Queen of British comedy Angie Le Mar revealed she’s heading to the US to work with the producers behind Tyler Perry Studios on her gospel musical Take Me Back, fulfilling a long-time dream to work with the production company.
Angie sat down for an exclusive chat with Melan contributor, Marianne Miles in the first Melan Mag Interviews online series, where she shared some uncomfortable truths about racism in the TV and media industry and why Black comedy now thrives better in America.
Covid-19 has unavoidably postponed production on some of the comedian’s work but it has by no means derailed her ambitions to make her mark outside of the UK.
She said: “I’m actually working on a new play so that will be next year. With [everything] this year, it’s been a madness. I’m writing a sitcom – I’ll get back to filming The Ryan Sisters and then Take Me Back, my gospel musical, is going to Atlanta. We’ve got Tyler Perry Studios’ producers on that now and I tell you this, when that information comes out, it’s just awesome because I’ve always wanted to work on their productions. I want to go and work on Sistas, The Oval, the whole lot and just go. It’s time now.
“I don’t feel like I’d waste any more time in England. I’ll always work in England – I’ll be based here for parts of the year – but it’s time to step it up now and base myself in Jamaica. Jamaica’s where my heart is.
When producers at Tyler Perry Studios read the script, the team told her they had to have it. The musical, written and directed by Angie, toured the UK in 2018, and follows two young girls who formed a friendship being at church with their mothers, but whose lives led them down two different and painful paths. It will be resurrected in the US but with an American cast.
“I don’t feel like I’d waste any more time in England. I’ll always work in England – I’ll be based here for parts of the year – but it’s time to step it up now and base myself in Jamaica. Jamaica’s where my heart is.”
“That took the pressure off actually because to try and move a cast over – it’s a lot,” she added.
These weren’t the only big plans unveiled to Melan. For anyone wanting to see more of Angie, she is pulling up a seat at her own table by producing a talk show called Enough where nothing is off limits.
She said: “It’s by a Black woman for Black women…I’ve always wanted to get Black women in a room talking, so I found a studio run by a Black woman and I’m just going to get Black women in there, make our own table talk and no holds barred. I’m so looking forward to that.”
Another area the playwright and director has been keeping it real is with comedy pals Eddie Nestor and Curtis Walker whose show #NoJoke, livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube, where you can see the trio discuss current affairs.
An Instagram post from Eddie suggested this week Sunday could be the last episode, but with fans unwilling to let #NoJoke go, Angie hinted to Melan that the web series could become a regular podcast.
She said: “I was getting lots of requests to talk about Black Lives Matter and race and I was deliberately just being quiet because I’ve got so many views. [But] I’m watching people talk about their stuff and I think: ‘I’ve lived through that. I’ve experienced it as a Black woman’. You go through so much…so a lot of it was regurgitating stuff and then, I don’t really want to speak.
“People always want to talk to me about Black stuff. If there’s a crime, they’ll be like: ‘Angie, can you speak about that?’ and I’ll say: ‘Well, I like to talk about walking my dog and gardening as well if that ever comes up’ – you know? So, when Eddie called me and said: ‘Angie, we need to talk. We need to voice ourselves because we are comics and comics are social [commentators],’ I said: ‘OK, let’s do it’. It was supposed to be a one-off, but it just blew up.”