Danny DeVito Almost Drowned During This Dangerous It's Always Sunny Stunt

This one might be titled "The Gang Almost Kills DeVito." The Gang at the center of the hit FX comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" — Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee, and Frank — have found themselves in all sorts of shenanigans over 15 seasons. Life imitated art during Season 11 of the show when Danny DeVito, who plays Paddy's Pub co-owner Frank Reynolds, almost drowned during a stunt. Charlie Day, who plays the oft-befuddled Charlie Kelly, revealed some surprising details about the accident that nearly killed DeVito during an interview on "Conan."

"This is the End, These Guys Killed Me"

The scene in question is from the Season 11 finale, "The Gang Goes to Hell: Part Two." Day explained how the script called for the gang to hold hands while underwater. One problem was DeVito's famously unique body shape. "Danny's incredibly buoyant, like a buoy," Day said.

The solution was to weigh DeVito down to stay submerged long enough to film the action. The underwater scene was a success... until the director called cut. The other actors rose to the top of the tank, while DeVito did not. Day recalled when things went wrong:

"And when the shot was over and we were all trying to get back to the surface for air, we all quickly got through the water but because we weighed him down, he sort of got halfway and was going nowhere. And that look of panic in his eyes of like, 'This is the end, these guys killed me.'"

Thankfully, safety divers were on standby and pulled DeVito out of the tank, avoiding injury or worse to the actor, who was 71 at the time. Despite the near-death experience, DeVito found the silver lining. During an interview with Extra, he remembered the scene positively. "It was a good experience," DeVito said. "I have lived a good life and it flashed before my eyes in that scene."

You Can't Kill DeVito (Or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

Many of the laughs in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" come from physical comedy, leading to quite a bit of stunt work. While no one would ever confuse Danny DeVito with an action hero, the word on the set is that DeVito is always game to perform his own stunts. As the show's stunt coordinator Marc Scizak tells it (via The New York Times), "Danny's ability to do the physical comedy is pretty amazing."

The frightening accident didn't change the tone of the show — if anything, it emboldened the gang. The following season, FX released a behind-the-scenes look at Season 12's biggest stunts. And like Danny DeVito, the show itself continues to defy death. In 2020, FX renewed the show for four more seasons, and its season 15 debut made it the longest-running live-action comedy in the history of television, surpassing "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet."