Sheryl Lee Ralph brought a little bit of her own humor to her Abbott Elementary character, Barbara Howard. The Emmy-winning actress admitted that her character’s bit mixing up white celebrities and thinking they were Black was actually pulled from her own slip-up, which creator Quinta Brunson slyly included in a recent episode.
During a Tuesday (Oct. 25) appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Ralph revealed her real-life mistake became fodder for an Abbott Elementary cold open featured in the Sept. 28 episode “Wrong Delivery.”
After Barbara confuses Brian Austin Green and Bryan Tyree Henry in the episode, Brunson’s character Janine explains, “There are a bunch of white celebrities who Barbara thinks are Black.”
Turns out both Barbara and Ralph think “a bunch of celebrities” are actually Black, as Ralph herself admitted to host Kelly Clarkson.
“I made one mistake!” she said, before elaborating on the origin of the joke: “I just want to say, when you hear the name Darren Star, tell me you don’t think of a six-foot basketball player. Now you know Darren Star sounds like a Black man. Thank you! I got it wrong.”
Star is, in fact, the white creator of Sex and the City and Emily in Paris, but Ralph makes a convincing case. She owned up to another mistake too, telling Clarkson, “Now, you know Orlando Bloom. Tell me you don’t think think about a nice, bruising football player, Black man. Okay, so I got it wrong. It was the wrong Orlando.”
Brunson, who joined Ralph and co-star Lisa Ann Walter on Clarkson’s show, chimed in, “and it was funny!”
Clarkson, an American Idol alum herself, told Ralph her favorite line from the episode was “look at that little Carrie Underwood!” when Barbara really meant to say Kerry Washington.
“That was so good,” Ralph agreed.
Brunson explained how the bit came to be, telling Clarkson, “It was really funny to us in the moment because, it was me in my room, we didn’t understand the logic of how Sheryl saw it. We were like, so wait, is it Black actors who she thinks are white, or is it just a name mix-up? And I was like, what if it’s everything, and we can give that to Barbara and it’ll be good.”
Ralph, tossing her hands up, said, “Everybody seemed to love it.”
But Walter recalled that Ralph wasn’t too pleased about the joke initially, imitating her coworker’s reaction when she first read her lines.
“The day she opened the script and read it, the day [of] the table read, she literally went like this: ‘Quinta,’” Walter said with a cluck of her tongue. But Clarkson came to Brunson’s defense, telling her, “You can’t offer up that kind of material and just have it be wasted. That is amazing.”
Abbott Elementary airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on ABC. Watch the interview with Clarkson in the video above, and fast-forward to the 10:20 mark to hear Ralph’s comments.
Original posted at news.google.com