Sometimes, the funniest and most interesting conversations can take place amid the loud, bustling atmosphere of a restaurant. Yes, there’s lots of food and fun to go around, but the most important part of any dining experience is people. Every day, thousands upon thousands of different folks walk in and out of these establishments. Just as there are thousands of interesting conversations each day, there’s just as many fascinating stories. Some of those stories are actually quite humorous, and the new web series TABLE 9 brings viewers perhaps the most hilarious stories and events ever to occur at a dinner table. Created by Synchronic Productions’ Jonathan Castro, TABLE 9 premieres its first season of 6 episodes (or “seatings” according to Castro) on Sunday, March 2nd on its official web site and Youtube page.

TABLE 9 features a revolving cast of actors who bring to life a broad collection of wacky, funny and just plain entertaining stories and encounters that all take place at one table inside an unidentified restaurant. Given that it’s an anthology series with different stories in each episode, the cast of characters is just as varied as the situations depicted throughout the show – although there are some recurring roles over the course of the series.

The ensemble cast includes not only Castro, but also actors Joe Lihach, Mariya King, Theo Ellis, Darko Alexandar, Jessica Mermelstein, Patrick Faerber, Lauren Meyer and Lee Baptise, among others. As Castro explains, there’s a real element of surprise that’s found in each episode of TABLE 9, and nowhere is that more evident than in the vastly changing faces viewers will see in each installment. “We never actually hear the characters’ names, and I won’t get into too much detail, as part of the fun of the show is not knowing what to expect next. But there will be encounters that feature lesbians, a sketchy therapist, and a young man who avoids work like the plague – to name a few.”

Making a web series on a next to nothing budget is a challenge faced by the vast majority of web series creators. For Castro, the process of bringing TABLE 9 to life was based primarily in simplicity, but that factor also presented him with a world of new opportunities for storytelling. “It began as just me thinking about what would make a good showcase that would be fairly easy to execute and wouldn’t cost a fortune to make? As soon as I came up with having everything take place at the one central location of that Table, and making it it’s own little world, the possibilities for comedy and things that could take place there became endless. I shot some test footage, and nearly everyone who saw it could not stop laughing and wanted to see more. So I decided to give it more attention and developed it further into what it currently is,” he says.

Several of the actors who appeared during test filming appear in TABLE 9, and after 5,000 performers submitted their auditions Castro settled on the core group that he felt were best suited for the series. From there, filming the series’ 6 episodes was both efficient and memorable in large part due to the talents of Castro’s cast, and also due to his approach to shooting each scene. “I’m very meticulous and organized by nature, so all my actors will tell you that everything was in place and ran like clock-work. It was very smooth, fast and fun. I used a three-camera set-up which made everything even quicker and more concise. Being an actor myself, I really enjoyed being able to let my actors truly act and let the moments just happen all the way through like a play, without having to worry about doing the same thing over and over from different angles, which would have happened if I had chosen to go single-camera,” recalls Castro.

Perhaps the one thing that sets TABLE 9 apart from many other TV and web sitcoms is its smart, realistic humor that’s based entirely in situations that many viewers can definitely relate to. As a writer, Castro applies that humor throughout the series. “I have a pretty specific voice, so my writing is very much it’s own brand and different from other things out there. A lot of other comedies I see out there tend to be more zany and outlandish, and I think there’s something forced and unappealing about that. What I personally find most funny is a more naturalistic approach. Where the humor comes from more relatable situations and a character’s specific sensibilities like THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, LOUIE or CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. The characters in those shows are not just stock characters that superficially serve a convoluted plot, but fully nuanced human beings that happen to get into certain situations. TABLE 9, and most of my work in general, is more akin to that.”

No matter if it’s on the silver screen or the small screen, the biggest goal all filmmakers hope to achieve is to tell a compelling story – be it funny, suspenseful, romantic or dramatic. For Castro, film provided a much needed escape from the harsh realities of life in a tough neighborhood. As time went on, that escape would soon become his reality, leading to his current status as a talented filmmaker and storyteller. “I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn (a small neighborhood inside the city, also known as ‘Little Puerto Rico’) in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Things were pretty tough, especially back then before all of the current gentrification. When I would look around, there quite honestly weren’t many pleasant things to see,” he says.

“But when I’d watch a really fun show, or see a really good movie, I’d be taken to another place. I’d be swept away by a story. Whether I’m acting, writing or directing, what I’m most fascinated by and in love with is storytelling and that whole process. To tell a story, and be able to make someone else laugh, or cry or think – and feel less alone – that inspires me.”

With great characters who find themselves in some very humorous situations, TABLE 9 is a comedy series that proves that some of life’s funniest moments often take place over the dinner table – and that you’ll never know who or what you might see next. Says Castro: “I think mostly anyone from 18-109 can enjoy this show, and they can be from nearly anywhere in the world. I made sure to not localize the restaurant it takes place in and have it be anywhere specific. The action and the stories are about the people at that table, and they come in all different ages, shapes and sizes. Almost anyone can find something in it to relate to. It’s really not like anything else out there.”

(Note: The series is not currently closed captioned, but Castro says he is looking into adding that feature later.)