Have either you ever felt like the other person went too far?
S.S.: No, I say he needs to go further.
C.F.: A lot of angry people will tweet at us like, “This show’s so biased — the black guy says all these racist things and the white guy’s not allowed to.” No, I don’t want to! Also, black people are allowed to say things that white people aren’t because the oppressed have more leeway than the oppressor. That’s just the reality.
S.S.: Plus, white people can say stuff like, “I’ll take that mortgage!” Or, “The house is mine!”
C.F.: But liberals too often assume that if you’re on the top of the heap as white people, that you know that. Nobody walks around every day like, “It’s great to be me!” So when you see people allowed to say a word that you’re not allowed to say, you rightly or wrongly feel like you’re the victim. Everyone wants to be the victim.
S.S.: It’s like the ghetto. You brag about whose neighborhood is more dangerous. But white people do it, too.
C.F.: We have this other sketch coming up which is like a compilation album of drunk sorority girls’ favorite rap terms — like “fam” and “ghetto.”
Did you pitch this as a show explicitly about race?
C.F.: That’s what the show was, but we didn’t necessarily feel like it was going to be like, “We’ll heal the nation.” It was just going to be a fun social experiment. We just try to be funny and true to who we are. I think we’re two reasonably dumb but interesting people.
It’s also been very interesting because we’re on A&E, which has an audience that is not necessarily the kind of audience that would traditionally go for a show like this. If it was Comedy Central — and I’ve worked at Comedy Central a bunch — Comedy Central has a voice that they speak in. They’re a comedy channel, they have ways of doing things. A&E had none of that. This is a new thing for them. It’s been harder in a sense because it’s like hacking through a field that nobody’s farmed on before. But they’re like, “You’re the experts, we’re not.”
What have your studio audiences been like?
C.F.: Sometimes I’ll have difficulty when we’re taping, I’ll zone out for a bit because I want to watch the audience. It really is a racially mixed audience, and there’s a real dynamic at play. White people, they get very uncomfortable. Black people in the audience, when you say something they agree with, you hear it: “Yep, uh-huh.”
C.F.: It’s a really fascinating dynamic, and I love it. It feels like you’re watching a test case happen in front of you, of these very conversations we’re having.
Particularly the segment where you take anonymous questions from the audience.
C.F.: That bit is to me the most socially relevant part of the show. Bring your awkward questions to us — we are ok with each other so we can deal with it in a way that other people can’t. I just feel like opening a window and being like, “It’s ok, we can have this conversation — look, the world didn’t end.”
Black and White airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on A&E.