words by Miller
The funny thing about racism is… I’m gonna stop right there. The end of that sentence has come from many different perspectives over the years. Somewhat recently, people like Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, and Tina Fey have finished that sentence to the delight of comedy nerds everywhere. Other comedians and comediennes of the less talented variety have simply disguised racism as humor or based their entire acts off of tired stereotypes to get cheap laughs off of stupid people.
Really talented people are aware that the end of that sentence has changed over the years and it changes all of the time. Racism has probably existed for as long as people of varying skin colors have interacted, and it will probably exist in one form or another for as long as people feel like they need an excuse to feel superior to each other. However, as long as it is around, it will also be kinda funny sometimes, too. Perceptive comedians and comediennes are able to poke fun, not just at racism in general but at the particular racism that exists in their world.
Issa Rae is one of those talented people who can identify that particular racism that exists in the world around her and make fun of it in a way that is intelligent, perceptive, and hilarious. However, to say that her brilliant web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” is about racism would be about as accurate as calling the Bible a book about the Middle East.
“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” (or “ABG”) is a series of 12 episodes (and hopefully more to come) about a young woman named J (Rae), in Los Angeles, who works with a bunch of weirdos and just can’t seem to make it through the day without a few uncomfortable situations and moments that border on bizarre. Basically, it is just like your life, but possibly through the eyes of someone younger, funnier, and of a different race and gender than you. J has a few allies and a few enemies, but mostly her life is just filled with people who make her feel out of place no matter where she goes.
J has an awful job, a painful awkwardness about her, limited skills as a gangsta rapper, and a crush on two boys. One of the boys is black an one of the boys is white, but they are both nice guys who really seem to like her in spite of how awkward she happens to be while she is with them. The black guy, Fred, is a guitar playing coworker who drives J’s nemesis (and boss) Nina mad with jealousy every time he looks J’s way. The white guy, White Jay, is a friend of Fred who J awkwardly meets at a party and begins socializing with to varying degrees of success.
Although the love triangle storyline is nothing new, ABG takes a fresh approach by almost making it impossible to believe that these three people could accomplish any social goal, especially one as complicated as forming a relationship. White Jay takes J to meet Donald Glover (the rapper/comedy genius who stars on “Community” and used to write for “30 Rock”) and tells Glover how he thinks that Donald’s father Danny is such a great actor. Fred spends half the series trying to escape from the clutches of the jealous and possessive Nina while J falls all over herself trying to get him to notice her.
The first few episodes are so glaringly low budget that one might be a little put off, but they are essential (much like the less funny first season of “Parks and Recreation”) in establishing the characters who will make you convulse with laughter by the 5th or 6th episode. You might want to catch this show now before it becomes even more successful and Issa Rae becomes world renowned as a writer and an actress. This show is why the internet is awesome. Catch all 12 episodes on YouTube or on the ABG website so maybe you can find out what the funny thing about racism is too.
When Miller isn’t sporting a Windsor and yelling “Objection your Honor, my client doesn’t WEAR underwear..”, he’s stretching out his sweat pants in the luxury of his living room to write down words for your mind grapes. Until next time.