How the ‘Nashville Dads Club’ turns Music City into Comedy Central looks like Nashville

For all of its hype as the center of the country music universe, Nashville’s entertainment scene has more than meets the eye — and a new comedy series is helping to shine a spotlight on it. Founded by a trio of local filmmakers, Nashville Dads Club combines Music-City hilarity with seriously relatable parenting adventures — especially for those who live in the area — and for Season 2, the show only gets more “Nashville.”

Phillip Cordell, Rashad Rayford and Dean Shortland.
Photo credit: Mick Jacobs

Premiere on Looks like Nashville today (April 6), a trailer for an all-new episode even features country star and hit co-writer/producer Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three, and it turns out he and the one of Nashville’s original dads go way back. Johnston and writer/producer/actor Phillip Cordell grew up together in East Nashville (long before it was cool, we agreed to point out), and their blood sport episode is a blast from the East Side past.

Filmed in Shelby Park, it reunites with Cordell and his fellow Nashville dads in a familiar setting – stuck in the local playground, waiting for their kids – when a challenge to his dad pops up. Or at least that’s how it feels. Watch the trailer below and stick around for more on this original, locals-only series with big ambitions.

Looks like Nashville: Is Nashville a funny town?

Cordel: Nashville has always been a fun city and it’s getting funnier and funnier. The funny has always been overshadowed by the massive country music juggernaut, and rightly so, we do it better than anyone in the world. But there are tons of comedians flocking to Nashville from Los Angeles, and we’re now becoming a new hub for comedy. I think something will bubble up and take off from here, maybe our project will.

what Nashville Dads Club?

It is an independent comedy streaming series. There’s not a lot of TV coming out of Nashville right now, but there’s a deep pool of talented production people, so it was like ‘Let’s just do something cool that we’d like to watch, and do- at that level of quality that matches TV.’ So we’re shooting everything in 6K on RED cameras, a full crew with grips, gaffers and electricians, and we think we have something special that might pop up. We’re just trying to prove that we can do it, and whether somebody gives us a chance or not, we’re going to do it.

Are you all dads? Why is fatherhood so inspiring?

Myself and Rashad – who plays the character, Rashad, we weren’t too creative – we had shot a 30-minute comedy pilot in 2018 titled Prince of the Pools, and he and I were talking about what the next project should be. It was one of those “Let’s write what we know” things. You see a lot of dad stuff on network TV that’s kinda cheesy and doesn’t really represent the real dad experience, so we were looking to bring something a little more realistic to the show.

The cast of Nashville Dads Club in their natural habitat.
Photo credit: Mick Jacobs

What was the first sketch idea?

The very first idea was for the Season 1 episode East Side History, and it comes from the idea that I grew up in East Nashville. I’m actually from here – and no one else is – so it’s this kind of chip on your shoulder like “Not that you’d remember in the 80s because you were not there.’ [laughs] It’s that smugness and other dads who say, ‘Is he always like that?’ Like ‘How do you manage to be more hipster than a hipster?’ Every town has a cool little neighborhood that people hang out with, that has great artists and all kinds of cool stuff. And without fail, everyone thinks he’s too cool for the rest of town.

Is that how you know Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three?

Yes, Jaren and I grew up in East Nashville and grew up playing baseball in Shelby Park. It was a real pleasure to meet for the show. We keep in touch anyway, but it was nice to see this again. We have no reason to go to Shelby Park together very often.

How were you when you were children?

Jaren was always pretty cool, and I was also pretty cool…but maybe he was a little cooler. May be. We were in bands together, and in a lot of those bands he played guitar and I sang. We were like a bad imitation of Rage Against the Machine, very anxious and a lot of those riffs that you hear in The Cadillac Three stuff. We grew up skateboarding all over East Nashville, playing music and playing clubs…and we’re all very proud of him here. [laughs]

Tell me about the new episode, blood sport.

It’s the name of a Jean Claude Van Dam movie that came out in the late 80s that we grew up watching. The whole thing is a joke for people of our generation.

Did you and Jaren need a lot of direction, or did your parts feel natural?

Funny story, Jaren and I also wrestled in Hume-Fogg, and it’s been 20 years, but back then Jaren really had a state record for fastest pin for a while. It is an unknown fact that he does not reveal often. It’s not in the rock star’s biography. So we were pretty comfortable with the scene, but we were both so painful the next day. I should have stretched or something.

What should people expect in the future?

The Season 2 premiere episode featured Jon Sewell from always the king, and after Jaren, we have this guy Matt Fraser, who is a five-time CrossFit Games champion, the fittest man alive. Then, for our folks in Nashville, the finale has a big reveal for who “Nashville’s underground crime boss” is. [laughs]

Nashville Dads Club Season 2 is underway, with new episodes arriving Thursdays at 9 a.m. ET.

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