Adam Pally (L) and Sam Richardson play a rapper's entourage who lose their meal ticket in "Champaign ILL." Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Adam Pally said his 2018 show, Champaign ILL, debuting on Hulu on Tuesday, could land the show a second season three years later. Champaign ILL was a YouTube original that lasted one season.
"I think there's hope for anything now," Pally told UPI in a phone interview. "One of the cool things about streaming is that if it does catch an audience and there is a demand, then sure, why not make more?"
The 39-year-old Pally played Ronnie, and Sam Richardson, 37, played Alf, two best friends of rapper Lou (Jay Pharoah). When Lou dies filming a music video, his entourage has to move home to Champaign, Ill.
In 2018, YouTube had a big success with Cobra Kai. However, production of originals ceased in 2020. Cobra Kai moved to Netflix and its Step Up series went to Starz to continue additional seasons.
Pally said Champaign was a "casualty of business." Pally said that in 2018, viewers were confused about how to watch YouTube originals.
YouTube offered a premium subscription service called YouTube Red. It changed the name to YouTube Premium. Then, YouTube made some episodes of original shows available to watch for free, bu with ads.
Still, Pally said he thought viewers may not have known where to find the series.
"I think it just got lost in the shuffle," Pally said. "There's so much good television. When there's so much good stuff, it's hard for people to find things."
Pally said he's grateful to Hulu for giving Champaign ILL another audience. Should that audience demand more, Pally said he and Richardson would likely be available to film another season.
Champaign reunited Pally with the creator of Happy Endings, David Caspe. Happy Endings writers Daniel and Matthew Libman created Champaign with Caspe and Jordan Cahan.
Pally said Happy Endings fans will notice a similar style of fast-paced dialogue in Champaign ILL. Ronnie and Alf must adjust to normal life with their parents after living in luxury, courtesy of Lou.
Ronnie and Alf become fish out of water in Champaign upon their return. Although that is fertile ground for comedy, Pally said the show also addresses Alf and Ronnie's grief.
"Champaign ILL, for a lot of us, was kind of a meditation on what does it mean when you lose someone who is so important to your life?" Pally said. "A funny meditation, not a very calming meditation, but a meditation on it."
The witty dialogue in Champaign ILL also touches on edgy topics. In the premiere episode, Ronnie jokes about trains to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
After arriving on a late flight, and waiting for their ride, Ronnie comments, "At least those trains ran on time." Pally said part of the joke is that Ronnie made an inappropriate comparison.
However, Pally said Holocaust jokes also play an important role in society. Pally said that he was concerned about the growth of Holocaust denial, and joking about it still reminds people of history.
"If I keep referencing it, people will maybe have to believe it has happened," Pally said. "A joke is actually more valuable I think than people realize sometimes. I know that's making a big deal out of comedy."
As the season went on, Pally said, Champaign ILL began to incorporate jokes from the stars' real life. One episode starts with a joke that began with an improvisation at dinner between Richardson, Pally and Daniel Libman.
"Sam and I were just doing a bit at a restaurant about what if two people with OCD, their triggers were the word OCD and they got caught in a loop," Pally said.
In the episode, whenever Ronnie hears the word OCD, he has to say OCD five times. But that causes Alf to say OCD again, which in turn re-triggers Ronnie.
As Pally awaits the new reaction to Champaign ILL, he is in development on a new series based on a Simon Rich short story. Rich will executive produce and Pally also will star.
Pally said he still hopes Happy Endings can return, and that the cast can make a Happy Endings feature film. The cast reunited for a Zoom episode to raise money for charity during the pandemic.
"I feel like a movie's the way to go," Pally said.
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