SDCC: Legends of Chamberlain Heights on Comedy Central

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Comedy Central’s newest animated series, Legends of Chamberlain Heights, is a series in the style of Simpsons and South Park that aims to be more relatable to today’s average high schooler than what is currently on TV. Though the series is already shaping up to be a success, it came from humble beginnings – YouTube.

The show is a modern, urban coming of age story centered around three high school freshmen basketball players: Jamal, Grover, and Milk. Heavily influenced by the experiences of co-creators and voice actors, Josiah Johnson and Quinn Hawking, the show follows the three friends as they experience life as high school basketball bench warmers. Much like Johnson and Hawking did in the same position, the friends stop paying attention to the game and start checking out girls in the crowd, trying to figure out what parties they want to go to.

The cool thing about this show’s beginning is that it all started with Johnson and Hawking making spoofs of Nike commercials featuring puppet versions of Kobe and LeBron James.

“It all started with me having worked on the Simpsons for years and wanting to get my own thing going,” says producer Brad Ableson (Simpsons, Good Vibes). “Me and another producer stumbled across a YouTube video that turned out to be from Josiah and Quinn, where they took a Nike commercial with a puppet LeBron James and Kobe, and redid the voices to be really messed up and racist. It made us laugh, and they talked like real kids. We thought, ‘We should make a cartoon with these guys.’ ”

Hawking, who voices Grover on the show, recalls the first meeting with Brad, “Once we met Brad and talked about the show, we decided the show would be funnier if you put the guys at the end of the bench and have them be legends in their own mind. We [Hawking and Johnson] were able to take some of our own experiences and flow it right into the characters. Even though they are bench warmers, they all think they are Lebron, which I think adds an interesting dynamic to add comedy to the show.”

The decision to move forward was quickly made and Ableson put together a short with crude and simple animation style (much in the sense of South Park), and pitched it to Comedy Central. They pretty much bought it right there in the room. As if that wasn’t validation enough, Comedy Central announced during their panel that they have already bought a second season, months before the show even airs.

Legends of Chamberlain Heights airs on September 14th at 10:30 pm after the season 20 premiere episode of South Park on Comedy Central.

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