The CBS comedy is getting the family treatment, as Damon Wayans Jr.’s character, Jake, gets a visit from his father, Mike, played by Wayans Jr.’s real-life dad, Damon Wayans.
“I had my agent call his agent and there was some negotiations,” Wayans Jr. joked to ET of how he got his dad on the show. “No, he came by to set, I think the second episode we were shooting, and he liked what we were doing, and I was like, 'Would you ever want to do an episode?' And he was like, 'Sure.’”
“I told the creators of the show, they wrote it up, and that's how it happened,” he revealed.
This isn’t the first time the father-son duo has acted alongside each other. Wayans Jr. appeared on several episodes of his dad’s sitcom, My Wife and Kids, in the early 2000s. This time, however, Wayans was no doubt on his son’s turf.
“I made sure he had a smaller dressing room than me,” Wayans Jr. said with a laugh. “I had cooler clothes than him. It's my show, you know, you're on my time now.”
“No, it was great. We had a blast together,” he continued, noting that “we always have a blast together.” “We hang out all the time in real life, so it wasn't a stretch. It didn't feel foreign. It just felt like hanging out in front of a live audience.”
The episode, titled “Like Father, Like Son,” was written by Wayans Jr.’s cousin, Craig Wayans. The actor’s co-star, Amber Stevens West, also brings a little family connection to Monday’s episode, as her father, legendary radio host Shadoe Stevens, lends his voice to an announcer role.
Off-screen, Stevens West just welcomed her first child with husband Andrew West. The couple welcomed a baby girl named Ava on the actress’ birthday. While her pregnancy wasn’t written into the show, Wayans Jr. told ET that he’s looking forward to getting to act in more “physical” scenes with his on-screen wife post-maternity leave.
“I mean, I think she's going to be showing off her stomach a lot more. Everything's going to be like a halter top, and she's going to be doing cartwheels,” he cracked. “It's going to be fun to be able to be more physical with her, and not have to hide. You know, we put giant baskets in front of her, and she had to hide behind the couch to say her dialogue.”
“She's such an amazing person. She didn't complain one time. She's like, early to work. She's crazy. She's great,” he added. “If I was pregnant, I would have been complaining so much. 'I need more snacks!' That would have been my slogan.”
As for whether Wayans Jr.’s father could make additional appearances on Happy Together, the 35-year-old actor said it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility. Wayans, currently starring on Lethal Weapon, revealed his plans earlier this month to depart the Fox series.
“I mean, honestly, if he wanted... he can come whenever he wants. If you just pitch him, 'Hey, want to do another episode?' and then if the writers say, 'Hey, you think your dad would be up for it?' I'm sure he'd be up to do another episode,” Wayans Jr. shared.
“It’s like that Ben Stiller relationship with his dad. You know how Ben has his dad in every movie? Yeah. It'd be something like that,” he said, adding that fans could see other cameos on the show, perhaps from his former Happy Endingsco-stars.
“I'll always love Happy Endings. Happy Endings was my first television show, and I was super spoiled. It was such an amazing cast, such amazing writers. It was like, I didn't realize how hard it was out there, because it was my first time. But it taught me a lot,” Wayans Jr. said of the critically acclaimed ABC sitcom, which was canceled after three seasons in 2013. “I just hung out with the majority of the Happy Endings cast and one of the writers, David Caspe, at a party last weekend, and we all went up there and hung out with them, drank a lot, laughed a lot. It was great.”
“I mean, if I asked them [to be on Happy Together], I'm sure they would. Because we're all still buddies,” he surmised. “I’m sure they'd be like, 'Sure,' if it was funny enough for them.”
If it sounds like Wayans Jr. has some sway with the Happy Together creative team, it’s because he does. Executive Producer Harry Styles -- whose moving into Happy Together creator Ben Winston’s attic for a year inspired the show -- has a much more hands-off approach. But the one time those hands appeared on set, they did leave quite an impression.
“I haven't really heard any of his notes, but I know that he definitely trusts Ben, he's one of his really close buddies, the creator of this show. So I think he just trusts him. I don't think he gives many notes,” Wayans Jr. confessed of Styles. “I met him one time. He came by set one time for, like, 15 minutes, and it was really cool to meet him. He has really soft hands.”
“I was like, 'Wow, man, this feels like a baby's butt,’” he recalled, “and then I spanked it.”
Happy Together airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.