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Grace, Class, and Poise (with Larry Wilmore)

May 7, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Tim sits down with Larry Wilmore to talk his career as a comedian, the Democratic party, race in America, and Vice President Kamala Harris on this week’s Sunday show.

Plus, Tim and JVL discuss the killing of a homeless black man in New York City that has, once again, divided the country along party lines.

The Bulwark is heading to the Big Apple for a night of politics, laughs and maybe even a few tears—with special guest Molly Jong-Fast of the Fast Politics podcast. 

Come meet the gang from The Next Level and fellow Bulwark+ members in Manhattan on Thursday, May 18. 

For tickets go to TheBulwark.com/events.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Hello, and welcome to the next Secret Podcast Sunday show. I’m your host Tim Miller here with my best New York City dwelling buddy JVL for a little local news update. How are you doing? What’s happening in the city? Did you get to go through Central Park today?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:25

    Oh, that’s the weather. It’s great. It’s such, you know, so I
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:29

    took the train up town earlier today, up to check out our venue on the upper west side for the May eighteenth. I got a smear I got a smear while I was up there. It’s great. Light in New York City is a cavalcade of wonderment.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:42

    How does the event look? May eighteenth? It’s coming up now just for a week
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:46

    and a half. We get to hang out in person. It’s looking great. I was talking with Molly Jonathan Last today. Our buddy We’ve sold a lot of tickets, which is great.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:53

    There are a few left. It’ll be nice to sell out all of the tickets, but it is a very big space. And I’m super excited about it. I think
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:00

    it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it as well. Well, our guest today on the Sunday show is Larry Wilmore. I handled it so low because of some you know, move in parts that we had behind the scenes, but Larry was fantastic. Really interesting guy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:15

    We reflected on his time speaking at White House correspondent’s dinner his podcast is called Black on the air, which is by the ringer. And it’s a great podcast. So we talked a lot about race issues and he’s thoughtful and, you know, kind of very considered, discussed policing and that. And in the interim, since that interview, we’ve obviously had this big story in your your home city in New York with Jordan Neely. And for folks who visited Jordan Neely as a homeless man, was known for his Michael Jackson impersonations in the subway, but he had mental health issues.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:47

    Occasionally, you know, he’d have breakdowns, in the subway. He was arrested a couple of times. You know, police took him to a hospital on multiple occasions. So it’s a troubled individual who was really talented, Michael Jackson, impersonator who was on subway. We don’t exactly know the details of what he was doing, but a, you know, vigilante twenty four year old, I believe, marine or ex marine, went and choked him out on the subway and killed him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:12

    And the response to this has been, you know, overwhelming that the cross current that it reaches on a lot of these issues, you know, be it crime, be it our mental health, be it the fear mongering about what’s happening in the cities among Republicans. So since you’re a local JV, I just kind of wanted to put a quarter in and and see what your reaction to it all has been. This is a
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:31

    long running multi generational thing in New York City. And I instantly thought of the Bernie Getz shootings for the children in the audience. In nineteen eighty four, as New York was hitting its nadir. The seventies were very bad to New York, and even the early eighties were pretty bad too. And tons of crime and peak shows and homelessness and, you know, it was like ThunderDome.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:56

    So Bernard Getz is this never she right wing guy who is on the subway carrying a gun and seems to be he’s watched too many Charlie Brunson movies. And there are four black teenagers that he claims are menacing him and he shoots them. And this became like the most important issue in America for months and it was a very clear, red, blue political divide even though we didn’t talk that way about, you know, whether Bernie Getz was a hero or like a weirdo vigilante with a gun fetish who saw himself as the main character in a movie. And that has never gone away in New York City. It’s just always part of the furniture.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:39

    Yeah. The response on this this sort of hero villain thing, and we had a little bit of a Kyle Rittenhouse moment out with this as well. We don’t know it is a marine veteran. I just double checked. We don’t know the name yet of of the person that we know choked out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:50

    Jordan Neely. Some of the responses just wanted to flag here. J. D. Vance on Twitter said that Jordan was threatening innocent people on the train been been arrested multiple times.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:01

    I find the story response to the story completely disgusting. Let’s all gang up on the guy. Whose protective instinct kicked in. Just
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:08

    his protective instinct. Just
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:09

    a protective instinct. When Hannity was discussing this and discussing the guy that choked him out on his life, I don’t know. Do you know that Hannity’s doing a live set right now? It’s not helping his ratings. You know, his little studio audience, you know, like he’s in the nineties.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:21

    And a cheer, you know, when he mentioned the guy that choked down to it, nearly there was an audible cheer, you know, in his audience. So that is the instinct about all this that’s so gross. A serious law and order party might give a response to this. It’s like, hey, the fact that this guy’s had so many problems and yet his still on the street is a sign that we’re not doing a good enough job with mental health funding and that maybe we need more security in in our subway system, etcetera. Like, that’s different than glorifying some dude who just decides he’s gotta put another person into a chokehold on the subway when at least to the details we have now, there is no actual imminent harm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:03

    What bothers me on this is the weird not weird because it’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:08

    perfectly human. The blood thirstiness of it, you know, even if we were to let’s just hypothetically grant that this was totally justified. Let’s pretend that Jordan Neely was threatening people. Let’s pretend that the fellow who who grabbed him and killed him was protecting people. That’s not a celebratory thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:27

    That’s a you know, this guy had to do something which is terrible and which he’ll carry around with him self for the rest of his life. And do you see him saying like — Yes. — these are like a bunch of regrettable circumstances. Even if you’re on the side of the marine, you know, even if all the facts come to show that he did absolutely nothing wrong and he was really helping the situation. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:46

    It still is a terrible situation that this guy had to go through. That’s The weird lionization of it. Yeah. I just find it hard to see it is rooted in anything other than than racism. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:59

    That’s racist. I mean, it’s tied to this target text. It’s like, we’ve become to hate each other so much that, you know, at at least in that text that that was leaked where he was like, oh, white people on fight like this. But then then he goes on to kind of talk about how, you know, I have this instinct that I wanted to see that antifa fucker kill thisundra. Hope, but something like that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:15

    But I have to know that that’s not right, that that’s not our better angels. Right? So, like, it just shows how pervasive that is you know, in people’s private thoughts in public, like, the ghost of ours to think that this person who has problems on the subway you know, you dehumanize them. Right? It’s dehumanizing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:32

    Right? It’s like, oh, they’re an enemy that
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:34

    need to be choked out, you know, rather than, you know, a fellow human that needed help. That doesn’t count. Right? Like, that that guy’s life doesn’t count. That’s the punchline or prop for us to posture against and a way for us to signal which tribe we’re on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:48

    And, you know, it’s not a real death. And I just man. It’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:52

    a brutal one. We get into some heavy stuff with Larry Wilmore too, but also some light stuff. He tells some great stories at the Bernie Mac show, etcetera. If you don’t know his career, he’s like the forest gump of black entertainment and and even mainstream he’s he’s in the office, but he also touched in living color and Bernie Mac and, like, any cultural touchstone like Larry Wilmore was there. It’s a great interview.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:12

    His podcast, Black on the air, as also wonderful. I was a guest on it last year if you wanna go through the archives. One more plug for our interview with Colin Allred on this Sunday show about a month ago. Scroll back and check it out. If you missed it, he is now in the senate race against Ted Cruz.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:27

    We are ahead of the game on that. We got some good guests coming your way in the next month. Thank you. Like us, rate us, review, send it to your friends. Up next, Larry Wilmore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:36

    But first, our friends at acetone. Piece. Hey, Larry. Welcome to the Bulwark next level podcast. Really appreciate it, man.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:01

    Sure. It’s great to be here. Thanks, man. Me too. After confess.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:03

    Oh. I have an ulterior motive for inviting you.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:06

    Oh, no.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:06

    Well, you know, I have a good time on your podcast. I love Bulwark on the air.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:09

    There’s a lot of fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:10

    It’s great. That was one reason. But the real reason is, you know, my Denver Nuggets — Yeah. — earned the playoffs here. And my lifelong goal to get invited on to the Bill Simmons of the NBA show at the Ringer to talk about the nuggets and the finals.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:22

    Oh, wow. Any ringer person out there I’ve been inviting on our podcast just in the hope to come at everybody from a different angle. I want to talk about the nuggets, you know, you guys are what I can assume, like, when I don’t wanna do politics stuff,
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:34

    I’m a role
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:35

    ringer NBA stuff, so and my nuggets, this could be our year. I don’t
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:38

    know why you wanna talk to that selctic lover, Bill Simmons, so that doesn’t make sense to me. If it’s an old adult, you should absolutely go in and trash him as much as possible, ma’am. Alright. Well, that’s what I know
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:47

    before. Anyway, thank you for doing this. The timing is perfect. Of course. Because we’re taking this correspondence day weekend here in DC.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:53

    Yeah. But this will run next week. So last weekend was the correspondence dinner. You gave the last — Uh-huh. Keynote before the corresponding bidder completely collapsed into, you know, insanity in the past years where it’s like we like, everything’s too serious now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:07

    We can’t joke about shit. Like democracy is collapsing. Like, this is not cool anymore to do this. And you gave the last one when it was still cool to kind of, you know, make jokes at ourselves and take the
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:17

    Yeah. Have
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:18

    you thought about that? You realize that? You’re the end of an era? Well,
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:20

    I think Hassan gave
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:22

    one. Hassan was last year. Hassan was in twenty two or twenty one or twenty two? Yeah. So so it has slowly started again, but I’m telling
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:29

    No. No. No. He was a couple years ago. I think he did it during Trump, and Trump didn’t show up.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:34

    Right? Is that right? Was he the legendary
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:36

    Tom? Yeah. I have to tell you it last year, I went to the parties. I’m not doing it this year. I’m skipping.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:40

    I did break it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:40

    Yeah. Yeah. It’s really uncomfortable now. I mean, even in the biden years, it’s like, is it kinda sad? You know, back in the old days, so I think, you’re up there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:47

    You’re like, you’re making fun of Chris. Christy. You’re making up a Hillary. Everybody everybody. It’s equal opportunity.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:52

    Absolutely. Then you go to the parties after, and it’s like, oh, there’s some Republicans. You know, there’s some Democrats you can josh each other. Exactly. But, like, these days, it’s like, you know, who wants to make small talk with Kelly and Conway?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:02

    I mean, like, nobody wants to make small talk with NFL Fascist. Right? So
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:06

    More tuxed. The
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:07

    vibe is a little different.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:08

    Yeah. It’s funny to say that because I got more pushed back from the left than I did from the right in terms of my performance. Like, a lot of people, especially stabs when people did not like the fact that I called the president, like, you know, like, they were not happy with that. That came from a left. And a lot of my jokes were directed at the left.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:27

    Like, it was maybe seventy percent at the left, thirty percent at the right. You know. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:32

    went hard at Wolf blitzer. The room the room I rewatched it last night. You
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:36

    went hard at Wolf and the room was not digging it. They hated me for that. It’s they weren’t just not digging it to him. They hated me for that. And what happened with that joke was my tongue was a little bit I mean, here’s the thing to you’re you’re standing next to the freaking president of nine six, and I had to have the funniest president ever too, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:55

    It’s like, funny presidents, like Obama, JFK Reagan, like, probably in that order. Right? In terms of just funny shit. If you have to follow any of those people in terms of humor. Good luck.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:06

    You know? But Obama, number one. And he had some great joke writers, and he dropped the mic. I’m like, what the fuck? Obama had my mind.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:12

    You know? So
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:13

    so to follow-up. They weren’t
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:14

    trying to see another brother come up, you know, and make jokes at their expense.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:18

    And show them up.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:19

    Exactly. Because he made jokes at their expense and they were like, oh, miss president here. So they were not happy with
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:25

    Was
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:25

    that your toughest room, you think? It’s a tough room. Yeah. It really is a tough room. But I decided, Larry, in your mind pretend like you’re killing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:33

    That’s what I told myself. And if you look at me, you see me kinda laughing like they’re enjoying it. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:39

    No. I would watch that’s kinda funny. I thought you made your puffing yourself up by laughing. Was that psychological or you just kind of like screw it?
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:46

    It was psychological for me not to just completely implote, you know, for me
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:50

    just not to be sad as I was telling you. My critique of it now is the distance. Is you ignored Trump. But I was kind of wondering why. Like, you went hard at Christie, you’d notice that we’re in the middle of the twenty sixteen election.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:01

    Yeah. Sebastian has this updated. Hassan did do the next year after you with Trump
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:05

    — Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:05

    — didn’t com. Yeah. And then they didn’t have it for a few years. But so you’re up there in some middle of twenty sixteen election.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:11

    Yeah. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:11

    did you think the Trump jokes were just too easy, too Pat. And you go at Chris Christie Hard. You go at, like, the people sucking up to Trump pretty hard, but you ignored Trump.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:19

    Yeah. Because you’re right. I thought the Trump jokes are too easy. That’s exactly right. Because had already gone after Trump before, you know, Seth Myers famously did it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:29

    At that time, everybody was joking about Trump. And I’m like, this is just an echo chamber. I can’t go in and make Trump jokes. You know? So — Mhmm.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:35

    — I did it right at the beginning, and it was an accurate prediction, you know, where at the beginning, the first joke was that next year, you know, I forgot what the joke was, but it was basically predicting Trump was gonna be president. You know, was my joke? Yeah. That’s right. I forgot what it was, David And it turned out to be true.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:50

    So — Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:50

    — everybody laughed because they’re, like, it’s so ridiculous. And this is, like, the minds that come on.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:55

    Oh, oh, that’s not gonna happen. That’s so ridiculous thing, but it was
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:58

    true. So as we do on the show just a little politics stuff at the top, you, on your podcast, you do a ton of politics. Like, I mean, you’d be on. I’m, you know, I’m a very minor political celebrity. You know, you’re Katie Porter on last week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:10

    I wanna talk about that a couple weeks ago. What was the inspiration for that for you to kind of move from — Right. — doing comedy and to have this podcast and to, like, focus it so much on politics. Like, what was the primer for it?
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:22

    Well, it’s a combo platter. There’s politics. There’s payment — Yeah. — a short time if you talk about writing, human interests, you know, whatever. I had David Copperfield on.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:33

    If the part really coverage the things that I’m interested in as opposed to politics of that type of thing. For sure. And many times, I haven’t done it in a while, ironically, but I always had a weigh in in the beginning where I would try to be topical and cover what’s going on and give kind of my almost like a nightly show type thing a little bit in some ways in my mind, but I haven’t done it a lot lately. And one of the reasons why is because it’s so toxic out there, Tim. And I wanna get away from that a little bit, and so I’m focusing more on just having good conversation interviews.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:05

    I consider when I have someone on my show, I don’t approach it as an interview. I approach it as a conversation. And as if I’m chatting with a friend or that type of thing, so they’re never intended to be hostile. They’re never gotcha. I’m not trying to expose somebody.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:20

    It it doesn’t have that tenor that you see out everywhere else. When people listen to my show, they know It’s like they’re invited to my house and we’re sitting down, we’re having drinks, and whoever comes in there, as you know, when you’re in there, we’re having a fun conversation. And what I want My goal is for the audience to get for me and the audience. Who is this person in front of me? Let’s learn a little bit about them.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:41

    Let’s see, aside of them, maybe we don’t see but it’s not intended to have a divisive conversation or take sides on something. If we disagree about something, it’s an agreeable disagreement, not a disagreeable disagreement. Like, I’ve had Ben Shapiro on the show. I’ve had different people from the right of the show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:59

    Wait a minute. You had Ben Shapiro on the show. Hero one? I did. I went back to listen to some of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:02

    I didn’t make it to that one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:03

    I had one of, like, four years ago. We did each other’s pod, you know. Yeah. And this was, like, two thousand eighteen, maybe. So it was a while ago.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:10

    Did
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:10

    you ask him about his Candace Owens hiring? There’s an interesting personnel choice for me, you know. It was pre all
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:16

    that. It was pre Canvas owns and it was pre vet. Would
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:19

    you have those guys on now? Like, do you feel like you can even have those conversations now in the same way? It’s tough.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:25

    It’s tough to him because things get more divisive, you know. And the sides that people stick out, there was one point I probably would have had Candice on. But it was about four or five years ago because I I don’t know why, but I kinda catch people at the beginnings of things, you know, when they’re doing stuff. And when Candace first broke, I thought, oh, who is this brash voice that isn’t afraid to troll the left? Like, that’s how I saw her in my mind.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:51

    And one of the reasons why I have been on is because the left doesn’t get trolled a lot by Charlie Sykes, you know. And I’m saying this as a person on the left. Right? Yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:02

    Because I like a good fight, not an unfair fight. And to me, I always feel like as somebody who’s considered other I’m not on the extreme I consider myself as centrist, basically. But I realized where people put me, so that’s fine. But, you know, the left side of this scale really does control a lot of the culture, you know. Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:21

    And who gets to say so in the culture and the right for whatever reason? Doesn’t it? You know, and I think a lot of their frustration comes from me. And it used to be the other way around. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:31

    So to me, I’ve always enjoyed when people stand up to the left. Whether I agree with them or not, it’s not the important thing. To me, it’s fun to see people who control the left as much as left throws the right. Because the left throws the right — Hard. — you know, the nerve.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:46

    But they do it with impunity. But when the right throws the left, it’s not always with impunity, you know. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:51

    That takes me into the Katie Porter thing. I want to touch you with that. Well, just firstly, like, what’s your big picture take on on, like, her, and then senate race. Like, talk
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:59

    to her.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:00

    What was your take away from that compound? And then I wanna pick a few I wanna poke the left a little bit.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:04

    Yeah. And I’ll poke left in. Right? It does Okay. Just so you know where I’m coming from.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:08

    Yeah. Katie Porter. That’s interesting. I was trying to figure out as I’m talking to her, does she think she can actually win this Senate seat? You know, she was a very nice person.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:19

    I had her on my show, Wilmar, the it was on peacock when I had it. Mhmm. And I remember in the beginning that we had some tech issues. And she was really in a bad mood. Oh, I got I wonder if she’s gonna be pissy during this interview.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:30

    I was going through a fight too. If I’m gonna see some of that. Like, who really is this movie? You know? But she was very nice.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:35

    She was very sweet. We had a good conversation beforehand. But I was trying to feel out what’s her deal. You know? Does she see herself as this leader of the party going forth?
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:48

    Does she see herself really winning this, you know, because she had some stiff competition here. You know? What did she think about this? I think the feeling I think she feels like she can, but I don’t know if she’s convinced about it. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:59

    That’s kind of the takeaway that I got, you know. The
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:02

    thing I liked about her was I’m gonna praise her front needle a little bit because, like, that I liked about the interview was I think she’s at her best when she’s like just talking about being a mom, being a person that wants to fix things, Right? Like, sometimes you get into Elizabeth Warren space where you’ll get scolded. Great. And, like, she wasn’t like that at all in your show, you know, and it was a very kind of personable convo. And I and I think that The DEMS need that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:24

    Yeah. So here’s my thing that I want to kinda push back on her own. It’s like, the DEMS run everything in California. Okay. I mean, the frustrating thing is I listen to these interviews.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:32

    You know, and you’re interviewing her. And it’s like and I’m not expecting you to, you know, be Tim Russo or whatever. But, you know, you’re interviewing her and you’re like, what’s a problem you see on the left? Because I was like, oh, we don’t fight enough for I don’t know. It was like reform of congressional stocks or something.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:47

    And it was just like a flattering problem. What they always say. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:50

    Right. Right. Right. Right. Well, look, people are moving into Florida and Texas.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:53

    That’s just a reality. You just look at the numbers. Costs are high. Housing costs are high. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:59

    Crime is up, maybe not as much as it gets stereotype. Right? But, like, it’s a real thing in people’s lives and out of these cities. Nobody in that center race or nobody like, even California seems to have answers for that. Like, they have talking points about why it’s actually not as bad as the right saying, and they’re right about that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:15

    Right? A lot of times it’s exaggerated, but, like, Does that frustrate you at all? Like, you’re living in LA?
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:20

    Yeah. What frustrates me about what you’re talking about. The problem is is no one’s really taken accountability for the big problems here and the fact that they’ve been the ones in charge, like you say, you know. In Los Angeles homelessness is such a huge problem. It’s devastating when you see the streets and everything.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:39

    And I always see the problem put into one bucket of affordable housing. And I had a conversation about this, like a few years ago about affordable housing and everything. And to me, that’s such a band aid answer to me and it doesn’t really address a lot of the issues, you know. But it acts like I wish we could do something about it, you know. It’s this thing that we have no control over, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:03

    But it’s like, but why is this happening on your watch? It’s never addressed. You know? And why are you always the ones to fix the thing that’s happening on your watch? Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:12

    I wish the state were more balanced. It used to be a lot more balanced. We’ve had Republican governors in the past. We’ve had divided houses and that kind of stuff. California was always the destination.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:22

    I am frustrated by the crying thing is very frustrating to me. I’ve talked about that in my pod. I feel like not enough accountability has been taken in that. Now, the residents of California, I still feel a little differently than the establishment of politics of California. Both on the right and the left.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:41

    Many people that I know on the left are concerned about crime as much as I am and that kind of stuff and some of the stuff that’s going on. I think a lot of
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:48

    people feel like, what are we gonna do? You know, you kinda throw your hands up. You know, the crime issue is so touchy because, like, the complaints from the Bulwark lives matter and the left about policing are fair. An act. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:00

    Like like this doesn’t happen in other countries, the the treatment of, you know, particularly young black men. At the same time, like, not policing. These neighborhoods is not an option. You know, this wasn’t the reason why I moved out of Oakland. I had two bullet holes in my house at Oakland.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:15

    Like, you know, there weren’t comps — Yeah. — on the streets. I don’t I don’t love the comps. I was always one of the libertarian info. I can’t have several comps.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:21

    Like, a bro comps guy, but, like, So how do you balance that? Like, when you’re in those conversations, in Bulwark community in LA, well, we don’t like the way the policing is happening, but you know, maybe no policing isn’t obviously isn’t the answer. Right? It’s it’s these communities that are getting punished.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:37

    I’ll talk about it in two different ways. One is there’s a historical context to this which many other, I’ll say non black people don’t quite understand that the black community, especially the poor black community areas, have had a relationship with the police that goes back decades. And when an incident happens, for most people, it’s a story It’s almost like a new story that happens, and there should be a beginning middle and into that story. But to us, it’s another chapter in this long book of relationship. And that’s why the black money gets triggered faster when these things happen than other people who just see it as an individual event most of the time.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:16

    You know? Which is why the George Floyd didn’t connect with people because that one individual event was so heinous — Yeah. — people had to be engaged. It doesn’t always have to be that heinous for black people to go. There goes another one because we’re in this long book of relationship.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:29

    And there were many abuses by police over the years in many black communities that have happened, that have been documented, that we know about, that our parents have told us about, that we’ve seen ourselves. Some of it has never fully been addressed. A lot of it, I feel isn’t just a race dynamic. It’s a power dynamic, which I used to talk about. I used to say it’s more blue versus black sometimes than necessarily white versus black.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:52

    I think when it gets caught up, in the identity of the police officer. That’s not really what the question is. You know? It’s always been a power dynamic in the way poor black people, especially. Especially, not only, have been kind of treated as a group, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:07

    Okay. So that’s one particular issue. It’s a real issue. Yes, it’s gotten better in some ways. In some ways, things haven’t been addressed.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:14

    A separate issue is crime. Right? And what do you do about crime? Now many people who live in these communities do not wanna get rid of the police. They know the police are very important part of addressing the crime in their areas.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:28

    I’m not to defend the police person. I never was. In fact, two or three years ago, I’ve had people in my pod where I’d say, why wanna do that. And they thought I was a crazy one because it wasn’t popular to be against it. But, you know, my father was in law enforcement.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:40

    I have a different perspective of this too, you know. And I always have my whole life view. I’ve never been anti police. I’ve been anti police brutality and abuse, but not anti police. There’s a distinction, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:51

    And You can’t just look at the role of the police from a binary perspective because police are there for the whole community. What about Asians? Do they get a say in? Do we get police or not? You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:03

    What about what about the Italian community? Do they get to say? Is it just black people who get to say, you have to defend the police and it. No. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:11

    Like, that part is crazy. Yeah. Yeah. So because the issue is such a hotbed issue, And because the reforms come from an activist group or an activist arm, remember activists will always many times push to the extreme because then if you get something here that’s probably where the fix ends up. It rarely end starts it here, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:32

    But unless they’re pushing here, you probably wouldn’t get to here. That to me is a proper role for activism. Doesn’t mean government has to act like activists. Doesn’t mean regular citizen, doesn’t have to be an activist. These days, people expect regular citizens to be activists.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:45

    You know? It’s like your
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:46

    Instagram feed is an
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:47

    activism. You got
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:48

    opposed to Square, when
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:50

    did I sign up to be an activist? It’s like, most people say, why do we even have activists if everybody’s gonna be an activist? That was my criticism in the NBA. It’s like, Why does everybody have to kneel? You know, or that type of thing?
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:00

    What if you’re not an activist? You know? Isn’t there a role for activism too? You know? So whenever they take polls within these communities that are ravaged by crime in their communities, it is overwhelmingly more police proper police engagement.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:18

    They just don’t want improper police engagement. Yeah. But they don’t want no police engagement. That’s the part that activists throw out most of the time. That’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:26

    cool. I wanna get into your career and do a little bit of identity stuff and writing stuff. And I have one more just political it’s it’s a plot or a podcast. Let’s just pretend you’re a pundit. Okay?
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:33

    I want some Larry Wilmore ponditry, Kamala Harris. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:37

    don’t I would say why do people wanna know it? I Like, I’ve never been involved,
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:40

    you know, but this is why people wanna know you think about this. Because I’m about to explain it. You are performer. You know about skills. You know about performing skills.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:47

    And that’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:48

    one part of politics. Alright? Yeah. That’s one part of politics.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:51

    Kamala. To
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:52

    me, that seems like her biggest problem. Right? It’s the camera stuff. I mean, she seems like a nice person, everybody I’d love to talk to, and there’s some issues. I’m sure that she has some issues on certain policies on both the left and the right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:03

    But, like, her biggest issue is when I watch — Sure. — in these interviews, It seems like I can watch the little hamster — Mhmm. — roll in on the wheel. Yeah. Like, I don’t wanna get in trouble, you know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:12

    How do you assess Yeah. That. I mean, you gotta sue as your senator for a while, and that’s the VP. Like, if if they brought you and were like, Larry, we need some Hollywood advice for Kamla.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:21

    Sure. I’d be happy to get it. I like Kamla and I don’t like her. Okay. Both of those things are true.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:29

    I think she’s been unfairly call things like incompetent or this or I don’t believe that at all. I think she’s very capable. Competency is not an issue with her. She has what I call an Al Gore problem. Okay?
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:43

    K. Here’s the Al Gore problem. Al Gore was not a talented politician. Okay? And he was in the shadow of one of the most talented politicians ever, of course, was Bill Clinton.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:56

    Right? Al Gore was uneasy on the stage, couldn’t really connect with people. He seemed awkward. We still don’t know who he is, you know. We don’t have a sense of him.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:06

    Of the essence of who he is. Job had this too. Yeah. Exactly. And W.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:11

    Just by that folksy thing was enough, you know. For people to get a sense of him. Whether it’s true or not, it’s not the point. You know, people just wanna be able to connect. Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:20

    You can’t connect with Kamala. There isn’t a thing there that you connect to that you identify with, that you say, oh, she’s like me or she gets me or that type of thing. And the problem is, to me, there’s so much going on in the head about trying to do this right and trying to do that right. It’s just too much, you know. And I think when you’re asking people their vote to be a leader of them, it’s different than to be, let’s say, a fighter for them, you know, two different things.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:48

    Which is why sometimes running for senate is different than running for president. Yeah. I thought the thing she did at the senator, she was in a great role. She was in her fighter role, which I think she’s comfortable in, that feisty fighter role. They have those in
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:01

    air prosecutor.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:02

    She looked like a star in those positions, which it made sense. I can see why people went around for president. But when she ran for president, she shrank. You know, there was something that shrank about it because to me, everything was calculated now. To try to do this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:16

    And then even the way she attacked Biden on the stage, to me, didn’t seem genuine. It seemed like — Yeah. — it was trying to, you know, keep both areas open. It was very calculated. There was something about it that wasn’t genuine.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:29

    Not that you can’t do those things, but you had to be people when they’re looking for somebody to lead them, they want a genuine quality. Even by the way, this is gonna sound fun. Even if that genuine quality is fake. Right. This is classic Trump.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:44

    Trump is genuinely fake. Exactly. Exactly. Even if it’s fake, they still want it. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:51

    Yeah. That doesn’t matter. I think it was John Wayne, whose famous quote I’ve been describing to him, but it may have been other people who was the secret to acting. Is to fake sincerity. Once you’ve learned to do that, you’ve gotta be, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:03

    Yeah. It’s a it was something like that,
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:05

    you
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:05

    know. Yeah. So to me, she is uncomfortable on the big stage for whatever reason. And it shows and it’s awkward and it just, you know, you just feel So
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:15

    how would you fix it? She comes to you. She wants to stand up. I’m sure people would give you ask you for stand up advice. Do you have any advice for?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:21

    I
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:21

    don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:22

    Performance anxiety advice?
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:24

    I think she needs less advice, honestly. Right. I think the problem is she’s getting too much advice. That’s what I mean
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:30

    by
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:30

    the Al Gore thing. I think he got way too much advice, and then he’s got a thousand voices in his head. You know, it’s like, you know what? Just go out and talk to people. Don’t have a script — Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:40

    — by worrying about making mistakes, you’re making mistakes. Exactly. I was did this thing for print and global initiative. I think in twenty fifteen, they wanted me to host this thing. This was so weird too.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:50

    I got a chance to hang out backstage with Bill Clinton, and we talked for about a half an hour. You know? And just to shoot the shit with the next president, I mean, that’s crazy. And he was so cool. He was so nice for talking about everything.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:01

    And Pussey Wright was also gonna be there. And it was so many goes, hey, look, there goes pussy Wright. You know what I’m like, oh, that’s crazy. What a quote I have here? And but Hillary came by because she was gonna do things too.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:14

    And so she shows up. And at that point, I think she hadn’t announced her run yet. I think — Okay. — I think for that. And getting to me Hillary, to me was such a tree, you know, I always admired her, you know, I wasn’t one of those Hillary Hater type people, you know, I I critique women.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:30

    I thought it was necessary, but it didn’t come from a stance of not liking our eye really admire her. And she couldn’t have been nicer, Tim, she was so genuine. I thought, wow. Hillary’s gonna win if she runs. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:42

    This person, you know, we’re talking and everything. And so then we’re doing the thing. And Clinton is speaking, he’s doing his thing. He’s being Bulwark, Clinton, and he’s fucking awesome as he always is. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:53

    Right. Hillary goes up and does her thing and it’s completely scripted and it’s completely different person. And I’m like, there’s the problem. There it is right there. I had a completely different experience.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:04

    When she was in front of the audience, it was a completely different experience that I had behind him. And I’m the first one to say this other people who’ve said it. And to me, it’s a scripting problem. It’s like, throw the script away. Stop reading.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:15

    No talk.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:15

    Answer your question. It’s not
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:16

    an accident. The best day she ever had was
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:18

    when she cried.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:19

    That an accent that her best political campaign day was the time she cried. That wasn’t in the script. But
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:23

    then she went right back into a scripted situation. Because and it’s probably where she feels comfortable, whatever. And she was always more effective governing or doing the other thing than campaigning. So some people are just not good at that part of it. This reminds me your best White House correspondent, Joe, was the one that made me actually
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:41

    laugh out loud was and we’re here with Michelle Obama, who’s the epitome of, like, grace and and charity and dignity or something. And we’re also with Bill Clinton as three favorite strippers were grace and charity.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:55

    Or side of it, like, the three names or I don’t even remember that joke. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:58

    It was about Bill Clinton’s Stripper joke. It was, like, his three favorite Stripper’s names. Was
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:03

    that I’m sure that was my joke. It was
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:04

    you. I just watched it. I just watched it. It was a
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:07

    good joke. I don’t even remember that joke. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:08

    just watched it last night. I promised you it’s true. Go back and
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:11

    fight. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:11

    Okay. Let’s get off of politics. I wanna get into your career, but there’s one thing that jumped out of me. Your your shows go black on the air. Like, you have this Epic Run, of just being a key player in all this great black American art and living color, Bernie Mack show, which I loved insecure now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:27

    Others, you can do your whole bio. When the interview I was listening to, you said that at times, you sometimes feel uncomfortable in black spaces because of big mixed race, etcetera. And I just I had to, like, get at that question about identity and just kind of I just wanna put in a quarter and hear you talk about that. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:46

    don’t remember that. Can you Do
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:48

    you remember ever saying that? I don’t remember saying I’m uncomfortable in black It wasn’t about saying you’re uncomfortable. It was just about saying about how in black spaces sometimes you’re like, oh, I’m not black enough for that or Oh,
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:59

    yeah. Yeah. I think I was talking about when I was growing up and when I was starting out. I think that was the context for that. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:04

    Yeah. And it wasn’t uncomfortable. I have always deconstructed race and identity. You know, my entire career. One of my early jokes in my standup was, you know, a lot of people ask what I’m mixed with, you know, because I’m, like, scared.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:15

    Yeah. Exactly. And they make that face oh, yeah. Mix it. Something, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:20

    And I always said, look, if I was a beer, I’d be a negro light. Mhmm. And I said, and I am a third less angry than the regular growth. That was always the punch line. You know, it always kinda big line.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:30

    But to me, it’s deconstructing This
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:32

    is how you’re talking about when I asked him. I think I’m just misquoting you, but it’s, yeah, this topic. Yep.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:36

    Yeah. So, well, it must be related to that because I’m always deconstructing our ideas of race, identities, and it’s not just you know, what white people think about black is what black people think about Bulwark. And many times when I was growing up and you weren’t black properly black if you weren’t culturally Bulwark. Mhmm. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:55

    And sometimes you’ll see that thrown at blacks if they’re not culturally black in a proper way. And so I may have been responding to that and deconstructing those ideas because I’ve always been suspicious about being attached to any large group. Didn’t matter what that large group was. So that’s kind of why my brain is always contrary in way I’m gonna be surprised in sometimes, maybe with my answers and things. Because if everybody’s doing something, I’m a little suspicious of it, and I’m gonna think about maybe doing something else.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:25

    They may be right. By the way, but I’m just gonna be a little suspicious. So if everybody’s telling me that black people have to act a certain way, I’m gonna say, well, I think something’s wrong with your thinking. Why do we have to act a certain way to be black? That doesn’t make sense to me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:37

    Yeah. You know? Are people supposed to be individuals? Are we supposed to be able to have free thoughts? Do we have to subscribe to the same things in order be authentic that doesn’t make sense, which is why I’ve always had a soft spot for black conservatives, you know, because they’ve many times have been called anti black or non black or not black or not Bulwark or properly black or whatever.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:57

    And I always thought that’s a very like, you’ve never heard me use those terms, you know. I’ve always thought, can’t people think for themselves. What does that have to do with their Bulwark? Yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:06

    You know? Like, that’s a separate issue. You know? So
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:08

    I wonder how that manifest in the workplace, like, that is the essence of these shows. I’ve been living color. Right? It’s like, oh, hey, these black identity issues are so central to that. I just want, like, were you was that natural that you were drawn to that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:22

    Did you feel like you got stereotyped? I don’t know if that’s the right word. But you know what I mean? Do you feel like you got pushed down that path? Or you were, like, creatively inspired by, you know, that kind of work?
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:30

    Well, there are two issues. And let me color it was never a political show. It was a cultural show, so it’s different. You know, nobody was taking sides between Democrats and Republicans right and left. It was more a show about the different types of us out there more than black versus white type of thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:46

    Kind
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:46

    of an internal conversation, inner family.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:49

    Exactly. All the different — Yeah. — Easter eggs in that cart you know, but they’re all easter. Right. Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:54

    What it was all different code. So, like, even men on film, which was one of the more famous sketches, you know. To gay black men reviewing films. That wasn’t political. It wasn’t taken sides.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:05

    It wasn’t, you know, it was just having fun with this identity thing. You know, so eleven color always came from a space of fun, laughs, showing something that wasn’t always shown, but it wasn’t a taking sides thing, you know, which to me is more of a modern thing of taking sides. So — Yeah. — that’s the environment that I was in was it was more deconstructing or exposing that to everything. I did a show called the PJs.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:29

    You know, as a anime show, Danny Murphy, and he was in the projects, and all of our jokes were at ourselves, most of them, you know. And you know, like, one was the the HUD office housing under development, and I came up with this joke. And and I remember the network was like, kind of, What does that mean? It said, keeping you in the project since nineteen sixty five was a joke, you know. And I thought it is a great double entendre, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:53

    It’s like, Like, is that what we really wanna do? Stay in the project? So, you know, we’re keeping you in the project too. And they were like, well, what do you mean by that? I’m like, who cares what I mean?
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:01

    It’s just a joke. You know, what do you care what I mean? Why should that be of interest to you? I remember answering that question that way. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:07

    What do you care? What I mean by it was what my answer was? You know?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:10

    Hi. There’s kind of material change between the VJ’s and in love and color. It’s like now insecure. And insecure is a cultural
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:17

    show that isn’t really about race, but these people’s lives that we don’t always get to see. It’s not the racial thing isn’t really a part of its makeup in terms of a deconstruction. It’s more about identity of person that doesn’t quite know where they’re going or who they are. Yeah. It’s more universal in that sense.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:35

    And
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:35

    I love that you say that because, like, you’re in there in the creation and doing that and writing it. And so, you know, my perspective is a total just outsider, like, consumer. And it’s like, for me and maybe this is just me seeking out the wrong art. You see so many layers of ESA, and just like this character, like the depth of this, you know, the character and like her relationships, and there is the cultural element, the community and her family. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:58

    I don’t feel like I’ve gotten to see characters like that. Exactly. A lot of, like, black women characters
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:02

    like that. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:03

    So maybe it’s not intentionally about race boat kind of is because I’ll learn into things I’ve never seen before.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:07

    I appreciate you saying that. Yes. It’s intentional that we’re showing this culture because we haven’t seen it. But I’m saying the subject matters and about — Right. — so that’s the strength that I’m making.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:18

    The clothes that we put on are about that. Like, the Bernie Mac Show, It was never about a black comedian, you know, in talking about race. Like, I always say, you know, what the brain max show was about was children are terrorists. I don’t negotiate with terrorists. Like, that’s what it was about.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:32

    You know? And it’s in the DNA, I’ve ever seen it. That’s what’s that’s what’s related about it. Now, for me, is Larry Wilmore. I’m saying, I also wanted to show the successful Bulwark man who was in a good marriage.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:44

    It was two parent household who were taking care of these kids. Like, that stuff was a more to me, but the show’s never about that. I just put that in there — Okay. — you know, some of these things I wanted to show a positive view of this. That he was rich and he was not apologetic about it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:59

    Like, in fact, very boasted about how much he had, you know. Right? So And I thought that was great too. There was no apology for success, which sometimes you see people do. You know, there’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:09

    a little bit of a trumpian element to the Verne character just in that degree. Right? Right. It’s just like a fuck you?
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:14

    Yes. In the sense, in those days, Trump was popular with the hip hop crowd, actually, because — Right. — it’s kind of a drag issue. So there’s a little bit of that type of thing in burning, which is part of kind of that culture of of what that is, but not the sense of tearing down people or that part of what that is. It’s more of that era.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:35

    Yeah. For sure. I’m
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:36

    always curious about the zero to one of writing something. So you did that for Bernie, like you created it, like there was a blank piece of paper, and you created and wrote something. I appreciate it. Yeah. Talk to me about that process for either Bernie or just in general.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:48

    I like, for me, just doing more I you know, I was always an operative. Right? So, like, the writing thing is something I just started to do. And, like, the hardest part is, like, to go from zero to one. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:58

    Like, people have come to me and said, hey, you should write a political show. Yeah. I bet I might be good at that if somebody gave me the first page eighteen. I could do eighteen to nineteen. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:05

    But how do you do page one? Dramatic writing, of course, is a process. I studied play writing in college, you know, and that sort of thing. And, you know, the creative process it’s it’s kind of both this mystery and there’s a technical part of it too. You know, like, I’m amazed by how people write songs.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:23

    You know, it’s like, where does that come from? You know, how do you do that? You know, I think Dustin Hoffman was with Paul McCartney. You know, was asking that question, and that’s when Paul wrote the Castle’s last word just something like, He said, well, let’s just do something. I think he I don’t know if that’s true, but looked at him the paper because he just died.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:38

    He’s a grand old painted dad last night. His banking loan well, and it’s like, what is this guy from? You know? He’s like, he’s creating something with the tools that he knows how to create. So there’s that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:51

    Like, I have tools of how to create something, how to put things together, and then how to develop them. Based on my skills with a writer. Now, how do you do that is a separate thing and where do you draw inspiration from is separate too. And that to me, I have to be an antenna for things. So and I have to investigate what feels like something that might make for good storytelling.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:14

    So that’s the brain that I’m using for that. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:16

    In
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:16

    terms of the brain MAC Show, I was and I don’t know how much you wanna talk about this part of it, but — Okay. — but I’ve talked about this because I’ve lectured to writers kind of stuff and talk about these things. But my creative process, many times, when you’re creating something is different than when you’re just executing something that already exists. Right? Because the creative process, everything is new.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:34

    So where do you draw from? So as I always draw from three different things consciously or subconsciously. One is, like, Is there a story that happened to me that I wanna dramatize? Maybe something happened to my childhood. Maybe I went through something in school.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:47

    Maybe there’s a work thing. I thought, you know what? This is a good story. I need to write this, you know, and put this on television. I think it’ll make a good show.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:55

    Many people do that. Second way is Is there something I’m observing in the culture that I find interesting? Not something happened to me. Am I observing something that I think would make a good story? What is something that I think old?
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:09

    That thing that looks interesting. I should write about that. And now I’m being educated about something and I’m dramatizing this thing that I’m observing. The last thing is — Mhmm. — and I’ve always this is a third rail that I’ve always done.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:21

    Mhmm. What is happening in the state of television itself that maybe I’m making a comment on doing something differently? Like, In other words, in the technical aspect of storytelling, am I deconstructing or doing something different? Because I like form. To form is also a ways to start a story.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:38

    If you look at the office, the way that Richard faced, he he changed the form of something and was able to tell a different story, but he was taking a different form and using that as a way to tell a story. As opposed to if that was in a traditional food camera setup, but the officer wouldn’t look like it worked because were observing behavior, so you had to technically do something different. You see what I’m saying? Was that where in secure fit?
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:02

    As a third thing, a commentary on TV or was that? It’s secured. Not necessary. By
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:08

    the way, there’s always a combination of these in different ways. Yeah. Sure. But Insecure was more like we wanted to have, like, why is there not a black girls? You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:17

    Like — Right. — that type of thing. There was already a form that exists, but it just hadn’t existed for us. That’s kinda what it was.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:23

    Yeah. So I have this I adopted daughters as Bulwark, and it’s just like, insecure and I read Americana at the same time and I’m like, I I’m never gonna know you’re inside of your brain, but now I’m, like, at least have, like, a tiny window, you know, to kind of see, like, what is going to. It’s just so separate from my, like, suburban experience. But So, I guess, so their story you’re saying was more about the culture. But the the fact that it was just different.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:48

    The Bulwark girls Well,
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:49

    the story was more about who is this girl? Like, insecure started with it was inspired by Issa’s web series awkward black girl. Now, once again, in the culture of television, we don’t get to see this character awkward black girl. Usually, it’s sassy black woman. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:07

    She usually will put you in your place. She’s got a lot of confidence. You know? She knows more than you know. That’s been kind of the archetype of black women in the television space.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:17

    Easter’s character was different. She was withdrawn. She was insecure. As we say, you know, she gathered herself to hear if situations were awkward. She didn’t have put down.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:27

    She would think of the put down later when she was talking to her mirror, and then she would know what to say. But in the situation, she was socially awkward. Now, all of us can relate to that, but we’ve never been able to dramatize that. So the technical part of it is, yeah, we haven’t seen this growing television. That’s the technical part.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:43

    So we’re like, yeah. And then the content of it is, okay, let’s draw that out. What are the aspects of her life and who she is? And he said, I spent a month just talking about these things. And Like, it was almost me interviewing her every day.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:55

    Talking about, like, extracting what should be in the show, which shouldn’t be in the show, you know, this type of thing. And that’s how we kinda created that show out of these observations about the relationship between a person like that in the world. That’s so cool.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:07

    And Bernie, I’m
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:08

    sorry. Just we got down this path. I was, like, Bernie, part of what was underneath that was the heartache of raising kids, you know. And I was drawing from my home, like, the first part of it, my parents’ divorced when I was young, and with there were six of those kids, and I was waiting to the toll that it took on my mom and how hard it was when she was raising us. In that, and I thought there’s stuff in there for a show.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:32

    And at the time, I had small children in. It was taking a certain tone of my wife in different ways than I was observing this. We had a different relationship to it, and I thought, oh, you know, there’s a show in here. And then I was observing something in the culture. I was seeing how, at that time, kids are doing this, emancipating themselves from parents and that type of thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:51

    I’m like, what the fuck is this? And I thought, This is something I wanna dramatize this relationship that kids think that they should have with parents, and I thought that was funny, you know. And so it was something I was observing. And then in the state of television, most shows were multi camera at that time. And I was looking at some reality shows Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:10

    What was going on? And I wanted to do something technically different that could allow us to observe the action rather than it being kind of forced status. You know, so it almost like my first idea for the show was to have cameras rigged up in a house and just make it feel like we were observing these people live in real world style. Yeah. That was the first way that I thought, and then I came up with a more stylistic way to do it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:31

    But it always involved Bernie kinda talking to us directly, talking to the camera. And that came from two things. It came from there was a show called nineteen hundred house where people had to live, like, it was nineteen hundred. There in England, you know. And it was so fascinating to see this one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:47

    Yeah. How behavior it was so hard to them and everything. It was the hardest to my mom, of course, because she had the the hardest to but they also had churn and butter. Oh, the day had great. He got to leave in the morning and go back later, you know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:58

    He had it amazing. And but they had a confessional camera that was, like, in a closet somewhere and they could go confess things that they had done. And so they go there, I had a Snickers Ball today. I knew I wasn’t supposed to have it, but I couldn’t take this anymore. You know what I thought?
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:12

    That’s a fascinating school of storytelling, this confessional camera. Refill out for Bernie too because Bernie’s, like, hiding from his kids in the closet. If Bernie could confess to America what he was feeling, I thought. That would be an interesting way to help tell the story. And then the second part that I drew that from was in Bernie Standup Act, he talked to the crowd directly as well as selling jokes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:33

    So in the middle of Zach, and he would say, Charlie, you know what I’m talking about. Charlie, you know Bernie Mac don’t do that. You know Bernie Mac feels that way. Charlie, you know and I thought, this is so great. Bernie treats the audience, like, they’re his best friend.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:45

    Like, they’re one person, not a whole crowd, you know. And I thought it’d be interesting if he did that to America. When Bernie Mac say he wants to kill those kids, You know, you don’t mean that. America, you know what I’m talking about? And it’s funny that when I wrote the pilot, it was during the two thousand recount.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:59

    Stuck — Okay. — when I was writing the actual physical writing of it. Right? When we could have been more divided at that time. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:04

    Yeah. But when it aired, it
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:06

    wasn’t little, do we know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:07

    I know. Exactly. But when it aired, like, a year later, it was right after nine eleven. And we couldn’t have felt more united compared to what so when he said America, it really resonated with people in a way that I I had never even imagined, you know. That’s cool to think of that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:24

    That was a cool show. Okay. One more thing on the show
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:26

    business, then we’ll do a quick wrap and try to get you out here. I have to ask because it’s just like it’s so intertwined in the political conference Sure. Right? Which is this notion that somebody in is your job can’t say what they really think now. They’re so worried about being canceled blah blah blah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:40

    Talk about the real impact. How that’s changed? Are there things you’re concerned about, not concerned about?
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:45

    That’s a great question. And I don’t think people are wrong to think that I think it exists in culture at large now. It’s not just a showbiz thing. I think because of social media and this kinda gotcha thing that people have, the power of a microphone that is set on eleven, unnecessarily. Or before people would have to write a letter to somebody, you know, and take the time.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:10

    Yeah. Right? And who cares? You know, now people can immediately express a larger than life dissatisfaction with a smaller than life situation. So — Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:22

    — reactions are we at a proportion to deeds in my mind where it used to be the other way around. Deeds were out of proportion to reactions, you know. It seemed like you would have to get people together to protest things governance or whatever. Right? Now you can have a very large platform to to protest something somebody said.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:39

    Yeah. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:40

    Which is ridiculous. And people can lose their job to cover that. So I think in the culture, there’s a lot of fear about, am I treading improperly here and will something bad happen to me? You know, will people shun me or whatever.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:53

    Why
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:53

    not be able to get another writing job? Why not get another acting job? Right? I mean, the joke is I’m sure maybe people think that way, but Maybe not. I personally don’t feel that way myself to a large extent.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:05

    There are some issues that I just won’t go into because I know what’s the point, Larry, especially especially on social media. If I’m gonna talk about something, I’ll use a proper platform where I can really talk about it, like, on my podcast for that. But you’ll rarely see me tweeting about device of issues because you Twitter is the worst place — Yeah. — to get an idea across. You know, and social media in general is, you know, I’d rather do it in an interview on television or, like I said, on a podcast or that type of thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:31

    If I have something that I think might touch those type of buttons, I wanna make sure I’m properly in in what I’m saying. But
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:38

    you don’t feel like comedy shows, television shows, stand up, is stifled. People are creatively stifled. Or do you think maybe they are?
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:46

    I don’t know. I mean, it depends what people wanna draw a ties. You know? People mean I wanna draw a ties to things that you think — Yeah. — they’re not supposed to draw a ties.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:54

    You know, they have to be interested in dramatizing it first and for them to feel stifled, I guess. You know? I think what different Generations feel is important to talk about changes as well as people wanting to hear. I think both of those things can be true.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:10

    Okay. You’ve been very generous with your time. Quick rapid fire. I’ve got two topics. The first one we get everybody on.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:16

    We’re never trumpers here, so I had to do a lot of reflecting in our life. Myself in particular. And so I like to ask everybody something that they’ve changed their mind on as a grown up. I like to cultivate a culture where it’s okay to change your mind on shit. You don’t have to be stubborn, you know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:32

    So is there anything you’ve changed your mind on? Is it grown up? It could be about anything but not geopolitics.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:37

    I think I’ve changed my my skittest hour on everybody’s relationship is different. You know? Like, whatever you agree to in your relationship is fine. You know? Let’s put it like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:53

    There don’t necessarily have to be rules. For all relationships. Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:57

    Romantic relationships?
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:58

    Well, yes. Romantic relationships that I’m talking about, you know. Just mainly just being naive, honestly. As opposed to. I never had a strong opinion about this, but it was more out of nag to take — Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:09

    — relationships should work like this, and that’s how things should be. Right? But no. After I’ve was married for twenty years, I went through divorce. So — Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:18

  • Speaker 1
    0:52:18

    I’ve
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:18

    seen friends go through this and Matt, you know, we’ve seen culturally the world has changed. You know, that type of thing. I say, whatever two people agree to in a relationship, fine. That’s cool with you. Absolutely, Tim.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:31

    Who am I to say that their rules have to adhere to someone else’s rules? You know, I think I’ve changed more about that than anything else.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:37

    I wanna go down a little more rabbit hole So I’ve got three best and a worst for you. If there are any you don’t know, that’s fine. A best in living color skit to go down to YouTube hole, best daily show, or will more show a bit. Best stand up set or joke that I haven’t seen. Could be you or someone else.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:54

    Any of those jump out. I wanna get on YouTube, on the plane home, and just do a dive. Okay.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:59

    My favorite living color, I’ll say the one that I wrote. There you go. Of course. Because I say my favorite was when Jamie Fox, so I hope he’s getting better. He had some stuff happen recently.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:11

    Mhmm. Jamie Fox was so talented. He was new on the show, and he had this character, we called ugly woman. That was the name of her, and it was one that I remember. And I came up with the sketch where he would be getting a massage from Tommy Davidson, and Tommy couldn’t see a space because he’s a massage, things like this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:27

    And without seeing her face, you know, he’s like, oh, man. You know, he’s coming onto her and he’s doing all these things. And, of course, the audience knows it’s Amy’s character and all that stuff. And so when Jamie Furch shows his face and Tommy Davidson, he’s got, like, this oh, no. It was Tommy who couldn’t see him.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:45

    That’s what it was. Tommy couldn’t see him. Tommy was fixed down and and Jamie has given him the steps. That’s what we got. I wanted to
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:50

    get
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:50

    this proper. And so Tommy was like this and couldn’t see him in just this this nice woman who’s given a massage and all that stuff. And the and the flirting and all that stuff. Yeah. But the audience can see that, you know, it’s Danny’s character in their laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:03

    And Then as soon as Tommy sees her and he’s ready to do something, he jumps off of that table. He had these little speedo, like, underwear running. Skinny Tommy gave you the like, he’s running around Jamie. Kinda pulls them down. We see it a little bit, I think, at one point.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:16

    And I have never heard an audience laugh so hard. So if they were stomping their feet, I mean, that’s one of the fun things about a live audience. I mean, I’ve never heard a reaction like that. I was so happy that I wrote it to you to And that was my favorite memory of in Living Color. It was doing that sketch and seeing Jamie Fox chase Tommy Davidson around that set.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:37

    It was some So much fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:39

    Okay. You have a daily show one or a stand up one for me, or should we just do it in love in color? And
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:43

    then it comes good daily show. I don’t know. We did a lot of fun ones. I mean, a completely inappropriate one probably today would be look up the Mark Twain one. We we deconstructed his use of the inward, and I was very proud of that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:58

    It’s gonna offend a lot of people even today. Okay. I’ll look up those two sound
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:02

    good.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:03

    I guarantee it to be offensive even now, but it’s one of my favorites.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:06

    Final one is I was gonna ask the worst podcast guest that you have, but was there anybody that was worse than me? I’m looking for, you know, I just No. You were bad intentions. Worst. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:16

    had a really bad one. Okay. And I didn’t even hear it. That’s how bad it was. He wouldn’t answer any questions.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:21

    He was an actor who’s just being actor y We won’t name the person. I won’t even name him because I was so frustrated. Oh, god. It was like he wouldn’t give me anything, you know. And it was early on when I was still you know, we’re we’re still finding your your footing and everything.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:37

    And I said, we can’t hear this shit. This is horrible. It’s terrible. And he just didn’t care. He could care less about being there because we were doing in person, and it wasn’t Zoom.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:47

    And oh, it’s him. It was just the worst. It was so bad. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:50

    I hope to never have one of those. We’re just getting this thing started. I’m so grateful that you did it. You know, hopefully, we can hang out.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:55

    You can send them rolling
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:56

    through New Orleans sometime. Would love it. Everyone should check out Secret Podcast, of course. And just really quick from Sebastian, Grace, class, and Poise with the stripper names. So that was it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:06

    Those are the Will Saletan Strippers. Grace for as an boy. So I was laughing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:56:10

    God, it’s funny now. There’s jokes that I can’t even remember. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:13

    was laughing at my hotel last night.
  • Speaker 3
    0:56:15

    There were jokes that I was going to do and I cut at the last minute, you know. Some were cut hard core, but yeah. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:21

    know,
  • Speaker 3
    0:56:22

    what are you gonna do too? Thank you for your great class employees.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:24

    We’ll be we’ll be talking and everybody else will see you on Wednesday for the normal next level podcast with Sarah and JBL. We’ll catch everybody later. Peace.
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