You probably saw Nick Lehmann recently screaming at the top of his lungs over and over again as his best friend scared him in dozens of different scenarios. Now, Deadline reports that the L.A.-based comedian is going to be creating and executive producing a new show for NBC called Like Son, Like Father about an out and proud gay son who has to become the mentor, and roommate, to his newly-out father.
Lehmann tells Out his life has changed since his screaming video went viral. “Someone in my apartment building who I’ve never met popped out of a corner and scared me!” he says. “It’s absolutely insane!” He’s gotten the same treatment from random people at brunch.
That’s not the only change. With his new deal, Lehmann is set to create, write and produce his first television show With Like Son, Like Father,a 30-minute sitcom. But, he does have some credentials: Lehman co-created, wrote, directed, produced and starred in a Youtube series "I’m Not Crazy" and has videos with millions of views all across social media.
Out spoke with Nick about going viral, connecting with fans over laughter and love, and his new show.
So, first let's talk about this viral video of you being scared by your friend. How close are you and did you know he was going to upload it before he did?
We’re best friends, we’ve been living in Los Angeles for about two years. We had met in college, and when he moved out here we got really close.
He’s been scaring me forever. I’ve always been terrified of literally everything. You know? A door closes and I scream! It’s one of those things where in screaming I make myself laugh, so it’s not something I hate, which is why I think the response has been so positive. People are like “oh this friendship is so beautiful.” But I had no idea this video was coming out on my birthday and I had absolutely no idea the response would be so large!
How has the response been?
It’s been hilarious and funny, and kind of heartwarming. I think for a lot of people it’s kind of made their day better and I’m glad that people have gotten a kick out of watching me scream. But I think it’s also something beautiful to watch the friendship and it brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people.
We got a lot of messages from people, everything from “thank you for making my day” to “my mom has had cancer for five years and this is the first time I’ve seen her laugh in months. Thank you so much.” It’s been lovely! [Editor’s note: He’s also gotten responses and retweets from the likes of Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, Ellen Degeneres.]
NBC just announced a new show being created and executive produced by you! Congratulations! Where did the idea for Like Father, Like Son come from?
Thank you! I’m so so so excited about it! I have a very close relationship with my father. He’s not gay, sadly for him. I came up with the idea because I’ve been out of the closet for a very long time and I’ve always been very proud of my homosexuality, and living in LA I know I’m lucky enough to kind of live in a bubble. And I wanted to show a family show that showed a lot of heart and reach mainstream audiences.
A lot of places shy away from gay media and I think it’s really fantastic of NBC to want do this!
A lot of people now accepting this part of themselves, yes at a younger age, but also when they’re older. They’re saying “this is who I am, this is who I always have been, I want to live my life this way.”
Obviously the comedy comes from having this out and proud young gay guy Nick, who knows who he is because he was able to come out at a younger age, and then his father. You get to see the generational difference and what it looks like when someone older comes out, and what the realtionship between those two people is when the younger guy kind of saw being gay as “his thing.”
At first the son sees it as a hurdle he has to overcome, but it’s actually what brings them closer together than ever before. I wanted to show that being proud of this part of you and sharing it with the people you love makes your life better. It’s such a wonderful fantastic thing that people should celebrate, not just in the bubble cities like L.A., but all around the world.
Who do you hope watches the show and what do you hope they get from the experience?
The reason we went to networks was because we wanted to get it to a larger audience. Of course I want people who are already proud of themselves to watch, but I’ve been posting a lot of videos about the gay experience and I’ve gotten messages fom Middle America, from Egypt, from Russia, from all over the world of poeple being like “I know this is a part of who I am, but the people around me would kill me or make me leave the house if they knew. But how happy and positive you are about it reminds me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Sure yeah, we’re talking about gay people, but this is family show with a normal family and this is a part of who they are. If you see at the end of the day that they’re just like anyone else, their sexuality doesn’t have to change or affect the way you think of them. They’re just human beings.
Finally, Are you going to be acting in Like Son, Like Father? Will we get to hear any of your now-famous screams on the show?
Hahaha, I think the screams will stay with me the rest of my life, I don't think those are going anywhere! The show’s in development, so nothing is set in stone, but obviously that would be an incredibly exciting opportunity!