I got to speak recently with Affion Crockett, comedian and actor, about his new show on FOX called In the Flow with Affion Crockett. He really put me at ease, and it was very easy to see that he loves what he’s doing and really wants everyone to give it a shot, even if they don’t think it’s their type of show. I saw the pilot before the interview, and I was one of those people. I went into it not expecting to enjoy it, but I really did—so much more than I thought I would. It is very funny, and Affion himself is fantastic. Read on to see what he had to say about how the show came about, why he thinks you should watch, and more!
Jenny: I watched the pilot this morning, and I really, really enjoyed it.
Affion Crockett: Thank you. I really appreciate that.
Jenny: How did the show come about? How did you get involved?
Affion: I…It’s one of my brain children, if you will. I was on a show called Wild ‘N Out on MTV with Nick Cannon; it was a Whose Line Is It Anyway, but in a hip-hop fashion. We had so many wide ranges of depth on there, from Steve-O to Brooke Hogan to Snoop Dogg to Jim Jones, so… Being on that show allowed me to do a lot of characters within the improv game we were playing, but I never got a chance to present the characters in a way that I wanted to, so what I did was, after the show ended, I went to YouTube and just started producing my own videos, where I could actually dress up as Jay-Z and actually do a real video—a parody video—or Chris Rock, or whoever. So once we did that, I got a huge following on YouTube. I packaged up the videos, and me and my partner, Carl Jones from the Boondocks, went to the network, and we shot the show, and they loved it. They loved the idea, and they were willing to take a chance on us.
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Jenny: When I first saw the description for it, I wasn’t sure I was in the target demographic—I’m a 34-year-old white female—and a lot of time, this type of show isn’t one that I like. But I found it so incredibly funny, and you were just brilliant. What can you say to other viewers who might be thinking the same thing I did?
Affion: Well, I have a fan base that literally ranges from like 6-years-old to 60, and I believe it’s because I’m able to touch on topics that are relevant to everyone of those ages. I know how to do the young, teenybopper stuff, like the Twilight, up to the older church crowd. I mean, it’s a universal show; it’s not just for young people, it’s not just for hip hop people. This show is literally for everybody. The best example I can use is the Tracey Ullman Show. She played a bunch of different characters, and there was something in there for everyone in that show, which is… I’m doing it from my perspective, and you’re really getting to know me. I’m so glad that you saw it so that you know exactly what I mean. I’m playing so many different characters. They’re all so different. I’m touching on the presidential… You know, there’s just so much there.
Jenny: You mentioned the Twilight thing… I’m a big Twilight fan, so your sketch about Hilight, the Yellow Moon, was one of my favorites. What was your favorite sketch or part of filming the pilot, and who was your favorite guest star on that one?
Affion: I can’t say that I had a favorite guest star, because I was so appreciative of all of them for coming through. And as you know, with a first season show or with a start up show, it’s really hard to get good guests and people that believe in you, but because I have the relationships I have and the track record, people were so willing to show up, from Snoop Dogg to Russell Simmons, David Koechner, Michael Strahan, Wendi McLendon-Covey… It was just a great roster of people that validated me in a sense—that said, “You know what? We see what you’re doing. We believe in it and we want to be a part of it.” So all of them are favorites to me.
Jenny: What’s the hardest part about filming a show like this? Because I imagine there’s a lot of makeup and costume things to look like some of the characters you’re playing. Or is it worrying about what story you’re portraying, like about the President, or about Twilight, which has such a large fanbase?
Affion: I would say the most difficult part for me is having to incorporate a lot of other ideas and opinions on the table…to be able to accomodate everybody else, because before the show, I was used to just working on my own and being in my own bubble, but with this show, you have to collaborate with executives and writers and all this stuff to really take it to the next level, so… The characters are easy for me to do. Getting everyone serviced in a fair amount of time and then making sure we shoot enough sketches to fulfill [what we needed to.]
Jenny: If you could say one last thing about yourself and the show and why you think they should watch it, that would be great.
Affion: I’m an Army brat. I grew up around the world. I have a real knack for doing what makes people laugh. This show is not a freeze-dried, structured show… It’s called In the Flow for a reason. It’s very improvised. I took a page from Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was able to work with him on that show, and I saw how he was “in the moment” and improvising scenes, with a raw, fresh take on comedy. That’s what this show is. It’s a fresh, raw take on pop culture across the board—celebrity impressions, celebrity characters, from my own mind and my own wiry body. If you’re into physical comedy, if you’re into Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey of the past generations, I am the new version of those guys.
In the Flow with Affion Crockett premieres this Sunday, August 14, on FOX at 9/8c for a 1-hour episode. If you like it, be sure and let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter, and let Affion know, too! Affion’s Twitter.