‘Legends of Chamberlain Heights’ Event Intros Cast and Creators to L.A. Crowd
Comedy Central hosted an exclusive screening of Legends of Chamberlain Heights in Los Angeles Tuesday night (Sept. 27) at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Centennial Ballroom. Fans came to check out the outrageous shenanigans of the animated show’s Legends… Milk, Grover and Jamal—where they also got to hang out with the show’s creators and learn more about how Legends of Chamberlain Heights went from an idea to Comedy Central’s hottest new series.
Legends of Chamberlain Heights is an animated series mixing raucous comedy and social commentary that centers on three high school freshman basketball benchwarmers: Jamal, Grover and Milk. The three friends tackle life with some wins and some losses, but failure doesn’t faze them since they’re legends…even if it’s just in their own minds. The Simpsons veteran artist Brad Ableson developed the original concept with Quinn Hawking, Josiah Johnson, Mike Clements and Michael Starrbury. Devon Shepard was brought in to show run. Former UCLA Bruin basketball players, Hawking and Johnson used their own legendary benchwarming experience to provide inspiration for the main characters.
Johnson, Hawking and Abelson were on hand to share a little bit of the history behind Legends of Chamberlain Heights.
“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.”
As attendees enjoyed great music, food and drinks, the show creators explained what they have enjoyed the most about bringing this project to light. Veteran screenwriter Michael Starburry explained how he was brought in to flesh out the outline drafted by Abelson, Johnson and Hawking.
“I saw an opportunity to speak about millennials, honestly,” explained Starburry (who also voices the character of Malik on the show.) “Have a satire. The first goal was to be funny. We’d never seen anything like this. This was a joke a second. We don’t really write jokes—these guys are just funny.”
The guys shared anecdotes about their creative process (the inspiration for Milk’s voice was MC Eiht) and described the process for actually getting the show on the air.
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 Sharp 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.”
And 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 nobodies, but think they’re somebodies,” shared Quinn. “We just try to be as real as possible but on steroids.”
Check out Legends of Chamberlain Heights Wednesday nights at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central or anytime on the CC App.