Day 2 of ATX TV… from the Couch!” featured a conversation with the cast and executive producers of the forthcoming Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular special. It is set to air on June 19, which is also known in the African American community, especially in the South, as Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas.
The panelists, which included creators Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, as well as executive producers John Legend and Mike Jackson, first addressed the importance of comedy amid the current protests and movements for racial equality.
“We still have our sense of humor. We still think there’s a lot in the world to talk about and make fun of,” offered Legend. “There’s a lot of joy that we can share with other people. And I think it’s important for us to continue to share that joy, that laughter, with intelligence and with an eye to what’s going on in the world. But people still need to laugh and enjoy themselves. I think it’s important that we show the fullness of what it is to be Black and human. Through our art, we’re able to do that.
Riddle admitted that he felt conflicted. “I think that it’s a really weird place right now, where you do wonder, ‘Is it okay to be silly? Is it okay to laugh?'” Riddle shared. “I think people need those moments of levity. Those moments to laugh, to dance, to do the things that we love so that you can actually recharge that battery.”
He added, “You do have to be sensitive to that. But then again, I just always come back to the fact that what has gotten our people through the past and the present has always been our culture. That’s the music, that’s the comedy, and the black boy joy, to use the nomenclature of the current day. We have to keep that going.”
Speaking for himself and his co-creator Riddle, Salahuddin believed that the two were “tailor-made” for this moment
“I know we’ve been dreaming of being able to create content and create something that really taps into the multiplicity of sources that inform our humor in our humanity for years,” said Salahuddin.
“[Riddle’s] from Southwest Atlanta, I come from the Southside of Chicago. Those are areas that have challenges,” he continued. “We still had a robust sense of humor in those areas, and the people we grew up with had a robust sense of humor. So for us this moment, it feels like something we were tailor-made for… I think people are going to be surprised when they’re watching it with not just how funny it is, but how aware it is.”
Sherman’s Showcase is returning to IFC for an hour-long Black History Month Spectacular special this summer (yes, summer). The special was announced Thursday during AMC Networks’ presentation at the TCA winter press tour.
The hour-long variety special, which will feature more sketches honoring African-American icons of the past and present, A-list guest stars like Legend, Michael Ealy, Jemele Hill, Lil Rel Howery, as well as original hit, and award-winning songs, will debut on AMC and IFC.