There is no doubting the strength of the cult following of ‘Family Guy’. That loyalty was on display at “Family Guy Live,” where cast members did a script reading on stage before the show’s return to network television tonight. Fans laughed in anticipation of jokes they knew were coming.
Upon hearing the title of the episode they were about to see “To Love and Die in Dixie,” fans were sent into fits of hysteria and screams.
“It’s kinda pointless that we’re here since you all know this by heart,” series creator Seth MacFarlane told the crowd of about 1,200 at Town Hall Friday night, one in a series of sold-out performances in New York and Los Angeles.
MacFarlane knows the fans are the reason the series is getting this unprecedented second chance. After bouncing around various time slots for three seasons, “Family Guy” was finally canceled by Fox in 2002, only to see renewed popularity through DVD sales and in reruns on Cartoon Network’s late-night “Adult Swim” lineup.
Now, the notoriously edgy show is coming back to Fox starting at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, after “The Simpsons” and along side MacFarlane’s new animated series, “American Dad.”
“I’m excited,” Alex Borstein, who provides the voice of matriarch Lois, said backstage. “I’ve never been on a winning horse before. No matter what happens even if we, like, get canceled out of the gate I still feel like we’ve won.”
Borstein, also one of the show’s writers, said she’s been surprised by “just the consciousness. People who love the show, love the show. We’ve managed to get inside people’s heads with this somehow. Everyone kind of lives it and breathes it and I’ve just never experienced anything like it before.”
That fervor makes doing the live stage show “intimidating,” said MacFarlane, who voices three of the main “Family Guy” characters boorish dad Peter, diabolical baby Stewie and the dog Brian, who’s the voice of reason. (Mila Kunis from “That ’70s Show” returns as teenage daughter Meg, and Seth Green from the “Austin Powers” movies returns as awkward, 13-year-old Chris.)
“I got into animation because it was kind of a behind-the-scenes thing and I’ve kinda had to adapt to this kind of stuff and I’m very uncomfortable with it. Which is why when I go out there, I’m …,” MacFarlane says backstage as he motions like he’s hoisting a glass to his lips.
The drink of choice? “It’s Jack Daniel’s,” said the 31-year-old. “It’s what Frank (Sinatra) used to drink. It’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.”
Once the first new episode premieres Sunday, “it’ll be a relief we’re back on the air,” MacFarlane said.
“I’m also preparing for the FCC to be displeased with us, but we’ll see.”