With his MTV “Megadrive” series premiering tonight (11/4) in addition to the start of his two-episode “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” story arc, this is definitely Johnny Pemberton’s biggest night in television. The way he’s going, however, the funny Pemberton could easily get bigger.
Coming off very much the teen next door you find out has something wrong with him, Pemberton traverses the country in his new show to drive a myriad of exotic — and, usually, oversized — vehicles. Things tend to go wrong, which is pretty much the point on the show, a sort of “Jackass”-meets-“Top Gear” adventure.
“The very first shoot — the very first day — I managed to crash a car into a guard rail. That kind of set the tone of the season,” Johnny reveals. “There were a lot of close calls. I’m just really a lucky person. I’m always really good at falling the right way so I don’t hurt myself.”
Then there’s the prospect of people on the wrong side of Johnny’s pranks getting outraged and coming after him. For example, in one episode a crane driver appears horrified when Johnny throws a dummy down in front of his cab, leading him to believe Johnny himself fell out of the crane and was crushed.
“I had to just gauge the threat level, you know?” he says of the ticked-off victims of such stunts. “I’m actually pretty good at defusing those kinds of situations before they get physical. Two steps forward, one step back, you know? I was strangled one time, but it was all in fun.”
No wonder the actor says the toughest part of doing the show was dealing with cancellations by the owners of vehicles ranging from a tank to a 16-foot-tall motorcycle, experimental conveyances to monster
Meanwhile, on “It’s Always Sunny,” he says, “I’m playing a high school student who is kind of a smartass to say the least, one of Dee’s (Kaitlin Olson) students. It’s really fun. I’ve been watching the show for a long time. They’re the funniest group of people I’ve met.”
Johnny is aware that his being seen on two channels in one night, “is kind of creepy isn’t it? It’s like an Illuminati Conspiracy taking over the television.”
And next, he’s coming to your computer screen. “I’m shooting this web series, starting next week, called ‘Aim High.’ I’m doing it with Jackson Rathbone, who is one of the stars of ‘Twilight,'” he reminds. “It’s a high school thriller comedy. I play, like, his best buddy.”
On top of that, “I’m always doing standup whenever I can,” Johnny says. “That’s about it. And gardening.”