“Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles.
“The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well could be the first ever,” Caspe said of the series, which takes place in the 1980s. “So that was a very fun, kind of f—ed up thing to explore. I think we were just trying to satirize what’s happening now and this was a good prism to view it through.”
The half-hour comedy series, which reportedly took 11 years to get off the ground, reimagines the events leading up to the infamous stock market crash of 1987. The cutthroat world of stock broking serves as an exaggerated backdrop to the gender-fueled power struggle on display between leading duo Don Cheadle and Regina Hall.
Cheadle plays Mo “The Marauder” Monroe, a rich and powerful trading giant, opposite Hall’s Dawn Darcy, his right-hand woman who is constantly bending over backwards to prove that she’s worth being promoted to partner despite being the only woman at the firm.
Caspe and Cahen confirmed that the comparison between today’s Time’s Up landscape and the old boy’s club of Wall Street was indeed intentional.
“There’s a lot about the ’80s that feels pretty similar to what the world is like this instant,” said Cahen. “It’d be nice if it was like, ‘Look how much has changed’ … but it really looks like we haven’t moved very far forward in the last 30 years.”
“We keep saying, ‘Look how far we haven’t come,” said Caspe.
Asked if the current climate in the entertainment industry was on her mind while playing Dawn, Hall shook her head.
“There were women [fighting for recognition] in the ’70s and ’80s before the Time’s Up movement. The reason we’re able to be here is that we’ve had women in positions who have been doing that before it was called a movement,” she said.
Keeping things lighthearted, producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were on hand to discuss their amusing transition from stoner humor to cocaine comedy.
“Cocaine in the ’80s is funnier than cocaine today. That I can definitely say,” Rogen told reporters. “Cocaine fueled every decision that was made between 1983 and 1989. And we have robot butlers and Lamborghini limousines to attest to that.”
“It’s what coffee is gonna be in 20 years,” Goldberg added.
Cheadle also threw in his two cents about the party drug. Asked if he had a hose up his sleeve to suck up the fake coke like Armie Hammer in “Sorry to Bother You,” he scoffed.
“See, that’s white people tricks. They just make us snort coke,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, throwing in a pretend sniffle before revealing that what they really used was just some good old-fashioned vitamin B12. “Sometimes crystal meth, you chop it up and it looks like coke. [It’s] basically mix and match, depends on what the schedule is, how much of the day you have left,” he joked.
“We just snorted it,” said co-star Andrew Rannells. “We did it a bunch on ‘Girls’ so I was familiar with the process. My fake drug of choice.”
Also on Monday night’s guest list were Jon Hamm, Horatio Sanz, Paul Scheer, Yassir Lester, Ken Marino, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Elia Cantu, Kadeem Hardison, Kurt Braunohler, Jennifer Zaborowski, Xosha Roquemore, Melissa Stephens, and David Krumholtz.
“Black Monday” premieres Jan. 20 on Showtime.
Photo above: David Nevins, chairman and chief executive officer, Showtime Networks; Regina Hall; Don Cheadle; and Amy Israel, EVP, scripted programming, Showtime Networks.