In comedy, timing is everything. For Tommy Pope, executive producer and writer of the show Delco Proper, his time feels a bit like being in suspended animation. The Drexel Hill comedian recently wrapped local filming of a potential Comedy Central pilot for a show of the same name, which he hopes will make it to air sometime in the coming year.
Delco Proper first aired four episodes online in 2015. The nod from Comedy Central to film a pilot could mean much more screen time. The show features the shenanigans of three thirty-something guys who work together in a Delaware County lumberyard: John (John McKeever, the show’s director), Tommy (Pope) and Izzy (Tim Butterly).
The pilot, which began filming in May, deals with a softball game between the lumberyard and an auto body shop, among other things. Tommy and a former rival will cross paths, while John will work on reconnecting with a crush. Fans of the web series will see a number of new characters, as well.
Lots of Delco locales, including “the house in Havertown, a softball field on Marshall Road, a baseball field in Cheltenham” and the lumberyard, whose location he didn’t want to reveal for the business’s privacy, will make an appearance, explains Pope.
More than local favorites, he hopes that the Delco attitude shines through in the series. “We wanted to capture the community lifestyle of something like Philadelphia. Delco is just the perfect small-town mentality and sensibilities of an aggressive underdog-type hero that comes out of nowhere,” he says.
Over all, the potential first season will expand on the wacky sense of humor that pokes fun at the region first seen online. “It’s fun to have that much time as opposed to such a short web series,” says Pope. “It’s been great to have 22 minutes to really see these guys develop a story and share the time with so many other great personalities.”
Pope and crew have spent weeks filming and editing the pilot. Though they got the nod from the network, they’re still waiting on an official go ahead, which may ultimately never come. “We could get a phone call the day after we send this in and say, you know, it’s a green light and we’ll start tomorrow,” Pope says. “These are all just dreams and nightmares that I’ve been having daily.”
Throughout the process, he poured a lot of himself into the project. “I think I got sick the eighth or ninth day just because it’s so exhausting emotionally. Physically—just the constant laughing—I lost my voice,” Pope says.
Pope says they expect to send the completed episode off to the network in August, after final edits are completed. If the pilot gets picked up as a series, that would mean three more months of writing followed by three months of filming. “We’re very optimistic, but we have no idea in terms of timing when we’re going get a response,” Pope says.
Ultimately, Pope hopes that viewers “from Indiana or Idaho or all the way to Colorado” will see the gang from Delco and relate to them in some way. For now, it’s all up to Comedy Central.