Last fall, Open Mike Eagle followed up his breakthrough record, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, with a new EP, What Happens When I Try to Relax. As the Chicago-born rapper’s star continues to rise, however, he’s also demonstrating his multiple other talents, including comedy. Alongside stand-up Baron Vaughn, OME is launching a new Comedy Central variety show dubbed, The New Negroes.
The duo chose the name from the popular phrase that originated during the Harlem Renaissance as a reference to Black Americans combatting outdated beliefs by telling their own stories. In a statement, the show’s creators explained,
“Our series gets its title and its mission from a book named The New Negro by Alain Locke… That book was a collection of essays, poetry, fiction, and music from a generation of emerging artists credited with launching the Harlem Renaissance. In other words, it was a place where black people shared their lives, their perspectives, and their ideals. It was a place where black people could define themselves instead of being defined by others. Our show aspires to do the same with stand-up comedy, music, and music videos. We’re paying homage to that original movement by inviting comedians and musicians to do what they do best: speak.”
The forthcoming program will find Eagle and Vaughn curating socially aware lineups of special guests, including three stand-up comedians. At the end of each show, OME will debut an original music video featuring himself with guest musicians and actors.
Comedy Central has announced that Hannibal Buress will make a guest appearance during the show’s premiere, while other comedians scheduled for the rest of the season include Chris Redd, Donnell Rawlings, Lil Rel Howery, Sasheer Zamata, Dulcé Sloan, George Wallace, Sam Jay, and others. Musical guests like Lizzo, Method Man, MF Doom (!), Danny Brown, Phonte, Father, and Sammus, are also on tap, while producer Madlib created the show’s theme song.
The New Negroes will premiere on Friday, April 11th, at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT, with a simulcast on both Comedy Central and BET. Watch the trailer below.
In related news, Open Eagle Mike is also starring in a new online comedic talk show with comedian Dani Fernandez dubbed, Live from WZRD. The series is set at the East Gatewood Wizarding Community College, serving as the magical school’s student-run TV show. Per a statement, the show promises to keep “students and faculty up-to-date while educating the real world on the day-to-day lives of actual wizards, breaking the old Hollywood myths about wizardry and getting real,” as well as glimpses into behind-the-scenes drama and danger.
Live from WZRD also has slew of anticipated guests, including Mike’s New Negroes partner Vaughn, plus Yedoye Travis, Rhea Butcher, Freddie Wong, Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, and Travis Willingham. The series will premiere on VRV, a fandom-focused video platform, and you can watch the trailer ahead available here.