It didn’t take long for Mike Epps and Kim Fields to know that they had a winning series on their hands when they joined Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes‘ new Netflix comedy, The Upshaws.
The show, which centers on a working, middle-class blended family, follows Epps as Bennie and Fields as Regina, a couple doing their best to make ends meet while juggling everyday family drama. Epps says Hicks and Sykes’ ability to bring in real conversations on work and life helped make the series feel “authentic.”
“They knew how to take my voice and combine it with a character,” Epps tells ABC Audio. “And I think if they [weren’t] able to do that, it wouldn’t have worked. My character wouldn’t have been able to work. I mean, it got to the point where sometimes I was like, ‘Are ya’ll watching me? Ya’ll really in my life? Like, how do ya’ll know this stuff?'”
“But, it worked,” Epps notes. “And that’s what makes good TV and comedy — when you can bring that real.”
Fields agrees, adding that if a show comes across inauthentic, then there’s really no way for it to survive on television. “Because audiences now — we’re so savvy. We can smell something that’s disingenuous a mile away,” she says. “And unless it’s on purpose for the character, we don’t want anything to do with it.”
To that end, Fields praises those behind the scenes, and her co-stars, for putting an amazing show “on the page” and then “breathing life into it.”
“[They] have done so much great stuff…[that] you’ve really got to bring your A-game with your process,” she declares.
The Upshaws, also starring Gabrielle Dennis, is now streaming on Netflix.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.