Paleyfest continued their annual series with the ABC comedy “Black-ish.” The series star and executive producer Anthony Anderson was on hand with the cast and other Eps for an evening of fun and laughter and insight into the show. On “Black-ish,” Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anderson) and his physician wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), are living the American dream: great careers, four beautiful kids and a home in an upper middle class neighborhood where Dre fears that his kids are missing out on their heritage. Dre, with the help of his parents, Pops and Ruby (Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis), set out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing their future.
TV Examiner talked to actor Jeff Meacham, who plays Dre’s co-worker Josh, before the show’s Paleyfest screening and Q&A to get his thoughts on the show and on his character who could best be described as the lonely guy.
Phyllis: “Black-ish” is such a funny show. How do you guys manage not to laugh during those office scenes?
Jeff Meacham: We laugh a lot and have a great time that’s why we have so many takes. We have a big gag reel for sure. You know the writers write us some ridiculously awesome funny, goofy lines and I think that the only thing I’ve been able to experience in the long run is these characters have become us. We know what they are now and so it great to just read the lines and get to play. That’s the coolest thing.
Phyllis: What did you think of the title of the show when you first heard?
Jeff Meacham: I thought it was spot on, it was a spot on name. In this day and age when we are… before the show came how, how many times did you use the phrase “-ish”? I would sometimes. Someone would ask if something was funny and my answer would be “it’s funny-ish” For what this show is about there’s not a better name out there. It creates just the right amount of controversy but not a lot. That’s not what our show is in general. 95% of the people love it and have a great time and the other 5% are like “NO” so … I love that. I love that about the name.
Phyllis: There’s the running gag with your character on the show about how much Josh mentions that he went to Harvard. How he works it into a sentence. What has been his personal best? What do you think is the most times Josh has said it in an episode?
Jeff Meacham: When talking about Harvard? Well for Josh there is also the other side where Josh is also super lonely and always has…he can’t seem to hold a steady relationship. So I love that they’ve kind of delft into that. There are people like that in every office in this world. You say, where there’s a good looking guy. He’s got it all together and I think it works. It’s a great character to have. I’ve worked on other shows too where I’ve been the lonely character so I wonder what it is about me. I’m a happily married man. I have friends. So I don’t know what it is about me that has people say – that he would be perfect for the lonely guy.
Phyllis: If there were a Josh-centric episode or he had a spin off series, what would that show be about?
Jeff Meacham: I think it would be about relationships – Josh getting and finding love in the zany world today. He would be old school and doesn’t know things. He wants to be so much in the know but he doesn’t. So you love him; he says dumb things; you know he’s a good guy but sometimes he puts his foot in his mouth. The show would be about him in love and in the work environment and failing over and over.
Catch “Black-ish” on Wednesdays at 9:31 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.