Actor Mark Curry made headlines on May 10 after a KTLA 5 reporter named Lauren Lyster failed to recognize the “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” star when she interviewed him alongside an unidentified driver and an Auto Club of Southern California spokesperson about the rising Los Angeles gas prices. Gas prices in LA have surged to more than $4 per gallon, in part reportedly because of demand from more people wanting to travel after delaying road trips and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as reduced fuel production as a result of refinery maintenance.
Curry starred on “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” with Holly Robinson Peete, Dawnn Lewis (of “A Different World”), Raven-Symoné, and Omar Gooding; the sitcom aired from 1992 to 1997 on ABC-TV. The show focused on the life of Mark Cooper, played by Curry, as he transitioned from being an NBA player to a teacher and basketball coach in Oakland, California.
In the segment, when Lyster added the clips of Curry’s portion of the interview at a local gas station, she referred to him on numerous occasions as an “L.A. driver.” To make matters worse, when his name appeared on the chyron, it read “Valley Village motorist” instead of his titled occupation, actor, comedian or host. Ultimately, toward the end of Lyster’s reporting, she mentioned who Curry was after receiving countless Tweets confirming his identity.
She said, while addressing the final clip which featured Curry, “Now I want to point out that I’ve been getting a few messages on Twitter [about] those interviews with the people in the gas station; that last one happens to be with the star of ’90s sitcom ‘Hanging with Mr. Copper.’ So yes, to the people who asked on Twitter, that is him. Only in L.A.”
Once LA Sports Radio shared the clip on Twitter the same day with the caption, “The news didn’t realize they were hanging with Mr. Cooper,” it became viral. The account also tagged the actor’s official Twitter page, to which he responded, “I’m a LA driver that’s who I am.” Upon viewing the video, R&B group En Vogue, which also sang the chorus of season one of “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” demanded the reporter put some “respeck” on Curry’s name.
That person wrote, “LA Driver? Put some respeck on @MarkCurry’s name!” Curry reiterated those sentiments by replying, “That’s right tell him LOL put some respect on my name.”
Other people couldn’t comprehend how the news station didn’t know who Curry was, given his extensive resume that includes many films, stand-up comedy specials, and guest starring roles in shows like “Living Single,” “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “Martin.”
“Lmao. How the hell they didn’t recognize Coop?????”
“HOW CAN YOU NOT RECOGNIZE THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND @MARKCURRY ?!?!?!?!?!”
“This LA driver”
“How did the news not know they were talking to Mark Curry? SMH.”
Aside from that particular interview, this isn’t the first time Curry has asked people to put some “respect” on his name and his craft. Last year, the stand-up comedian called out Steve Harvey for stealing his jokes — which poked fun at his homemade Halloween costumes he had to wear as a child — and using it on his former daytime television show.
He said during an interview with “The Mike & Donny Show,” “When he was on that bullsh–t talk show he had, he did all my Halloween material one Halloween.” Curry added, “Somebody called me and said, ‘Homeboy doing your material.’ He did my whole Halloween run, and I know he didn’t think of it. This was true stuff that really happened to me.”
Harvey later denied the allegations, to which Curry clapped back by posting some receipts, a 1999 clip from the stand-up routine that looked eerily similar to Harvey’s 2015 skit.