Comedy takes center stage as Seth MacFarlane brings ‘The Orville’ to PaleyFest

Two days in and the 35th Annual PaleyFest is proving to be out of this world. While Friday night’s festivities kicked things off with a special tribute to music icon Barbra Streisand, Saturday ushered in the comedic talents from Fox’s “The Orville.” Seth MacFarlane and team were on hand, giving fans some insight into the science fiction comedy, as it gears up for the premiere of Season 2.

Want to know what to expect? Here are some guesses on what the future of the show might bring and a look at just a few of the reasons people love, “The Orville.”

5. “The Orville” Is Its Own Entity

As Halston Sage put it, “Even though it’s reminiscent of other sci-fi shows, it’s really its own thing.” The rest of the cast was in agreement with the actress, who plays Lt. Alara Kitan, when it came to describing the essence of the series. With comparisons to “Lost in Space,” “Buck Rogers,” “Galaxy Quest” and “Star Trek,” the truth is, there is nothing else like it in existence. “Seth has put something together that really has never been done quite this way,” actor Chad L. Coleman (Klyden) pointed out. “The Orville” is a hybrid of wonderful things that highlight MacFarlane’s talent for placing complex characters in a fictional world. He makes them not only believable but relatable, which is a key ingredient to any good fantasy.

4. Who Is The Biggest Practical Joker Behind The Scenes?

It’s unanimous. Scott Grimes is the winner. Yes, the actor who plays Lt. Gordon Malloy is the one behind the scenes who keeps this crew in stitches. It would also appear that he has a partner in crime to aid in his efforts. J.Lee, who plays Lt. Cmdr. John LaMarr, serves as Grimes’ off-screen comedy counterpart. Watching the pair just before they stepped on stage to greet their fans was like witnessing a show in itself. The two played off of each other like a finely-tuned guitar. While Lee complemented Grimes, Grimes complemented Lee, and they both literally ran circles around each other which had everyone bursting out into fits of laughter. “We both try to bring that energy every day to set,” Lee says. If that’s the case, keep those cameras rolling.

3. Music Plays A Big Part In The Show

“The Orville” has a hidden (or not so hidden) secret. Music is a fundamental part of the show. Everyone knows MacFarlane is the musical genius that he is (click here to check out his latest album In Full Swing) but he’s not the only one who possesses that talent. Scott Grimes and J.Lee not only carried the comedy at PaleyFest, they also showed they know how to carry a tune. After bursting out into an impromptu musical number mid-interview, Grimes tells AXS, they actually do that all day long. On J. Lee’s claim that he knows every song ever, Grimes will just start singing, and Lee will step in to match the lyrics – even if those lyrics are made up at the moment.

Sage adds yet another musical element to the mix as a former star of the TV series “How to Rock.” She says that Grimes and MacFarlane are both so knowledgeable when it comes to music, on-set they’ll play a snippet of a song and get each other to guess what it is. So, is it possible to see a musical episode of “The Orville” happening? Both Grimes and Lee agree there will surely be some version of that in the future. Grimes’ guess is that it would play out “Les Mis or Opera style.”  “It doesn’t have to rhyme either,” he added. “But it would be great if it did.”

2. Women Rule The Universe On “The Orville”

Seth MacFarlane has done something fantastic with “The Orville,” by creating female characters who embody some pretty powerful traits. Penny Johnson Jerald revealed that her favorite part about playing Dr. Claire Finn is that she gets to portray a “real” woman. “I love that she’s not intimidated and she’s a leader,” Jerald expressed. Adrianne Palicki echoes that sentiment. She says that it’s her character’s strength she identifies with most. Starring as MacFarlane’s ex-wife on the show, the actress explained how playing Cmdr. Kelly Grayson is all about finding that balance between being a female and still being strong. With MacFarlane at the helm, it’s thrilling to imagine what the future holds for this group.

1. Where Does Seth And His Team Get Their Ideas?

While MacFarlane jokes that it’s the oldest question in the book, he says, “You can’t look for an idea. It just kind of comes when it comes.” As he has proven with other shows in the past, it all boils down to developing strong characters. “The conversation that you have outside of the office or in the writers’ room is really about talking, and just trying to figure out where something catches fire,” he added. Like his other work, it’s obvious there is no fear when it comes to tackling issues and spinning it with comedy. “You can go all the way back to ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and there was nothing they wouldn’t talk about in their own way,” MacFarlane says. “I think the second you start closing off issues, certainly issues that are of the moment, with regard to your storytelling, then you’re not doing your job.”

Thankfully, for the rest of us, Seth MacFarlane and his crew continue to do their jobs, both on and off the ship. Certainly, Season 2 of “The Orville” will bring plenty of laughter and more opportunities to show us how we can always strive to do better.

You can check out the Paley Center App and visit the website for PaleyFest tickets, as well as photos and video clips. The Paley Center will also live-stream select conversations through their official Facebook page. Join the conversation on Twitter with #PaleyFest.

Keep it on AXS for more on The Paley Center for Media’s 35th Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles.

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