There's more to Rob McElhenney these days than Mac.
The Philly native who created and stars as Mac in FXX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is also Ian Grimm, the comically insufferable alpha dog of the Apple TV+ streaming series "Mythic Quest," which McElhenney created with Charlie Day and Megan Ganz.
A workplace comedy set in a video game studio, it enters its second season Friday, with a two-episode premiere that finds Ian (pronounced EYE-an) and his co-creative director, Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao) trying, not very successfully, to be creative together.
"It's Always Sunny," meanwhile, is expected to return later this year for its 15th season, when it will pass "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" to become TV's longest-running live-action comedy.
We spoke with McElhenney in mid-April about the new season of "Mythic Quest," his secret for a good night's sleep during the pandemic, and why he tries not to think about "It's Always Sunny" between seasons. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Q: You had done a special pandemic-themed episode of "Mythic Quest" last year, "Quarantine," and on April 16 you released a second special, "Everlight," that welcomed everyone back to the office. Is the new season meant to take place after the pandemic?
A: Yeah, the idea is that it's projecting into a future where we've returned to a sense of, quote, unquote, normalcy. We recognize that [in reality] that might not be for a little while. But we also felt, as we were writing the second season from our homes, in isolation, and realizing how tired of the experience we had become, that the audience was going to be in that position as well.
Yet we recognized that [we couldn't] just make an episode where we were back in this sort of fantasy future without at least paying respect to the fact that this transition would be difficult. So we wanted to make a special episode that sort of addressed it head-on. And look towards a much more positive and optimistic future.
Q: How do you see the arc of this season of "Mythic Quest"?
A: I see a story of characters evolving, and changing and progressing, which is such a different way of telling a story than the other show ["It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"], where the characters never grow or change or progress in any way.