‘No place like home’: The cast of ‘227’ reunites

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Nearly 25 years have passed since the hit show 227 made its debut. The cast got together for a reunion on The Today Show. Afterward, they sat down with theGrio to discuss how black television has changed since their show went off the air.

Co-stars, Marla Gibbs, Jackée Harry, Hal Williams and Curtis Baldwin all agreed the success their show had was a direct result of comedies that preceded them.

“You had Norman Lear who was interested in doing these things,” Gibbs said. “He would have five shows on at the same time.”

“He spun off Isabel Sanford from All in the Family. And then Marla came on and she was successful as Florence and then she spawned 227. So it’s a link,” Harry recalled.

But they say there has been a change in black comedy since they were on the air.

“There aren’t that many. I think something may have even just got canceled,” said Harry.

Even with the shows on television today, Hal Williams believes they lack a comedic formula.

“They’re shows of one-liners. We had stories. We had problems. We had a way to come together and solve the problem,” he said.

For them, the key is to mix comedy with reality.

Harry said, “We’re just as interesting today as we were back then but we have to mix it with something else. I think that’s the evolution of comedy.”