Straight Talk with Adam Pally
BY Brandon Voss
September 28 2011 1:15 PM ET
Although it may look cloyingly familiar at first, Happy Endings has updated the classic sitcom formula of six close friends to include a gay man who aggressively defies traditional stereotypes. His buddies describe him as “a straight dude who likes dudes” and “the worst gay husband ever,” but Max Blum has happily emerged as one of the most unexpectedly refreshing gay characters on television. Straight actor Adam Pally plays the scruffy, schlubby slacker on the series, which returns September 28 for a second season. The 29-year-old Upright Citizens Brigade alum and FunnyOrDie.com regular tells The Advocate why, no matter whom his portrayal inspires or offends, his primary goal is to be as funny as possible.
The Advocate: What kind of response have you gotten from gay viewers?
Adam Pally: Sometimes it’s stuff like, “Send me your shirtless pictures,” but I’ve also had a couple kids tell me on Facebook that Max gave them the courage to come out. That was really cool. So it runs the gamut from creeps to genuine adoration, and I like it all. The thing I get the most is that every gay guy thinks he’s Max.
Is that really something to brag about? He’s kind of a mess.
Yeah, he’s a total mess. He’s in debt, he’s a slob, he’s overweight, and he’s a borderline alcoholic, but it seems like almost every gay man wants to be him. I think the gay community has latched onto him because it doesn’t matter what his sexuality is. He just happens to be a gay man.
But Max’s sexuality is an important and visible part of the character. One of your very first lines in the pilot was, “Even I think rollerblades are gay, and I had sex with a dude last night.” A later episode focused on Max’s coming out to his parents, and between the many gay-related punchlines and comments about his various hookups, the show never lets the audience forget that Max is gay.
Yeah, you wouldn’t forget, because that’s who he is. I think that’s pretty true to life. In a group of friends, everybody talks about that stuff, so why wouldn’t Max?
Were you ever worried about how the gay audience would react to Max?
I’m a good Jewish boy; of course you guys were gonna love me. No, I wasn’t worried going into it, because I really didn’t think that much about it, to tell you the truth. Maybe that was naïve of me, but I just thought it was a really a funny role, and it didn’t even cross my mind.
Now that you’ve heard from gay people that the show has impacted, do you feel more of a responsibility to represent the gay community respectfully?
No, I don’t. Hopefully I’m not alienating the only people who like me right now, but I don’t even think about it. I feel like once you start doing that, you lose your comedic edge. I would hope that there are times that I do offend the gay community. I would hope there are moments where I offend everybody, because that’s what I think a good comedian does. George Carlin has a famous quote: “I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.” I’m not looking to make friends. I just want to be the funniest that I can be.