Chad, a forthcoming comedy from TBS, has Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad playing the titular character — a 14-year-old pubescent Persian boy navigating his first year of high school on a mission to become popular. Much like the celebrated PEN15 from 2019, Chad has the main grown-up actor playing a teen, and at the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday, Pedrad talked about transforming into a kid much, much younger than she really is. (She's 38.)
"I knew I could disappear into looking like a boy with hair and makeup a lot easier than I could a girl," she said. She grew up around a lot of boys, including cousins, and those experiences inform how she'll explore what it means to be an American boy in the series. "I wanted to portray something grounded and authentic to my experience."
Pedrad, a child of immigrants from Iran, said Chad's Middle Eastern identity adds another layer to his high school experience since he not only has to wrestle with universal teenage woes, but the specific anxieties of trying to fit in when your cultural background doesn't match everyone around you. "It's like this extra obstacle to get through in your effort to fit in, and I think that's a lot of what the show explores," she said.
Chad debuts in spring on TBS.