Courtney Lilly interview: ‘black-ish’ showrunner

“I’ve been on the show since season 1, we’re now getting into our eighth year and in those eight years, the entire television landscape has changed so much,” Emmy-nominated showrunner Courtney Lilly says when reflecting on the ABC family comedy “black-ish.”

“To be a network show, a family show that people are still paying any kind of attention to is exciting,” Lilly says. We talked with Lilly as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2021 Emmy nominees. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE 2021 Emmy nominations complete list: All the nominees for the 73rd Emmy Awards

In “black-ish”, a husband and wife (Emmy nominees Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross) struggle to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising their kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.

One of the highlights of this show is how it has never shied away from dealing with tough and sometimes controversial subject matter, with some of its best episodes not only aiming to make us laugh but also make us think. “We really try to make people laugh, especially within the Black experience,” Lilly explains. “I’m proud of the episodes that we did where we talked about the legacy of protesting and the way that it’s generational,” he adds. “That was a great conversation that we could have. It was very real and grounded and funny.”

Before his work on “black-ish,” Lilly was best known as a writer on the Emmy-winning “Arrested Development” and the WGA-nominated “Everybody Hates Chris.” This is his fourth Emmy nomination for “black-ish,” having earned three consecutive nominations as a producer from 2016 to 2018 in the Best Comedy Series category.

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UPLOADED Aug 16, 2021 8:49 am