Many remember comedian and actor Affion Crockett from his appearances on hit television shows such as Nick Cannon’s Wild N Out, as well as for his work in films such as MTV’s ‘Dance Flick’ with the Wayans Brothers. Now Affion is the star of his own Fox comedy sketch series titled ‘In the Flow With Affion’. Affion recently spoke with me about making his show work to satisfy both his fans who have been there from the start, to his new fans that are just discovering his talents, his favorite celebrity impressions to perform, as well as his vision for the show’s future.
News Not Gossip: Why do you feel now was the right time to launch the show?
Affion Crockett: Well it was supposed to be launched a little sooner. But when you are on a network, you don’t have control over what time slot you get and when they want to put it out. But in God’s time everything happens as it’s supposed to. The fact that we got Jay and Kanye’s album out, and we have Tiger Woods in the news again, it was just perfect timing for all that stuff to happen.
NNG: So now Jamie Foxx is a executive producer on In the Flow, how closely was he involved with you on the show and will he be making a guest appearance anytime in the future?
AC: No guest appearances on this first run, in this first season. We’ll see if we can get his schedule together for the next one. But yeah he’s a big homie, it’s like a Kobe and Phil Jackson situation. I’m the one that’s out there on the court making all the plays and he steps in with a word of advice when he needs to.
NNG: What type of freedom has In the Flow given you, that you didn’t have while apart of other shows such as Wild N Out?
AC: Well because it’s my show I get to have more creative control and more of the decision making process as opposed to Wild N Out, that was Nick Cannon’s show, that was MTV, so it really wasn’t my own situation. But now I get to craft the vision of this show the way I want to.
NNG:In putting the show together, was there at any point a moment where the producers wanted you to go in a different direction than you had envisioned? How did you manage to work past that?
AC: There’s always conversations and discussions as to what the best direction of the show is. But at the end of the day I commend the network for understanding what my style of comedy is and they supported the fact that, we really should let him go in his direction, because it is a fresh take on comedy and there’s no one else doing it like that on tv right now.
NNG: What made you choose to tape in front of a live studio audience, rather than tape on a set without audience interaction?
AC: I wanted to get a real reaction out of a crowd before the television audience sees it. I also wanted to create an environment like Wild N Out, where everyone wants to come to a taping of the show. People still ask me to this day how they can get tickets to Wild N Out. So I figured it’s a good move.
NNG: How long in general did it take you to rehearse your skits and lines for the first episodes?
AC: I don’t rehearse, I improvise most of my stuff. We write sketches and scripts, but that’s what In the Flow means, it means just flow with me, because you never know where I’m going to go.
NNG: Getting back to what you just mentioned about ad-libbing in scenes and letting things flow naturally, do you ever have any concerns about if the audience doesn’t get the meaning of a joke or impression in a particular scene?
AC: Nah, when you do comedy man, you gotta feed two different audiences. You gotta feed the new audience but then you also gotta cater to those fans that have been with you since the beginning. I like to make sure that when I do those improvs, that my core fans are fed. I know they’re going to get it, since they’ve been rocking with me for so long, and they know my voice. So I just go all the way in.
NNG: How do you choose the celebrities that you want to impersonate on the show?
AC: When I choose people, I just figure if it’s someone that I can do really well vocally and if it’s somebody that I can morph into physically. I like to be able to do both. That’s pretty much how I put it together.
NNG: Who are some of your favorite impersonations that you have done?
AC: Of course Jay, Kanye, Russell Simmons, Chris Rock, Drake, Manny Pacquiao, Dave Chapelle. All people who I’m fans of, I’m a fan of their work.
NNG: Has any of the celebrities that you have done impressions of given you their reactions?
AC: Pretty much everybody that I just named loved it. I haven’t met Pacquiao yet, and I haven’t seen Dave Chapelle in a while. But I pretty much do it in a respectful way. So for the most part all of those guys loved it.
NNG: So now, when the show premiered on August 14th, in one of the episodes you did a skit making fun of the whole ‘skinny jeans’ fashion trend, that we often see in urban culture. What are some of the trends that you look back on, and feel kind of get embarrassed by or regret?
AC: Well there’s always the Hammer pants era, the high top fades. I mean all that stuff is coming back now. I mean there’s always some type of crazy fad in every generation, that you look back on and regret.
NNG:What do you see as the future of ‘In the Flow’?
AC: I want to make history. It can go down in history like In Living Color did and really be an important voice for this generation comedically.
NNG: Going back to what you just mentioned about leaving a legacy with the show as In Living Color did in the early 90’s, how much did ‘In Living Color’ influence you?
AC: Tremendously , I grew up on Living Color. So all those guys Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Keenan Ivory Wayans, I’m fans of those guys. So just to be able to do what they do is a great accomplishment for me.
NNG: Aside from the show, what’s next for you?
AC: After the show, I’m back to the movies. I’m going to do what Will Smith did, and become the number one star in the world.