9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central
The premise is this: You are the star of "Secret Girlfriend," with the camera seeing everything through your eyes. It's based on atomicwedgietv.com's internet series, and now it's successfully making the transition to Comedy Central in back-to-back, 11-minute mini episodes. The humor is fast and often beer-related.
You never talk. Other characters talk into the camera, reacting to you, but the only way you communicate is through texting.
So, based on the first couple of episodes, what do we know about you?
*You are a gentleman in your 20s.
*You are the strong, mute type.
*You are attractive, as you do rather well with the ladies.
*Your psycho ex-girlfriend is prone to relapses and singing about her "pink and empty" parts.
*Your friends are raunchy -- and very funny.
For instance, your roommate Phil's main goal in life is to create a viral video involving an oversized baby highchair. As played by Derek Miller, he is unshaven, shaggy, and really impressed by the food at the local strip club. This is the kind of show you can practically smell.
It's a challenge, says Miller, who grew up in Flossmoor and trained at the Piven Theatre Arts Center in Evanston, Second City and improvOlympic (now iO). Being quick and funny on your feet is one thing; acting like you are the wingman to a camera is another. "It's a completely different muscle," says Miller, 34, who was originally brought in as a writer. Things didn't click for the first few days, he said. "I've never written for a character who can't respond. There's a lot of commending him, or shaking our heads at how easy he is, or admonishing him for having a psycho girlfriend."
Miller got his start in show business the old-fashioned way: By applying for an internship at Second City that didn't exist. They took him on anyway, and as part of his duties Miller organized 35 years of unfiled news clippings, photos and scripts. "I got a really intimate knowledge of not only Second City, but all those comedians," he says.
Miller was around during the runs of "Saturday Night Live's" Adam McKay and Rachel Dratch, "Scrubs'" Neil Flynn, and "30 Rock's" Scott Adsit and Jack McBrayer. "Tina Fey was so lovely to me," says Miller. "She'd invite me over to sit with them at lunch."
Now living in L.A. and newly married, Miller spends most of his time teaching improv at iO West. He finds it's far more difficult to clarify the concept of "Secret Girlfriend." "I've explained it to my parents ad infinitum, but they just didn't get it," he said. "Not until I showed them the pilot. Then they said, 'Oh, so I'm the guy watching!'"