Charles Malik Whitfield is known for being a true thespian. After starring in the 1998 miniseries “The Temptations,” the star has firmly left his mark on dramatic roles. But now he’s stepping outside the typical bounds of serious work and venturing into the world of comedy with a new sitcom from Bounce.
“Last Call” follows a retired NFL player named Darius Knight who has made some poor investments. After his manager takes off with his earnings, Darius uses his only remaining investment — a Baltimore bar named Last Call — to open a comedy club in the backroom.
Featuring a cast of characters played by the likes of T.C. Carson, Carl Payne, Brely Evans and Erica Page, Whitfield noted to Atlanta Black Star via phone on Monday, Dec. 17, that the other personas in the show “bring a light” to the production. Plus, producer Roger Bobb, known for his work on “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” will bring his signature stylings to the show.
Whitfield, who said the show has also drawn comparisons to the 1980s NBC sitcom “Cheers,” candidly said that venturing from drama series to a sitcom is “scary.” Such fear is reasonable. When it comes to his latest full-time starring roles, The actor is fresh off his turn as a police officer on OWN’s “If Loving You Is Wrong” and Rev. L.C. Pryce in Fox’s hit musical drama “Empire.”
The star said he hopes the show will help fans and fellow actors alike see him in a new light.
“I love doing comedy,” he said of his work on the show, which saw filming from beginning to end wrap in a head-spinning one month’s time.
“It’s a grind,” he said of the swift turnaround, “but you have to trust the process.” He said one of the benefits of working on a comedy is the opportunity to try a joke and rewrite it if need be.
Grind or not, Whitfield noted it’s “important” for a show like “Last Call” to be on TV, since young Black children need to see themselves represented on screen. And that’s fitting for a show airing on Bounce, African American broadcast network.
“It’s an insightful look at family,” Whitfield says, remarking on how a certain facet of his life not usually seen shows up in the role.
“Last Call” premieres on Bounce Monday, January 7, at 9 p.m. EST.