FRIENDS OF THE PEOPLE – Why Come Y’all Didn’t Tell Me About This Show?!
First no one made me aware of the brilliant ignorance that was Loiter Squad, now I have to accidentally stumble upon TruTV’s original sketch comedy show “Friends of the People” as it approaches the end of its second season.
Why is this show of particular interest to me? Well, two reasons: My current favorite sketch comedy show “Key and Peele” just ended its fith and final season…and “Friends of the People” stars (and is co-created by) Jermaine Fowler and Kevin Barnett, the men responsible for the now classic YouTube sketch, “Homo Thugs.”
As many know, I’ve long been on a rampage about the sheer amount of Homophobia in comedy created by black comedians. So it was refreshing to see the series of Homo Thugs videos that not only mocked homophobia, it dived right into black male homo-eroticism…all for the sake of getting a laugh. This is something we rarely see from black comedians (short of the Wayans Brothers) and always see from white comedians. I quickly became a fan of Jermaine Fowler just for taking a chance and unflinchingly pushing those taboo buttons.
The new series also stars rising young comedy duo The Lucas Bros, a pair of dry-witted identical twin brothers who also have their own FXX animated series “The Lucas Bros Moving Co.”
After watching the first four or five episodes of “Friends of the People” I can tell you that it’s actually not a “great” show…to be honest, its not very good at all. I barely even laughed at all.
Many of the initial ideas were decent but most of the comedy came off a little too bland and safe, almost as if it was made for a pre-teen audience in Iowa. The show seems less inspired by Fox’s In Living Color and more inspired by Nickelodeon’s All That.
To drive that point home, there is a 3-minute sketch of the entire cast celebrating Keenan and Kel’s love of orange soda. These are millennial comedians who grew up on safe kids comedy. This is what they know and love.
Given that this series was created by the men who brought us “Homo Thugs,” I expected more subversive taboo-breaking sketches. Instead I got a comedy show that devotes multiple minutes, actors and locations to tell a joke about the embarrassment of needing to take a shit in your middle school bathroom. Twice! The joke is repeated later in the same episode.
Having said that, there were a handful of bright moments, enough for me to still keep an eye out on what some of these otherwise talented comedians do in the future, long after this bland series is gone and forgotten.
Here are some of my favorite sketches below:
WORLD STAR HIP HOP
DIARY OF A MAD BLACK MUTANT
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