Comedian Roy Wood Jr. went from trying to get some airtime on This Is Not Happening to hosting the series, back for its fourth season on Comedy Central (Fridays at midnight).
Ive been working on stories for the past two years trying to get on the show, says Wood, 39, whos also a correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
The producers knew me and [creator and former host] Ari Shaffir knew me. Its Aris brainchild, and as a comic, I dont ever want to be the guy that steals the other dudes girlfriend. That was never the situation, Wood says. They decided to make a change at the top. Ari and I talked Its a very unique show. Theres no other show like it on TV. For me to host it is something I take very seriously. Its an art form of storytelling that, to be on TV in this short-attention-ass world we live in now, is a serious thing.
The series features comedians telling (hopefully funny) real-life stories about themselves. This season includes Baskets stars Louie Anderson and Martha Kelly, Howie Mandel, Lil Rel Howery and Tom Green, among many others.
These are established comedians and performers telling you things they probably wouldnt even tell their closest friends.
It takes a year to develop a story for this show, says Wood, a veteran stand-up comic who, in addition to his hosting duties, will also tell a few real-life tales this season. There are people in comedy clubs night after night polishing [their stories] and nipping and tucking, and I didnt want to turn down this opportunity. When it was presented to me, Do you want to take the reins? hell yeah.
These are people you already love telling you things about themselves you would never have found out otherwise established comedians and performers telling you things they probably wouldnt even tell their closest friends, he says. Howie [Mandel] talks about the time he fell off the side of the freeway and was covered in germs. Half of the stories are a little to vulgar for daytime or late-night talk shows. Jimmy Fallon would not let you sit on the [Tonight Show] couch and talk about the time you did cocaine by accident.
So what story will Wood share with viewers of This Is Not Happening?
The first story Im telling is the night I met [2 Live Crew member] Luther Campbell at a strip party at some guys house, he says. I was still in college [at Florida A&M] and somehow I ended up at a strip party at 20 years old with a room full of grown men. The man-to-stripper ratio was off; I was waiting in line to get a lap dance, the same way you wait in line to get a hot dog.
I thought that was the protocol when I went to a strip club for the first time.
Warning: Graphic language