Here’s How ‘Nashville Dads Club’ Is Turning Music City Into Comedy Central

Check out the premiere of a new trailer for the streaming series, featuring The Cadillac Three's Jaren Johnston.

Written by Chris Parton
Here’s How ‘Nashville Dads Club’ Is Turning Music City Into Comedy Central

For all its hype as the center of the country music universe, there’s more to Nashville’s entertainment scene than meets the eye — and a new comedy series helps bring it to light. Founded by a trio of local filmmakers, Nashville Dads Club pairs Music-City hilarity with some seriously relatable adventures in parenting — especially to those living in the area — and for Season 2 the show is only getting more “Nashville.”

Phillip Cordell, Rashad Rayford and Dean Shortland.
Photo credit: Mick Jacobs

Premiering on Sounds Like Nashville today (April 6), a trailer for a brand new episode even features country star and hit making co-writer/producer Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three, and as it turns out, he and one of the original Nashville Dads go way back. Johnston and writer/producer/actor Phillip Cordell grew up together in East Nashville (way before it was cool, we’ve agreed to point out), and their Bloodsport episode is a blast from the East Side past.

Filmed in Shelby Park, it finds Cordell and his fellow Nashville Dads in a familiar setting — stuck at the local playground, waiting on their kids — when a challenge to his dad-dom appears. Or at least, that’s how it feels. Check out the trailer below, and stick around to hear more about this quirky, locals-only series with big ambitions.

Sounds Like Nashville: Is Nashville a funny town?

Cordell: Nashville has always been a funny town and it’s becoming funnier. The funny has always been overshadowed by the huge behemoth of country music, and rightly so, we do it better than anybody in the world. But there are tons of comedians flocking to Nashville from L.A., and we’re now becoming a new hub for funny. I think something is going to bubble up and take off from here, maybe our project will be it.

What is Nashville Dads Club?

This is an independent comedy streaming series. There’s not a lot of TV coming out of Nashville right now, but there is a deep pool of talented production folks, so it was like ‘Let’s just make something cool that we would want to watch, and do it at that quality level that matches TV.’ So, we’re shooting everything in 6K on RED cameras, full crew with grips and gaffers and electricians, and we think we’ve got something special that could pop off. We’re just trying to prove we can do it, and whether anyone gives us a shot or not, we’re gonna go do it.

Are you guys all dads? Why is fatherhood so inspiring?

Myself and Rashad — who plays the character, Rashad, we didn’t get too creative — we had shot a 30-minute comedy pilot in 2018 called Prince of Pools, and he and I were talking about what the next project should be. It was one of those ‘Let’s write what we know’ things. You see a lot of dad stuff out on network TV that is kind of cheesy, and doesn’t really represent the real dad experience, so we were looking to bring something a little more realistic to the show.

The cast of Nashville Dads Club in their natural habitat.
Photo credit: Mick Jacobs

What was the first idea for a skit?

The very first idea was for the Season 1 episode East Side Story, and it comes from the idea that I grew up in East Nashville. I’m actually from here — and nobody else is — so it’s that kind of chip on your shoulder like ‘Not that you would remember back in the ‘80s because you weren’t here.’ [laughs] It’s that smugness and the other dads responding like ‘Is he always like this?’ Like ‘How do you out-hipster a hipster?’ Every city has some cool little neighborhood that people are protective of, that’s got some great artists and all kinds of cool stuff going on. And without fail, everybody there thinks they’re too cool for the rest of the city.

Is that how you know Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three?

Yeah, Jaren and I grew up in East Nashville and grew up playing baseball in Shelby Park. It was a real fun get back together for the show. We keep in touch anyway, but it was nice to revisit that. We don’t have a reason to go to Shelby Park together very often.

What were you guys like as kids?

Jaren was always pretty cool, and I was also pretty cool … but maybe he was a little bit cooler. Maybe. We were in bands together, and a lot of those bands he would play guitar and I would sing. We were like a bad Rage Against the Machine knockoff, very angsty and a lot of those riffs you hear in The Cadillac Three stuff. We grew up skateboarding all over East Nashville, playing music and playing at club … and we’re all very proud of him out here. [laughs]

Tell me about the new episode, Bloodsport.

That is the name of a Jean Claude Van Dam movie that came out in the late ’80s and we grew up as kids watching. The whole thing is an inside joke for people of our generation.

Did you and Jaren need a lot of direction, or did your parts come natural?

Fun story, Jaren and I also both wrestled at Hume-Fogg, and it’s been 20 years, but back then Jaren really did have a state record for the fastest pin for a while. That’s an unknown fact that he doesn’t get to put out there often. That’s not in the rock-star bio. So, we were pretty comfortable with the scene, but both of us were so sore the day after. I should have stretched or something.

What should people expect going forward?

The first episode of Season 2 featured Jon Sewell from Still the King, and after Jaren, we’ve got this dude Matt Fraser, who is a five-time CrossFit Games champ, the fittest man on earth. Then for our Nashville folks, the finale has a big reveal for who the “underground Nashville crime boss” is. [laughs]

Season 2 of Nashville Dads Club is underway, with new episodes arriving Thursdays at 9 a.m. ET.