Anyone familiar with the work of writer comedian Chris Spencer knows he pushes boundaries for laughs. Now, the co-creator of The Real Husbands of Hollywood is taking that leap again. In his upcoming new film, I Really Hate My Ex; Spencer plays a man kidnapped by his ex-girlfriend because she wants relationship closure.
Here, Spencer candidly talks about everything from his new film, to his guest-starring role on Being Mary Jane to how he owes his career to the Wayans family.
I Really Hate My Ex is an edgy and quirky Black romantic comedy.
We need this. Usually when we do a romantic comedy it’s pretty basic. We don’t get to be quirky and goofy. If we go goofy, we go real goofy. We never get to be subtle. I feel like in this movie we got be quirky and subtle.
Was that the reason why you were attracted to the script?
Yes. Plus, Troy Byer (screenwriter of BAPS) is a genius. I love her work and her sensibilities. She doesn’t write stereotypes. She doesn’t write basic characters. That’s what I like about her.
As the co-creator of Real Husbands of Hollywood, why do you think the show was an immediate hit?
It was timely. No one had ever done anything like this—to spoof all those Housewives shows— before. And we realized men are just like these women. They are catty and backstabbing and guys also realized that too. Plus, guys enjoy making fun of themselves and women love laughing at them too. It didn’t hurt that Kevin Hart was the hottest person in the land.
How much is scripted and how much is adlibbed?
We write the script and then BET President of Programming Stephen Hill usually says, “Make sure you give me the first draft.” He usually loves the script, approves it and he says, “All the people with that natural gift, let them improv.” So people of course like Kevin, Duane Martin, Boris Kodjoe, Nick Cannon and JB Smoove, they all have that ability to improv. And whatever becomes the best take is what gets edited into the show.
You were also a guest star on the season’s premiere episode of Being Mary Jane. It was great to see you in a dramatic role. Will you be returning?
Tell [Being Mary Jane creator] Mara Brock Akil to bring me back! I’ve done a few dramatic roles but usually they go straight to DVD [Laughs]. I had fun playing the role. My character on the show, Chris, comes back one more time this season. The rest is up to Mara and Salim [Akil].
Finally, you credit the Wayans family for starting your career. Can you explain your history with them?
I started off opening for Damon Wayans on the road. A lot of comedians go a different route where they have to be the opener. They usually stay at some comedy condo and it’s a piece of crap and they are making $200 dollars a night. My experience was the opposite. Damon saw me, grabbed me and had me doing theatres. I was in limos and five star hotels very early in my career. From there, Shawn and I became really good friends and we wrote a book together called, 150 Ways to Tell If You’re Ghetto. Then, I did a movie called Sixth Man with Marlon. I also did Blankman with Damon. I did Low Down Dirty Shame with Keenan, and I also did Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood with Marlon and Keenan. The first half of my résumé is all Wayans. Those guys got me into the business.
I Really Hate My Ex arrives on DVD April 14
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(Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)