New 'Sullivan & Son' sitcom draws more local talent

Actress Valerie Azlynn and Cuong Truong of Ledyard on the set of the TBS series “Sullivan & Son.”
Actress Valerie Azlynn and Cuong Truong of Ledyard on the set of the TBS series “Sullivan & Son.” Submitted photo

When the second season of the sitcom "Sullivan & Son" starts airing at 10 tonight on TBS, you'll see some familiar faces. Yes, Valerie Azlynn, who grew up in New London and Waterford, is still playing the character of Melanie. But on screen, too, will be an extra: Cuong Truong of Ledyard.

Turns out, Truong - who works as a mechanical engineer at Electric Boat in Groton - was one of the folks in the audience when the comedians who act in "Sullivan & Son" took their stand-up tour to Foxwoods in September. Star Steve Byrne brings some people in the crowd onstage during his act, and Truong was one of them.

Truong ended up hanging out with the "Sullivan" folks after the show.

Azlynn says, "He is so sweet and quiet. ... I don't think there could be a nicer guy."

Byrne took a shine to Truong, too.

"While we were hanging out, he said, 'You should definitely hang out with us in L.A. I'll put you on the show,'" Truong recalls. "I was like, 'What's happening? I can't believe this is happening to me!'"

And Byrne's comment was no idle offer that he'd forget about or not follow through on. He was a man of his word.

Byrne told him "Sullivan & Son" was going to start filming in March. Truong called him in February to say he planned on travelling to California the next month, and Byrne said he'd get him backstage passes. But he ended up doing more than that.

Truong says, "The night of the flight, I gave him a call and said, 'I'm on my way.' He said, 'Do you want to be on as an extra?' I said, 'Uh, yeah!'"

The episode stars Ken Jeong, of "The Hangover" fame, as Byrne's brother-in-law - a mean doctor no one seems to like. Steve's sister asks Byrne to help loosen Jeong up, which results in Byrne's bringing him - and a whole host of other Asian doctors - to the family bar.

One of those doctors is played by Cuong Truong.

Azlynn says, "He was in the very front (of the scene). He's there for every big moment. It was really, really cool."

Truong says he and his fellow extras were told simply to have a good time and be merry. This was, after all, a scene where the physicians go through a rebellion of sorts against their strict, overbearing mothers. At one point, the happily unleashed docs chant, "We're never gonna die! We're never gonna die!"

"I had such a great time. It was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Truong says. He adds that Byrne "treated me like family. ... He's a really nice guy."

When Truong's friends and co-workers found out about his time on "Sullivan & Son," they were surprised.

"They think I'm the last person to be on TV. ... They think I'm so reserved and quiet," he says.

Truong grew up in the Philadelphia area, graduated from Drexel University in 2011, and moved to southeastern Connecticut a year ago.

After Troung filmed the episode, he hung out with the "Sullivan & Son" performers. Azlynn made sure they all signed a script and gave it to him as a thank you for coming out to California.

As for the rest of the "Sullivan & Son" season, Azlynn notes there will be plenty of guest stars. Kunal Nayyar from "The Big Bang Theory" - a show that Azlynn has appeared on - pops up, as does Billy Gardell of "Mike & Molly."

By the way, during her break between filming "Sullivan & Son" seasons, Azlynn kept plenty busy. She returned to "Castle" for an episode and did a Hallmark movie that has already aired, called "Remember Sunday." She played Miss Crabtree in a remake of "The Little Rascals" and starred in a horror movie called "Nevermore."

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