The first two episodes of the new Showtime comedy White Famous premiered on Showtime on October 15. It's about an African American stand-up comedian, played by former SNL comic Jay Pharoah, who is looking for his big break in Hollywood and these two episodes were all about racial awkwardness in our politically correct culture.
And vulgar language. Lots and lots of vulgar language. The F-word was used 150 times total in both 30 minute episodes - that's 2.5 F-bombs per minute! This show has some funny moments but it is so full of obscenity (even for Showtime) that it is distracting.
In the pilot episode, Floyd Mooney (Pharoah) meets with comedy director Jason Gold (Steve Zissis). Gold is doing a movie about Bill Cosby and Floyd is offered a part portraying a woman. Floyd balks at this idea. Floyd’s feelings show as he half jokingly calls Jason a racist.
Jason Gold: Hey! Jesus, what a disaster. That was the fucking Hindenburg of handshakes. Really sorry about that. Can we skip to the part where we're cool?
Floyd: Nah, man, don't worry about it, we cool.
Jason: Yeah, I've just never been any good at that stuff.
Floyd: What stuff? Black stuff?
Jason: No, I'm sorry, I... I-I didn't mean it like that.
Floyd: Then how'd you mean it? I'm fucking with you, man. Relax your ass off, man, I'm fucking with you.
Jason: Oh, my God, you're a funny motherfucker.
Floyd: I appreciate that, man.
Jason: Yeah, so, I'm making this movie about an African-American attorney.
Floyd: It's cool, you can say black.
Jason: Oh, no, I never say black.
Floyd: Oh, good, man. Good for you. That was a test. Obviously.
Jason; Anyway, this bla-- African-American attorney lands his first client and get this, turns out she's the first woman Bill Cosby ever drugged and molested. And this cranky little firecracker wants her day in court.
Floyd: Oh, snap, man, that's dope, man. Listen, my mom's gonna be over the moon. She's always wanted me to be an attorney, so—
Jason: No, no, no, no, no. - You play the old woman.
Floyd: Wait, what?
Jason: Yeah, yeah, you're gonna kill this.
Floyd: Heh. All right, here's the thing. So, I used to watch Eddie Murphy movies with my pops. I'd always look at him and I'd say, "Pops, I wanna be just like Eddie Murphy." And he'd be like, "You know what, you can be like Eddie Murphy, you just make sure them white Hollywood motherfuckers never put you in a dress." So, uh, yeah, can't do that.
Jason: You do know there's a fine tradition of "Blafrican" American-- I'm sorry. I don't know why I keep saying that.
Floyd: Oh, that's cool, man, it's just 'cause you're racist. Not like KKK racist, more like well-meaning, west-of-the-405 racist. But hey, it's fine. Just kidding, not really. Continue.
Jason: Right. Anyway, I think it could be hilarious.
Floyd: Right, man, but here-- here's the thing. Aren't we just a little done with the whole Cosby pile-on? I mean, I wouldn't want the man to be my anesthesiologist or anything like that, but aren't we a little sick of the outrage? Just a little bit?
Jason: He raped over 50 women.
Floyd: Allegedly. I don't know for sure if he raped anybody. And let's say he did do some of that pervy shit. Maybe he did 'em a favor by drugging them. Would you really want the memory of old Doc Huxtable's Jell-O pudding, meaty fingers all up in your lady gravy? You feel me?
Jason: No, I don't feel you. In fact, I'm pretty offended.
Floyd: You're in comedy and you're offended? That offends me, motherfucker. Just relax. Chill. Stifle your white outrage. I mean, we haven't even ordered yet. So, what else you got for me?
It's disturbing when Floyd says so casually that it may have been a good thing that Cosby drugged his victims before he raped them. Good heavens. That joke goes over like a lead balloon the week people are speaking out about a culture of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.
In another scene, leaving a restaurant with his friend, Ron Balls (Jacob Ming-Tient), another liberal white Hollywood man, a producer, Floyd has an interesting encounter at the valet parking stand. The producer, Stu Biggs (Stephen Tobolowsky), assumes Floyd is the valet parking attendant and hands him his parking stub.
Floyd: Oh, hell nah.
Stu: Just, uh... I'll call you back. Uh, there a problem?
Floyd: Do I look like the fucking valet to you?
Stu: Sure, why not?
Floyd: Because I'm black?
Stu: No, because you're standing in front of the valet stand.
Floyd: Looking all lazy and shiftless, right? You want me to step and fetch for you?
Stu: Whoa, slow down, Spike Lee. Look, what if we just took a little beat and not blow this up into some big, huge racial thing. I just want my fucking car.
Floyd: You're gonna have to wait for it, motherfucker, just like I'm waiting for mine.
Stu- That you?
Floyd: That's me. Gracias, gracias.
Attendant: De nada.
Stu: Muchas gracias. - There you go. Sweet ride there, man, sweet ride.
Floyd: Yeah, I guess you're shocked that a handsome, well-hung black man like myself can afford something like this.
Stu: Are you kidding? This is L.A. I see you guys driving around all the time, acting like you're stars in your very own rap video.
Floyd: Us guys? What you mean, like us colored fellas?
Stu: Yeah, I guess that didn't come out exactly as planned. Look, I've had a few cocktails, but this is so not a thing. Yes, I did think you were a valet, not because you're black, and that doesn't even make sense. Valets are usually Mexican.
Stu: Ah, gracias, hombre. It's a thing!
Floyd: No, no, no, listen.
Stu: Yo! I am the farthest thing in the world from a racist.
Floyd Oh, really?
Stu: I am working with Jamie fucking Foxx right now. No, and he's black as the ace of spades. You know it. I love black people. Black people love me. Especially black women. Oh, I have gotten lost in some seriously black booties and big chocolate titties for like... Days.
Floyd: I feel sorry for any black woman that would allow you to smash, my friend.
Stu: I paid her.
Floyd: I knew it.
Stu: Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm just gonna go black inside. Fuck me, fuck me! Look, I am just going to go back the fuck inside and have another drink before I hit the road. Peace, we okay?
Balls: Right on.
Floyd: I got no words.
My, how quickly a case of mistaken identity turns into a racial affront. Also, it’s disturbing that the producer drives drunk!
Naturally, Balls was taping the whole exchange on his phone and it went viral the next day. In full white guilt mode and because of the immediate backlash the man experienced on social media, Stu offers Floyd a role in the Jamie Foxx movie he is producing.
In episode two, “Heat,” Jamie Foxx wears a short skirt and Floyd has a fantasy about himself in a red dress with a full-frontal view of a penis-less body. I could have done without that scene. It wasn’t real, but, still.
This episode features Teddy Snow (Michael Rapaport), who is directing and acting in a movie about a black group from back in the day. He’s into setting up Floyd in situations that could be real but are put together to help Floyd learn about acting. It’s bizarre.
One scene involves Floyd and Teddy on the streets of L.A. and Teddy points to a spot where he says “X” (a singer) was killed by police. Floyd has Teddy’s keys because Teddy’s license is suspended but Teddy starts a fight when Floyd won’t hand over the keys. A policeman intervenes and then goes about handcuffing Floyd. Floyd is outraged and Teddy lets him go on a bit before he tells him it’s all an act. That was crazy stuff.
Teddy: This is it! This is it. This is where it happened. X and the boys, they lived in a filthy squat Right over there.
Floyd: Oh, yeah?
Teddy: Used to play the Whisky a Go Go every chance they got. And X died right there. Right there in front of a fuckin' Am Pm. Twenty-five years old, he was beaten to death by the LAPD, can you believe that shit? Some things never change, am I right?
Floyd: Listen, man, it's a cool story, and I dig your script, but I'm not a fuckin' actor, man, I'm just a fuckin' comic.
Teddy: Look, I saw your audition. All right, and the raw material is there, you just need me to help you shape it. Look, I want you in my film, man, but you're at a crossroads. You gotta figure out what you wanna do. You wanna do some inconsequential television crap, make some dough? Huh? You wanna do that? Or wouldn't you wanna try to do something great? Something special? A story for your own--
Teddy: That's right.
Floyd: Yeah, right, I get it.
Teddy: That's right. Come on. Huh? Let's go out, you and me, we go out, let's, uh... Let's get polluted. You and me, come on. Let's go get some tattoos, let's get wacky, you and me, let's get crazy. Come on, give me the keys, I wanna drive this puppy.
Floyd: Come on, man, you're fuckin' drunk.
Teddy: I'm not fuckin' drunk.
Floyd: I smell it on you, dude.
Teddy: Ah, what, I had a few too many, I'm not too drunk to drive, give me my keys, man.
Floyd: Oh, you wanna fuck around?
Teddy: I fuckin' jumped you now, you fuck--
Floyd: Hey, man, what's wrong with you? Let go of me, man!
Teddy: How does that feel, you prick?!
Floyd: What's wrong with you, man?
Cop: What's the problem?
Teddy: This asshole won't give me my keys back.
Cop: What are you, five? Give the guy his keys.
Floyd: Hey, hey, hey, hey, why you so sure that they're his keys? 'Cause he's white?
Cop: No, it's more because you look like a punk.
Teddy: Yeah. A punk who was just saying how much he hates LAPD.
Cop: Oh, interesting, look who's being prejudiced now.
Floyd: Hey, it's not true, all right? This is just some weird, method acting game that he's doing right now. That's all it is.
Teddy: Yeah, because I want you to know what it's like to live in fear of these motherfuckers, man.
Floyd: I know what it's like to live in fear of these motherfuckers, I'm black, motherfucker! No offense, Officer.
Teddy: You're apologizing to this fuckin' pig, man? He killed one of your own, right there, man!
Floyd: Hey, look, Officer, uh... G-Gustan, this is just a misunderstanding.
Cop: All right, hands behind your back.
Floyd: W-wait, I didn't do nothing! Wait, for what? For what?
Teddy: Ah, shit, man! He didn't fuckin' do anything, you fuckin' pig, man!
Cop: You want some of this, too, Hollywood?
Teddy: Somebody get this on their phone!
Floyd: Fuck you and fuck your racist fuckin' pig brethren, man!
Teddy: Black Lives Matter, man! Attica! Attica! Attica!
Cop: Give me an excuse, motherfucker, give me an excuse!
Teddy: Cut. Cut. Tommy, that was great. Excellent, excellent work. Listen, next time, don't get the cuffs on him fully so he can really, you know, rage against the machine, but that was great. I want you to take an emotional snapshot. We're gonna run it back one more time. You got one more in you?
Floyd: This was just another one of your fuckin' games?
Teddy: This ain't a game, man, this is a master class, man. Through a prism, with all the boring shit cut out, man! Fuck. That's it! That's it, that was beautiful, that's the character, Floyd, you've got it, man!
Floyd: You're crazy.
Teddy: What's the matter? We're gonna go again. You got another one in you? That was fantastic, Floyd! You got it, man, you're a fuckin' star!
So, that was a hot mess. Teddy deliberately brought in all the liberal buzz words to aggravate the situation between a white cop and a black man.
There is reference to the white famous title – fame can transcend color, according to Floyd’s Indian manager. He used the examples of Barack Obama, Tiger Woods and Will Smith. Also, the “golden age of diversity” is how the times in which we live are referred to by more than one character. Back in the day, we referred to it as affirmative action, but I guess that’s no longer politically correct.