PhillyPhire #2: Rob McElhenney


The star of the hit show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney was born in 1977 and was raised in the city with his two siblings and attended Saint Joseph’s Prep high in North Philly.  After graduating high school, Rob moved to New York City where he participated in a few classes at Fordham University, but did not become a full time student. Rob soon decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams to be in the entertainment industry. 

As many aspiring actors do, Rob took a job as a waiter in L.A. to stay afloat while trying to catch a break.  Rob actively pursued many different small acting opportunities to try get his foot in the door at the major studios of Hollywood. Shortly after securing his first gig, McElhenney started to pitch his idea of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to a few cable networks. After receiving interest from several, he decided to go with FX because he believed that they would allow him to produce the show exactly how he wanted to. Rob was given the title of head producer. 

Rob knew that he needed to find a great cast of actors to make this show a hit. He searched the acting market of L.A. for the right fit for each character and was eventually referred to Glenn Howerton by his agent. Glenn would go on to play the role of Dennis in the show. During the shooting of a horror movie in New York City, Rob met Charlie Day who would go on to play Charlie. Both Howerton and Day also took on executive producer titles. 

For Season 7 of Always Sunny, Rob gained about 50 pounds to gain a comedic advantage, and then subsequently got in excellent shape again for the same reason. In the video below, he explains his process and motivations behind completing both transformations.

McElhenney has made appearances in many shows both as an actor and a producer. Some of the shows he has been featured on are Lost, Game of Thrones, and The Mindy Project. With all the things he has been involved with his greatest success has been with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which completed its 14th season in 2019.  The sitcom has accrued a mass following through the years and has been referenced endlessly in recent pop culture media. Rob’s commitment to following his dreams and creating an iconic modern sitcom is why he is featured in this week’s #PhillyPhire.