Meeting of the Minds: Adam Pally and Gil Ozeri from ‘Happy Endings’ Interview Each Other
Adam Pally and Gil Ozeri have been friends and comedy collaborators for a long time. Originally meeting at New York’s UCB Theatre, they, along with Ben Schwartz, formed the three-person sketch and improv powerhouse Hot Sauce. Now out in LA, Adam plays Max and Gil is a staff writer on ABC’s straight-up wonderful Happy Endings. With the new season of the show coming up in about a month (Tuesday, October 23rd at 9pm!), I figured that rather than interviewing one or both of them individually, it’d be a lot more fun to just have them interview each other. And I was right.
Adam Pally: Hi, this is Adam Pally
Gil Ozeri: And this is Gil Ozeri. We work on Happy Endings together
Adam: We work on Happy Endings together and we’re doing an interview for Splitsider
Gil: They asked us to interview each other
Adam: For the upcoming fall TV season.
Gil: Happy Endings premieres on…
Adam: October 23rd.
Gil: At 9PM on Tuesdays.
Adam: So what we decided to do was each write 5 questions for each other about what it’s like to be a writer on staff, like Gil is.
Gil: And what it’s like being a kind of, okay, decent actor on the cast of Happy Endings.
Adam: Thank you, that’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.
Gil: And Adam Pally is one of those. Who do you play again?
Adam: I play Max. You don’t know the names of the characters?
Gil: I thought it was Michael. [Laughs]
Adam: [Laughs] You’re in the writer’s room; you have to know the names of the characters.
Gil: It has to be a memorable character for me to remember it. So we’ll just go one-to-one, I’ll ask a question to you and then you’ll ask a question to me. Because I don’t really know that world, and I’d like to know more about it.
Adam: OK here’s my first question: Gil, is it creatively and emotionally fulfilling to be a writer on a television show?
Gil: Yes, I’d say it’s really great to write on a sitcom. If you think about it, it could be the most fulfilling job of all time. You’re writing for characters that aren’t cliché, you’re writing for characters for one of the most important mediums. I wouldn’t want to be writing for a newspaper or making some piece of art in a museum, that’s just shit work.
Adam: I get it.
Gil: Now here’s my question to you: How does it feel to be the chubbiest cast member on Happy Endings?
Adam: It feels, actually, comfortable. You were with me last night when we ate dinner; I had four slices of pizza and a chicken breast to avoid eating the fifth slice.
Gil: I know how you feel because I’m the smallest and chubbiest member of the writing staff.
Adam: I don’t believe that.
Gil: You don’t?
Adam: No, I believe there are chubbier and smaller writers.
Gil: No, it’s not true, I was just trying to make you feel better.
Adam: OK: Do you ever wish that you could be performing and not just writing on the show, since you are also a great performer?
Gil: Well thank you for the compliment. It seems like I wrote these questions for you. I love writing just as much, you know..
Adam: Your voice just got different.
Gil: I never sweat, I never get pissed off, I never try to perform my jokes or imagine that I’m performing them on the show. Now my question: Are you terrified of being the worst actor on the cast?
Adam: [Laughs] No, I came in as the worst actor and through a lot of non-hard work and no effort I have stayed the worst actor.
Gil: So it’s pretty much even keeled? You’re always ok.
Adam: I’m always OK with being the worst. Still get that paycheck. Gil, is it weird that I’m on the show and you write a lot of my jokes, but at the end of the day, when is all is said and done and people look back at Happy Endings, I will get all the credit?
Gil: Well, since I’m writing really terrible jokes for you, I don’t mind you getting all of the credit. OK, here’s my question for you: How many times a week, Adam, do you ask people to define the words, “Scene” and “Act Break?”
Adam: [Laughs] I wish that that was more of a joke because often times I don’t understand what the stage directions mean or are. Often time I read the character’s names…
Gil: Sometimes I’ll come down to the set and you’ll just be biting the set because you don’t know any better.
Adam: Well as soon as I show up to work they put me in a trailer like a cage and they only let me out to go to the set and they have to walk me there because I might wander off.
Gil: Yeah, you’re a dumb dog.
Adam: I’m a dumb dog. Gil, is it humbling when you write a joke and then someone from the cast writes a better one off the top of their head?
Gil: It’s very humbling. Last week I remember you improvising a joke and me going into a deep, dark depressing cave. Crying, I must have called my mom every hour.
Adam: And you didn’t write that episode.
Gil: I’m very shameful. Most of the episodes that I write have been improved by the cast. I usually give a dramatic script to the cast with no jokes. Adam, I’ve heard to prepare yourself, to get ready for a scene, you’ll often have to have fellatio from a specific crew member. Who is that crew member and why do you need that?
Adam: Her name is Troy.
Gil: Her name is Troy?
Adam: Yes, her name is Troy and she’s a gaffer and god bless her, she’s got more tattoos than open skin at this point. Hands like Willy Mays. Like they’ve been through a war and a baseball game.
Gil: Dry hands.
Adam: Dry, large, hands. But she takes it down for me before each scene; otherwise I would be too tense to do it. I’ve heard that you also will get fellatio in the writer’s room.
Gil: Yeah I’ll give myself fellatio in the writer’s room.
Adam: That’s what I was hinting at.
Gil: I’ve removed my tiny stomach muscles and now I’m able to move my tiny Mediterranean neck down
Adam: It’s weird that you would have such small stomach muscles and such large stomach muscles.
Gil: It’s to look over the dunes.
Adam: But if you’re small anyways that doesn’t get you anywhere. Here’s my last question: What’s your favorite moment from an episode of Happy Endings that you wrote, and then that gets cut when you saw the episode and realized why.
Gil: Well I wrote this episode where you have a heart attack, remember that terrible heart attack you had? You were giving a commencement speech and you had this terrible heart attack. It must have been a 15-16 minute scene; it took up most of the episode. You were withering on the ground and no one came to help you and it got cut for you falling over a couch.
Adam: You know I saw that and I think that it worked better than the heart attack. It was funnier.
Gil: I’ll admit it was funnier.
Adam: It was funnier, I think it would be weird if you looked back at the episode and then all of the sudden I was giving a commencement speech and thus having a heart attack.
Gil: Wait you don’t think a heart attack is funny? There’s nothing funnier than…
Adam: Than me having a heart attack? Well, I’m all out of questions.
Gil: I got one more. Your hospitality rider for your trailer includes bags of salty New York pretzels. Why do you insist on having those salty New York pretzels in your trailer?
Adam: I have heard, someone told me once, that the people who are the best actors have the largest faces and heads. And there’s so much sodium in a New York pretzel that when I eat one my head just blows up like a balloon.
Image via Earwolf.