Sometimes, the most difficult thing anyone can do is to express how he or she really feels. In fact, it’s even harder for men, who are traditionally known for keeping their true feelings under wraps. Many people, including men, turn to therapists as a way of sounding off on whatever’s currently bothering them.

For a goofy pair of best friends whose lives are often disrupted by their hilarious misadventures, spending time in therapy often reveals more than they expected in the acclaimed, award-winning comedy web series FRIENDS IN THERAPY, created by and co-starring Daryl Johnson and Joe Towne.

The series’ first 2 seasons, which garnered awards for best writing and best ensemble cast at this year’s LA WebFest, are streaming via its official web site, Youtube pages, plus season 1 is also streaming on the popular comedy site Funny or Die.

Production of a 10 episode third season has been made possible by a successful IndieGoGo campaign, and new episodes are scheduled to begin airing later this Fall.

FRIENDS IN THERAPY follows two fun loving best friends – Daryl Hill (played by Johnson) and Joe Thomas (played by Towne), seek to conquer the many problems caused by their behavior, and by the fact that they spend more time together than they obviously should.

Even though they come from different backgrounds, and even though as people they couldn’t be any more different from each other, Daryl and Joe love women, partying and just plain having a great time. Daryl enjoys the company of strippers, and has a sharp sense of humor, while Joe lives in constant fear of a zombie apocalypse, and keeps trying to hang on to his latest romantic fling.

Playing straight man to the otherwise wacky duo in season 2 is Taequon (played by Malcolm Jamal Warner, THE COSBY SHOW), who tries desperately to restore order to all the crazy situations Daryl and Joe find themselves in, and to bail them out of whatever messes they’ve gotten themselves into. Together, Daryl, Joe and Taequon seek to remain the best of friends, while hoping to not drive each other crazy.

Both veteran actors and performers, Johnson and Towne created FRIENDS IN THERAPY as a way for them to collaborate with each other, and to achieve a goal that many who’ve embarked on web series production have always sought to achieve: to create content that gives them new opportunities to display their talents, while at the same time doing so on a manageable budget.

“We realized that in addition to our acting careers, we needed to create (our) own content and decided to explore ideas that would have extremely limited production requirements. This was the idea that most intrigued us. It started with the idea – what if Daryl had a sister that had a name that Joe had trouble pronouncing. And the rest stemmed from there,” they say.

The limited scale of production evolved over time, thanks to its heavy emphasis on improvised comedy. Johnson and Towne originally planned to have an actress play the role of their therapist, with two cameras set up to film their scenes for the first and last episodes of season 1. However, they both realized that the arrangement wouldn’t be as simple as they had imagined, nor would it be necessary.

“…Our actress, who was going to play the therapist, had some commitments for the first half of the day. By the time she arrived, we realized a few things: We had already gotten into a rhythm that was working. There were only two cameras which we needed to shoot the stuff on the couch and have it match,” they say.

That process hampered the otherwise steady atmosphere generated on set by Johnson and Towne.

“When shooting all three of us, the pacing slowed things down. It wasn’t working. We shot those two episodes, but neither of them were as funny as the other ones and ultimately, it was like the shark in JAWS. It was better to never reveal it, but to show the POV instead.”

FRIENDS IN THERAPY stands apart from many web series not just because of its unscripted, off the cuff comedy. Johnson and Towne also feel that it’s unique in that it embraces the possibilities and the budgetary limits of web series as a whole, while working inside those boundaries to create hilarious content with relatable characters from diverse backgrounds.

“I think there is a lot to be said for the fact that our show is completely unscripted, was treated as an experiment and we had no idea if it was going to succeed, be funny or if we would even like working together. We also love the fact that it addresses issues of ‘guys trying to communicate’ as well as how being from different cultural backgrounds impacts our friendship, but isn’t front and center or the main point of our show.”

Through its improvised humor and characters who many people can relate to, it’s no wonder FRIENDS IN THERAPY has attracted a wide ranging audience.

“What we have found is that there is no one demographic that seems to like us. Young folks and Baby Boomers who are young at heart. Men. Women. Gay, straight or lesbian. This is a show about friendship. About calling out your best friend on their stuff. About the freedom to say whatever you like and have it be a safe space,” Johnson and Towne add.

While Johnson and Towne hope to continue their show’s incredible success, including possibly transforming FRIENDS IN THERAPY into a full half hour scripted sitcom, and maybe a feature film, both men believe that the key to the show’s impact among its audience runs much deeper amid all the hilarity.

“If we had a take a stab at this answer (to sum up the show’s overall theme), it would be to talk things out. We have seen too much the damage it can cause when you stuff things inside and hold things back. Depression, illness or worse. Also, no matter who you are and where you come from, friendship is friendship.”

(Note: Regarding closed captioning, Johnson and Towne say they hope to utilize that feature for season 3 of FRIENDS IN THERAPY, as they’ve done for the previous 2 seasons, now that their IndieGoGo campaign has succeeded.)





TWITTER: @FriendsNTherapy

Episode 1 of FRIENDS IN THERAPY can be viewed here: