroken when Fox announced that the hilarious heroics of New York’s funniest police precinct had reached its end. Thankfully, NBC saved the day and even though viewers will have to wait until mid-season (which gives new viewers plenty of time to catch up!) for the debut of Season 6, they will get 13 new episodes to celebrate. (Note: Since doing this interview, the upcoming season has been given an additional 5 episodes, for an order of 18 episodes total.)
While at the NBC portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour and before heading out for their first script reading as a cast, actor Andy Samberg (who plays Detective Jake Peralta) sat down to chat 1-on-1 with Collider about the crazy journey they’ve been on with the show, what being a part of Brooklyn Nine-Nine means to him, how it feels like they’re making the exact same show as before, why he’s excited to do 13 episodes instead of 22, what fans can expect from the new season, and that he’s game for however long the series runs. He also talked about which NBC shows he’d like to do a guest spot on, whether The Lonely Island will be making another movie anytime soon, whether he’d like to do more HBO specials, what’s going on with the MacGruber sequel, and whether he’s ever regretted turning down a role.
Collider: When you started on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, could you ever have imagined that you would be here with a show that was canceled and then not canceled, and is now on another network?
ANDY SAMBERG: It’s been very crazy!
And the fact that you’re in your sixth season seems equally crazy.
SAMBERG: Equally crazy! It’s really cool. It’s such a weird process doing a show. I signed on before there was a script and I just was like, “I’m friendly with Mike Schur and I love Parks and Rec.” But you’re also like, “God, I hope this is good. I hope I like the people I work with.” No one had been cast. We didn’t know what was happening with it, at all. I just took the leap. I don’t know, in retrospect, I probably would have thought about it a lot more, but I’m so glad that I just said, “Yes,” and did it because I’ve really, really loved it. But, yeah, it’s cool. It feels really good to be able to say, “I’m on a show that’s gone at least six seasons.” It feels like it’s a success, in that we have a dedicated fan base that the show really means a lot to. I get stopped by kids on the street who love it, and parents that say they watch it as a family. When you get into making a feel-good network sitcom, that’s what you hope will be the end result. Obviously, I do other stuff that is less kid-friendly, but it’s nice to have that happen. That was the intended goal.
If NBC had not swooped in, would that have definitely been the end?
SAMBERG: I guess so. I don’t know if there were other places that it was possible for it to go. For me, it would not have been a particularly satisfying ending. I thought the wedding was a beautiful episode, and I was really happy with it, but there were so many things that I, personally, as a fan of watching our show, would have been like, “Oh, we didn’t ever get to see that, and this and that.” You always want to end on your own terms. Especially when you’re writing towards an ending, it can be so much more satisfying. Can you imagine if there wasn’t the last season of Breaking Bad? You’d be like, “No, that was the whole thesis statement of the whole thing. He had to break, all the way.”
But then, there’s the situation where they bring back or revive a show, and you’re not sure if it was the best idea to return.
SAMBERG: Those can be tricky. I was worried when they brought back Wet Hot American Summer because that movie was seminal for me, but I was so happy with the series. Both seasons, I was just like, “Oh, it’s like getting to go back and get that same feeling again.” It’s so satisfying.
Obviously, you can’t all do a bunch of nudity or run around using harsh language because you’re still on a broadcast network, but are there any changes that you can do? Does the show feel any different, at all, or does it pretty much feel the same?
SAMBERG: It seems pretty much like it’s gonna be the same show. The one difference, hypothetically, is that on NBC, you can do bleeps and blurs, which I utilized maybe a little too much at SNL. We were just talking about the number of visual shorts where it ends with somebody not wearing pants. As one does. It’s a good cut to wide. But I think that would really be the only change. Other than that, it’s gonna be pretty much the same. And it will be 13 episodes, so we’ll have a little bit less work.
How do you feel about doing 13 episodes?
SAMBERG: I’m excited for 13. Obviously, I think everyone did a great job doing 22, but it’s tough. It’s a lot of episodes. I can’t believe how much it used to just be the norm, but I also feel like almost every sitcom was in front of a studio audience, so the schedule was different. They were not shooting as much. And a lot of these bigger budget hour-long shows, if it’s not on a network, are 10 episodes. Maybe 12, but usually 8 or 10. It’s more of a contained thing. In a lot of ways, it’s been great that The Good Place has shown that that’s a totally sustainable and viable thing to do.
I love that show!
SAMBERG: It’s great! It’s Mike Schur, so his fairy dust is sprinkled all about. I will watch Ted Danson do anything, honestly. But, yeah, I’m excited [to do 13 episodes]. I think everyone will be in slightly better spirits on set because we’ll know that it’s this contained amount of time. It’s also not an exorbitant amount, so we’ll be able to forward the story slightly faster, and stuff like that.
Are you on the same sets?
SAMBERG: Yeah, it’s all identical.
You didn’t have to rebuild everything?
SAMBERG: No, we’re still shooting at [the same studio], with the same dressing rooms. It’s all the same. The e studio, NBC Universal, always owned the show, so this is really just switching the network only. Everything else is remaining intact.
What can you tease about the upcoming season and where things are headed for the characters?
SAMBERG: Well, you’ll obviously find out what happens with the cliffhanger with Holt. There’s gonna be an episode that’s focused on Hitchcock and Scully, which I’m really excited about. We’re gonna see Jake and Amy experiencing married life. We’re gonna to continue to see Rosa dating, after coming out, so there’s new dynamics to that, continuing to deal with her family. I think there’s gonna be an episode where Jake and Gina go to a high school reunion because they grew up together. That’s all I know.
Now that you’re on NBC, is there an NBC show that you would love to show up and do a guest spot on?
SAMBERG: Oh, man, probably, This Is Us, based purely on ratings. I would love to be on The Good Place. It’s fantastic. Honestly, there are a ton of great shows. I love Superstore. That’s a really fun show. Obviously, I’m always happy to go back to SNL.
After Popstar, which has become something of a cult hit, are you, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (i.e. The Lonely Island) working on making another movie together, anytime soon?
SAMBERG: We don’t have anything going. It’s been tough. We did our first ever concerts, and that took a lot of work and prep. That filled the space that maybe would’ve been used for writing another movie. We definitely want to. Jorma lives in Brooklyn with his family, and his wife is also a successful movie director now, who’s traveling around. They’re all over the place. It’s hard to nail down time, where all three of us are in the same place. But I see Kiv a lot, and we’re working on things. Just nothing is happening enough yet that I would tell you about it because then it won’t happen, and that will be annoying and disappointing to everyone.
You’ve been involved in some terrific HBO specials, like Tour de Pharmacy and 7 Days in Hell. Do you have any other HBO specials in the works?
SAMBERG: Thanks! Yeah, I would love to. We’ve had so much fun doing those. It’s nice to have a platform where truly any joke you think of can go in it. They’re very low budget, so they’re really freewheeling and shot fast. I think we shot 7 Days In Hell in three days, ironically, since it’s called 7 Days In Hell. We really compacted the events. But, yeah, we’d love to do more. There are not plans to, immediately, but especially now that there’s a template in place, it’s easy to ask other people and be like, “Hey, if you want to come do this really stupid thing for a couple days . . .”