Martin Starr: 'Party Down' guest stars eager to make a funny show funnier

Season 3 of Martin Starr's "Party Down" is available Monday on DVD and Blu-ray. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 5 | Season 3 of Martin Starr's "Party Down" is available Monday on DVD and Blu-ray. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, July 31 (UPI) -- Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen say Party Down's cult-comedy status helped them land excellent new cast members and guest stars for the show's long-awaited third season.

Available Monday on DVD and Blu-ray, and streaming on Starz, the latest episodes about the titular Los Angeles catering company pick up 13 years after Season 2 ended.


Ron (Ken Marino) is still the only person in the company who actually cares about providing quality food and service to their wealthy and demanding clients.

Starr plays Roman, a struggling, pseudo-intellectual screenwriter, who has never left the catering company, while Hansen plays Kyle, an associate who made it big as an actor but is forced to return to slinging hors d'oeuvres after a scandal gets him canceled.

Also returning for Season 3 are Adam Scott as Henry, an aspiring actor who gives up his dreams and becomes a teacher but still tends bar for Party Down for the extra cash, and Jane Lynch as Constance, a former waitress who married well and now wants to be Ron's business partner.


"It's like summer camp, but we get paid," Starr told reporters in a Zoom interview before the Screen Actors Guild went on strike earlier this month.

Hansen said the cast and filmmakers had the benefit of zero audience expectations going into the show's first season.

"We did this when no one knew about it and we were just making each other laugh and having the best time on set and, then, years later, through doing some press and interviews and people coming up to us on the street, [we saw] people were watching it," he said.

"To be part of this cult-comedy show that some people were watching has been incredible and to get to do it again for, hopefully, a new audience and those who were with us before is an honor."

Joining the catering company for Season 3 are Zoe Chao and Tyrel Jackson Williams as social media influencers Lucy and Sackson respectively. Jennifer Garner also plays Evie, a movie producer and love interest for Henry.

"We felt so lucky to get Zoe and Tyrell and Jennifer Garner," Hansen said. "They all came and crushed it."

There's a huge benefit to coming onto an established show, Starr said.


"You can feel the tone and the writing. It's fortunate that we get to have such new talented people come and join us and play off," he said.

It's also something of a thrill that stars sign on for guest spots -- often lampooning themselves -- because they appreciate the show's humor and heart.

"We can pull really interesting, talented guest stars in to be a part of this with us," Starr said.

"We're so fortunate that people don't look at this and go, 'Oh, no thank you.' People are excited to come and hang and play with us and try to make a funny show funnier."

The downside is that stellar guest stars usually come in as Party Down clients or event guests for a single episode because that's what the story dictates.

"It sucks because you can't revisit people that you've had on, usually. It's tough to bring back Steven Weber or Steve Gutenberg. Everybody has their moment in an episode," Starr said.

Quinta Brunson was one of Season 3's standout guests.

Hansen said he didn't know the future Emmy-winning actress-screenwriter when she first arrived on set, so he chatted her up.

"She was like, 'I just wrote this little show called Abbott Elementary,' and I was like, 'Good luck with that whole show, you,'" Hansen recalled.


"We were all huge fans after the day [she filmed her Party Down scenes ], but then to see her just blow up after last year was incredible."

The passage of time between Seasons 2 and 3 means the original characters have aged and the world has changed so much that showrunner John Enbom had plenty of material to mine for the new episodes.

"Tyrel's character is all about -- not even being an actor -- but just creating content," Hansen said.

"My character Kyle and I, personally, don't even understand how [influencers] do that," he said. "It's a very hard thing to do and it's crazy. You can make a ton of money off of it. Tyrel's whole character is content, social media, all that stuff, so it's really fun to play with that and to have my character especially not understand what that even is."

Roman gets social media, but treats it with complete disdain.

"There is no world in which Roman would appreciate the TikTok generation. Not for a second," Starr said.

"There's so much to explore that we couldn't have before and then there are also things that get cut off, jokes that don't feel appropriate to make that we made 13 years ago."


Hansen added, "We learn and we grow and we evolve."

The actors haven't ruled out doing another season of the show somewhere down the line.

"We'd love to be able to come back and do more, if possible," Starr said. "I would do it forever. I'm not John Enbom. I don't have to write it."

Hansen quipped, "Maybe in six years, people will watch Season 3 and it will be a hit then."

"We'll get another cult following and, finally, get another season made," Starr chimed in.

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