Comedian Kevin Iso on the evolution of ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’ from web series to TV show
“The idea was to create something that was more long term. We put the whole thing together and conceptualized it with interstitials and everything”
Comedian Kevin Iso is the writer and co-creator of Flatbush Misdemeanors, a show about two friends struggling to climb out of their heads and connect with others, while thriving in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
The Showtime half-hour comedy offers a funny, and at times raw, take on serious issues like gentrification, racial disparities in wealth, and mental health. Flatbush Misdemeanors is inspired by the award-winning indie web series of the same name that began in 2017 with a zero budget.
“Four years ago, we were working on a version of something that wasn’t this, but we were playing the same characters,” Iso said during an interview with theGrio. “The idea was to create something that was more long term. We put the whole thing together and conceptualized it with interstitials and everything”
“Not having any money forces you to be creative,” Iso added. “You find different ways to tell stories when you can’t afford to explode a car or whatever the hell you might want to do.”
Iso collaborates with his friend, Dan Pearlman, on the series, where the pair play fictionalized versions of themselves and bring to life some of their real-life experiences. The show packs a hard-hitting message around policing in urban communities, and Iso opened up about the recent news of Black men who have lost their lives to preventable police violence.
“It’s such a tragic thing. I can’t even watch the videos [of police violence] anymore, because I know the mood it puts me in. It’s like every fu***ing summer something happens and everybody’s outside protesting,” Iso said. “When you live inside of something so much, the only way I can learn to cope with anything is to laugh at it.”
There are undeniable comparisons between the tone of Flatbush Misdemeanors and that of Donald Glover’s Emmy-winning series Atlanta. Something that Iso now finds immense value in, but he admits that wasn’t always the case.
“I don’t think this show gets picked up if Atlanta doesn’t exist,” Iso said.
He went on to explain that, in 2016 when saw the announcement for Atlanta, he was “kind of sour,” because the idea for Flatbush Misdemeanors was already in his mind. Then when he finally watched the show, loved it, and realized it might help open doors for his show to be greenlit.
“When you have something that is an Emmy award-winning show, it’s proof that it works,” the creator explained.
Originally from Houston, Iso began performing stand up comedy all across Texas before moving to New York. He was named a New Face at the 2019 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and was one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch. Last year, Iso appeared alongside Zoë Kravitz in High Fidelity.
The cast for Flatbush Misdemeanors includes Hassan Johnson, Kareem Green, Kristin Dodson, and Nastaran Dibai. Along with Iso and Perlman, the series’ other executive producers include director Justin Tipping and showrunner Nastaran Dibai, along with Avalon’s Richard Allen-Turner, Jon Thoday, David Martin and Chloe Pisello.
You can catch Flatbush Misdemeanors on Sunday nights at 10:30pm EST on Showtime.
Chris Witherspoon is the Founder – CEO of the app PopViewers, and an entertainment contributor for theGrio.com.
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