Abbott Elementary Star Opens Up About What Makes The Comedy So Special After It Skyrocketed To Popularity In Season 1

Jacob confessing his students were roasting in Abbott Elementary
(Image credit: ABC)

Abbott Elementary has been getting all its due credit, from receiving 2022 Emmy nominations to getting a coveted spot in ABC’s primetime lineup. While accolades are great, the special sauce to the teacher-centric comedy’s success was the show’s eclectic faculty. No one knows that more than Abbott Elementary star Chris Perfetti, who plays the awkward history teacher Jacob Hill. The actor opened up about what makes the comedy so special after it skyrocketed to popularity in Season 1.

Before starring in the ABC sitcom, the Abbott Elementary standout was a stage veteran with a few high-profile television credits, including HBO’s Looking and The Night Of. Having built his chops in the theatre, the shared energy of the stage didn’t necessarily translate to Perfetti’s previous TV projects. The Jacob Hill actor equated the family-like atmosphere of the hit sitcom to his time being in a theater troupe. He spoke to THR on what makes the show’s cast so special compared to other TV projects he’s been a part of.  

Working on Abbott was the most like that I’ve ever felt before [on TV]. It really is a gorgeous alignment of people at the right time in the right place. Everybody thinks they have the best cast, and they simply don’t — I do.

Who knew Perfetti was the comedy’s biggest hype man? But he has a right to make that claim. The chemistry between the Abbott Elementary cast is what sold the show to audiences. Watching all those dynamics and personalities try to make the best of teaching at an inner-city school just writes itself. But the mockumentary format was right for the show as creator Quinta Brunson drew inspiration from her educator mother. His take followed Brunson saying she knew how special the comedy was when the cast started shooting the pilot.

The TV and stage actor knew the workplace comedy was something special from the moment he read the script. He enjoyed the show’s humor as he pictured Jacob and his world. Perfetti recalled what it was like thinking about another actor playing the activist teacher while riding the public city bus:

It was this alchemical thing that just felt right. I got this feeling of jealousy just thinking of someone else doing [the role].

It’s hard to think of another actor playing the character. Luckily, Perfetti didn’t have to stare angrily at the TV, since he nailed the role. From the beginning, it was the ABC sitcom’s writing and mockumentary style that made it stand out. When it comes to Jacob, the first season made him the butt of jokes with his overzealous nature and naivety. Despite his personality, the character served as a nice slice of representation as the show handled his LGBTQ+ storyline in a fresh way by usurping traditional TV “coming out” tropes. Hopefully the series will explore more about Jacob Hill and his life outside of school with Season 2 being even bigger than the freshman season with a full 22-episode season.

Abbott Elementary Season 2 will premiere on September 21 at 9 p.m. ET for the 2022-2023 TV season. Before the sophomore season arrives, just grab a Hulu subscription to catch up on Season 1.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).