Interview with Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan of “Mr. Mayor” on NBC by Suzanne 3/8/22
These NBC panels are always fun. We had 3 interviews with the top 6 cast members of this funny show. You may know Moynihan from “Saturday NIght Live.” These guys are both really funny, as you’ll see in the video. It was just great fun to chat with them. It was like having our own personal SNL comedians to perform for us.
Enjoy the video! Here’s the transcript:
Ross: Hi guys, I’m Ross Crystal from Showbiz Express, and thank you for taking time out to do this. Really appreciate it. Let me start with Bobby. Describe — as we move into the new season — describe your character and how it changes because you’re the Comms guy.
Bobby: I’m the comms director, that is correct. Jayden grows up a little bit this season. He’s got to make some hard decisions; no more living in Mom’s basement. He gets his own apartment. He starts to become a little more independent, and he’s got to do his job, and he’s got to make some real decisions at work, and we see how that affects him and how insane it makes him. [Chuckles]
Ross: I’ll keep to the one and come back, If I may, do a follow-up.
Suzanne Hi, my name is Suzanne, and I run TVMEG.COM. Let’s see… Mike, if you had to do Tommy’s job in real life, could you do it well?
Mike: Oh, God. No, not in the slightest. [Laughs] The Strategist, as I found in my research before season one, I found is primarily a campaign role, and you kinda just go from campaign to campaign. So in that sense, I was like, oh, yeah, it’s kind of like acting, or going from gig to gig. But then when you look at the actual job of, like, trying to advise a politician on what to do next…? I’m the most indecisive person in the world. If I sit at a diner.. you know how, like, a diner is like a menu, it’s like a book? I’m like, I’ll be there for an hour before I can decide. So I would be absolute trash at this job. [Everyone laughs]
Suzanne: All right. And, Bobby, how are you and Jayden the same, and how are you different?
Bobby: Just clothes. Just clothing choices. [Laughs] No, I think we are similar in some ways and very different in many others. There’s an innocence to both of us that I wish I didn’t have as much as Jayden does. Jayden, dollar-heart, nickel-brain on Jayden. But I think Jayden’s a little smarter than he thinks he is. For me in real life, the jury’s still out. We’ll see.
Suzanne: Thank you.
Karen: Hi, I’m Karen Moul from Scifivision.com. We have some new characters in the office this year with the I team showing up, and I was hoping you guys could talk a little bit about how that affects the dynamic in the office and your characters, I guess, without spoiling too much. And maybe Mike could speak first for a sec?
Mike: Sure. this is sort of, I think, one of the big character arcs for Tommy this season… In season one, I feel like Tommy is not expressly antagonistic or whatever in the office, but he thinks he’s better than everyone. So as soon as the I Team is introduced, he sort of sides with everyone else because now they’re like new outsiders to hate on, and I think that it’s this really interesting dynamic because, like, all the interoffice dynamics that exist in season one kind of shift, in light of these new people coming in. And that’s been such an exciting dynamic play this season because, it’s all new and it feels fresh from last season.
Karen: Thank you.
Bobby: Yeah. Towards the end of the season we get — I don’t want to spoil anything — but we get some, some awesome, really wonderful new characters, like, wonderful television characters. I can’t spoil anything, but it gets better and better.
Karen: Great. Thank you.
Dano: Hi, Dano from The Nocturnal. So, sitcoms are kind of built off chemistry, but your characters have this sort of, anti- chemistry. You’re at loggerheads with one another, and I was wondering, now that you’re on season two, how that, you know, off-screen chemistry between you two and comedic, you know, rapport between you, how does that change in this new season?
Bobby: I always feel like Tommy is my older brother, even though he’s younger than me. We’ll show, like, Jayden — and I feel like there’s a lot, like, they get closer, but also, like, brothers…We have a “Succession” relationship this season, and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s so much fun!
Mike: No matter how close we get, we’re never more than a step away from like giving each other a noogie, you know what I mean?
Dano: Is that in real life, too? Or just with the characters?
Mike: In real life, it’s constant noogies. That’s how we greet each other in the morning in the makeup trailer. It’s like, “Hey, I know you have to do his hair, but one second… let me just mess it up a little.”
Bobby: He’s a bully. Mike bullies me constantly. No, I love Mike. It’s the best. I think we’re two sweet gentlemen who plays two sweet gentlemen, also, who don’t get along, but they try to. Jayden’s a lot. I don’t know if I would get along with Jayden. [Laughter]
Ross: Mike, if I can ask you… well, actually both of you, but Mike, you’ve got a background in sketch comedy. How does sketch comedy really aid you, or in some ways, perhaps not, in this show?
Mike: First of all, thank you for acknowledging that I am the foremost authority on sketch comedy on this cast.
Mike: I will say one thing that sketch comedy prepares you to do is get off-book really quickly because you’re getting rewrites and scripts day of, and the amount of material that Tina Fey and Robert Carlock churn through is… you could make a whole ‘nother show just with, like, the reject pile that they write. And so frequently, we’ll get these new sides. And, I’m grateful that I have years of experience of just like looking at a page and going, “Okay, got it” and being able to go in, and fully inhabit a character like on the spot without thinking too deeply about it, which, you know, is why I’ll never win an academy award like Holly Hunter, because she really gets deep into character, and I’m very shallow, very surface level there. But I think that that is, like a hard skill that I think is underrated for a lot of actors.
Ross: And Bobby, I mean, for you, how much does SNL come into play here? How much does that experience there come in here? How much latitude do you have?
Bobby: It’s a similar experience in the sense of, I think, Tina and Robert are people who went through the SNL machine and, two of the best, easily, to do it. And I think that they have now created a couple different universes in television, a couple of different TV shows where it’s their thing, and this is how they do it. And it’s very SNL-inspired, which means everyone is expected to be great and do great. And they do. But it doesn’t have the complete terror and anxiety that SNL does. And we get to go home and sleep at normal hours because Ted Danson’s contract is great. [Chuckles] Tt’s wonderful. It’s the best. I’m very familiar with that world of, like, “let’s create this wonderful thing and do it with all these very, very talented people.” And they’ve amassed an insanely talented crew and cast and makes it very easy and fun.
Dano: Does anything change or evolve with that — your collaborative relationship with the Tina Fey over the years?
Bobby: Yeah, I’m less terrified. In the beginning, I mean… I think she’s the most influential person that ever walked through those doors at SNL. She’s brilliant, and she has created so much from it, and I was in awe of her. My first episode of SNL was the first time she did Sarah Palin, and it was my first time doing the show, and I just stopped everything to watch her do it, and was just, like, “Look at this! Look at her and Amy!” It was nuts. But now… I text her now. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel comfortable texting her and not like a child when I do that. [Laughs]
Suzanne: For both of you– do you get to do any kind of improvisation or ad-libbing, or is only what’s on the page?
Mike: We do get to improvise a lot. I think, regardless of the show, Bobby and I probably would, anyway, because we can’t help ourselves. But the funny thing is, maybe 2% of the ad-libs make it into the final cut because Tina and Robert make such perfect scripts right off the bat that they don’t need improvement. They don’t need to be supplemented or augmented by whatever stupid thoughts we’re having on the day. But we do get to play around a lot. Usually we’ll do a few takes as scripted, and then we’ll do a couple of… we play around, and then the editor just throws it right in the garbage.
Bobby: All these improvs are few and far between, but they are assassin precise and he often gets them in.
Bobby: I would say, he’s the most successful.
Suzanne: Well, I hope they show up in the DVD as extras or something. That would be cool.
Mike: I hope we get DVDs. That physical object would be great.
Suzanne: Thank you.
Karen: One of the great things about the show, is the way it takes on some very real political issues in LA. In the first five episodes, there seems to be a little bit of a through line with the very real homeless issue. I wonder if you could maybe just tease or preview for our readers, some of the topics, both serious and absurd that the show might take on this season.
Bobby: I think this season is about the mayor trying to do his job better and really trying to make a difference… And what he thinks that is best for LA and kind of the rest of the people dealing with that, and deciding if those choices are the right choices, or if he’s doing it to be, you know, for himself, or is he doing it really for the city? I think that’s a lot… what this season is about.
Mike: I think our writers do a really good job of not trying to make any statements about how the world should be run in real life. Although, this season, Jayden does have one idea that sort of unifies LA with the rest of the world; but it is a good idea, but I don’t think our writers are ever, you know, prescriptive of thinking they could do a better job in politics. I think we’re kind of towing the line of, okay, this show takes place in the political realm, but we’re not here to say that we’re experts on the matter, in any sense.
Bobby: Although I would love president Tina Fey. I think I would take that.
Mike: Heh, heh.
Ross: And then doing your research, do you ever take a trip down to City Hhall?
Mike: We did, in season one, before we shot the pilot, a few of us went down to City Hall and got the real pins that we wear on our lapels in the show, which is cool. I don’t think we go back too frequently, though.
Bobby: I’m there now. I’m there every day. [Laughter]
Ross: Do you find the humor right there?
Mike: There is a certain kind of humor that you can observe just by walking around the halls. We sat in on, like, a public hearing, and I think that that is well-worn territory, thanks to “Parks and Rec,” so I don’t know how much of that we’ll be doing… but there are given characters in any great American city, and Los Angeles certainly has, some of the bigger characters I’ve ever seen.
Suzanne: Do you ever get any feedback from people in LA about how your show handles Los Angeles and the people in it?
Mike: Yeah, actually, yeah. I’ve heard from a lot of people who either worked in LA City Hall or other local politics and are pleasantly surprised at how… it’s funny because they say that we nailed the minutiae of being in an office really well. And I think that speaks to the universality of, like, it doesn’t matter what industry we’re in, because we’re not aiming to specifically try and be like, “This is what it’s like to work in City Hall.” It’s more, just an office comedy. I think that’s what makes every office comedy sort of relatable.
Bobby: No one brings it up to me cause I haven’t– I don’t leave the house. [Laughter]
Mike: “Notorious recluse Bobby Moynihan.”
Season Premiere: March 15
“Mr. Mayor” follows a retired businessman (Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he’s “still got it.” Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America’s second weirdest city.
The series stars Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell, Mike Cabellon, Kyla Kenedy and Bobby Moynihan.
“Mr. Mayor” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian will serve as a co-executive producer.
Tommy Tomás, “Mr. Mayor”
Mike Cabellon stars as Chief Strategist Tommy Tomás on NBC’s new comedy “Mr. Mayor.”
Mike Cabellon is a Los Angeles-based Filipino-American actor (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Crashing”) and writer (Comedy Central). He was trained at UCB and is currently an active performer, director, producer and head writer for Webby Award-winning “Story Pirates” podcast.
Cabellon and his sketch team GEIL have created countless sketches and two acclaimed web series: “Early to Rise” (2020) and “Night Crew” (2018). “Early to Rise” won the Audience Award at the 2020 SeriesFest. “Night Crew” premiered on Comedy Central’s digital channels after becoming an official selection for the New York Television Festival, where they landed a development deal with Comedy Central. Together, GEIL has appeared on FunnyOrDie and Adult Swim, as well as screened sketches at Quickie Fest and Red Hot Video Fun Time.
Cabellon’s time in New York included five straight seasons with the BoogieManja sketch program, putting up a new sketch show every single month at the PIT Theater, as well as five straight years of hosting a bar quiz every week with Geeks Who Drink.
He has performed on stages all over the country, including the Del Close Marathon, Comedy Hack Day, Austin Sketch Fest, Frigid Fest (part of the U.S. Association of Fringe Festivals), UCB’s 3×3 Tournament, NYC Improv Festival, SHRTWV Short Theater Festival, Penn Station Area Sketch Fest and a paid corporate improv show on the Las Vegas strip when he was 16. Notable live shows include “Mike Cabellon Is: The Bachelor – LIVE!” a small role in “Hockey Cops,” and hosting “Witching Hour” featuring Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla.
His last name rhymes with babylon, grab a swan, crab ’n’ prawn, slab of flan, drab chiffon or lab/salon.
Cabellon is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is represented by Authentic Talent & Literary Management, CAA, and Frankfurt Kurnit.
Jayden Kwapis, “Mr. Mayor”
Bobby Moynihan stars as Jayden Kwapis in the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”
Moynihan was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” for nine seasons where he originated beloved characters such as Drunk Uncle and co-wrote and appeared in the popular David S. Pumpkins sketch starring Tom Hanks, which spawned a Halloween animated special for NBC and is now streaming on Hulu.
Moynihan’s other television credits include “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Documentary Now!,” “Drunk History,” “The Simpsons,” “Miracle Workers,” “Girls,” “Portlandia” and “Me, Myself & I.” His voiceover credits range from Cartoon Network’s “We Bare Bears,” “DuckTales” and “Stars Wars Resistance,” both for DisneyXD.
On the film side, Moynihan’s voice talents can be heard on Pixar’s “Inside Out” and “Monsters University,” as well as other features.
His all-improvised podcast on Stitcher, “Celebrity Sighting! with Jonathan Biting!” features Moynihan as the always candid and always hammered Jonathan Biting talking to guests about their celebrity encounters.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda