'White Famous' Stars Recall Favorite Moments on Set and What the Show Title Means to Them
"You have to see this first episode because the most ridiculous thing is actually in the episode," executive producer and guest star Jamie Foxx said.
The cast of White Famous reunited for a special screening of the first two episodes of their new Showtime series at the Jeremy West Hollywood Hotel in West Hollywood on Wednesday night. On the carpet, the stars were interrupting each other's interviews with friendly intentions, telling their favorite moments from filming while the cameras were off and on.
"On set, it's all inappropriate. I can't tell you. Let's just say me and Jay [Pharoah] both had a running competition on how many synonyms for the male reproductive organs we could come up with, and I won," said actor Utkarsh Ambudkar.
Replied star Pharoah: "I don't know if it was a competition. I think in his mind, he wanted to make it a competition, so he could keep saying stuff. We would say some ad libs, and it was all in good fun. I'd be like wait, what is that? We had fun on set. It's just a fun time, and we're a family. This is a great cast."
Ambudkar and Pharoah weren't the only ones having fun while filming. Actress Stephanie Simbari also had a few laughs on set.
"I really enjoy working with [co-star] Michael Rapaport because he is such a pro and doesn't ever seem to question his decisions," Simbari said. "There was this one scene where it was really insane, and he just kept coming back and being like, 'Let's go, let's go.' He was riffing. My job in the scene was just to laugh, and it could have easily become so boring and fake because I was like, how long can I fake laugh for, but he was doing something different every time, and it was just very fresh and present."
In addition to reminiscing on their favorite memories from taping, the stars reflected on the meaning of the series title, based on executive producer Jamie Foxx's career in Hollywood. The show stars Pharoah as Floyd Mooney, a young comedian whose star is on the rise. But the path to stardom is a minefield that Floyd must navigate to maintain his credibility while attempting to become "white famous."
"It's Jamie's life, but it also is just what we deal with in Hollywood," executive producer Tim Story said. "I think any person, whether you're an actor, director or writer, you know you kind of deal with stuff, and you kind of come to decisions, and you come to opportunities that you have to decide whether this is something you want to do, whether you can stay true to what you believe in, and I think that's what's cool about this show, and I think it will resonate with anybody that is kind of in this world."
Cast member Jacob Ming-Trent added, "I think white famous to me is a goal for us minority artists. Something that we strive towards, but I think we've got to get away from that as well, you know what I mean? I don't even like saying 'white famous' anymore and I think this show is going to crack that open a little bit."
At the screening, Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins also gave his insight on the show title's meaning.
"'White famous' is like, how far do I go for fame? What are the compromises? What part of myself can I compromise and what part can't I compromise? That's a very relatable idea," he said.
The series premieres on Showtime with back-to-back episodes Oct. 15 at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.