Adhir Kalyan Talks the Return of Rules of Engagement Season 6
The popular CBS comedy Rules of Engagement returns tonight, Thursday, March 29th at 8:30/7:30 c for the continuation of Season 6 with Episode 6.08: Scavenger Hunt, the first new episode in more than three months.
This latest adventure finds Jeff (Patrick Warburton) putting some effort into improving his relationship with Audrey (Megyn Price ) by sending his wife on a scavenger hunt that may not have the results intended. While that scenario plays itself out, Adam (Oliver Hudson) has a difficult time convincing Russell (David Spade) that Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich) has a sex tape.
To celebrate the return of Rules of Engagement, we caught up with actor Adhir Kalyan, who plays Russell's hapless assistant Timmy, to chat about the continuation of this sitcom, which, for some reason, always seems to be on the brink of cancellation, yet has survived six strong years on the air.
We actually met Adhir a few years ago on set, during rehearsals for his first episode. At the time, he was only meant to be around for that one episode. Now, he is a full-time member of the cast. Does that surprise him?
"I'm very grateful that Tim is still around. I am beginning to get a little nervous, because I suspect that you know something I don't...It's been something...I have been fortunate to stick around. This was a one-off guest spot. One episode became three, and then that became five. Then it came in that I could be a full time member of this cast. I believe I am around fifty-six episodes into my Rules of Engagement journey. The show has been a gift that manifested out of nothing. I am hopeful that since they've integrated me into the cast the way they have, there is no surprise ending to my role on the show."
In the years since first stepping onto the Rules of Engagement soundstages at CBS, Adhir and co-star David Spade have built a real solid comradere. We asked Kalyan about working with the master of snark, and their incredible on-screen chemistry.
"With the particular manner in which we rehearse this show, which is shot in the multi-camera format, you tend to spend most of your time with the actors you are sharing a scene with. In my case, that would be David Spade. Over the course of the three or four years that I have had the good fortune of working with him, we have genuinely become friends. And I believe that rapport we struck up off screen has only aided our on-screen relationship. I think, a lot of the banter we actually execute during the taping of the show is sharpened up in his dressing room on a day-to-day basis. He will never say that he enjoys my company, or appreciates having me around. But he is very much a creature of habit. Every morning I go and knock upon his door and say, "Hi." He says, "Get out of here and come back in ten minutes!" Only on a couple of occasions do I not come back within ten minutes. Only if I am busy speaking to other people. I will get a text message from is actual assistant in real life, who comes up and says, "Hi, David is looking for you." Then I actually get in the room, and he is like, "What are you doing in here? There is no reason for you to be here!" He plays it far too cool. But I will go as far as to say, when I am not on set working with him, he actually misses me. I have no emotional attachment to him whatsoever, but I think he is invested at this point."
Unlike a majority of sitcoms nowadays, Rules of Engagement is still shot in front of a live studio audience. Adhir believes it helps the humor in the show.
"I was raised in South Africa, and all of my acting experience until the age of 18 was theater based. I was somewhat familiar with the live response we do get from this show. The way I started to view it was that, there are six main characters on our show. But on show night, there is a seventh, and that is our audience. If David is to say a line, and I am to say a line, we then wait, in hopes that the audience will say their's. Its always interesting to guage what the writer's response is, because sometimes a joke that we have been struggling with all week will fall flat on the night we shoot. We realize, if the audience isn't responding, and we've doubted it all week, now is the time to revise it. And change it up. Alternatively, I have found that if the audience is not on board with a joke, the writers are quick to want to change it. That is when we step in and say, "We can do this three or four different way, but we think the joke works. Can you give us another opportunity." The way it reads on TV might be different than how it reads in person."
The actor gave us a little sneak peek at what we can expect to see for the remainder of the season.
"We've wrapped on Rules of Engagement Season 6, and are now patiently awaiting our fate, which we will find out in May of this year. I believe there are seven more episodes that we will air. And because of Charlie Sheen's antics, we actually had to shoot two extra episodes last year. I think there is an unaired episode from Rules of Engagement Season 5, which we will air this season as well. It is a completely self-contained episode. As a general rule, I think it is safe to say that Timmy will be faced with several awkward scenarios that he will have to endure. He will have to get Russell out of trouble. It is nice to see that relationship evolving, and to see them growing ever closer. They can't stand each other, but they can't do without each other. I'd like to see where this storyline goes. Maybe Timmy will quit and he will go elsewhere. Despite all of his qualifications, he may just be tied to this unsavory man forever."
What if Rules of Engagement is cancelled? Is there a Russell and Timmy spin-off in the cards?
"I am only number six on the call sheet. I think that is above my pay grade. But we'll see. David Spade and I certainly have a chemistry that is palpable when you watch it as a viewer. We have a wonderful time working together, and should the opportunity present itself to work together in any capacity, I very much look forward to that."
Be sure to catch David Spade and Adhir Kalyan as Russell and Timmy when Rules of Engagement returns with all-new episodes starting tonight.