Sometimes it’s fun to play a jerk — just ask Glenn Howerton. The actor portrays pompous Jack in the NBC comedy A.P. Bio, who returns to his hometown to teach high school students. Naturally, he loathes his job.
“I think I’ve always just had a mild obsession with people who are extraordinarily arrogant. I just find extremely arrogant people fascinating,” the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia alum, 41, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Maybe if I break it down on some kind of psychological level I admire people with this blind confidence and maybe I’ve been slightly jealous of those people. So now I want to see them be taken down a peg.”
Jack — at first — is all about ignoring his class and focusing on his arch nemesis Miles (Tom Bennett). And can’t forget about his romantic life, too.
“As somebody who in the past has struggled with having a little bit of a fragile ego I feel sorry for people who mask a fragile ego with arrogance. Because ultimately I wouldn’t care about this guy if I didn’t feel like he was actually a very emotional, a very sensitive person who is masking it with arrogance because he’s been hurt in the past,” he adds. “To me, somebody who is arrogant and as much of a jerk as Jack wouldn’t work if you didn’t get the sense that he is masking pain.”
Howerton enjoys throwing his two cents into scenes, but insists that, despite previous projects, he’s not a writer on set. Instead, viewers can mainly find him in very comfortable clothes (that bathrobe!) in front of the camera.
“The only thing that kind of sucks about it is when you’re wearing sweatpants you can’t put anything in your pockets. So it becomes a distraction,” he jokes to Us. “I’m always trying to find places to hide my wallet and phone. But other than that it’s pretty great. I’m also trying to figure out where to hide my lines. I’m like, ‘F—k, sh-t, I need to find a place to hide these.’ I always just barely have my lines memorized. There’s pockets but you see it bulging out and it looks weird on camera as opposed to working on Sunny where my character was always wearing jeans and you can kind of stuff things in the back pockets.”
He adds: “But look, that’s the only complaint I can give you! Other than that — I’m searching for complaints. Because wearing tennis shoes and sweatpants every day is pretty sweet.”
Speaking of Sunny, will any of his former costars make a cameo? “Not on the first season at least,” he admits. “Who knows, if we get picked up and go further something like that could come about.”
The Mindy Project actor may be teaching A.P. Bio, but he never took the course in real life. “The weird thing is I don’t remember taking any science classes beyond 10th grade, although I’m sure I did,” he tells Us. “I went pretty far in math and went as far as some advanced trigonometry class. The only A.P. class I ever took was history, which was a really bad idea because I always hated history and was bad at it so I have no idea what I was thinking. And I got an F!”
Despite the bad grade, Howerton thinks he was overall a good student. “When I got into high school [though] I got a little more into my social life and hanging out with friends. I was doing a little more acting at the time and got a little less interested in school. But even then I wasn’t bad,” he says. “I always liked school. That’s where all my friends were, where all the girls were, where all the sports and theatre was. I thought school was awesome. I never understood why people hated school. … I think I thrive with structure.”
A.P. Bio airs Thursdays on NBC at 9:30 p.m. ET.