“It was a beautiful, wonderful, exciting and surprising thing. That was genuine surprise and excitement that you saw,” recalls Anthony Anderson about announcing the 2016 Emmy nominations live with Lauren Graham and finding out that he had two nominations for “Black-ish” as both a producer and a performer (Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actor). His co-star Tracee Ellis Ross also earned a nomination for Best Comedy Actress. Watch our interview with Anderson above.
That 2016 Emmy windfall for “Black-ish” is an improvement from 2015, when Anderson’s bid for Best Comedy Actor was the show’s only nomination. “Tracee was there to support me last year, but we are going together as a family this year — not just as a show, as a family,” says Anderson. “That will be one of the crowning moments of all of our careers if we come home with the trophy.”
For his Comedy Actor nomination, Anderson has submitted the episode “Hope” to Emmy judges. Written by series creator Kenya Barris, the episode shows the Johnson family processing a police shooting and the ensuing protest. “It was sparked by [Barris] sitting at home watching the unrest in Missouri. His two small boys turned to him — they were maybe five and seven at the time, if that — and said, ‘Dad, why is everybody so angry?’ It forced him to have a conversation about the climate of race, police brutality and civil unrest with his young children that he didn’t think he was ready to have.”
Anderson has also had personal experiences that informed the episode. “Growing up in Compton, California — and Kenya grew up in Inglewood, California — we both had our experiences with the police. We’ve both lived through civil unrest with the Rodney King verdict … so when the words were on the page we just lived that moment again on set and just had the cameras roll.”
“Black-ish” returns for a third season this fall and welcomes a new character played by recent Tony-winner Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”), who plays Anderson’s brother-in-law. But Anderson isn’t intimidated by Diggs’s breakthrough success. “He showed up to work the very first day with his Tony, like that meant something … My two Peabodys could jump the Tony. I’ve never seen a Tony win a fight against two Peabodys, and my Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Best Fart in ‘Kangaroo Jack’ — you cannot top that.”
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