It's the end of the season for Happy Endings tonight (9:31/8:31c, ABC) and that makes us anything but happy. We're gonna miss this gang of Chicago pals who talk really fast, abbreviate like champs and use ancient Serbian memory-erasing techniques on one another. But before they go, we grabbed a few minutes with Adam Pally, whose Max is easily the greatest gay character on TV right now, to talk about the season finale, Madonna tunes and why his tattoo may strike a chord with a certain criminal element. Because when you have someone as hilarious as Pally, these are the things that must be addressed.
TV Guide Magazine: OK, so the first time we ever chatted, it was following the Television Critics Association panel ABC had for the show, like eight months before it even aired.
Adam Pally: That was a horribly embarrassing day for me. One of the worst days ever.
TV Guide Magazine: Why?
Pally: Because I bombed and the critics all hated me. I had never done anything like [that panel] before and I was just learning what all that was. I think I now have a new appreciation for this part of the job and how to do it.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, we still want to have fun with you...
Pally: Go for it, sure.
TV Guide Magazine: In the season finale, we find out that Max was in an all-male Madonna cover band called Mandonna. Name your top three Madonna songs.
Pally: Umm... "Like a Prayer," "Used to be My Playground" and then I would say... oooh God, this is tough. Probably "Human Nature."
TV Guide Magazine: Good ones. What do we hear you sing in the finale?
Pally: "Like a Prayer." And let me tell you something, I nail it. It sounds more like what a grunge-rock version would be, but nevertheless, I nail it. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: OK. Four things you can't live without?
Pally: My iPhone, some kind of link to the NBA package so I can watch the Knicks, a solid pea coat, and a pair of Ray-Bans. Notice that I did not say my wife or child...
TV Guide Magazine: I'm going to trust that they're a given.
Pally: Yes, let's say that... I want to make that extremely clear. It's not that I forgot to mention them.
TV Guide Magazine: You're not pulling a Swank?
Pally: I am not! But I did forget to mention them. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Who are the funniest people you know?
Pally: Oh, Gil Ozeri, who is a writer on Happy Endings and now the star of the new Greg Daniels pilot, Friday Night Dinner. John Gemberling, who was the star of an Adult Swim show called Fat Guy Stuck in the Internet. And then I will say Rob Riggle. He's the best.
TV Guide Magazine: Is there one role you lost that you would have killed for?
Pally: Yes, there is! And it's going to seem crazy that I was even up for the role, I guess I really wasn't, I just read for it. But I loved it and it went to Jim Carrey... obviously. It was in the new Steve Carell movie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. I read the script and thought it was hilarious. The fact that they even considered me was awesome.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you ever watched your show while on Twitter?
Pally: Oh I know, it's so fun, isn't it? When we're in production and the show's on the air, everyone turns on Twitter and we're all joking around about which lines are popping off.
TV Guide Magazine: Can you please explain where your voice for "the curse of Penny's birthday" came from? Because it is too upsetting for words.
Pally: [Laughs] I don't know! I just read it in the script... I guess it's my version of Hannibal Lecter. I know, it's really weird.
TV Guide Magazine: We love Max for so many reasons, but one is that he's probably TV's most normal gay character. How has the gay community's response been?
Pally: It's been amazing. It is so nice that they have responded to it and I think a lot of people that it's an honest representation of who they are. I can't thank them enough and I hopefully, going forward they'll like him just as much.
TV Guide Magazine: But the fat jokes? Come on. You might be "Hollywood pudgy," but in the real world, that's nothing.
Pally: Look, I know that. And thank you for saying I'm "Hollywood pudgy." [Laughs] But I am legit not a slender man. My wife and I just had a baby — here's a spoiler for you: Max is putting on a few. I continue to put on the baby weight. I eat as if I am running the New York City Marathon the next day, every single day.
TV Guide Magazine: When did you have the baby?
Pally: He's three months now. His name is Cole Archer... he has to be a jazz musician. Or else he'll be a disappointment. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: How is fatherhood treating you?
Pally: It's great, it's awesome and it sucks. [Laughs] It's the worst, but it's also amazing and crazy. Everything I thought it would be.
TV Guide Magazine: Now, you also have a movie called The To-Do List in the can. It's got everyone. Donald Glover, Nolan Gould, Bill Hader, Connie Britton, Scott Porter, Andy Samberg. It's like a battle of the network stars.
Pally: Oh yeah, it was super fun. I play Rachel Bilson's boyfriend, and it is not hard to make out with Rachel Bilson every day. It takes place in the '80s and it's about a girl, played by Aubrey Plaza, who is about to go away to college and wants to lose her virginity before she leaves. It's kind of like American Pie for chicks.
TV Guide Magazine: Back to the Happy Endings finale, Brian Austin Green also shows up...
Pally: Yes, the "BAG Man" as well called him on set.
TV Guide Magazine: Is he as handsome in person?
Pally: He is a very handsome man. With very cool tattoos, I will say that.
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of, what are your tattoos?
Pally: I have one. I may get another during the off-season, I might get my son's name but I'm not sure yet. The one I have is my Hebrew name, which I share with my grandfather, and it's not the best tattoo. I got it when I was 19 and now it looks like I was in a Tel Aviv prison and that I am someone's property. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: So you never got the "Tacos Mi Corazons" tattoo?
Pally: No, but they actually put it on me every day no matter if I am talking my short off or not, because there is always the case in a scene where I might improvise getting naked.
TV Guide Magazine: Oh my God. I can only imagine what this show's outtakes are like.
Pally: Supposedly on the Season 2 DVD the gag real is an hour and a half. Yeah, it's gonna be awesome.
TV Guide Magazine: And what are you doing in between seasons?
Pally: I'm doing a movie called A.C.O.D. with Amy Poehler and Adam Scott in Atlanta. And then there's some other stuff that is just starting up.
TV Guide Magazine: Amy is one of our favorites...
Pally: Oh yeah. She was one of my teachers at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and she always looks out for me. She is so nice. I'm so excited to work with her. Amy was already on SNL when I took her class, but she started the theater and is looked at like the ethereal godmother of the place.
TV Guide Magazine: As a member of Upright Citizens Brigade, what is the least upstanding behavior you have engaged in?
Pally: God, I don't know. I don't look down upon a lot of stuff, so like gambling and cocaine, I am pretty cool with. So I don't know... I've never been in a fight.
TV Guide Magazine: Never?
Pally: Never. Well, I have been in physical altercations, but they weren't really fights because I am too scared and Jewish. So anytime that it gets to a point where there is gonna be a fight, I immediately apologize. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: When was the first time you realized your humor could cause you trouble?
Pally: I was really young, like second or third grade. I was goofing off in Hebrew day school and this Israeli teacher got really upset. She screamed, "I don't wanna hear a peep out of anybody!" But of course, I was the jerk-off d---head who had to go "peeeeeep." She flipped out and threw a stapler across the room. It was a totally unnecessary reaction, but I was like "Oh wow... I've got some sort of power here." [Laughs] But I got expelled in seventh grade... they asked me to leave. I was a real troublemaker.
TV Guide Magazine: And at what age where you put on medication?
Pally: To my parents' credit, never. And look at me!
TV Guide Magazine: You're on a TV show!
Pally: I like to say I [screwed]-up upwards. [Laughs]