Franchesca Ramsey to Create a Pilot for Comedy Central

By Sameer Rao Apr 19, 2017

Franchesca Ramsey will soon bring her instructional humor to a new Comedy Central project. The network announced yesterday (April 18) that Ramsey secured a pilot order for a still-untitled project, described as follows in the network’s press release

Led by Franchesca Ramsey, the most diverse set of comedians on TV will heal America through brutal comedy, surprising guests and breakdowns of the most pressing cultural issues you never knew you cared about. Who knew the awful truth was so hilarious?

The comedian and actress is best known for creating and starring in videos that unravel a contemporary issue related to racism or social justice. She frequently used this model while hosting MTV’s "Decoded," creating segments that addressed topics like slavery apologists and racist voter ID laws. Ramsey also brought this model to guest correspondent segments on Comedy Central’s now-defunct "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore." Ramsey will also executive produce the show. She is the second Black woman to headline a Comedy Central pilot; Jessica Williams also has a project in development.*

"It really feels like a logical next step in terms of the type of stuff I want to do, giving a voice to the voiceless and tackling some issues that I feel like other people aren’t talking about, but in creative and funny ways," Ramsey says told Toofab. She went on to explain her desire to shine a light on more comedians from underrepresented groups:

In reality, there are tons of unrepresented voices that we don’t see in comedy. I can’t name a mainstream disabled comedian. We have seen a lot more LGBT folks in comedy and TV, but I don’t know off the top of my head a trans comedian. I believe that person is out there and they’re super funny and talented, and we should give them a shot. Unfortunately, oftentimes people hire and give opportunities to people that look like them. They don’t realize how much their own internal lives or privilege gets in the way of looking for people outside of the traditional spaces where they always find people. It’s twofold—it’s definitely a problem, but it’s one that we have to stop just talking about, and instead really open the doors to people. And that’s what I really want my show to be. I don’t want it to be just about me. I want to pass the mic to people who I think deserve a chance to be heard.

Ramsey’s project is one of seven from creators of color announced yesterday. Here are the other six, with titles and descriptions from Comedy Central:

  • "The New Negroes"—Described by The New York Times as a show that "wants to do more than simply provoke laughter … Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle want to challenge ideas about what constitutes Black entertainment and expand the discussion about Black life in America."
  • "Alternatino"—Based on the Comedy Central digital series, a half-hour sketch show hosted and performed by Arturo Castro ("Broad City") as he attempts to navigate life as a modern Latino millennial—whatever that means.
  • "Power Couple"—Created, written and executive produced by Noël Wells (who is attached to star) and Flint Wainess, "Power Couple" is the story of Flint and Noel, a neurotic 20-something couple in Austin, Texas, navigating the existential horrors of the Internet age while constantly clashing with friends, neighbors and the absurdity of the world around them."
  • "Untitled Awkwafina Project"—This half-hour scripted narrative focuses on a heightened version of Nora Lum, better known as rapper Awkwafina, as she navigates the underground hip-hop community in Queens.
  • "Untitled Jak Knight Stand-up Project"—Jak Knight hosts an underground stand-up show featuring three comedians from different genres and a unique performance from an emerging musical artist.
  • "Untitled South Side Project"—Written by Bashir Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle and Sultan Salahuddin, this workplace comedy is set in and around a rent-to-own business on the South Side of Chicago (where the Salahuddins grew up).

"The New Negroes" has a series order, while the other five projects are in the pilot stage.

*Story has been updated.