Mobile native Allan McLeod has met plenty of comedy legends since he moved to Los Angeles and launched a successful career in comedy. He works at the website phenomenon “Funny or Die” under Will Ferrell, and starred in a “Drunk History” video with Jim Carrey. But that doesn’t mean that when he came home to Mobile to create this year’s Nappie Awards video he was any less impressed with his co-star, our homegrown character Uncle Henry.
“The guy is just so committed to this character. And this has been since way before Stephen Colbert,” McLeod pointed out.
Born and raised in Mobile and a graduate of the University of Alabama, McLeod’s respect for Uncle Henry perfectly illustrates the down-to-earth attitude of a guy who could easily turn up his nose at his home town, but instead remains a Crimson Tide fan, seeking out good spots to watch the game with fellow fans, even so far from home.
After graduating from Alabama, where he got hooked on the thrill of improv in the Guerilla Theater program, McLeod and a carful of other ambitious, like-minded friends made the fateful journey out west like so many have before them, and lived together in Los Angeles seeking their proverbial fortunes. Unlike so many others before him, McLeod has steadily grown his success in a notoriously tough industry. In addition to his imported support network of friends and roommates, he also found vital support with the Upright Citizens Brigade.
He began as a student at this unique institution, which grew from a ’90s sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, starring Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, and is now a network of comedy venues in New York and Los Angeles that also hosts one of the largest and most well-respected improv and sketch comedy schools in the country. McLeod now teaches classes where he was once a student, and still performs in the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
Armed with these improvisational chops, Allan toured the streets of downtown Mobile with Uncle Henry in tow, conducting man-on-the-street-style interviews for his Nappie Awards video, a process which he calls “a delight” despite tragically not featuring Ryan Gosling, who starred with McLeod in the famous “Drunk History Christmas” video. He marvels that he got invited into a tattoo parlor to cool down and share some BBQ, and that this project gave him an opportunity to get his dad in one of his videos, a goal that had long evaded him.
This fall, McLeod will be continuing his recurring role on the FX television comedy “You’re the Worst,” which follows a pessimistic romance down dark and hilarious avenues. After making a critical splash and landing on many Top 10 lists, the second season of this anti-romantic love story will see more screen time for his character, independently wealthy beer enthusiast Paul Jillian.
While unlikely to create his own Southern-inspired, Uncle Henry style character, McLeod does allow that some youthful Southern influences creep into some of his characters, pulling the occasional “old, sweaty lawyer” or “defiant redneck” character from his bag of tricks. We can, in fact, look forward to Allan and his wife, also from Alabama, representing on an upcoming episode of the IFC television series “Comedy! Bang! Bang!” portraying what we can only hope will be a stupendously realistic Alabama tourist couple. I think we can trust them to nail the accent.