While comedy continues to be a platform apart of the ever changing media; one company is doing it’s part to help comedians and creatives to get out their content. Media company Comedy Dynamics of the Nacelle Company has consistently served as a player in the comedy world. Comedy Dynamics has produced everything from an upcoming show with Anthony Anderson on the Animal Planet to some of Louis CK’s best work. This year they are teaming up with Kevin Hart to not only deliver something comical but after talking with show-runner Brian Volk-Weiss will look to open a few people’s eyes on the perception of black history.
As previously mentioned by Comedy Hype; Volk-Weiss and his team will be produce “Kevin Hart Presents: The Black Man’s Guide to History”. The special feature will highlight some untold moments in black history. Volk-Weiss tells us his favorite of the untold stories, life with Comedy Dynamics, and of course comedy.BV:
CH: How did this particular project, ‘Kevin Hart Presents: The Black Man’s Guide to History’, come together?
BV: The idea believe it or not started when I was in the eighth grade. I had read about this guy named Robert Smalls, who is like the most unbelievable bad-ass. He was a slave who was working on a (Confederate) boat in which he ended up stealing it and taking it to Abraham Lincoln. Saved his family and was literally a “bad-ass!”. Originally I wanted to do a movie about him because he was this …. bad-ass and no one knew who he was. For years I have been obsessed with him. So recently while working on projects with The History Channel; they know of my love of history and relationship with Kevin that all of those things came together. The shows is not just about Robert Smalls but it’s about people like Robert Smalls from African American history. They either did important things that no one knows about or had some awesome bad-ass stories that no one knows about.
CH: What other stories like Robert Smalls stood out for you apart of the show?
BV: Mae Jemison’s story is amazing. Right now NASA is ran by a black guy so people forget what it was like 30-40 years ago. Jeminson was inspired by Uhura from Star Trek and decided to be an astronaut. At that time 100% of all people that had been in space was white. She literally just called NASA; and whoever answered the phone told her “You probably have to become an engineer and join the military….”, and that’s what she did. Another story is Henry Box Brown, he was a slave that worked on a loading dock for years and noticed the mail system was getting better and better. He basically asked himself, ”Why don’t I mail myself to freedom?”. And that’s literally what he did. He found some people who were anti-slavery in Massachusetts, he found some people in his hometown and literally put himself in a box and was mailed to freedom.
CH: What research went in to the project with Kevin?
BV: I’m a huge history buff and a about a third of the people were people I knew of since the 8th grade. We hired a lot of producers and researchers. To be completely honest with you there were a lot of people that we couldn’t put in the show because of time. We only had two hours. We could do a sequel tomorrow. There’s are a lot of people out there like that.
CH: Shifting things a little bit, with you being a veteran in the comedy industry, what’s your take on social media becoming an influencer in comedy these days?
BV: Back in the day it was about executives picking people who America was going to like. In the beginning of my career it was about that. Now it’s about, “Wow you’re selling that many tickets, America likes you, let’s do a deal!” Which is smart. A lot of people are saying business is getting worse but from my point of view it has gotten better. It was a very un-Democratic process when I started and it’s very Democratic now. I’ll talk to buyers now and give them a name they never heard of and one of their first questions is, “How’s their social media numbers?” I get that it might annoy some people but to me it seems pretty fair. Yes, the most important thing is to be funny but compared to how things were before I think this is much better.
CH: With you being the lead force for Comedy Dynamics, as an entrepreneur what motivated you to get to this point now? Past those obstacles.
BV: It’s Interesting question I get asked a lot now but if you ask me in six hours or in six days it could be a different answer. I don’t have any event. There was nothing like Batman’s story; his parents got killed and he became Batman. I don’t have that story. I truly think most entrepreneurs don’t have that. Just by the nature of my personality I was never the guy who worked his way up a corporate ladder. I never tried but that’s not me. I knew I had to do it myself. I realized that back in 1998 that business was shaping in a way that someone starting out could go out an do their own thing. The other thing I mentioned is that I’m a huge history buff and read how Warner Bros. and Disney were built.
CH: Why is comedy important to you?
BV: I’m not one of those people that can say I was into comedy since 8 years old. It was when I got to LA that I really started to appreciate what it took to make people laugh on cue. It started with an ingrained respect for people who did it. Then I became obsessed with it. I bought all the Carlin and Bill Hicks. I completely fell in love with it. I been very lucky that I was able to turn a hobby into a career.
CH: What’s new outside of Kevin Hart Presents: The Black Man’s Guide to History that we could look out for?
BV: We have a really cool show with Anthony Anderson coming out on Super Bowl Sunday, called Animal Nation. I love animals. Who doesn’t love animals? Anthony Anderson is hosting the show. It’s the first talk show ever where the animal comes first. The animals bring a celebrity. It’s very humorous. We had a huge research department that people just found clips doing cool stuff or funny stuff. That’s one thing we are excited about.
As of now an exact launch date has not been revealed on Hart’s upcoming project with Comedy Dynamics but we will keep you posted once it’s revealed. This is an exciting time for comedy and entertainement, as more people are empowered to bring to life some of the things they personally enjoy along with their childhood memories.
BY J. WILL