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Shermans Showcase poster

Sherman’s Showcase

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What it’s about:

A comedy variety series showcasing an impressive cast of talented black performers.

Names you might know:

Bashir Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle, Tiffany Haddish, Common, Jemele Hill, Ray J., Ray Parker Jr., Morris Day, Mario Von Peebles, Quincy Jones, Lil Rey, and John Legend.

Why it’s worth your time:

A riff on classic variety shows that mashes up a few genres, IFC’s Sherman’s Showcase is that rare comedy that you can watch with your parents (or grandparents). It uses musical parodies and throwback clips from the 40-year library of a fictional musical variety show, inspired by classics like Soul Train, Solid Gold, and Laugh In.

The show comes from the genius minds of comedy duo Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, HBO), and features  guest appearances from Tiffany Haddish, Common, Jemele Hill, Ray J., Ray Parker Jr., Morris Day, Mario Von Peebles, Quincy Jones, Lil Rey and others.  But best of all is the recurring role of John Legend, an exec producer on the series, who pokes fun at himself.

In a special “Black History Month Spectacular,” produced for Juneteenth in 2020, Legend plays a Duke Ellington-esque character who sings, plays piano and riffs as white police officers are wreaking havoc all over the nightclub.  And that’s just one of the sketches you’ll be talking about.

The takeaway:

From The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum:
“Sherman’s Showcase has flickers of politics-of seeing getting down and making jokes as its own form of resistance-but they shimmer subtly, like sequins on a halter top. In multiple senses, the show never gets old.”   Full review.

And Complex’s Khal Davenport:
“From hilarious original songs and celebrity appearances (series producer John Legend narrates episode one, which also features a quick cameo by Tiffany Haddish), all keeping the funny intact. Do NOT sleep on the best variety series of the summer.”  Full review.

Watch it with:

All the generations you’re locked in with, but especially anyone who remembers the 70s and 80s.

Worth noting:

Salahuddin and Riddle created Jimmy Fallon’s hit “History of Rap” skits with Justin Timerberlake, and “Slow Jamming the News” with President Barack Obama, Senator Kamala Harris, and Senator Bernie Sanders.

 

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