That awkward moment on stage when you realize your talk show has been moved to the same time slot as “Empire…”
Last nite, I headlined the Virginia Beach Funny Bone and I began the show by commenting on how many black folks were in the audience. I was honestly surprised because Wednesday nite is “Empire” night in most black households these days, and these folks chose to forego that and come out to see me. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the show is a mammoth hit that gains more and more viewers each week. I was really grateful.
At the close of the show, I was telling the audience about “Exhale,” and inviting them to tune in and support, when I realized that we are on during the “Empire” time slot — Wednesdays at 9pm. I was recording my set, as I always do, so I caught that moment of realization for posterity. These folks came out last nite, but they weren’t trying to make it a habit… THE GOOD NEWS is that we premiere on May 6 — well after the “Empire” (and “black-ish” finale(s), so there are no excuses. Amen.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes video I shot on our last day on set for “Exhale” season 3. We have a lot of fun together and we have great conversations. I hope you’ll tune in and check us out!
We just wrapped taping for season 3 of “Exhale,” and I had a day off before I had to head up to Seattle for a show. So I decided to stay overnight in LA with BFF Dawan, rather than fly straight to Seattle and get a room. He lives a ways from the hotel where I was staying, but his daughter’s daycare was just a couple miles away. So I decided to meet him there and ride back to the house with him after he dropped her off.
Perfect. I’d save money by not paying for an Über to West LA during morning rush, and I didn’t have to inconvenience him at all. To make sure everything went smoothly, I planned to arrive about 15 minutes early and just wait outside or in the lobby of the daycare center. But when my taxi pulled up, I realized the daycare was located in a home on a quiet, residential street, and I was gonna have to stand in front of the house until Dawan arrived. I considered asking the taxi driver to keep the meter running until he got there, so I didn’t look like a toddler thief, but I am poor. So I hopped out. Here’s the thing about being an unfamiliar brown woman standing in front of a daycare with two suitcases, each of which could easily hold a toddler: there’s no way to not look suspicious.
I regularly do an hour onstage, but those 15 minutes outside that daycare felt every bit as long. That’s why I’m not angry at the woman who sat in her car, sizing me up for 3 minutes before she got out and walked towards the house clutching her daughter’s hand and her cell phone equally hard. And I’m not mad that once she was inside, she peeked her head back out the side door and pointed me out to someone inside. I probably would have done the same. As soon as Dawan got there and shifted his truck into park, I began wrestling my super heavy bags into his trunk. “Hang on. I’ll do it as soon as I drop her off,” he offered.
I was telling Christine, one of our camera operators and baker of the victorious vanilla bean buttermilk version, that I always try to pronounce scone the way Europeans do — so that it rhymes with “John.” Mainly because it makes me feel fancy in Starbucks, but also because I think the originator (or language of origin) of a thing or a brand is who/what should determine its pronunciation. Like Nike. Or Porsche; the car is named after a real dude. We can’t just decide to change the pronunciation of his name because we want to:
“Well, where I come from, we say it like “Porsh.”
Shut up. No one where you come from has a Porsche. Y’all don’t get a vote. Continue reading →
So… we’re back in the studio shooting the third season of our talk show, “Exhale” and I’m super happy the band’s all back together! We just wrapped day one, and it was probably the best day of my entire life. Better than the day I was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Better than the day Wanda Sykes tweeted “I love @ejthecomic.” Better than the day I first tried Nutella.
Because today I got to interview Johnny Gill.
I have loved Johnny Gill since I was about 9 years old. In fact, his was the first CD I ever owned. When my dad bought our family’s first CD player in 1990, my mom and I went straight to Sam Goody. She got Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and I picked out “Johnny Gill.” He is the best singer (don’t waste your time trying to argue this point) and my favorite New Edition-er by far and I’ve bought every one of his subsequent albums. I try to catch him whenever he’s on TV and if any of my friends sees he’s going to be on something, they’re always sure to let me know.
During the first season of “Exhale,” we did a show where we had some of the hosts’ favorite entertainers as guests. During the planning stages I dropped several not-very-subtle hints that I would love to meet Johnny Gill. Our fabulous booker, Carol, tried to get him, but there was a scheduling conflict and he couldn’t make it. I was super sad and so I recorded this [wide] open video letter asking him to come on the show if we got renewed for a second season.
This week on “Exhale” we talk about Family — how to make time for love relationships, how to care and prepare for aging or ill parents, etc. In this short outtake Rene and I talk with Bryan Gaines, Co-Chair and Project Assistant for The University of Southern California Advocates for African American Elders Project. He had some great information about helping parents age with dignity and why it’s important to know which siblings parents want to handle their finances. Sadly, my folks only have one option.
Tune in to check us out Wednesday night at 8pm on ASPiRE!