South Side is set in and around the working-class neighborhood of Englewood in Chicago. Co-creators, exec producers and stars Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, both Late Night with Jimmy Fallon alumni, wanted to make a show that represented one of their hometowns.
The plot follows two friends who just graduated community college and, while they wait to take over the world, they’re stuck at Rent-T-Own, a retail-rental crossroads. Despite the obstacles of inner-city life, these friends and their co-workers strive to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
Salahuddin is from the South Side of Chicago and said he wanted to promote how funny people in this area are. “At the time, there was a lot of stuff in the news about Chicago being a difficult place that has all of these challenges. Some of that stuff is true but it also wasn’t representative of really the joy and laughter and silliness and craziness that I knew growing up,” he said during Deadline’s Contenders Television virtual event. “Even though we’re in this very charged environment, to some degree, we don’t have to dip into poverty porn or do stories that exploit. We just have to tell a true story, which is that folks where I’m from are funny as hell.”
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The pair said that were influenced by comedies such as Trailer Park Boys, The Office, Reno 911 and most importantly The Simpsons. “It’s really important for us to turn the South Side of Chicago into Springfield. Our first season had 150 speaking parts,” said Salahuddin. Joked Riddle: “It’s either a small town or it’s the biggest Greek chorus you could ever imagine.”
The show has been picked up for a second season by Comedy Central. “We’re going to give you more of the characters you love, more crazy situations, more of the city and more of the humor of South Side, Salahuddin said. “For 21 and a half minutes, we’ll keep you laughing.”
Check out the panel video above.
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