Adam Pally is way more than just Happy Endings‘ Max Blum. Yes, we adore him for the three seasons of perfect comedy that ABC took away from us and the fact that he gave TV its first openly gay character who ate carbs, loved sports and had no shame gene. He followed that up with a bro-y stint on The Mindy Project and since then, he’s amassed a slew of fascinating, even unexpected gigs of note, from the hilarious adult animation of Hulu’s Crossing Swords to appearances in Iron Man 3 and the Sonic the Hedgehog movies to the fantastic indie flicks Most Likely to Murder and Band Aid. Hell, he even had an uncredited cameo in The Mandalorian as the Imperial Scout Trooper who punched a kidnapped Baby Yoda (classic Max move, btw).
At the same time, the streetwear-savvy comic has also expanded into the world of shoe design through a partnership with luxury brand Easymocs, as well as the world of unscripted television. Which makes his travel-and-get-wrecked series 101 Places to Party Before You Die on truTV some must-see madness — because anyone who has been paying attention knows that when Pally is allowed to freestyle, things can get weird. Especially with his longtime pal and fellow cannabis-enhanced comedian Jon Gabrus on hand for the THC-soaked adventures. They’re basically those rowdy guys at the next table who buy you a round of shots and then somehow convince everyone it’s time to get face tattoos from a guy they know who lives on a boat but can’t legally leave the country.
1182500: 101 Places to Party Before You Die – Puerto Rico
On Thursday night, Sept. 1, the guys were scheduled to destroy themselves in Hawaii for their surprisingly emotional season finale, which reunites Pally with Happy Endings roomie Zachary Knighton (now filming NBC’s rescued Magnum P.I. in Maui) before it sends Adam and Gabrus on a rock climbing excursion that more than earns them the excessive amount of consumption they were set to manage within a 48-hour period.
Here, Pally explains how he became the Bear Grylls of Cannabis and Cuervo, updates us with some very Happy news and shares what it was like getting his foot in the door with a shoe design collaboration.
OK, so clearly you survived the first season!
Adam Pally: [Laughs] I survived. Yes, I survived.
Which is amazing, since you did some messed-up stuff on this show. How did you get truTV to sign off on this?
Um, I don’t know, did they sign off on it? I don’t know. I’ve never met them. I don’t know who they are. [Laughs] It was like a faceless interaction, you know, they said, like, “Just go and get a bunch of content.” And this is kind of what we came up with.
Well, they didn’t miss the chance to go to Hawaii for your season finale. We see them a few times in this episode.
No, no. They all made it there. Shockingly! [Laughs] It’s just, Gabrus and I, we’ve known each other for like 20 years from doing comedy. One of our favorite shows is this British comedy called The Trip that stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. It was like, you know, improvised and loosely based on their lives and stuff so we were like, “Well, what if we did that for American audiences?” And so what ended up happening was we ended up just getting drunk a lot and filming it. Then we thought, you know, there’s so many of these travel shows, what if we made a comedy version of one that was more interested in making you laugh than teaching you about the food or the history of the places.
Although you do definitely give us some places to check out.
We’re informative, yeah. You can’t do a travel show without being informative, but…
Half the fun of the show is just watching you guys crack each other up.
Oh yeah, no we didn’t shy away from that. [Laughs] I love that there’s no laugh track here, so you almost have to be your own laugh track. And Gabrus is one of the funniest people in the world. He makes me laugh saying nothing, so it’s easy, you know?
There is just such a camaraderie. You both seem to have a, well, a high tolerance for one another,
[Laughs] “A high tolerance” is a good way to put it! We met at the Upright Citizens Brigade, doing improv together. We were put on our first kind of “comedy team” together there and then just kind of stayed friends. Then our families became friends and it’s a true organic kind of relationship. We have a deep love for each other.
And you’ve traveled a ton for this show. How long did it take you to actually film the entire series? Because that’s a lot of jet lag.
It was traveling quite a bi t— and during like, the height of COVID, which was interesting. But it wasn’t too bad. Luckily you can pretty much get around America pretty easily and we found everybody to be so welcoming and so excited to be open [for business] again. So any negative of travel or anything like that was washed away by the experiences we had with the people in each town.
Favorite place of the first season?
That’s hard. They all have such a different role in the travel log, you know? Miami, I have a responsibility as a Jewish person to die there, so I have gotten comfortable there and love that city very dearly. But at the same time, I’ve worked in and lived in Atlanta so much that the city has kind of become like a second home to me. So I really love that city, too. And then we went to Puerto Rico, and old San Juan was like, “This is the most amazing place ever!” Each one has its own virtue so I can’t really pick a favorite.
I do feel like Atlanta is so you. It’s got the music you love, it’s got the shoe stores you love, it’s got that vibe. The city is actually tailor made for your entire aesthetic.
Atlanta inspires everything. That’s what they say down there. And truly, I am there so often and for such long periods of time that I’ve been able to find comfort in what the city can offer you, especially when you’re away from home.
And now Hawaii for your finale…you get to see Zach Knighton!
Yes. We had a little mini-Happy Endings reunion and it was a blast. It was so fun to see him again. I hadn’t seen him in person in like five years. So it was great.
Watch an exclusive sneak peek at the reunion below:
You also got to surf but I can’t believe you guys didn’t take Zach surfing. He’s all about that.
He is a good surfer and I think that’s why he didn’t want to surf with us. Like, I don’t golf, but I have golfing buddies that are like, “Don’t come with me,” you know? They don’t want to deal with that part of it. And both in golf and surfing, I am that part. I am frustrating. [Laughs]
Right, well now you’ve done it. You can check surfing off your list now. You also go rappelling in Hawaii, which, hell no…
By the way, didn’t my legs look kind of yolked in that [bit]? I’ve finally settled into the idea that maybe someday I could do action. [Laughs]
You’re already in with Marvel, so…
Yeah. And I’m in with Star Wars. And Sonic. I got three!
That’s the craziest thing: You do all this family friendly stuff and everyone who follows you on social knows that you’re the biggest dad of the world…and then you’re off on weekends filming this show, getting wasted and eating breakfast wings at strip joints.
Well, look, you know, the duality of man, right? There’s everybody has their true two selves or whatever. I feel that my two selves are actually somewhat very close together. And I would say that if you ask my family, I don’t behave much different with them than I do on the show. [Laughs] So I think that’s a little bit of the secret sauce — you just gotta be who you are all the time.
Casey’s book [The Wreckage of my Presence] is fantastic. I don’t know if I’m quite there yet, as far as like in the league of her, but I enjoy writing. Especially if I have the time and a topic that fits. I enjoy kind of getting these like one-off chances to write something for a magazine or something cool. It’s really a luxury.
So, I have to ask about the shoes. Because your Easymoc loafer designs are fire.
Oh wow, yeah. Thank you!
So how did this happen?
Um, I truly like, again, I think by being kind of open and positive and trying to see what’s out there. I did a show called Indebted at NBC where I played a guy that was into clothing and this young kid named Greg [Cordeiro] who started the company — he used to work at Timberland — came up with the designs and sent them to the show and I really liked them. I’d never quite seen anything like them and I liked that it was a loafer without a back. Because, you know, I’m a little baby city boy and I don’t want to get the back of my feet all messed up by loafers, you know? [Laughs]
So then we sent an email to him like, “Thank you so much, these are great!” And then over the pandemic, they started to take off…because I think people were like “You can wear them in the house, you can wear them out of the house!” And so he asked me if I wanted to design a collab and I just thought that would be really fun. I took a road trip up to his factory [in Maine] and got into the swatches and the metal bits, the Vibram souls and I was picking it all out. And this is what came of it. Then Nordstrom liked it, so they decided to release them and they’re pretty much almost sold out. So it was a really fun worthwhile experience.
Even before Indebted, it seems like you’ve always been sort of the hype dad, wearing these really cool brands. Your shoe game alone is iconic. It’s so cool that you’ve worn so many collaborations and now you are one.
Yeah, it is. I’ve always had an interest in it. My wife is in the business, so I always, like, took an interest in clothing and stuff. And once I started to have the control over the stories I was telling and how I wanted characters to look — I think actually Happy Endings was the first place where I got to have a voice in how that character looked — it became this whole other tool in my box that I can use.
Of course, everyone always asks about a Happy Endings reunion or a reboot or whatever. And obviously, I would lead that charge and fight for Congress to codify it as law to make it happen…
I will tell you this, there has been some…you know, I’m always working with David [Caspe, Happy‘s creator]. And we have a new show that hopefully we’ll be able to announce to the public soon, fingers crossed. But there has been some movement on a Happy Endings reunion. I don’t know what that looks like, right? But I would say the headline would be David and Casey, myself and some of the writers have been talking.
Ecstatic. I’ll take it. Now, what about a Mindy Project reunion of some sort in the meantime?
Mindy [Kaling] and I just saw each other!
You did Andy Cohen’s show.
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know, you know, I brought it up to her and I don’t think she was quite ready for it, but I really wanted to do some sort of Peter Prentice spinoff where I’m like dating in New York.
Yes! Talk to Hulu! Make this a thing. I guess your kids are back in school, so are you back in New York working on stuff?
A lot of stuff. I can’t really say, but a lot of stuff that’s like about to be whatever and can’t be [discussed yet]. But I just finished a TV show with Arnold Schwarzenegger for Netflix, which was a blast. Arnold’s my guy.
How bizarre was that?
Bizarre is a good way to put it. It was odd because you’re like, he is one of the biggest stars in, like, your childhood and everything, but at the same time, he is the greatest. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about him. He is the most professional, the most responsible, the most humble, the most like, “I’m on it, I’m ready to be in the trenches” movie star that I’ve ever worked with. He’s the best, it was really cool.
101 Places to Party Before You Die, Thursdays, 11:00/10:00c, truTV