Actor Danny Pudi (Community) really loves playing a bad guy.
When first approached with playing Mythic Quest’s Brad Bakshi (head of monetization, according to Wikipedia), Pudi’s attraction to the character stemmed from Brad’s penchant for being ruthless. The character exists in a tonally different world from any other role Pudi held. Brad’s brutal honesty and the comedy stemming from it was something he became incredibly excited about playing.
And, after two seasons, he’s an audience favorite, often verbally lacerating the main cast’s bumbling efforts to significant comedic effect.
“Brad is a character who can get away with a lot. He has this sort of sneakiness to him. He’s mysterious. He’s kind of smooth, and that’s just really fun to play when you walk into a character like that,” Pudi explained. “He’s not concerned about people liking him. He’s not defined by friendships. He operates as a sort of solo entity, this villain within the office creating chaos and always looking for the edge around him. It was just really, really fun to play. Being able to say things and be vicious is not something you can get away with in your everyday life, but, on screen, it’s really, really fun to play.”
Yet, Danny Pudi’s Brad is not a one-note character as we find out over the course of Season 2.
Brad shows layers and insecurities that we never would have guess previously existed. Revealed during a visit by his more ruthless brother, Brad’s past history with Kate, a pig with which Brad had a traumatic experience, shows a deep-seeded softness that previously remained buried. While providing significant moments of comedy, that revelation gives Pudi more notes to shade his interpretation of the character.
“For me, it only informs the character and helps makes everything deeper. It makes it more fun to play, and it opens up the world in new ways,” Pudi shared, explaining that newly revealed softer subtext to the character opened up opportunities to subtly show Brad’s softer side later in the season.
Throughout Season 2, Brad’s mentorship with Jessie Ennis’s Jo provided other sources of extremely funny moments. Pudi references the “walks and talks” he shared with Ennis down newly revamped (re: longer) hallways as highlights of the season for him. He also loved working with Ennis and her penchant for physical comedy.
Pudi remembers several times during the shoot where he would glance at Ennis out of the corner of his eye and see that she was completely mimicking his own motions. The like gestures intending to show Ennis’s respect for and desire to learn everything she can from Pudi’s Brad.
“Over the course of the season, we continued that. Every time we were matching next to each other before scenes, we would think about different ways we can match each other physically. I could see Jessie mimicking my hand motions and holding our drinks identically. Our prop department gave us matching cups that we would drink with iPads, and it just became this fun relationship that we were slowly building over the course of the season. The wardrobe department started getting her matching sweaters and shirts. Jessie was so game for everything and so funny. Watching her step into that with me was really fun.”
As the season closes. Brad takes an unexpected turn that likely changes the course of his character for future seasons. When Jessie (thanks to Brad’s brother) inadvertently engages in insider trading, Brad takes the fall for her, potentially leading him behind bars.
That’s something Pudi cannot wait to explore.
“I am looking forward to seeing how prison has affected Brad coming out. I do feel like maybe there will be a physical change there. I think what we’re leading to is a lot more shirtless Brad. That would be fun to see.”
Mythic Quest streams exclusively on AppleTV+.