A month ago, Tribeca Film had its first ever TV festival, and I was there. Ryan Hansen of Veronica Mars and Party Down had posted a few Instagram stories, showing him on set with Samira Wiley. I was wondering where those posts were coming from, and when I heard word that the new YouTube Red series Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television* joined the fest, I was stoked.
In the show, Ryan Hansen stars as a cartoonish version of himself — a Hollywood actor hired to assist the LAPD in solving crimes. Emmy-nominated actress Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black, The Handmaid’s Tale) plays Jessica Mathers, a no-nonsense detective who isn’t a fan of having an actor as her “new partner.” The premise features the mayor of Los Angeles choosing a group of elite actors to help the LAPD solve an increase of Hollywood murders.
Ryan is there to help with his Hollywood social scene knowledge, acting skills, and social media smarts.
The show is kind of like Castle, but with a whole lot more comedy and minus the romance.
Rawson Marshall Thurber (the creator, writer, director, and showrunner) has made some big screen comedies like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and Central Intelligence, a film Hansen had acted in. Beau Bauman, the executive producer of the new show, also produced Central Intelligence. Thurber and Bauman both watched Hansen on the monitors while he repeatedly made Kevin Hart break in a scene — and Hart never breaks. They mutually decided that they needed to get him on a TV show, and Rawson created the series for Hansen.
YouTube Red picked up the show and allowed them all the creative freedom they wanted. The crew shoots the series in numerous formats and even writes in jokes about YouTube Red being similarly named to a porn site. The show takes every possible hit at Hansen’s acting career, and he still remains super charming. The jokes are endless. When it was screened at the Tribeca TV Fest, I don’t think the audience ever stopped laughing.
I had the chance to talk with Ryan about Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television*, his buddy Samira, and of course, Beyoncé.
HelloGiggles: How cool is it to have a show with your name in the title? Joining the rankings of Seinfeld, Louie, etc.
Ryan Hansen: First and last name is definitely the coolest. I feel if shows like Seinfeld and Louie would have gone by first AND last name…they would have been hits. Oh well.
HG: During the fest, when talking about your character on the show, you said, “This is the Sasha Fierce to my Beyoncé.” Are you a big Beyoncé fan?
RH: I’m sorry, who doesn’t love Yoncé? She’s, like, the Queen. Well, Queen B anyway. And I think she may be right..I’m not ready for this jelly. I don’t know if I ever will be, but that is not gonna stop me from getting my Sasha Fierce on.
HG: Perfect answer. What’d you think when the awesome Samira Wiley joined the cast?
RH: I was immediately thrilled and thought it was amazing to have her on the show. But then I started to worry a little ’cause she’s this Juilliard-trained actress from Emmy award-winning shows; I’m a Christian community theater trained actor who’s done a 24 Hour Fitness commercial. And we actually met only 15 minutes before shooting our first scene together. I was nervous we wouldn’t have chemistry, but thankfully, we hit it off right away and it’s been a none-stop party ever since.
HG: The comedic chemistry is undeniable. I saw a video of you and Samira dancing in your trailer.What songs do you listen to to get into Ryan Hansen-actor-mode?
RH: Every day we would have a dance party in the hair and makeup trailer. We listened to everything. Michael Jackson. Beyoncé, of course. TLC. Outkast. Erykah Badu. Old school hip hop. ’90s pop.
HG: How good were the vibes on set?
RH: Only good vibes. Samira and I are very similar in that way. We are both very positive and love people and love having an extremely fun work environment. No bummers allowed.
HG: You have a fake family on the show. Were there any talks about having your real wife and kids on the show?
RH: Haha! Actually, yes. Rawson (Thurber, the creator of the show) initially asked if my wife, Amy, wanted to play herself, so I asked her. She thought about doing it for about a minute, then turned bright red and said, “No way!” Amy is the most beautiful person in the world (inside and out), but acting and being the center of attention is not her favorite. And to be honest, she probably would have been great, but I would not have been able to keep it together. (laughs) And my real daughters were never going to be in the show.
HG: It’s awesome that most of the guest stars, like Kristen Bell and Jon Cryer, are also just playing versions of themselves. Do you have any dream guests?
RH: Peter Dinklage. I just love him so much. Dax [Shepard], obviously. Oh, and Gal Gadot cause she’s Wonder Woman.
HG: Speaking of Kristen, she should get you a guest role on The Good Place, another amazing comedy. It’d be great to see you with her again, and with your Party Down co-star, Adam Scott.
RH: Yeah, for real! She should get me on her show. It’s like, I got her on my show, you know? She owes me big time!
The full first season of Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television* is out now, and can watch the first two episodes for free on YouTube. If you’re looking to escape the world for a little while and love buddy cop comedies, this show is for you. Oh, and YouTube Red currently has a 3-month free trial!