You may remember comedians Christian Finnegan and Sherrod Small from appearances on Comedy Central, Best Week Ever, and Chappelle's Show.
Their new weekly comedy series on A&E, Black and White, puts the duo front and center as they tackle poignant topics each episode through conversations, sketches, and video segments.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Christian and Sherrod about their new series and why they believe that comedy can be an important medium to discuss race and politics.
Read on to find out why you should definitely check out Black and White and why beer and go-karts can bring about world peace.
Black and White premieres on A&E Wednesday, July 27th at 10:30 p.m. Check it out.
What can viewers expect to see on Black and White?
Finnegan: The whole point of our show is to pick up where these conversations usually stop. There's a lot of people who can be really bold from behind a keyboard, but to have a conversation about race in front of a room full of people of various races is a different experience.
Sherrod and I are very different, but we can relate to each other really well, and maybe we can make sense of these things.
Can you elaborate on what you'll be covering in these conversations?
Small: A lot of hot-button issues: gentrification, police violence, issues that people generally shy away from.
Finnegan: Each episode has a loose theme. One episode will deal with racial profiling, one will deal with colorblind casting. One episode we sent Sherrod to the Cannabis Expo at The Javits Center... we wanted to find out why the legal weed industry is so white, but so many people who are in jail for smoking and selling marijuana are black.
There'll be some sketches, there'll be some interviews, but we want the whole vibe to feel like you're watching two friends hang out.
Why do you believe comedy is a useful medium to talk about these issues?
Small: Because comedy takes down the wall that people have. If you can make it funny, that makes an opportunity for a conversation.
Finnegan: Comedy is the best way to tackle stuff like this. If you're laughing, that's something people can share. Everyone laughs at a joke if it's funny enough―regardless of what your political views are.
It's getting people to uncross their arms. Especially white people. Black people are used to talking about race because they deal with it on a day-to-day basis. Whereas white people only deal with issues of race if someone else brings it up. I think it's useful to see a white guy and black guy relating to each other in this way.
Why was doing this show in front of a live audience important to you?
Small: Well, we're comedians so we do like that immediate gratification! But it's also about having a real conversation about race with real people in the audience. You can't hide behind twitter. You can't hide behind a screen.
You cover so many important topics on the show. What are your thoughts on the "All Lives Matter" response to #BlackLivesMatter?
Small: We know all lives matter! Just remember that black lives matter too. It's not anti-other lives, it's just pro-black lives because that's who's getting killed out here in the streets.
Finnegan: Saying "All Lives Matter," it's such a dodge. I think people pretend to be confused, and they're not.
So can you unfriend a family member on Facebook that posts it? Asking for... a friend.
Finnegan: That's what the mute button is for!
I think the mute button was invented for this election. Speaking of which, do you guys cover any of the election on the show?
Finnegan: We do have an episode where we talk a bit about the election. Sherrod's good personal friend Ann Coulter dropped by...(laughs)
Small: See, I go to the front lines. Fox News, Bill O'Reilly...because that's where that fight is. I don't want to go to MSNBC where everybody's saying the same stuff and high-fiving each other like they accomplished something. That's why with Bill, Ann...I take the fight right to their front door.
Finnegan: And I like to hide and high-five my liberal friends.
High-fives are great!
Finnegan: Confirmation bias is way under-rated.
So Sherrod, being friends with Ann Coulter you really don't shy away from the hard conversations!
Small: People get the wrong impression from her. But yeah, I don't let politics get caught up in who I hang with. I don't disown family because they got different politics than me. We still got other things in common. Like beer and go-karts!
I think everyone can get behind beer and go-karts.
Black and White premieres Wednesday July 27th, 10:30pm ET/PT on A&E with guests Jim Gaffigan, Charlamagne Tha God, and Negin Farsad.[Feature Image Courtesy YourTVLink]