Okay - back to our regularly scheduled blogging.
Orlando Jones' Bufu is an animated sketch comedy. BET aired several segments, including "Who Needs They Ass Whooped!?," a skewed take on old game show formats like The Dating Game.
"Let's meet the panel!" enthuses the host. Says the first lanky panelist, "uhhh, I'm a first round, NBA draft pick. I have ten kids w/ six different women...two Ferraris and a Hummer...and I don't pay child support. I need my ass whooped."
And a belt-swinging midget runs out on stage to administer the whooping.
Then there's the "History in The Making" skit: "A black man swimming on television, the first African American male to qualify for the 200 meter freestyle," says the voice-over. He sinks but sprints on foot along the bottom of the pool.
One of the running gags is Tyra Banks big forehead. One segment took a swipe at the entertainment industry and "misogynist music videos." No one is safe and it's all killer funny.
When an audience member begged for a black super-hero series, the panelists provided no details but they assured the audience that a project would eventually get the greenlight.
Said Jones : "By next year there will be one out for sure. I'm working on one."
Hudlin: "We're developing some properties. That's an inevitability"
Cowan: "Get ready for it. It will be another revolution."
During the discussion of Hannibal, Cowan spoke passionately about what they are trying to accomplish at BET. "Black culture is a vast cultural oasis that hasn't examined," he explained, "there haven't been that many successful black animated shows, only four or five which is pretty sad....we're creating a black mythology. It's very important. [The European culture has] Conan, and Superman. Hannibal is vitally important to us as a people. Hannibal is North African. We're developing this stuff with intent to expand, to bring forth this great culture that we have. It's a real mission for us. I just wanted to get that out there."
At one point Hudlin addressed some of the recent controversies and defended the network. "The backlash has been great," he said with good humor, "I declare victory! We've launched five shows this month. They've all been ratings successes. We also have a show called Baldwin Hills about middle class black people in an LA suburb. But journalists have no interest in writing about middle class, smart black kids who sit around talking about what college to go to....there are always are going to be people who don't watch BET but who swear they'll never watch BET again....
After the laughter died down, Hudlin continued, "I don't care...because we program 18-34, we're gong to program provocative content. Any network who targets that audience is going to face controversy...Fox had it w/ Married with Children, FX had it w/ The Shield, Comedy Central had it w/ South Park, MTV had it w/ pretty much every show they ever put on. It comes w/ the territory. It means you're making noise."
(Orlando Jones. photo by M. McNamara)
Jones also had something to say about pushing the envelope and he used basketball to illustrate his point. "There will always be someone will come along to say it wasn't right... it used to be that you shot the jump shot at the top of jump. And kids who didn't know better came along and shot on the way down, did 360's ...dunking balls, as opposed to lay ups. Innovative culture is about doing it the way it hasn't been done, and facing that fall-out....Don Imus said something and all of a sudden hip hop is under fire? I'm confused by the whole thing. I truly am! I hope you push the envelope and do something I didn't think of."
But the best line of the hour definitely belonged to Hudlin. At one point, a young black man in the audience approached the mic and complained that he hadn't been invited to sit on the panel, "My boys, we been doing comics for ten years. We were the first to use hip-hop in comics," he groused. "We should be up there with you all. We sill don't get the support..."
Hudlin said something about "letting the marketplace decide." The panel was sympathetic and Cowan invited him to visit the BET convention floor booth to present his material.
"Will you support good black characters with your dollars!? Miranda Mercury - a black female sci fi heroine written by Brandon Thomas," the audience member then hyped, "coming out in February. Buy it!!"
Hudlin was lightening fast on the uptake. "And any Asian girls in audience," he announced, "will you date a black man?"
TO LEAVE A COMMENT CLICK HERE. Thanks! We'd love to hear your thoughts.