Nasim Pedrad wanted to create a comedy with a Middle Eastern character that wasn’t “acting against Jack Bauer” in TBS’ Chad.
Saturday Night Live alumna Pedrad, who is starring as a 14-year-old pubescent Persian boy in the single-camera comedy, opened up the Chad panel at the Winter TCA press tour with a passionate response to a question about Iran.
Pedrad, who was born in Iran, said she didn’t think the comedic elements of the show would land any differently in light of the recent conflict between Iran and the U.S. “My heart is with the Iranian people,” she added. “I think the people of Iran are not dissimilar to us. They want freedom and peace. I’m so in awe of their resilience and strength as they continue to stand up against this regime and fight for basic human rights. I fully support them.”
She added that growing up in the U.S., there were no comedies on air that featured characters of Middle Eastern descent, joking that the only characters she saw featured on 24. She added that she wanted to create a character with “nuance and specificity and flaws that are relatable”.
The show, which airs later this year, was handed a ten-part order in May 2019, after having previously been developed and piloted at Fox and 20th Century Fox TV four years ago. Pedrad said that airing on TBS has given the show a “creative freedom” that doesn’t exist on network television, including the way it was able to explore sexuality.
“It’s been a five-year journey from when I had the idea and started developing the world and character. It’s different creating a show for network. [TBS] really has been [an ideal home]. I don’t know if I would have got away with [it] on network TV. How far can we push the envelope?,” she added.
The Iranian-American actress is joined by co-stars Ella Mika, as Chad’s younger sister; Saba Homayoon, as Chad’s mother; Paul Chahidi, playing a distant relative; Jake Ryan, playing Chad’s best friend and Alexa Loo, playing a classmate. Oly Obst (3 Arts) serves as executive producer along with Robert Padnick and Rob Rosell. Rhys Thomas executive produced and directed the pilot and will direct and executive produce multiple episodes this season. Hayes Davenport also executive produced the pilot and is a consulting producer on the series.
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