Tires: Is the Netflix Show Based on Shane Gillis’ Life?

Co-created by Shane Gillis, Steven Gerben, and John McKeever, ‘Tires’ revolves around Valley Forge Automotive Center and the lives of its employees. The Netflix workplace comedy sees Shane, a brewski-loving employee, joking around and working in an easygoing manner, much to the chagrin of his cousin, who manages the shop. Along with a colorful cast of characters, Shane navigates the daily boredom and challenges of running a local business while eventually playing a greater role in its profitability. The authentic recreation of hilarious everyday woes combined with an interesting clash of personalities highlights the show’s appeal as a laid-back watch. This refreshing nature may also lead to questions about the show being based on a true story.

Tires is a Personality-Driven Workplace Comedy

Before ‘Tires’ was acquired by Netflix, Shane Gillis, Steven Gerben, and John McKeever worked on a pilot episode and uploaded it to YouTube. Their work received great appreciation from fans who clamored for a full series. Yet for many years the project seemed to be sidelined despite many networks showing interest. The pilot episode featured many of the same characters as the Netflix show and was filmed in the same location. The shop’s name was changed from Tires Etc (real-life name of the business) to Valley Forge Automotive Center. While the story and characters of ‘Tires’ are fictional, they derive authenticity from the actors doing improv for most of the scenes.

The creators behind the show knew its potential and kept the hope alive for a complete show to be made over the years. “There’s a lot of tread left,” said John McKeever in a 2020 podcast when asked about the prospect of making ‘Tires’ into a full series. “It’s like The Office in the sense where this thing can go on for so many seasons, and we can incorporate every character we’ve made in anything else.” This approach from the co-creator highlights the creative and open nature of the show. The personality of the characters and their actions, while outlined in the script, largely depended on the actors behind them.

Shane Gillis portrays the character of Shane, openly admitting that the character is the comedian himself. He is placed within a workplace comedy format and freely interacts with other personalities around him. Comedians and stage performers are, therefore, the greatest contributors to the show’s episodes. Their interplay with one another shapes every scene and dynamic. Talking about the characters in the aforementioned podcast, McKeever said, “All these people exist in the ‘Tires’ universe because it is so conducive to that type of humor; it is all improv.”

McKeever also talked about the show’s format fitting as a medium for all the creatives involved, allowing flexibility and change. “Tires Is a better vehicle for the actors, Tires Is a better vehicle for you, a better vehicle for everybody. Think about The Office and Parks and Recreation, where nine seasons in, you see all these great new people popping up, like woah, that’s a great new character.” From the co-creator’s thoughts, it is clear the show looks at other workplace comedies like ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ as sources of inspiration. Like its forerunners, ‘Tires’ is a workplace comedy that is driven by its quirky and relatable characters and humor found in everyday life.

One of the most influential workplace comedies of the 21st century is ‘The Office.’ Originally a British series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, it was adapted into an American version and became a cultural phenomenon. Its success paved the way for other workplace comedies like ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and ‘Tires.’ Workplace comedies continue to resonate with audiences because they reflect the everyday experiences of a large portion of people. They provide a humorous escape from the stresses of real-life work while often commenting on the absurdities and challenges of professional life.

The interactions and relationships between characters drive much of the humor and emotional engagement, creating a sense of familiarity and investment. ‘Tires’ is set and shot in Shane Gillis’s home state of Pennsylvania. As a stand-up comedian, Gillis has performed across several venues in Pennsylvania, providing greater insight into local subcultures, customers, and business practices. Thus, while ‘Tires’ is a work of fiction, its comedy is relatable and hard-hitting owing to factors like the involvement of standup comics, creative flexibility, improvisation, and a workplace comedy format inspired by ‘The Office.’

Read More: Netflix’s Tires: Exploring All Filming Locations