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Arts and Entertainment

Meet Romanski: The 'Blue Mountain' Mascot

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Romanski And Friends | Photo Courtesy Spike TV / used with permission
Spike TV (yes Spike TV) is in the comedy business. With last week's announcement that Blue Mountain State (Tuesdays 10 p.m.) is coming back for a second season, it looks like business is good.

Blue Mountain State is a scripted comedy about a group of college football players whose love for partying and chasing (many, many) girls competes with their love for playing on an elite football squad. This well-shot, hilarious new show doesn’t mind pushing every envelope imaginable (read: sex, drugs, and a sexy woman without arms.) There's nothing quite like it on television.

The show, a nod to a host of ‘80s comedies was created by Sarah Silverman Program alums, Romanski (once Chris Romano) and Eric Falconer. Romanski (pronounced Roh-mahn-skee) also plays the role of The Goat’s mascot Sammie.

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LAist had a chance to chat with Silver Lake resident Romanski about the freedom of being on Spike, filming in Montreal, and once working as a PA on South Park.

LAist: Spike TV gives you a surprising amount of freedom. That doesn’t seem to be the rule. What’s that experience been like?

Romanski: We just wanted to tell ‘80s-genre stories and characters. And they’re letting us do it. It’s great. I’m saying to my friends: “stop working for all these other networks, they’re not going to let you do shit, pitch a show to Spike.” I, never in a million years, thought I’d be saying that.

How much does Spike want to tone down your original vision?

We basically write what we want to write, and hand it in. Spike has been so unbelievable. Their notes are: “I’m not sure we can get this by Standards and Practices, but let’s try.”

Early on, I think with each outline they got, they didn’t know what to say. But now, they’re kind of saying “oh, so you’re giving away a virgin to the entire lacrosse team to bang. I guess we can do that. But guys, that’s the line.”

The show crosses into some new territory for cable. What’s a line that Standards and Practices has drawn for you?

You could say “oh shit,” but you couldn’t say “oh, look at that shit.” You couldn’t refer to something. Why can’t you do both?

Is Blue Mountain State ever mean?

I don’t think it’s mean at all. It’s a comedy. I think it’s all in good fun. We don’t ever take a point of view on anything, because we don’t want to be that show. Let other shows have points of views. Once you have a point of view, people have the opinion that we think this way or that way. We just want to have a fun show.

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You’re 32 and your character is a Freshman. How old is Sammie?

We don’t ever say how old Sammie is, and I don’t think we want to. *laughs* But we will say later, we’ve come to find out that Sammie was little older than Alex, and he decided to take a couple of years off before going to college because Alex was his best friend, which is kind of weird.

What’s something you find lacking in television comedy?

We’re really good friends with Dan Harmon from Community -- he’s one of the smartest guys I know. Community and our show both do physical comedy really well. I wish there was more physical comedy on TV. It’s all boring comedies with people sitting and talking. I feel like no one’s able to do physical comedy now because it takes longer to shoot than just people on sets talking. Our show has people masturbating from zip-lines.

You shot the show in Montreal, a a city famous for its women...

It’s a different echelon of girls. The women in Montreal are beautiful. It’s weird, there must be this giant wall at the border, and they’re not allowed in the States.

How was casting from that echelon?

This is going to sound very misogynistic, but...

We wanted the hottest girls to be our cheerleaders to make it real. Most cheerleaders are very, very good looking. We went to modeling agencies and said, “send in your prime girls.” About 40 girls came in, five at a time, holding numbers. We wrote down the numbers that we liked.

“Number 13 was very pretty.” It was really funny and weird talking about girls like they were numbers.

You were born Chris Romano, but are credited as “Romanski.” Why’s that?

Romanski came out of a writers meeting with The Sarah Silverman Program. We were talking about what we wanted to call the restaurant in Sarah’s show. I was trying to force myself into the show. I was like, “why don’t we call it Romanski’s?” They were like, “what’s Romanski’s?” “It’s me. It’s my nickname.” They were like “did you just give yourself an nickname?” “I think I did.”

I wanted to be the owner of the restaurant, and do a picture of me pointing to another picture of me eating a hot dog. Underneath, it would say: I’ll have what I’m having. We were going to do that sign but we got the artwork in late, so it just ended up saying "Romanski’s."

If I eventually have a production company, I’d like to call it, “I’ll Have What I’m Having Productions.”

And now...

The world is fighting me on this name, but I’m starting to win because now it’s all over the show. Now wherever we go for writers meetings, people call me “Romanski.” It’s great. It’s hilarious because it’s very douchey to just go by one name.

I’m thinking about legally changing my name to “Romanski,” but still the wife is not really thrilled with it.

You were once a Production Assistant on South Park. What was that like?

It was the most insane job I’ve ever had and maybe one of the most fun. You‘d literally start an episode on Thursday, you’d work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and then you’d go in at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and you’d go home at noon on Wednesday.

Every week was something new. Trey [Parker] would take one of those glass machines -- that look like a phone booth and blows air up -- and he would put five thousand bucks in there. Once a week he’d pick somebody out of the hat, they’d get in the thing, grab whatever you could grab, and that’s the money you’d win.

It was a really fun show. I hope that’s what it’s like for PAs on our show. If you’re having fun, hopefully it’s going to show up on the screen too. Nothing was ever taken seriously because this show was just about having fun.