It's surprising that Adam Pally, who plays Max on ABC's "Happy Endings," went into show business considering how he fared in his first performance.
"There is a video of me doing standup at 5 for my cousin's Hanukkah talent show," he tells Zap2it. "I am bombing, and everyone is heckling me. It prepares you for the rejection of this business."
Pally recalls trying next for the fifth grade production of "Fiddler on the Roof."
"It was clear in my audition -- even at a young age -- I was blowing everyone away," Pally says, deadpan. "There were politics. I wound up playing Lazar Wolf. I f... stole that show. My go-to karaoke jam is, 'If I Were a Rich Man.' "
Unlike most kids who target show business as their dreams, Pally grew up knowing success in the business was hardly a given. Both of his parents had been entertainers, his dad an actor and his mom a singer. His dad lost a few parts and decided to switch gears, and went to medical school in Chicago.
"Not often as a child do you get to see two separate occupations, especially such polar opposites," Pally says. "Show business was very romanticized for me at a young age, and at a certain level I can finish what was started, which was completely misguided."
Pally has concentrated on improv, which he became interested in when his parents took him to see the Upright Citizens Brigade with Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz.
"The idea of, you get laughs off acting a scene as opposed to pointing out uniqueness or that type of style appealed to me, so that is kind of the direction I went in," he says.
For now, Pally continues to play Max, the group's gay pal, whom he describes as "an anarchist with a heart."
Favorite comedy sketches: " 'The Dana Carvey Show,' which was one of the greatest sketch comedies ever. That writing staff, it is insane - Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Louis C.K. There was a sketch where Carell and Colbert played waiters who were nauseated by food. And an 'SNL' sketch in which Chris Farley played Rudy Giuliani's son."
Hobbies: He plays basketball on Sundays. "Hobbies go out the window when you have a kid," Pally says. "Right now my hobby is making sure my son doesn't stick his finger in an outlet and making sure my wife doesn't get mad at me.
Favorite books: " ' The BFG' is my all-time favorite. I have an affinity for children's books. 'Two Guys From Verona: A Novel of Suburbia,' about these guys who had opposite lives and grew up in New Jersey. 'Dreams From My Father' I did read and really loved, and I don't like to talk about this because I am not so educated and a staunch Obama supporter."
Favorite music: "I am a diehard Pearl Jam fan, which I know will not win me a lot of support among the indie hipster crowd. I don't love hipster culture, as you will tell from the rest of my music. I love the White Stripes. I have been listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield, and my wife and I love Motown and Earth Wind & Fire."
Photo/Video credit: ABC