“Sherman’s Showcase” boasts a slew of well-known customer stars along with John Legend, Quincy Jones and Nigel Lythgoe.
And for many who’re questioning why you in no way heard of the series, that’s because of it doesn’t exist within the precise world. “Sherman’s Showcase,” premiering Wednesday (10 p.m.) on IFC is produced by Legend and created by Emmy-winning “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” alums Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. It’s a half-hour sketch-comedy which chronicles the historic previous of a fictional ’70s and ’80s music/variety current hosted by the fictional Sherman McDaniels (Salahuddin).
“The idea came from a couple of places,” says Riddle, 42, who met Salahuddin as soon as they’ve been every within the similar acapella group as Harvard school college students. “I remember one time we had just come offstage at ‘Fallon’ [and] we had done a sketch where Bashir looked like James Brown and I looked like one of his backup singers, and we sang all these songs about space to the tune of old R&B. I was like, ‘That was so much fun, how can we do this more often?’ That was the first inkling of the idea.”
Each episode of “Sherman’s Showcase” takes the viewer by the use of conditions in Sherman’s life and the historic previous of his current, along with segments on fictional musicians who acquired their start on “Sherman’s Showcase” and the historic previous of its background dancers. It even has pretended commercials a la “Saturday Night Live.”
“The devil really is in the details,” says Salahuddin, 43. “In some ways, it’s a send-up of a classic music dance show — ‘Midnight Special,’ ‘American Bandstand,’ ‘Soul Train.’ But because we picked that structure, dance variety … we can do sketches about the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. It gave us the skeleton onto which we could hang bits and music covering any part of human existence.”
Salahuddin says they didn’t should evaluation the historic previous of music, as a result of it’s been part of their lives for thus prolonged, from their days in college to their stint on “Late Night” from 2009-2011.
“If you were to go to ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ in 2009, if you went into the band room on the sixth floor, you’d see Diallo and Questlove arguing about who gave James Brown the specific sound on his drums or who was playing bass in Bowie’s band in the late-’70s,” he says. “There’s a vein of incredible musical nerd-dom that is who we are. Luckily for us, we picked a show that lets us make sketches about it and have fun with a thing we already love to death.”
The pair had no trouble getting Legend on board as a producer. He moreover appears as himself on the current, musing about Sherman and his effect on the music enterprise.
“We had been friends with John Legend for years,” says Riddle. “And we said, ‘John, work with us on this music-based comedy show, we got the idea for you.’ He wrote back in a simple e-mail: ‘Let’s do it.’ So we were off and running.”
From there, they stacked their bench of supporting players with enormous names along with Tiffany Haddish, Common and Damon Wayans Jr.
Salahuddin says that of their time at “Late Night, “we discovered that there are many musicians who really want to show you that they can be funny, too.”
For the event, Common shocked them collectively together with his comedy chops when he guest-starred in an episode.
“I liken it to the early seasons of ‘SNL,’ when Lorne Michaels was like, ‘We’re going to get Albert Brooks to do a short film, we’ll get this guy Jim Henson who’s a buddy of a buddy to come deal with these puppets, but he calls them Muppets,’ ” says Salahuddin. It wasn’t even all comedy. It was all the very best points going down in and around Manhattan and LA, and [Michaels] was inserting them on that stage.
“Similarly for us, we want ‘Sherman’ to feel unbound and chaotic — so one episode you might see Tiffany Haddish eating soup [and in] another episode you might see Quincy Jones doing jokes.”