Can you feel a brand new day (that’s familiarly similar to all the other days)? That’s what this video proposes in answer to the questions of why NBC’s The Wiz Live! was soooo black? Like, hella black? Like, uncomfortably black? So many people decried that The Wiz Live was inherently racist, reverse racist, due to a lack of white people and that if the production was made of all white performers, the television would be dragged by Black Twitter, the liberal media, and hypocritical do-gooders.
Enter satire. Obviously these claims were debunked, defanged, and decoded but the ultimate weapon, humor, knocks it out of the park. Kevin Avery, who joked about the intersection of showtunes and blackness years before, and wrote, directed and starred in the genius Thugs: The Musical, teamed up with F-Comedy and director Jenessa Joffe to envision a version of The Wiz Live! that’s more typical to Hollywood’s casting choices (See: #OscarsSoWhite).
There’s a lot to process, a lot to love:
- Bay Area standouts like Drennon Davis, Sean Keane, and Guy Branum—what accent is he doing?—playing the Scarecrow, Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion respectively.
- American treasure Beth Stelling’s anxiety-inducing, less-than-smooth attempt at the splits.
- Showtune classics like “Ease On Down” and “No Bad News” comedically whitewashed.
- Keane whispering “Affirmative Action”. Sean is one of the great comedy-whisperers of our time
- Pitch perfect “behind the scenes” featurette tone.
- The parenthetical caption: “painfully white”.
And so many clever, concise statements on race and entertainment that this video requires attention from your eyeballs and earballs.