12:19pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Adam Pally on Punching Baby Yoda and a 'Happy Endings' Revival
Adam Pally has two big dreams that he hopes to achieve in Hollywood in his career: Being Han Solo and reviving his former ABC cult favorite Happy Endings.
In the interim, the actor scored a fun yet divisive role in Disney+'s Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian, where his character punched Baby Yoda, and is having ongoing conversations with the cast and creatives of Happy Endings about bringing the show back.
"I don't want to get anybody's hopes up but I know that everybody wants to do it," Pally told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday following the Television Critics Association's winter press tour panel to support his new NBC comedy Indebted. "Right now, they're trying to find a way to make that happen because there's a lot of moving parts. If we were to do it, I think David [Caspe, the creator] would want to do it his way."
Happy Endings, produced and owned by Sony TV, ran for three seasons on ABC from 2011 to 2013. ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke has been open about wanting to reboot the comedy — with the original ensemble cast — on her network as she hopes to bring women back to the broadcaster.
The comedy about a group of friends, starring Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Pally, Damon Wayans Jr. and Casey Wilson, was a cult hit, but the show's then-lackluster ratings (and ABC's lack of ownership in it) led to its cancellation. Still, a case could be made that Happy Endings (and other cult hits like Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23) were the poster children for a lack of understanding about delayed viewing patterns in the early days of the DVR. Sony TV at the time attempted to shop the comedy elsewhere, with talks with NBCUniversal-owned basic cable network USA Network coming close, but ultimately a deal could not be worked out.
"It was a bad time," Pally said of the TV climate when Happy Endings was axed. "We came out at the time that there were like three other shows about single people dating. It was a tough launch. But I wouldn't want it any other way than the way it is because it's like a club."
One thing that could be an issue in a Happy Endings revival is creator Caspe's recent decision to exit Sony TV for an overall deal with Universal Television. Still, ABC's Burke told THR in August that she was optimistic Caspe would be involved should a revival become a reality.
"There's a lot of overall deals; someone put a clip up the other day of a beginning of Happy Endings and the credit sequence was going down and no joke, the first seven names of the writers on the show all have their own shows," Pally told THR on Saturday. "And if they don't have their own shows, they're in charge of the Marvel universe. It's a lot of moving parts. It's one of those things that hopefully Hollywood will let it happen."
As for his role in The Mandalorian, Pally noted the part was the result of a conversation with friend and showrunner Jon Favreau.
"I've been friends with Favreau for a little bit and he said he had this thing that he needed someone to do something special," he recalled. "So Jason [Sudeikis, who was in the episode alongside Pally] and I talked and were like, 'Yeah, we really want to be part of it.' It seemed exciting. It was a thrill."
Pally and Sudeikis appeared in The Mandalorian finale as (masked) Scout Troopers who kidnapped and famously punched the Internet's most meme-able character, Baby Yoda.
"I remember the first take when I punched it," Pally recalled. "They called cut and Jon was watching on a monitor on his office and he came down and said, 'I just want to let you know that this is the hero, Yoda, and it costs like $5 million. So, though I want you to hit it, I just want you to know that.' Because I think I took a big swing. The next three takes I missed because I was so nervous!"
Asked how he felt about assaulting the mysterious character whose identity is only known as The Child, comedian Pally didn't hold back. "As a human, I don't care; it's not a real baby nor a thing, so I'm fine with it!"
Still, Pally hopes his memorable and formerly top-secret role in The Mandalorian isn't his last experience in the Star Wars universe. "I'm a huge Star Wars fan," he said. "I want to be in Star Wars. I mean, I'm in it [with The Mandalorian] but I can't play Han. It's not the dream at all. The dream is to be Han Solo. But this was super fun."
As for what Baby Yoda was like on set, here's how Pally delivered a stunning truth bomb about The Child: "The truth is Baby Yoda is a bit of a diva, constantly vaping!" he joked.
Pally's new show, NBC family comedy Indebted — starring Fran Drescher, Steve Weber and Abby Elliott — premieres Feb. 6. Watch the trailer, below.