Last week during the THOR: RAGNAROK event, we had chance to stop by the ABC TV studios to screen a brand new episode of the new fall comedy, “The Mayor.” After the screening, we interviewed two of the show’s stars – Bernard David Jones and Marcel Spears. If you’ve never seen an episode of “The Mayor,” you’re missing out. Read on to see what these two stars had to say about acting alongside pros Lea Michele and Yvette Nicole Brown as well as their responsibility to the country and their communities.
About “The Mayor”
In ABC’s “The Mayor,” Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) runs for mayor with the help of his two buddies Jermaine Leforge (Bernard David Jones) and T.K Clifton (Marcel Spears) as a publicity stunt to get more eyes on his rap music.
No one is more surprised than Brandon or his mother Dina Rose (Yvette Nicole Brown) when he wins the election. Instead of turning down the job like he initially wants to, he decides to try and actually make the changes he promised his community. With the help of former classmate Valentina Barella (Lea Michele), Courtney Rose settles into his new role as mayor and quickly learns that leadership isn’t as easy as it looks. The show also guest stars the hilarious David Spade as the always grumpy Councilman Ed Gunt. You can watch an extended trailer below!
Interviews with Marcel Spears and Bernard David Jones
As we were finishing up our interviews, I wrote this down in my notes about “The Mayor.”
“It’s a show for families, about families, and with a cast that’s like a family.”
This isn’t a direct quote from the interview. It’s not something anyone specifically said. It’s just the impression I got of the show after screening an episode and dissecting the show in detail with two of the show’s stars. At first glance you may not think family is a central theme in “The Mayor,” you’d expect something more along the line of politics or racial tension or even poverty lines. Look deeper and it’s there, family is all over the place in the only new comedy that ABC picked up this fall.
I love the show for that.
We had the chance to interview these two guys who at the end of the day are just like us – doing their best to live a dream. When we walked in the room, they each gave us individual hugs and genuinely seemed excited for us to be there. They sat on a table in the room as we screened an episode, and you could almost hear them thinking I hope they love it, beaming when we laughed at the jokes, and jumping in to ad lib when the unfinished cut we were watching was missing the all-important music.
Then they sat in front of us and answered our questions including tough ones like “how do you feel about taking on a politically flavored show at this time in our country’s climate,” and “will there be an opportunity on the show to address the inequality in education in lower income communities?” They answered the questions with humility, honesty, and understanding of the responsibility they as artists have as Bernard put it,
“…to hold a mirror up to our country, our world, and say, this is what’s going on.”
And he continued with one of the other reasons I’m now a huge fan of the show – how we fix those problems.
“I think our show is an awesome representation of what happens when somebody that has a heart for people, that understands community and unity, leads with love. How that can affect a community…He didn’t mean to win… But he didn’t stray away from the responsibility. He took it head on, and I think that’s a good lesson for all of us. If there’s something going on in your neighborhood that you want to change, take leadership.”
If that’s the lesson “The Mayor” is teaching, I’m all in. I think everyone could use a bit more love and kindness these days, especially when it comes to politics and leadership.
It’s also important to note that while the show touches on a lot of different issues, the show handles the issues with a bi-partisan approach. There are no parties or specific lines drawn and according to the actors, there are no plans for lines to be drawn anytime soon. And that’s on purpose.
Photo Credit: Allison Waken | AllForTheBoys.com
When asked if the show was family-friendly, Bernard responded,
“I think that’s what’s important about our show… you can gather the family together, sit down and watch a show, and then maybe discuss some of the issues that are happening.”
He also noted that the show’s creator Jeremy Bronson created characters that kids can look up to with jobs like Mayor and Director of Communications, jobs they can aspire to become some day.
“… this is one of those shows you can sit down as a family and watch. It’s one of those shows that your kids can grow into like, they watch an episode now, they don’t catch everything. They watch it again when they’re a little older and, and they see things that they never understood or didn’t comprehend.”
I’m already seeing that in just the few episodes I’ve watched. You can almost feel these characters growing up in front of your eyes from a wannabe rapper (and his sidekicks) who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt to responsible young adults who realize how much impact they really can have on their local community. I hope that kids are watching with their parents and between laughing at the jokes, learning that lesson too.
One of my favorite parts of the interview was when they started talking about their cast mates. The respect and admiration was heard in their every word as they spoke about their fellow actors.
About Yvette Nicole Brown (Dina Rose), Bernard said,
“She just has a heart. That’s just her. When you see her in these interviews, it’s not Hollywood. It’s not fake. It is genuine.”
The compliments from Bernard continued for Brandon Micheal Hall (Courtney Rose),
“He’s young, but his ability to be a leader onscreen and off screen is amazing.”
And on Lea Michele (Valentina Barella), Marcel remarked,
“Lea’s like the sister of the group. She got three new brothers that she loves, but also doesn’t know if she wanted.”
Last but not least, when one of the bloggers asked if David Spade (Ed Gunt) is as creepy as he always seems in shows, both of the guys responded that he’s way cooler. Then proceeded to tell us about a time that David Spade laid prostrate on the floor just to play a joke on them. I wish I’d been a fly in the room when that all went down.
Listening to them speak about their co-stars, it was like listening to a family talk about each other. And Marcel confirmed that when he quickly added that the cast is like a family.
Just like the cast is like a family offscreen, they’re like a family on-screen as well – a non-traditional family unit where Dina Rose has basically raised not only her son Courtney but also his two best friends. As Bernard put it
“You normally see mom, dad, two kids, and it’s great, you know, but that’s not the family unit on our show. Our family unit is a woman who had a child young, but she didn’t just raise him. She kind of raised two other guys and so what does that look like in a community? Just being able to see a different type of Black family on television is amazing…”
You’ve always heard it takes a village and in “The Mayor,” they’re showing what that village looks like in actual communities. And I’m enjoying every minute of it.
Watch “The Mayor” Tuesdays on ABC
You can catch all new episodes of “The Mayor” every Tuesday night on ABC from 9:30/8:30c. You can also catch the latest episodes on demand or on the ABC app. Follow along for all the latest updates.