At this point in his career, Kevin James is a master of comedy, having starred in a number comedic projects at this point in his career. The actor has played various roles that have transformed him into a delivery man and a retired cop, among other things. Now, in his latest show, Netflix’s The Crew, James stars as NASCAR crew chief and former driver Kevin Gibson. But in taking on the role, the actor had a few things to learn about the fast-paced world of professional racing.
Kevin James is a pro when it comes to sitcoms, yet The Crew placed him in a different kind of world. When I had the opportunity to speak with him about the show, James admitted he didn’t know too much about NASCAR when he first signed on. He says getting a firm grasp on this world was “a challenge,” but he’s now learned a few important things about it:
It was a challenge. It’s such a huge sport, but I wanted to blend that world and dive into, find out about it because I didn’t know too much about it. And the more I learned about it, the more I realized it’s like any other world. There’s families, fighting and arguing and competitiveness, all of these things wrapped into one and it would make a great comedy. I didn’t see how it would in the beginning, and then I realized it’s an amazing place setting for comedy.
It would seem that what Kevin James learned is that underneath the bright lights and fast cars, NASCAR is a very relatable world. And this is what ultimately led James, who also serves as an executive producer on the show, to realize it would make the perfect backdrop for a sitcom.
Of course, what helps make both NASCAR and The Crew so relatable are the various personalities that lie within it. James went on to say that the characters and the situations they go through can be found in any line of work, though he admits NASCAR does add a bit of an edge to the series:
It’s a workplace comedy, this is what these guys do. You get into these characters of the show, and you realize the place setting, it could be anywhere. But NASCAR does add a little bit of something different, exciting, and really juicy to it for me, and I was just excited to be a part of it.
Over the years, audiences have seen numerous workplace comedies with various settings. These have ranged from a New York cab company and a Boston bar to a Parks and Recreation department in Indiana and a paper company in Pennsylvania. But the constant within all of them is they feature characters who have experiences audiences can identify with. And now, The Crew aims to follow in that grand tradition by presenting a new set of characters in a unique corner of professional sports.
We’ll see how Kevin James and his castmates navigate the NASCAR landscape when The Crew races onto Netflix on February 15.