A&E is making a push into comedy-based programming this year and Black and White with Christian Finnegan and Sherrod Small is their flag bearer. Premiering Wednesday July 13 at 10:30, the show will be a weekly exploration of the large and small differences between the black and white experience in America. Everything from sports and education to entertainment and social media is covered. “Well, I have discovered over the course of my career that people love to watch me interact with black people.” is Christian’s first take on how this show came to be. Sherrod adds his own sense that this was inevitable, “I told Christian ten years ago we should do something together because we were doing all these other shows together, so why not cut out the middle man and do our own shit? Just do it ourselves and cut out the old white guy who’s making money off of us!”
The two worked together throughout the aughts on various panel and talking heads shows like Best Week Ever and later on the series Are We There Yet? It was during that time that the idea for the show really took root. “Originally I had thought about doing a show like this while I was working on Are We There Yet? because it was funny how many things were different in the daily experience of the rest of the cast’s life, which was predominantly African American, and mine. Not even just the big stuff like racial profiling, but little things like what movies and TV shows we liked, or how I let my dog kiss me on the mouth, which is something black people would never do. I thought it would be fun to talk about this stuff in a demilitarized zone because generally white people don’t talk about race and when they do you want them to stop.”
“Sherrod and I have known each other forever and we have this kind of interesting vibe where we’ve always had a good banter and he’s actually more conservative than I am. I mean, he’s personal friends with Ann Coulter, who is gonna be on the show, and I’m your classic New York Liberal White Guy. So we’re able to talk about a lot of these issues in a way that doesn’t feel like a minefield. And it will be timely, but not topical. There’s enough fake news parodies out there and John Oliver and Samantha Bee are doing it so well, there’s no need to make another one. We want it to be more casual and conversational. And we’re both stand-up comedians who want to be “in the room” not just reading off a teleprompter. It’s really just two friends busting balls and calling each other out on their bullshit.”
Christian is a great choice to handle the White side of the coin in a way that that’s approachable, not confrontational. “I think I have a representative whiteness. A friend of mine called me ‘African America’s Favorite White Guy’” which is borne out by the number of people who still come up to him after his live stand-up shows because they want to meet “the white guy from Chappelle’s Show” For the Black side of the coin, Sherrod is already well known for his podcast Race Wars with white guy Kurt Metzger. But he’s quick to point out, “This isn’t Race Wars. This is a whole different thing, we’re doing more of a deconstruction. And anyway, TV’s not ready for Race Wars yet!”
The show is set for an initial 8 episode run, with bonus content every week online.