Almost-30-Web-Series

Interview: 'Almost 30' Perfectly Highlights The Humor In The Come Up

Marriage? Kids? Your first home? Yeah, a lot of us thought that's what we'd accomplish by 30. But if you're like most 20 something year olds who haven't, the Almost 30 web series hilariously illustrates you're not alone. 

Thirty is an in-between age.

Some of your friends are getting married, having kids or at the very least, running 10Ks for fun, while the other half measure their success by being able to make it through the work week without transferring money from their savings to their checking. If your life more-so mirrors the latter, than the Almost 30 web series is your new Nutella.

Directed by former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry, the series follows three roommates, Justin (Michael Moss), Dream (Sherial McKinney), Ricky (Ricky Smith) and their friends as they bring their 20s to a close and attempt to get their affairs in order for the new decade. Each episode brilliantly walks the line between nostalgic '90s entertainment references, and modern day nuances, while showcasing how almost 30-year-olds deal with...well, life!

VIBE chopped it up with the hilarious cast – barely making it through the interview because of all the real life LOLs – about the inspiration behind the show, what viewers can take away from it and why Almost 30 is basically the bees-knees.

VIBE: So, how did you guys come up with the premise for Almost 30?
Matthew Cherry: Well, Michael and I used to be P.A.s (production assistants) for a show called Girlfriends, and we realized there was a lot of laughter in the come up and in trying to make it, so from there it was born.

Brittany Richards: We all know the struggle of going into a new decade and feeling like you didn't get as far as you thought you were going to get. It's so relevant to the audience that's watching, with all the '90s references because it makes you feel nostalgic and while you're feeling depressed and a little overwhelmed at the fact that you're not where you want to be, you look at the show and you feel happy and can remember being a little kid.

For fans who aren't aware, this is a reboot, yes?
Cherry: At the top of 2013, we shot a couple of episodes. We did an original pilot called Almost Engaged and then our second episode was called Almost Roommates. Everything was good, but just being candid, being new to the web series space we over extended our resources, but we still received a lot of love. It was always something we wanted to get back to. So we did a reboot because we know the pilot received about 100,000 plus views. Plus, Giovanni's character (Rico) is new. I actually saw him on VINE. Giovanni came in, auditioned for the role and was perfect for it.

Giovanni Watson: Look at God, right in the face. Just mean mug him. [laughs]

Not mean muggin the lord. (Laughs) So Giovanni, explain your character, because in the show, you play Rico who is dating Dream and you're kind of a asshole.
Watson: I know people like Rico, so when Matthew gave me the breakdown of the character, I familiarized myself with P. Diddy. The thing about Rico is, he's an asshole, but he's a sweetheart at the same time. He's a sweet ass.

The Entire Cast: PAUSE! (laughs)

Watson: He tries to do right. He tries to be sweet. But his assholness is so strong. When things are good, Rico has a way of messing them up.

One of my favorite scenes is in the Almost Roommates episode is when Justin and Rick learn Dream is actually a Michael Jackson impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard. How did you all come up with that?
Sherial McKinney: I would dress up every year as Michael Jackson for Halloween and I showed Matthew pictures of me dressed up one year, and that's kind of how he got the idea. I remember Matthew cracking the hell up when he first saw the pictures. He just felt like it was too weird to not put into the show.

Cherry: Exactly, plus Sherial also has a really strong jaw line like MJ so.. (laughs) But seriously, we thought it would just be funny. In that episode [when she becomes Justin and Rick's roommate] and throws down the rent money, people think she's a stripper, but she's really a Michael Jackson impersonator.

Where do you all pull your inspiration from to turn real life scenarios--like the Almost Healthy episode where everyone's trying to get fit--into an episode?
Ricky Smith: A lot of them come from our personal experiences. In the Almost Healthy episode, the roommates perform an intervention because of my eating habits, but I really do eat a lot of meat and bacon. Thirty is that age. Before in your 20s, you could eat McDonalds, but 30 is a turning point, where you notice you're getting older. Even though we're all African-American and different ages, we all come from different backgrounds and diverse places. We've all had the struggle, you know? We've all had the janky car. Just being in LA and trying to "make it" we've all been on that struggle bus.

Is that the same approach you take when inserting all the '90s references?
Michael Moss: We'll think of something funny, or somebody will mention something and we'll try and work that in. We'll come up with something like the 'Boyz n the Hood' spoof in the Almost Healthy episode and we'll say 'Okay, how can we work this in?'  There's no rhyme or reason to it.

Smith: You still kind of want to be relevant and use things people know. But there can be a spot in a [script] where 'so and so says this' and then Mike or I'll say 'Well, how about we do this?' We're all kind of in the same age group, I on the other hand graduated from Morehouse with Dr. Martin Luther King (laughs) but seriously, if it works and it makes sense, we go with it.

While the show takes a comedic approach to what most 20 something year olds are going through, will you guys touch on serious topics?
Cherry: We always want it to be relatable. The biggest crux of the show is what can we do so that way when people watch, they see themselves in it? Our fifth episode is Almost Promoted. That episode speaks to when you're working this regular nine to five and you think that if you work hard enough, your work will be recognized and you'll just automatically be promoted. A lot of times as we come to find out in our 30s, that's not the case. We also touch on church, we have an episode called Almost Saved (laughs) which is going to be pretty classic. We also have one called Almost Out The Friend Zone that I think a lot of people can relate to.

Okay, last question: It seems like you guys have a lot of fun working together. Do you?
Watson: One thing I really appreciate about what Matthew does is that he gives  the whole cast a lot of comedic improvisational range.  A lot of crazy stuff happens on set all the time. My aim every take is to make my scene mate break character or the cameraman bust out laughing. It's a real relaxed good vibe on set.

How do you guys get through a scene?
Moss: Oh, we don't (Laughs)
Smith: That's why we only have four episodes because it takes that long (laughs)Cherry: The thing I love most about the cast is that they always give more than what's on the page. We always have the script and a lot of lines are written as is, But they always find a way to enhance it.

To watch episodes of Almost 30, CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Web

More on Vibe

Dimitrios Kambouris

A$AP Rocky Says Beef With Travis Scott Is "Old" And "Played Out"

Harlem's A$AP Rocky hit the stage at the Rolling Loud festival this weekend. Between his set, the uptown-bred decided to unload a freestyle for his fans.

"Another victory be flawless like the skin on me, damn/Please don't compare him and me, you offendin' me," Rocky rapped. Many fans assumed that this was a line aimed at Travis Scott.

"This ain't a diss and we ain't enemies," Rockky continued. "They concerned with making hits, I'm more concerned with breaking history/The loudest n***a in the room the weakest/I guess them quiet dudes need better speakers."

Fans claim during ASAP Rocky’s set he dissed Travis Scott 👀 Do y’all agree or are they reaching? pic.twitter.com/L8CrTdjfIX

— The D.H. (@thedailyhood) October 16, 2019

Apparently fans didn't believe Flacko. He took to Twitter to further addressed the situation.

THAT ME N TRAVIS BEEF SHIT SO PLAYED OUT , LET IT GO

— LORD FLACKO JODYE II (@asvpxrocky) October 16, 2019

Over the years, A$AP Rocky has not been too happy about being compared to Travis Scott, however there has never been bad blood between the two rappers. Last year during an interview with Peter Rosenberg, Flacko praised the G.O.O.D Music artist.

"There's times when I feel like I pioneered a lot of shit, but don't get acknowledgement from certain people or artists. I think a lot of people see it too," Rocky said.

"I think Travis Scott... he makes cool music,"  he continued. "He just had a baby, I'm happy for that."

In other A$AP Rocky news, the "Purple Swag" MC opened up about his addiction to sex during an interview with Angie Martinez for her Untold Stories of Hip-Hop series on Wetv.

"I've been a sex addict for some time," he said. "I can't be embarrassed about it. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don't do nothing that I'm not proud of speaking on."

Continue Reading
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Ludacris To Assist Entrepreneurship In Entertainment Program At Georgia State University

Ludacris is celebrating his homecoming at Georgia State University in a memorable way. The school's former student now mega-star announced a program that'll set students down a path of entrepreneurship in the entertainment field. The university's Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) will receive the Atlanta native as an artist-in-resident this fall semester.

"Georgia State is one of the most innovative and diverse universities in the country," he said in a statement, per Georgia State University News Hub. "I couldn't imagine a better place to work with students than CMII." The program was founded in 2014 as a gateway for students to utilize their degrees to enhance Atlanta's music and film sectors and beyond.

In the late '90s, Ludacris pursued a degree in music management. Now, he'll be able to share tips and lectures on successful entrepreneurship and work in tandem with professors.

“Chris is an incredibly talented artist and has so much industry knowledge to share,” Brennen Dicker, CMII executive director, said. “We are excited to see how our students, and really the entire institute, will benefit from this great new partnership.”

Hey @ludacris, time to update your PantherCard! We’re excited to welcome Chris Bridges back to campus this fall as an artist-in-residence in @cmii_gsu. That’s #TheStateWay! https://t.co/mrMNXETPAE pic.twitter.com/ODj5tnuTz5

— Georgia State University (@GeorgiaStateU) October 15, 2019

Continue Reading
Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Jada Pinkett Smith In Talks To Reprise 'Matrix' Role

Earlier this year, it was announced that The Matrix would return for a fourth storyline. Although a release date has yet to be announced, box office names like Keanu Reeves, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Carrie-Anne Moss, and now Jada Pinkett Smith have been attached to the franchise's upcoming installment.

According to Deadline, Pinkett Smith may step into her previous role of Niobe from the films The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. Her agent is allegedly in negotiations with the movie's producers so it's not set in stone as of yet, but fans of the franchise hope to witness Pinkett Smith's appearance on screen. The Matrix premiered in 1999, depicting a sci-fi story of a battle between humans and machines.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pinkett Smith said her husband and fellow actor, Will Smith, auditioned for the lead role of Neo (played by Reeves). “I knew it would be revolutionary,” she said. He ultimately passed on the character, stating "I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would have ruined it, so I did y’all a favor.”

The mother-of-two auditioned for Trinity but the role ended up going to Moss. However, the movie's visionaries Lana and Lilly Wachowski wrote Niobe with Pinkett Smith in mind. “I thought Carrie-Anne was the perfect Trinity, and there was no way I could do what she did,” she said. “And that’s the only time in my career I’ve said that about losing a role.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories