A stand-up comedian, actor and writer with ties to Saranac Lake is featured in the new TBS situation comedy "Sullivan & Son," which premiers at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 19.
Owen Benjamin, an Oswego native and SUNY Plattsburgh graduate, is the brother of Saranac Lake Middle School teacher Jason Smith. In 2009, Benjamin performed at the Saranac Lake High School auditorium as a benefit for the Lift Mount Pisgah fundraising campaign. Benjamin returned to the area in April 2011 to do a show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts that raised money for Adirondack Adaptive Adventures, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities explore the Adirondack Park.
"Sullivan & Son," starring comedian Steve Byrne, is set in a popular pub in a working-class Pittsburgh neighborhood. Byrne plays Steve Sullivan, a successful corporate attorney from New York who brings his girlfriend, Ashley (Brooke Lyons - "2 Broke Girls"), home to meet his parents. Steve's timing is impeccable, however, since his Irish-American father, Jack Sullivan (Dan Lauria - "The Wonder Years"), and Korean mother, Ok Cha (Jodi Long - "Beginners"), are preparing to sell the family business, a bar known as Sullivan & Son.
Owen Benjamin performs at the Saranac Lake High School auditorium in December 2009.
(Enterprise file photo — Chris Knight)
Filled with locals and regulars, Sullivan & Son is the unofficial town hall for the neighborhood. Within moments of his arrival, Steve reconnects with his best friend, Owen (Owen Benjamin); gets accosted by his long-suffering, under-appreciated younger sister, Susan (Vivian Bang); endures offensive comments from gruff barfly Hank (Brian Doyle Murray); and gets hit on by tipsy cougar Carol (Christine Ebersole). He even feels a rekindled romantic spark with his former sweetheart, Melanie (Valerie Azlynn). It doesn't take Steve long to realize that what he really wants out of life is to return to the old neighborhood and take over Sullivan & Son, even if it means giving up a lavish Manhattan lifestyle with the gorgeous Ashley. And so begins Steve's quest for a more meaningful and rewarding life away from the courtroom but behind the bar.
"Sullivan & Son" is executive-produced by Vince Vaughn ("The Break-Up"), Peter Billingsley ("Iron Man") and show-runner Rob Long ("Cheers").
Owen Benjamin started his comedy career in music. While majoring in history at SUNY Plattsburgh, Benjamin honed his comedy skills. He was a regular on MTV's "Punk'd," E!'s "Chelsea Lately," Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham" and the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. Benjamin has had his own special "Comedy Central Presents Owen Benjamin." He's a regular on Nick Swardson's "Pretend Time" and has made more than 10 appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Owen's feature credits include "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,"and "The House Bunny," where he played Marvin the Butler. He starred in "All's Faire in Love," with Christina Ricci and appeared in "Born to Be a Star," with Nick Swardson and "Jack and Jill," with Adam Sandler.
Benjamin has done stand up at the Aspen Comedy Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival, a nationwide 18-city tour with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James and clubs and colleges across the country, including at SUNY Oswego and Owen's alma mater, SUNY Plattsburgh. His short films and web series ("Owen Benjamin Presents" and "Gaytown,") have accumulated over 10 million hits.
For a sneak peek at "Sullivan & Son" visit on.tbs.com/2FcxHy.