“We seriously guard our laugh-per-page ratio; we really want people to laugh,” declared Rob Delaney when he talked to Gold Derby’s Rob Licuria last fall about his comedy series “Catastrophe.” Also joining him on the webcam chat above was co-creator, co-writer and co-star Sharon Horgan. The duo was in the middle of shooting the highly anticipated third season of the UK/US co-production and the conversation took place several weeks before the death of co-star Carrie Fisher.
On Tuesday (March 7), they reaped bids for both Best Scripted Comedy and Best Comedy Performance at the Royal Television Society Awards. Horgan was also nominated for Best Comedy Writing for her work on “Motherland.” Winners will be revealed on March 21.
In “Catastrophe,” Delaney plays Rob Norris, an American adman in London who hooks up with Sharon Morris, an Irish school teacher (Horgan). Season one saw their whirlwind week-long fling lead to an unexpected pregnancy, with Rob relocating to London and the two eventually falling in love. In the second six-episode outing, which debuted on Amazon last April, the action leapt ahead a few years, as Rob and Sharon were married, coping with the highs and lows of new parenthood.
Season three kicks off immediately after the jaw-dropping events of the second season finale, in which Sharon got drunk and had sex with a stranger and Rob discovered that she had bought the morning after pill. “Unlike the huge gulf between seasons one and two, there’s no gulf between two and three,” explains Delaney. “That had its challenges,” Horgan smiles. “We had to have extreme health regimes and we couldn’t age in any way. That took a lot of effort and we had to put in a lot of training!”
The storyline plays out over six episodes that began airing in the UK on Channel 4 beginning Feb. 28 and will stream on Amazon starting on April 28. The pair promises more laughs as well: “We have been struck by the fact that in series three, the things that are zany, that we might not have allowed ourselves to do before as much, are now much zanier,” Delaney reveals.
The chemistry between Horgan and Delaney has been key to the success of “Catastrophe.” Their refreshingly relatable observations about the highs and lows of relationships and parenthood won them a BAFTA and earned them an Emmy bid for Best Comedy Writing last fall; they were edged out by “Master of None.”
Season three promises more of what works on the show, but dialed up even further. Delaney says, “We’re more comfortable now so we know that either of us can do something incredibly embarrassing or very very silly, and it really fits. If there was stuff from series two where you would go ‘oh god, oh no,’ then they will need to wear a diaper or a nappy when they watch series three.”
Pressed for more details, Delaney and Horgan remained predictably tight-lipped. “Factually, I will tell you nothing, maybe less than nothing,” Delaney smiles, offering that all of the main characters will be back, including Carrie Fisher as Rob’s sarcastic and high-maintenance mother. Fisher contended for Best Comedy Guest Actress at the Emmys in 2008 for an appearance on “30 Rock” but lost to Kathryn Joosten for her recurring role on Desperate Housewives.” She also earned a nomination for her 2011 variety special “Wishful Drinking” but Emmy darling “The Kennedy Center Honors” prevailed in that race.
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