TV GUIDE – If you thought the drama surrounding Clayne Crawford’s shocking firing from Lethal Weapon had cooled down, you were in for a huge surprise on Tuesday. In a new interview on the podcast Drinkin’Bros, which is hosted by a friend of Crawford’s named Ross Patterson, the actor the actor shared his side of the firing, including the stories behind the “smoking gun” tapes tapes of Crawford’s poor on-set behavior.
But in addition to Crawford’s explanations of the events that lead to and surrounded his firing (as Crawford tells it, he only found out about his dismissal through social media), the actor also dropped several other bombshells — many about his co-star Damon Wayans, who will now star opposite Crawford’s replacement Seann William Scott when Season 3 premieres on Fox this fall.
Read on for the six other biggest revelations from Crawford’s scorched earth interview.
1. Wayans apparently never wanted to do the show to begin with. According to Crawford, Wayans never had any interest in starring in a Lethal Weapon series and initially had approached Warner Bros. Television head Peter Roth about making a completely different show.
“He told me that he never thought this thing was going to go and that he had gone to Peter Roth with another idea to do a show because he said he was ready to come out of retirement and that he wanted to make a television series,” Crawford said. “When he went to Peter, [Roth] was like, ‘That’s a great idea but let me pitch you something else first: Lethal Weapon.” Under the assumption that the Lethal Weapon pilot would never get picked up, Wayans agreed to sign onto the project, per Crawford, thinking that afterwards Roth would then agree to make the show the comedian had originally pitched. “So once we hit full swing he was just miserable,” Crawford said.
2. Crawford had initially been excited to work with Wayans. While Crawford was originally excited to work with the comedy star, he said that any illusions he had about what this experience would be like were quickly dashed once the pilot was ordered to series.
“By the second episode, [Wayans] was like, ‘I don’t want to be here. This is not what I signed up for.’ He checked out,” Crawford said. “For me, I thought I that I was going to sit behind a legend who had been doing this forever, and I could kind of learn the ropes. That was not the case. He shut down. I’m looking at buses going by in Hollywood with my picture on the side of it and I’m like if this thing sucks, I’m f—ed. So I kind of took the reins.”
3. Wayans allegedly didn’t even bother to read all the scripts in advance. Crawford recalled a time that Wayans showed up to shoot on location and asked what they were doing at a church. When he found out they were scripted to shoot inside the church all day, Wayans explained that it went against his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness to go inside another house of worship. “And it’s like, well, then f—in’ read the script beforehand,” Crawford said. “Because he wouldn’t do table reads, so there was no way for us to get any indication of what worked and what didn’t work and what he would do and what he wouldn’t do. So we would have to find out on the day.”
“So, he would just say ‘I’m going home,’ and they would look at me and go, ‘You’ve got to memorize all his shit.’ And then I’d be walking around with a stunt double in any of the big wide shots, and then they would build — for that episode specifically we were in a confessional at one point, so they built the confessional on the sound stages at Warner Bros. and we had to shoot it a week later,” Crawford recalled.
4. There was a lot more to the infamous “p—y” tape. Crawford revealed that there’s much more to the shocking tape in which Crawford called Wayans a “p—y” and said Wayans was only famous because of his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans. A whole lot more, apparently.
“I told him that we could bring Steve Harvey in from the Family Feud today and the audience would embrace it. I told him we could bring f—ing Keenen [Wayans] out of retirement. Shit, we could take Damon Jr. – who is a great guy and a great actor,” Crawford recalled, noting that he went off on Wayans because “I had to tell him what I thought of him and that he’s a waste of space and that nobody cares.”
5. Crawford and others reportedly had a nickname for Wayans on set. Per Crawford, some members of the cast and crew, including himself, would call Wayans “LEE,” short for “lazy, entitled, elitist.”
6. Crawford almost quit after Season 1 because he didn’t want to work with Wayans anymore. Before he even signed onto the series, Crawford had hesitations about working with Wayans due to his alleged bad reputation in the industry. “They flew me out to LA and I had to sit in a room with him and Peter [Roth] starts telling me that Damon had had brain surgery and he had a tumor removed from his pituitary gland and he had this whole new outlook on life. And that he was Murtaugh, right? And then we get to set and this guy hates it. So, I was like, ‘Peter, you sold me a bag of oranges and I got home and it was f—in’ bananas, bro. Like, I don’t want to do this every day.'”
Because of how much of a “s— show” working with Wayans was during the first season, Crawford said “I’d felt like I had been lied to” and didn’t want to return for Season 2. But producers managed to convince Crawford to return in part by telling him that he could direct an episode (the same episode in which Wayans would later infamously be hit by shrapnel while filming).
“They did it for me because I was like ‘I’m not coming back and working with this assh—,” Crawford explained, adding that for Season 1 they also provided him with acupuncture, a gym and masseuse on set to keep him “zen.”
Clearly, these tactics didn’t work. You can listen to the full interview on the Drinkin’Bros website.