Comic Steve Byrne, star of TBS comedy “Sullivan & Son,” says the No. 1 question he gets asked is about his real-life mother: “Is she as mean as his mother on the TV show?”
“I say she’s exactly like that — only a little meaner,” says Byrne, the son of an Irish father and a Korean mother.
His parents, who have retired to Apollo Beach, are expected to be in the audience when Byrne and three of his “Sullivan & Son” comrades appear at the Tampa Improv on Tuesday for one night only.
Byrne is sharing the stage with fellow comics Roy Wood Jr., Owen Benjamin and Ahmed Ahmed on a summer tour to promote the series, which is in its third season. On the show, the four guys play childhood friends who still hang together.
“This is the second year that we have done a summer tour, and it’s great to get out and meet people and work with my friends,” Byrne said in a telephone interview. “For years, I did stand-up as a solitary thing, and this way I get to share. Teamwork takes the load off.”
His stand-up material, like the TV show, is rooted in real experiences.
“My parents get it, and my mother loves it,” says Byrne, whose folks had a cameo role in one episode. “My father is laid-back and humorous. My mother is more serious,” he says.
He based his TV comedy on his dream of running a neighborhood tavern in Pittsburgh, where he grew up. On the series, he plays Steve Sullivan, a Korean-American who has given up his New York job as an investment banker to take on the family pub.
Actress Jodi Long plays his sharp-tongued, demanding Korean mother. Vivian Bang plays his envious sister. Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”) plays his father.
Regulars in the bar include Brian Doyle Murphy as the resident barfly Brian Doyle-Murray, Christine Ebersole as Owen’s mother and Valerie Azlynn as a potential love interest for Steve.
Byrne also has done three comedy specials, the most recent in May.
He credits actor and best pal Vince Vaughn, and producer and former child star Peter Billingsley, with helping him develop the series, as well as co-producer/writer Rob Long, who worked on “Cheers” in the 1980s.
“Sullivan & Son” has a “Cheers” feel to it. And romance is blooming in the pub this season.
“We end with a cliffhanger about Steve and Valerie (Azlynn) and whether they might get together,” he says.