The creative teams behind Game of Thrones and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are on friendly terms. Sunny creator Rob McElhenney appeared in the final season of the HBO mega-hit, while Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wrote an episode of Sunny, season nine’s “Flowers for Charlie” (they also have a cameo in “The Gang Goes to a Water Park”). But those two, who have a nine-figure deal with Netflix, also played a cruel (but amusing) prank on McElhenney while Thrones was still on.
As detailed by the AV Club, James Hibberd’s Game of Thrones oral history Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon includes a passage about Matt Shakman, a long-time Sunny director who was hired to helm “The Spoils of War” and “Eastwatch” for Thrones on McElhenney’s recommendation. Benioff and Weiss “thought it would be funny if we told Rob that it was not working out with Matt and that he was a total disaster.” The bit lasted for multiple emails, with the showrunners informing the Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet star that they had to “step in and take over the episode because it’s turned into such a mess.”
“I forgot about that!” Shakman says. “That was the darkest practical joke. Rob was legitimately tortured about it. He was so concerned for me and was like, ‘What can I do? Who can I talk to?’ It went on for way too long.”
That’s some Dennis Reynolds-level commitment to a cruel joke. Literally. A few years ago, Glenn Howerton revealed that he once sent Danny DeVito a fake script that even Mantis Toboggan thought went too far. “We basically just took a spec script that somebody sent us, and just took out Danny’s storyline and put in a different storyline where he ends up going to jail,” he wrote. “The first thing that happens is he goes to jail and gets raped. Then he joins the white supremacists to protect him, and they do at first and then they rape him. Then he goes to the prison guards and asks for help, and they rape him. And we sent him the script for April Fools Day and made it look all legit. And that was the first time he called us and was like, I can’t do this guys.”
Benioff and Weiss’ prank is, somehow, more mean. And you know what? Respect.
(Via the AV Club)