Comedy Central hosted an exclusive screening for Legends of Chamberlain Heights in Los Angeles last night (Sept. 27) and fans got to come out to the LAAC Centennial Ballroom to check out the outrageous hijinks of Milk, Grover and Jamal—three high school guys who are benchwarmers IRL but legends in their own minds—and they also got to hang out with the show’s creators and learn more about how Legends went from an idea to Comedy Central’s hottest new show.
Josiah Johnson, Gavin Quinn and Brad Abelson were on hand to share a little bit of the history behind Chamberlain Heights, which was born of Johnson and Quinn’s experiences riding the bench for the UCLA Bruins—as well as the duo’s shared sense of humor.
“We’d seen the movie about LeBron’s high school experience and we animated some LeBron interview footage, but it was super boring,” explained Abelson. “Then we stumbled upon a YouTube video where these guys had taken a puppet LeBron James and a puppet Kobe and they redid the voices to be really fucked up and weird and funny. We got in touch with them and it turned out to be these two knuckleheads here.”
With attendees enjoying great music, food and drinks, the show creators explained what they have enjoyed most about bringing this project to light. Veteran screenwriter Michael Starburry explained how he fleshed out the outline drafted by Abelson, Johnson and Quinn.
“I saw an opportunity to speak about millennials, honestly,” explained Starburry, who also voices Malik on the show. “Have a satire. The first goal was to be funny. We’d never seen anything like this. The Boondocks was funny but it was more dramatic. This was a joke a second. We don’t really write jokes—these guys are just funny.”
The guys shared anecdotes (the inspiration for Milk’s voice was MC Eiht) and described the process for actually getting the show on the air. (Other networks FX and Adult Swim were once possible destinations.)
Johnson explained how the meeting with Comedy Central confirmed they had something here.
“The moment was when we pitched Comedy Central back in September 2013,” he recalled. “Jim Sharpie is one of the execs on the show and he’s notorious for not laughing in pitch meetings. If you get him to laugh, you did a good job.”
“We got the call the next day.”
The team say they keep the show grounded in their unique sensibilities.
“When we’re in the writer’s room, we just try to keep it based on these young characters who are nobody but think they’re somebody,” shared Quinn. “We just try to be as real as possible but on steroids.”
Check out Legends of Chamberlain Heights Wednesday nights at 9:30/10:30c on Comedy Central and on the CC App.