JOHNNY WITHERSPOON, R.I.P.
In light of his passing, I’ve realized I’ve worked with Johnny Witherspoon more than any other actor. From the first time we worked together, I realized he was “comedy insurance” because he made sure whatever scene he was in was funny. He was also a great guy who you wanted to be around. I was looking forward to working with him again. Such a terrible loss. Love to his wife Angela and their kids.
All those memorable jokes, like “Public Enema”, were improvised by Spoon. The later bit in the bedroom with the hilarious Bebe Drake were actually scripted, with extra flavor from those two brilliant minds.
I knew I wanted Spoon and Bebe to return in the Thanksgiving scene for BOOMERANG. Since David Alan Grier’s character was so uptight, but from Detroit, I wanted to show the parents he was desperately not trying to emulate – Spoon, also from Detroit, is the perfect embarrassing parent. Ironically, both Bebe’s and David’s father worked in psychotherapy.
Whenever David and Martin were on set, crew members would cluster around them to listen in on whatever funniness they were up to. But Spoon and Bebe took it all to the next level. I remember going home that Friday with a headache from laughing too hard all day long.
I kept laughing all weekend over the joke that we should have David’s parents having sex in the bathroom. I woke up that Monday morning rushing to work to tell Eddie that we HAD to shoot it. Turns out he also had been obsessing over it all weekend and was rushing to tell me the same thing.
When we shot it, we laughed so hard we just kept doing take after take for our own enjoyment.
TIDE TV COMMERCIAL
I did a commercial for Tide and cast John Witherspoon. He was brilliant as always.
After his brilliant performance in HOUSE PARTY, the plan was for Robin Harris to star in BEBE’S KIDS, based on his comic routine. But he passed away before we could start production. So, to make sure he will always be remembered, I turned it into an animated movie instead.
We had an all-star vocal cast, including Johnny Witherspoon as one of the dirty old men checking out good looking women at the funeral.
One of Witherspoon’s most famous roles is Grandpa in THE BOONDOCKS. He was a no brainer and helped us define the Uncle Ruckus character as well.
THE LADIES MAN
The SNL production team doesn’t always love using comics that aren’t part of the SNL family, but Spoon was an integral part of this film. Sorry for the terrible resolution.
GEORGE CLINTON: MARTIAL LAW
This is my second video for George Clinton when he was signed to Prince’s Paisley Park Records. It’s full of cameos like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sinbad as Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk.
COSMIC SLOP was a Twilight Zone style anthology special I did for HBO. Spoon was in the segment my brother wrote and directed called THE FIRST COMMANDMENT. I can’t find a clip on YouTube!
Spoon and Cedric the Entertainer are bus drivers in this movie my brother and I produced. No clips for that on YouTube either!