Sometimes you’re single because you haven’t me your counterpart in the Nicholas Sparks movie of your life, and sometimes you’re single because you’re an odd bird. The latter is more or less the deal with the central characters on Weird Loners, FOX’s new comedy series which premiered Tuesday night. Happy Endings alum Zachary Knighton plays Stosh Lewandowski, a morally absent VP who is totally cool bedding the boss’ girl and has no qualms with using a dead guy’s credit card, regardless of the consequences. On a show about hopeless singles who may never find their match, Stosh is anything but depressed. “He’s pretty much incapable of having any human connection with anybody, even friends, family,” Knighton tells us. “I think this guy just doesn’t have the tools to connect with anyone.”
It’s a departure from happy-go-lucky food truck owner Dave Rose on Happy Endings. We spoke to Knighton about his latest series, when (if ever) it becomes weird to have roommates as an adult, and how ahmahzing it would be if the great, late ABC series hit the big screen (seriously, let’s make this happen).
So I saw the first two episodes of Weird Loners and you get different feelings about being single from each character. Do you think Stosh is upset that he’s single?
No, I think love is a four letter word for Stosh. He’s pretty much incapable of having any human connection with anybody, even friends, family. I think this guy just doesn’t have the tools to connect with anyone.
Is that a weird character to play for you?
It’s fun to play because it’s not who I am. It’s fun to be kind of a shitty person and not have to pay any consequences for that, to just go home at the end of the day and not have that emotionally wrecked person left in your wake.
Do you think there’s an age where being single becomes a stigma?
Now I just don’t think so. Maybe for some people who want to have kids or have a medical or physical timeline for getting those kids out.
Do you think there’s a time where maybe it’s inappropriate to have roommates?
[Laughs.] No because throughout my life I’ve constantly had roommates here and there and I just think with the price of housing, some people are still roommates when they’re 35 years old.
Do you have any roommate horror stories or roommates like Stosh who use a dead father’s credit card to have a wild night out?
When I was in New York City, if one wasn’t a serious drug abuser another was a womanizer or a maninizer. Is that a term? I don’t know. Other than having to wake up at 4 in the morning to the sound of people having sex right next to you in rooms with paper thin walls I’ve had pretty pleasant roommates in my life.
I really like the promo that’s been airing where you guys do a little riff on Empire. Has that show’s success left you hopeful with how FOX is going to treat you as a new series on the network as well?
That scene was actually taken from an episode of the show and they just overdubbed it with the Empire stuff and it worked really good, it was super funny. I’m really happy they’ve had success with that show, it’s nice to see a network have a monster hit because it’s been so long. They’re playing our promos during that show so if we could just translate like 1/25th of their audience I think we would be OK. [Laughs.] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhLe-bjY1bg
On Happy Endings I liked that there was always a running gag that you guys didn’t have friends outside of the group. How does the Weird Loners crew differ from the Happy Endings crew?
Well I think with Happy Endings you were always rooting for those guys, but I don’t think you’re always going to be rooting for the characters in Weird Loners. They set up a will they-won’t they with my character and Becki Newton’s character, and I honestly think the audience is gonna be like, “Please don’t you guys could not be worse for each other.” And I think that’s fun. The characters in Weird Loners are in a lot of their own ways kind of despicable, and I think that’s a fun way to approach a television show. There’s not really resolution and I feel like we’re trying to break out of that sitcom formula and hope we succeed in that.
Are you hoping the Stosh and Caryn tension plays out throughout the show?
Yeah, it’s always fun to have a romantic foil when you’re working. Becki and I are good friends and have a lot of fun. And I love the fact that in one moment Stosh can be very romantic with her and in the next he’s just like, “Yeah whatever, what’s your name again?”
Will we see any kind of back story about why he is the way he is?
There’s a therapy episode, I think it’s 3 or 4, and Stosh ends up stealing therapy from Caryn’s therapist. He talks to Caryn and she talks to the therapist and she comes back and tells him what the therapist said without realizing what he’s actually doing, which is using her for therapy. But we do get a little insight into Stosh’s character in that episode.
And why do you think he’s so attracted to other guy’s wives and girlfriends and fiancés?
I think because he knows there’s no chance of commitment. Like you’d rather just get laid and not have to worry about commitment to someone. I think the other ladies who are involved with men pose very little risk for that with him.
He also seems to have a nice collection of suits and ties. Dave on Happy Endings had an affinty for deep v-necks. Is there any article of clothing that you are really partial to?
I have a Bellstaff Motorcycle jacket that is my favorite thing. I only wear it when I’m riding my motorcycle, I don’t wear it out, but it is my favorite piece of clothing. I’ve had it for six years. It’s got the perfect amount of beaten in, sun-bleach. It’s just perfect.
The Happy Endings writers’ Twitter account got people excited that there might be a second coming of the show. Were you in on this at all?
Uh, nobody has approached me. I’m currently under contract so I don’t know anything. But I know that the writers, actors, everyone involved would love to do something. That was just one of my most favorite times in my life and I love all those guys and it would be great to do something even if we just did something online or Kickstart a movie.
If you had to pitch a Happy Endings movie what would the premise be?
I think that the gang from Happy Endings should be the people that they chose to go to Mars and die on Mars.
They only hang out with each other so that’s all they need.
Where do you think Dave Rose is today?
I think Dave Rose has probably lost his food truck. Maybe he’s working at a shoe store. But I don’t think he’s got the food truck, business probably went down after he won the Truckies that year. He’s probably at one of the really big shoe stores.
Dave took a lot of the group’s jokes and was always the punchline. Did you ever want to stick up for him or did you feel like it was warranted?
I definitely think the ripping on Dave was warranted. [Laughs.] If he was in my group of friends I’d be ripping on him, too. That was a fun thing to play. That’s what’s great about Weird Loners, Stosh could not be more different from Dave. It was really fun to play the hapless loser that Dave was and now play this other guy — he’s got the rug ripped out from underneath him so he is a little hapless, but he always has a plan and always has wheels in motion.
Do you think there’s a positive that can come out of a cult show getting canceled early? Because I’m sure everywhere you go, people want to talk about Happy Endings.
Yeah I do, I think there is value in that. It would have been great to do that show for 30 years like The Simpsons or something where we just get older and fatter, but it’s cool. We were cut short, and I was doing a movie in Austin right after we got canceled and a lot of people were coming up to me, like new fans, and I had to tell these people the show was canceled. So there is something super cool about that and obviously I would have loved to stay on it, but I think sometimes it’s good to get cut short. Too much of a good thing can not be so great all the time.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]