For Johnson — who’s been involved with Hoops for years after first voicing his character in a pilot presentation, and who also serves as an executive producer — a key ingredient to the show’s success isn’t in the way it changed on the road to becoming a full-fledged series, but in the way it didn’t change. Johnson and Hoffman were able to handpick the voice cast ensemble for Hoops and build it into a full show; staying true to the original, filthy style was always imperative.
“It has not evolved, and it has not evolved on purpose,” Johnson told Looper. “This show is what it is. It’s a sophomoric joke-fest, and so that’s what it was at the start. When we made it, the idea was we were doing a pilot presentation for MTV, and we wanted to see if we could make something so loud, that was really funny, but that they would have to pass on. We pulled it off! They passed on it.”
He continued, “So Netflix came and ordered 10 [episodes], but we didn’t want to change that original spirit. This was a show made with the intention of just trying to be funny for the sake of funny. So everybody we cast on it, we cast because if you look at it, it’s a murderer’s row of mostly standup comedians, and it was because we wanted everybody to be somebody who knows their own comedic talent and could carry a show. There’s not a person in our main cast, going all the way down to like Nick Swardson or Steve Berg on our team, everybody could be the lead of their own show. We have a cast that’s 10, 11 deep of funny individuals, and we try to make sure everybody scores when they talk.”
For Riggle, who has a history of working with funny people thanks to his work on The Daily Show and films like Step Brothers and The Other Guys, the spirit of individual comedic talent on Hoops presented plenty of opportunities for individual showcases as well as a spirit of communal fun.
“It was a dream, getting a chance to work with people that you admire, respect, and make you just genuinely happy, because they make me laugh,” Riggle said. “Everybody makes me laugh. I always feel like I’m breaking all the time, but I just love being around funny, talented people and getting to play with them. It’s the best gift in the world.”
Riggle also shared that because Hoops ensures everyone involved gets to work to their strengths, the end result is a hilarious, genuinely enjoyable series that was creatively fulfilling to its cast.
“The material is so great. Like Jake said, everybody gets set up to win, which doesn’t always happen. So it was a joy to get to go in there and be just a really obnoxious dad to a really angry kid,” he said. “That’s a side of your personality you don’t get to take for a walk very often, or at least you shouldn’t, so when you get the opportunity, it’s the best thing on Earth.”