That’s what he articulated on Wednesday at the Jeremy hotel in West Hollywood before the premiere for the upcoming Showtime comedy “White Famous.”
“White Famous” tells the story of Floyd Mooney (Jay Pharoah), an up-and-coming stand-up comedian who is given a shot at super stardom and must find a way to balance being true to himself while still providing for his family. The series is based on the experiences of executive producer Foxx and other comics that he knows. The title references a level of fame that people of color can transcend to become famous at a universal level and be known outside of their cultural communities.
“‘White Famous’ is a bold title and we hope people peek in and see what it’s about because Floyd is going to start this incredible journey to how he can become mainstream famous and at the same time hold onto himself,” Foxx said. “In the first episode there’s a moment with a dress and there’s always that question of whether a comic should wear a dress and is it selling out if they wear a dress? It’s a tip of the hat to all the comics that have to deal with that.”
Director Tim Story said that the show comes from an authentic, honest point of view and pulls back the curtains of fame to show what it’s like for black comics to try to make a name for themselves in the industry.
“When it comes to art, I don’t know whether we can fix things [in respect to cultural and racial tensions], but I hope this is one of those shows that can create discussion,” Story said.
As a black comedian, Pharoah said that it was easy to play Mooney because he is familiar with the character’s journey.
“The show is very accurate as to how things happen behind closed doors in Hollywood, especially with black folks that are trying to cross over into Hollywood,” Pharoah said. “You have to go through a lot of hoops and keep a certain level of professionalism so you don’t burn bridges. This show brings a lot of topics that are hush-hush to the forefront.”
Showtime will air a two-episode series premiere of “White Famous” on Oct. 15 at 10 p.m.