Pete Davidson’s new series Bupkis is now streaming on Peacock, and it is undoubtedly one of the funniest shows to come along in a while. In addition to starring in and serving as an executive producer of the show, Davidson wrote and developed it with Judah Miller and David Sirus. PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with Miller about the series, and he shared just how much like Davidson’s real life the storylines are, as well as revealed some insight into one of the show’s incredible unscripted moments.
In an official synopsis, Bupkis is described as “a new comedy following Pete Davidson as he attempts to work through unique family dynamics and the complexities of fame to form meaningful relationships. The raw, semi-autobiographical series stars Davidson, Edie Falco, and Joe Pesci alongside a star-studded supporting cast in a show that straddles reality and absurdity to best represent what it is to be Pete Davidson.” Scroll down to read out conversation with Miller and learn more about the hilarious and touching Bupkis.
PopCulture.com: I haven’t laughed this hard at a TV show in I don’t know how long… But what I want to start with is this, the show is based on Pete Davidson’s real life. But, to clarify for people out there who may not be aware, it is not a sequel to The King of Staten Island or anything like that. It’s a completely separate entity.
Judah Miller: Yes. I mean, both of those projects do deal with aspects of Pete’s real life, but no, this is not a continuation of that movie. Interestingly enough, I met Pete on the set of King of Staten Island. Oh, wow. We worked on that movie and we just gravitated toward each other and became friends, and then got together to come up with this show. I met Pete and Dave Cyrus on the set of King of Staten Island.
PopCulture.com: What would you say are the main differences between crafting that comedy-drama and this also, sort of, comedy-drama?
Miller: Yeah, I mean, think the biggest departure of this project is tone and shifting tone. This show has a sense of anarchy where we wanted the show to be kind of boundless in terms of what it was allowed to do. And we take huge shifts in tone between episodes, sometimes even within episodes, we will be turning itself on its side. And I think that sense of anarchy is one of the things that differentiates it. I mean, the other thing is that this is dealing with Pete in his current famous comedian life. So it’s not that this show is about fame specifically, but I think that everything that Pete is struggling with is heightened and exaggerated because of his high-status life.
PopCulture.com: It does also do a really good job, I feel, of capturing age and… “experience” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean? This is a show about a guy in his mid-twenties and what he goes through, and he just happens to be famous.
Miller: Oh, totally. I mean, I think that this is a chapter in Pete’s life, and it’s the family dynamics that are at play here. Pete’s interest in graduating to a more adult stage in his life is very relatable to audiences, I hope. And I think you’re going to see a lot of things that will be reflected in your own life, even if you’re not Pete Davidson specifically.
PopCulture.com: One thing that I think about too with a project this, it’s not just based on Pete’s real life, it’s also based on the real lives of the people in Pete’s life. For example, his mom, his sister. So, what I was curious about is, do you ever have opportunities for those individuals to offer their perspective on situations, prior to building a scene? Or do you just let Pete run with it?
Miller: I mean, Pete’s so involved in the creative process of developing this show, and so much of this, so many of the emotional undercurrents of what we’re dealing with are based in realities of Pete’s life. Pete is someone that, when you’re friends with him, he is a very sweet person that is sort of boundary-less. So you become very close with him, very fast working on the King State Island. I got to know Amy, his mom. I got to know his sister Casey. So it’s, even though I’m not going to them specifically to get input on those characters, I feel like Pete, Dave and I have known each other long enough.
The crew that we’ve assembled that are working on the show have a pretty intimate knowledge of Pete’s world. So there is a familiarity in a comfort level in terms of depicting some characters that are real people. They’re not exactly these characters either.
PopCulture.com: I guess, attached that, what is it like throwing in Joe Pesci and Brad Garrett and these characters who… serve real, sincere purpose, but they’re also kind of kooky and funny?
Miller: Yeah, I mean, it’s an embarrassment of riches. It can’t count on being able to work with Joe Pesci to bring Joe Pesci out of retirement. To be a part of this show, to get Brad Garrett, the Edie Falco. It’s like these are some of the best actors of our time. And to have them provide such nuance and realism to some of the absurdities that we’re exploring within this show is just incredible.
But yeah, I mean, Joe, he’s a presence that… he’s Joe Pesci, and there’s a reason that he is one of the most accomplished actors of all time, and he provides so much to this show. His dynamic with Pete in the show is incredible, and he formed a real grandfather type of love for Pete that even went beyond the show. That is a real kind of grandfatherly type of love and support that is just incredible.
PopCulture.com: There’s a scene, and I think there’s a promo of it, but Joe is playing the piano and they’re kind of sitting around and singing — was that something that just happen to happen? Or was that an actual scene that was meant to be shot?
Miller: That was something that just happened. That was something that we all know that Joe is a singer. We knew that Joe played piano, and it’s something that we were predicting might happen, but to have him sit down and sing specifically that song was like, it was truly a magic moment that happened in real life. It’s one of those magic things that you sometimes do when you’re shooting, magic happens. And that’s absolutely one of those things. It was not scripted that way.
Bupkis Season 1 is now streaming on Peacock. Subscribers can check out all eight episodes any time by clicking here. Keep it locked to Pop Culture.com for more streaming news, reviews, and interviews. [Editor’s note: This interview has been slightly edited for time and clarity.]