IFC's Sherman's Showcase has always been something special. Since it's inception, and as I explained in my review of its first season way back in 2019, this sketch show has championed Blackness in the most entertaining way possible: via unapologetically Black comedy. Now, in it's long-awaited second season, Sherm, Dutch and the rest of the gang have returned with even more "stock footage" and "behind the scenes" interviews from this fictional Soul Train-esque classic.
You know, I still remember being at an event a few years ago where I saw a preview trailer of Sherman's Showcase, and even though I was there to interview the lovely ladies of the Baroness Von Sketch Show, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thrilled by the possibilities of whatever this Sherman thing was going to be. Fast forward a few years, and I'm happy to say that the Showcase has yet to disappoint. The creative minds of Bashir Salahuddin (pictured at top) and Diallo Riddle are continuing to successfully mine the culture in order to come up with various over-the-top sketches and musical numbers that are, more often than not, surprisingly dope.
Celebrity cameos continnue to abound in season two. So far, they have included Happy Endings' Eliza Coupe (again), Issa Rae, comedian Michael Blackson, Insecure's Amanda Seales, Chance the Rapper (who showed his face for a literal two seconds) and Mr. John Legend, who returns as the same comically mischievous version of himself that he was last season. Last season his goal was sabotaging famed rapper/actor Common. Now, he's got his eyes set on the vests of none other than Joe in a Vest, played by Keith Bernard.
Big-name guest appearances aside, this second season has really given the ensemble cast of Sherman's Showcase an opportunity to spotlight their key players. They include people like Zuri Salahuddin, who is often seen as a member of the singing group RWSKY (they made "Drop It Low for Jesus"), Nikeva Stapleton, Nefetari Spencer, Devere Rogers, Will A. Miles, Rob Haze and Rodney Carter (who usually plays Frederick Douglas). Rounding out this talented group are Tiffany Daniels, Rob Haze and Thomas Hobson, who all do the most in the best kind of way. Bresha Webb is also an absolute favorite of mine; her Mary J. Blige character never gets old.
Most recently, Sherman's Showcase has taken a break from its usual focus of jumping through time and is instead focusing on "long lost tape" episodes, like "Sherman from Africa: Live from Lagos" and "The Sherman Showcase Awards: Missing at Sea." Some of the funniest stuff I've ever seen on Sherman was right there in those last two episodes. Besides a look at the ladies from the fictional Real Housewives of Nigeria -- who were hilariously all married to the same guy -- we also got to see the trailer for the equally fictional African movie, That's the Spirit.
That's the Spirit told the story of a soccer player named Moussa who only achieved success in the sport because his dead father's soul inhabited his ball and helped him win. It was definitely the kind of voiceover-laden '90s-style ghost movie I remember seeing as a kid, kinda like an African version of Angels in the Outfield. The best part is when he walks in on his mother lying in bed with the haunted soccer ball, who seems to be having a post-coital cigarette. Watching Moussa try to wrap his mind around the mechanics of what the hell just happened in that bed was a laugh-out-loud riot.
My favorite skit so far this season has to be the Wes Anderson-movie-inspired Forty Acres and a Blimp. It starts off as super accurate shot-for-shot parody of Anderson's iconic film style, which then turns into a story about how steampunk everything would be if America had become African America instead. Maybe it was just the Wes Anderson fan in me, but I couldn't help wanting to see a feature-length version of this idea. Bashir and Diallo writing a Wes Anderson flick that mainly stars Black people? The ticket basically sells itself.
Last, but certainly not least, is the music. I know not every song is actually sung by the actor singing it in the skit, but when Bashir sings just about anything, I can't help but be in awe, not only of the legitimacy of the grooves in the background, but also of the set of pipes he's been hiding underneath those luxurious blazers and iconic haircut. Sung by Salahuddin, who plays a heartbroken version of the villainous Sho'nuff (originally played by the late Julius Carry in The Last Dragon), Nuff's Ballad is so ridiculously good that I'm genuinely upset its not a longer song. And who can the forget the catchy Motown-style ballad Epaulets sung by the fictional group The Trenchcoats? It's a hard memory to shake, and honestly, why would you even want to try?
I could go on and on, because Sherman's Showcase is back with a comedic vengeance right now, but it's best if you just go watch it yourself. The only thing better than seeing the episodes that are out already, is realizing that we're only halfway through the current season.
Sherman's Showcase is telecast Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on IFC. It is also available to stream on AMC+.
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