LOS ANGELES, June 17 (UPI) -- Nick Mohammed, who created and stars on the Peacock comedy Intelligence, said the series fulfills his ambition to write "stupid comedy."
"I basically wanted to write a cartoon," Mohammed told UPI in a Zoom interview. "Intelligence is sort of a live-action cartoon, the more I think about it."
The comedy is set in the world of government intelligence, with characters who don't exhibit much intelligence. Mohammed plays Joseph, a computer analyst at Government Communications Headquarters in the United Kingdom.
Joseph looks up to Jerry Bernstein (David Schwimmer), who transferred to GCH from the U.S. National Security Agency. Jerry often enlists Joseph in his schemes.
At the end of Season 1, the NSA wanted to bring Jerry back to the United States to investigate him for sharing government secrets. So, Jerry and Joseph filmed a fake wedding ceremony to make Jerry a British citizen. Mohammed said that was an example of the ways Joseph embraces Jerry's absurd antics.
"There's no kind of sexual attraction between Joseph and Jerry, but he absolutely adores him," Mohammed said. "Jerry's the best thing that's ever happened to Joseph."
Jerry and Joseph get up to more comic misadventures in Season 2. In the season premiere, Joseph suggests hypnotherapy to help Jerry remember a password from 2016.
During the exercise, Joseph pretends to be Jerry's ex-girlfriend to help him remember 2016.
"I do a very bad American accent," Mohammed said. "We improvised quite a lot of that actually."
In reflecting on 2016, Intelligence also pays homage to the death of Alan Rickman on Jan. 14 that year. Several characters reference Rickman's death as the most memorable event of the year, and Mohammed said he mourned the Die Hard and Harry Potter actor, as well.
"Tons of absolute legends sadly passed away in 2016, but the one that really, really affected me the most was Alan Rickman," Mohammed said. "I couldn't not name him on this show."
In another episode, Jerry demonstrates waterboarding on coworker Mary (Jane Stanness). In that exercise, Joseph struggles to hold a 5-gallon water jug over Mary's head.
"I remember genuinely just not wanting to drop it onto Jane Stanness," Mohammed said. "A lot of me straining was pretty legitimate. I didn't really have to act a lot of that."
Intelligence premiered Feb. 21, 2020, in Britain and made its American debut on Peacock on July 15. A month later, on Aug. 14, Apple TV+ audiences saw Mohammed as Nate on Ted Lasso.
The 40-year-old Mohammed said he had mixed emotions having two series premiere during a global pandemic.
"It felt good, in a way, to be able to provide some content for people who were at home," Mohammed said. "I'm proud of each of them and for different reasons, but equally you can't not be affected by what a horrendous year it's been for lots and lots of people."
Mohammed said he continued to work through the pandemic. He had writing assignments and voiceover roles, and he returned to film Season 2 of both Ted Lasso and Intelligence under COVID-19 safety protocols.
"In some respects, I never felt busier, but I couldn't tell whether that was just because I was obviously having to do a lot of it at home while balancing family life," Mohammed said.
Intelligence returns Thursday on Peacock. Ted Lasso returns July 23 on Apple TV+.