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AM NY Calls UCB's Adam Pally A Star On The Rise

Apr 1, 2015

Adam Pally: Star on the rise

Adam Pally, center, and (L-R) Damon Wayans Jr., Eliza Coupe and Elisha Cuthbert in Happy Endings We're keeping our eye on newcomer Adam Pally - and you should, too.

The 29-year-old has been cracking us up on a weekly basis as the non-stereotypically gay Max Blum - best described as a dude who happens to like dudes - on the ABC newbie Happy Endings. "It's funny - the guy that's the most masculine of all his friends is gay, and they're OK with that," Pally told us.

Pally himself can take credit for some of the laughs on the ensemble comedy - about a group of friends whose lives get jolted when one pal leaves another at the altar - because many of the lines are improvised. The improv comes easily to Pally, who got his start in comedy at age 19 at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.

"I was there learning and interning and sneaking into shows and kind of getting any experience I could. I worked my way up to performing and teaching," said Pally, who still performs at UCB's New York and L.A. outposts regularly.

As for his future, it's all about comedy, and for good reason: "I only know how to do one thing in the world, and that's comedy - I can't even change a lightbulb." On TV: Happy Endings airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC/7.

Want more Adam Pally?

Head to Funny or Die to watch the hilarious Riding Shotgun with Adam Pally. In the first installment, Pally goes for a nutty spin with Fred Savage, during which Pally can't stop asking the ex-Wonder Years star which former child stars he hooked up with back in the day. Next up: Colin Hanks joins Pally for a sure-to-be-wild ride.

ABC's Happy Endings also stars UCB veterans Casey Wilson and Eliza Coupe.
NY General

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Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Adam Pally developing comedy for NBC

Apr 1, 2015

The comedy hails from "How I Met Your Mother" duo Dan Gregor and Doug Mand.

The Mindy Project star Adam Pally may be doing some work for NBC.

The Happy Endings alum is developing an untitled comedy for NBC, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The single-camera comedy hails from How I Met Your Mother writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand and centers on two guys who strike it rich after developing a mobile application. Pally, Gregor and Mand will executive produce the 20th Century Fox Television comedy, which has received a script plus penalty commitment from the network. Pally, who is a series regular on Mindy this season, is not currently attached to star.

The project marks the latest collaboration for Mand and Gregor with Pally, who starred in the 2010 Funny or Die short "Ghostbusters Return."

Pally, who played Max Blum for three seasons on ABC's fan favorite Happy Endings, started the season as a recurring player on Mindy before being upped to series regular. He's repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Del Shaw; Gregor and Mand are with CAA and Kaplan Perone.

LA General

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DC Pierson interview with

Apr 1, 2015

Novelist-comedian-screenwriter DC Pierson: Multi-hyphenate on the move 

As 21st-century Renaissance Men go, DC Pierson may not yet have quite the flair or the fame of, say, a James Franco. But when you think about how much the comedian/actor/screenwriter/novelist has accomplished in his 26 years, you may find yourself on the verge of one of those deep, flourishy bows (the kind that only the Renaissance Men you see at Renaissance Fairs attempt).

Right out of college, Pierson gained a reputation in sketch comedy as part of a team of performers known as Derrick. In 2009, he co-wrote and co-starred in Derrick's first feature film: the comedy Mystery Team, about a trio of innocent Hardy Boys-like sleuths who get involved in an all-too-real murder case.

In the meantime, Pierson was hard at work on his first novel, The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To, the story of an adolescent friendship, with sci-fi touches. The project was published by Vintage Contemporaries in early 2010. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep is set in an Arizona community not unlike Ahwatukee, the suburb of Phoenix where Pierson grew up.

He describes Ahwatukee as a "computer town." His father was a tech entrepreneur, and when he was a young kid, DC hoped to follow the family tradition. "My heroes were Bill Gates and really square people like that," he says. "I was probably the only kid in third grade that could list the top three heads of Microsoft - the only kid who was excited for the release of Windows 95."

In middle school and high school, Pierson began gravitating toward the idea of filmmaking - he was an admirer of such directors as Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. He soon became a theatre kid at school and also performed improv comedy with friends. A.J. Morales, a somewhat older acquaintance who was a grad student at New York University, convinced Pierson to apply for admission at NYU after high school. Morales was part of a sketch comedy troupe called Hammerkatz, and he thought that Pierson might be a good addition to the group. Pierson applied to the school's dramatic writing program, hoping to concentrate on TV scripting. He was accepted - both by NYU and Hammerkatz.

In the sketch group he met the four people who would later become his chief Derrick collaborators: co-writers/performers Donald Glover and Dominic Dierkes, director Dan Eckman, and producer Meggie McFadden. Pierson had always enjoyed writing in a variety of genres. Though he didn't take many fiction-writing classes at NYU, he did find time to dabble in prose stories on his own. After a day of classes and comedy rehearsals, he would head to the computer lab after midnight.

" ostensibly to do homework," he says, "but more often than not I would end up just kind of dicking around and writing some prose - a short story or something - and putting it up on my website. It was a kind of procrastination tool..."

Meanwhile, Pierson was polishing his dramatic-writing skills with Hammerkatz. NYU was often able to provide only odd venues for students' extracurricular performances, but the Hammerkatz kids turned that liability to their advantage. Pierson recalls one instance when the group was faced with the prospect of performing in a lecture hall: "We could either try to jerry-rig a normal show or we could build the show around the lecture hall." They went with the second option. "The entire show was like a lecture... a college course that the audience was all attending," explains Pierson. "Cast members were planted throughout the audience and had their own little character things going on throughout the show.

It wasn't to the extent of a Tony and Tina's Wedding, where they were interacting with people.... It was... theatrical. But the whole show was a sort of neat, immersive thing - less like a sketch show and more like a weird play or something. We maybe took it one step too far. At the end, we had a fire drill. We didn't pull the fire alarm or whatever, but we said, 'OK, everybody get out.' There was no curtain call or anything. We just dumped people out into the street at the end of the show. I remember reported having a little bit of 'audience blue balls' because the show never really ended." 

One day a slot opened up at the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade's New York space, and Hammerkatz jumped into it. The affiliation with UCB continued as Hammerkatz morphed into Derrick. Eckman and McFadden at one point started filming videos of some of Derrick's sketches. This was intended more as an archival record than a move toward formal filmmaking. But some videos went viral (a term Pierson "loathes") after being posted on YouTube. One popular title was Bro Rape. Another was Blowjob Girl (in which Pierson played opposite Ellie Kemper, who portrayed a sexually frisky young woman with hyperactive choppers.

"I think it largely got popular because it has the word 'blowjob' in the name of it," Pierson notes. "I guess people on the Internet don't realize that you can go and watch actual porn elsewhere."

Eventually YouTube began making payments to its content providers. Derrick members decided to pool their earnings in order to finance a more ambitious project. They headed to California at one point to pitch a feature-film script. It didn't sell, so they decided to self-produce a different feature idea.

Glover had always wanted to write about "Encyclopedia Brown all grown up," Pierson explains. "That kind of sparked all of our imaginations. We started talking about all these different characters." Glover had begun writing for NBC's 30 Rock, so Mystery Team was filmed in New Hampshire in 2008 during his hiatus from that show. (Glover has since gone on as a regular performer on the NBC series Community, a show on which Pierson has made three guest appearances.)

Derrick members moved to California after Mystery Team was sold - in order to be closer to the action (and they've remained there since). Meanwhile, Pierson finished work on his novel. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep tells the story of two high-school loners, Darren and Eric, who befriend one another. Darren comes to believe, after some initial doubt, that Eric has never slept so much as a wink in his life. This is, of course, a supernatural element, but it is not so far-fetched as to defy plausibility.

The strategy, Pierson explains, was to "make the real-world stuff more fantastical and the fantastical stuff more real." Toward the end of the book the supernatural elements escalate somewhat, but the heart of the story is an examination of adolescent awkwardness, the high-schooler's perpetual fear of doing something foolish, of coming off as dorky.

Pierson wrote the novel from Darren's point of view. He thought at points about using Eric's perspective instead, or alternating between the two first-person narrators. But he decided to stick with his initial impulse. Both Darren and the reader, Pierson explains, are encountering the unbelievable aspects of the story simultaneously and deciding whether it's possible to suspend their disbelief.

Recently, Pierson says, he sold a second novel. This one is not only about young adults - it was written specifically for the young adult market. He hopes it may be part of a series. Meanwhile, he, Glover, and Dierkes are planning to work in front of the camera this summer on a film called The Hand Job, with some of their UCB friends. After roles in both Blow Job Girl and The Hand Job, one can only imagine what assignments will fill the slate of DC Pierson in years to come. I predict something explosive.

LA General

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