January 31, 2023
This episode is giving post apocalyptic scaredy cats! It’s giving stand out child actor stars and it’s giving perfect comic timing with a couple of TV exclusive scoops! Join Ashley Ray to talk about where Imani got her comedy chops (Everybody Hates Chris) and her return to comedy all these years later (Mythic Quest!) and there’s a special guest reviewer: Ashley’s Mom Sharon tells you why she LOVES her new favorite show Poker Face!
What We Watched:
The Last of Us
Everybody Hates Chris
Selling Sunset / Tampa / The OC
That’s So Raven
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Boy Meets World
How To Get Away With Murder
The Last of Us
90 Day Fiance: The Other Way
Below Deck: Adventure
S2E28 — They Hate To See It w/ Imani Hakim
Ashley Ray [00:00:32] Welcome back to TV, I say with Ashley Ray. I’m back with another episode. My guest today–the wonderful, amazingly, amazingly talented Imani Hakim, who you know from Mythic Quest and Everybody Hates Chris. She will be joining us later. But at the top of the episode, you know that we always do our watchlist. And really there’s only two shows we need to talk about this week. The first one, of course, is The Last of Us. Episode Three, Season One–everyone was crying. I think all of Twitter was crying about this episode. You had Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman playing this beautiful couple who ages together and decides to go out on their terms. I mean, it was just a perfect, perfect episode. People are calling it a bottle episode. It’s not a bottle episode, though. It is just focused on this couple sort of as they come to meet the protagonists of the series, Joel and Ellie. And it’s just so well done. So, The Last of Us–officially one of my favorite shows, even if it’s scary sometimes. And the other show that we all have to talk about is Poker Face on Peacock. The first four episodes came out, and I binged them all immediately–fell in love with the show. I think it is so good. There’s new episodes every Friday, like I said, on Peacock. But I don’t think anyone was more excited for the show than my mom. She loved it. She texted me immediately and was like, “You have to tell people about Poker Face. You got to have people watch Poker Face.” So, my mom is here to tell you why she loves it so much. Hi, Mom.
Sharon Ray [00:02:04] Hi, Ashley. Hi, everyone.
Ashley Ray [00:02:06] So, what do you love about Poker Face?
Sharon Ray [00:02:08] Oh, everything. The actors, the actresses–it’s just wonderful. It’s constantly going. It keeps you thinking. And each episode has a special something to it that just draws you in from the… I can’t remember her name.
Ashley Ray [00:02:27] Charlie.
Sharon Ray [00:02:28] Yeah. She’s so funny. I love her voice. I am not familiar with Orange is the New Black. I had not seen that. So, this is kind of my first experience really seeing and getting to know her.
Ashley Ray [00:02:40] Natasha Lyonne. Yeah.
Sharon Ray [00:02:41] She’s wonderful.
Ashley Ray [00:02:42] She’s very good.
Sharon Ray [00:02:43] Each episode has been so funny. And I love the way when she opens the door–I think it’s Episode Three–the dog is in the car. And she says, “Get out of the car. Get out of the car.” What you’re wondering is where does that come from? What’s with this dog? go back and you realize. “Oh, she was working at the barbecue pit.”
Ashley Ray [00:03:05] I love the non-linear storytelling. I think it’s so clever. And like you said, it makes it fun to watch, you know, as you piece it all together. And who’s going to die? The lottery episode was the one I really liked, but it was so sad.
Sharon Ray [00:03:20] It was so sad.
Ashley Ray [00:03:21] I was so sad when I realized what he was going to do. And I was just like, “Don’t tell that scary white man you won. Come on!”
Sharon Ray [00:03:28] I know. It’s like, “Don’t say a word. Just go back down.”
Ashley Ray [00:03:33] Just go back.
Sharon Ray [00:03:35] Then I go, “Oh, wait, you’re not dead. He’s got to get his knife, and he’s going to give the guy his.” But he moved too quick, and the guy was like, “Boom. You’re dead.”
Ashley Ray [00:03:44] Yeah. He did slice him a little, but yeah.
Sharon Ray [00:03:48] It was just hilarious. It was sad because it was like, “Oh my gosh, he was a veteran and everything.” And the guy is like, “All you did was, like, push around papers.” While he was in the service, you know? It’s so funny. And then when he puts the murder on the truck driver.
Ashley Ray [00:04:09] He tried to frame her.
Sharon Ray [00:04:10] Right. And he did.
Ashley Ray [00:04:13] Yeah, he almost got away with it.
Sharon Ray [00:04:15] What I also like about it is they show how people actually act when they’re saying things on YouTube or Twitter or something like that. We’re all standing around the TV, and they’re looking. And they see the truck driver take the body off the truck. You remember that part?
Ashley Ray [00:04:36] Yeah.
Sharon Ray [00:04:37] And everybody’s like, “There she goes.”
Ashley Ray [00:04:39] Yeah, I love the guest actors they’ve put together. I know you did say that you had one criticism. Benjamin Bratt is in it. Benjamin Bratt–you said you love him. He plays the evil villain who is looking for Charlie, who’s, like, you know, chasing behind.
Sharon Ray [00:04:56] I’m not used to him being the bad guy.
Ashley Ray [00:04:58] Yeah, he plays the bad guy. Cliff LeGrand. And you said you didn’t like him playing a bad guy.
Sharon Ray [00:05:04] He’s gorgeous. But he’s a good guy, I hope. I think it’s going to work out.
Ashley Ray [00:05:11] It’s such a good show. It is just a wonderful group of writers. Rian Johnson. Natasha Lyonne also wrote an episode–I believe she helped write on it. Joe Lawson. Chris Downey It’s just so good. And I wish they’d put all the episodes out at once, but I’m kind of happy they’re doing a weekly release.
Sharon Ray [00:05:31] Oh yeah, it’s such a good mix. How does he know how people will work together? I wonder how he knows that, you know, when he’s picking out who’s going to do what part?
Ashley Ray [00:05:42] He’s very good at casting. You know, he also did… This is the same guy who did Glass Onion and Knives Out.
Sharon Ray [00:05:50] Yes. I did love Knives Out.
Ashley Ray [00:05:51] So it’s by the same guy.
Sharon Ray [00:05:53] Okay. Okay. Okay. Oh, my gosh. I’m impressed by the way they put it all together. And everyone just worked together so well. Even the guy from Cheers is in it. And the barbecue people.
Ashley Ray [00:06:10] Yeah, that one was… It’s such a good weekly mystery show. A lot of people are saying it’s like Columbo. And I assume you watch Columbo.
Sharon Ray [00:06:20] Well, it’s maybe Columbo on steroids maybe. Even your sister loves it. You know how she is. We were talking about it back and forth on the phone.
Ashley Ray [00:06:35] Yeah. It’s so good. And it’s just there’s so much to talk about and so many little details you notice where you’re like, “Oh, and that’s this. And that’s why she does this.”
Sharon Ray [00:06:44] Yes. And I’m sure I missed some things where I’m like, “You know, how did this happen? How did that happen? But wait a minute, I’m going to go back and just kind of go through it again.” I just liked it. It was so good. Your sister said the same thing. She’s going to kind of wait and go back over it on the weekend.
Ashley Ray [00:07:01] And there will be a new episode out on Friday. So, there you go.
Sharon Ray [00:07:04] So she wants to start off with the beginning again and go to the fifth one. And I think I read that there were actually going to be ten total.
Ashley Ray [00:07:11] Yeah, there’s going to be ten episodes total. So, six more.
Sharon Ray [00:07:15] I love it. It’s so funny. It’s a pick-me-up. You know what? It kind of affected me the way I felt when I saw Pulp Fiction.
Ashley Ray [00:07:26] Basically a TV Pulp Fiction? I mean, yeah. The imagery is so great. I love everything about it.
Sharon Ray [00:07:33] Yeah. The quick lines. And her voice–I love her voice. “I think it was a murder.”
Ashley Ray [00:07:41] That’s her actual voice. That’s how she talks in everything.
Sharon Ray [00:07:46] I love her voice! You could tell she lives in the car. It’s like, “You need a bath, but you look good.” The superglue is hilarious.
Ashley Ray [00:07:56] Yeah. And how it’s come up in multiple episodes. I really like that.
Sharon Ray [00:08:00] Yeah, I like that, too. She’s like, “Here, let me help you with that cut on your leg.” I love her raspy voice.
Ashley Ray [00:08:11] Yeah. Some people say that I sound like her when I talk.
Sharon Ray [00:08:16] Really? Well, you do.
Ashley Ray [00:08:17] We both have deep voices, but… But you heard it here. You got to go watch Poker Face, so they bring it back for more seasons, so they don’t cancel it. My mom will get sad if they cancel it. It’s so, so good. I want to thank you for joining me, mom.
Sharon Ray [00:08:31] Thank you.
Ashley Ray [00:08:33] Thank you so much. And up next, we have our special guest, Imani Hakim from Mythic Quest, Everybody Hates Chris… We’re going to talk about all of it. We get into all the–oh, you know–maybe we’re going to see her in Abbott Elementary. Who knows? Who knows? Even my mom’s like, “Ooh, that sounds good.” So, stick around. We’ll be right back. This is TV, I say with Ashley Ray, your go-to podcast for discovering what to watch on TV and getting behind the scenes insight from the people who make the shows you love. Today we have Imani Hakim, who you know from one of my new favorite shows, Mythic Quest, and one of my old favorite shows, Everybody Hates Chris. How are you?
Imani Hakim [00:09:18] I’m doing fantastic. How are you?
Ashley Ray [00:09:21] I’m good. I’m so happy to have you on today. This last season of Mythic Quest–it was so much your story. How did it feel to step into the driver’s seat?
Imani Hakim [00:09:31] Well, it’s so good. I love playing Dana because she represents just this character that we haven’t had a chance to see on TV before. And so, seeing the way that she’s evolved as a person and a character throughout this series has been so much fun to play with. And, you know, both Rob and Megan are so receptive to our input. So, it’s been really nice to see what they’ve gravitated towards with a little bit of my ideas. So, it’s been really nice to help sort of build her and flesh her out.
Ashley Ray [00:10:09] Yeah. And listeners, if you don’t watch Mythic Quest–which if you don’t, then that means you don’t ever listen to me because it was on your homework list for so many weeks. I kept saying, “Go watch the new season. Go watch Season Three. It’s so good.” Your character, Dana–she’s queer. She has this amazing relationship that’s so funny. You know, I think a lot of people in the queer community–when we get lesbian or women loving women relationships, it’s always so depressing or drama. And they’re just so delightfully fun together. So, you got to go watch for that. When you got the opportunity to do this and you saw who was involved, were you already kind of a big comedy person or, you know, a fan of It’s Always Sunny and the shows Megan has worked on?
Imani Hakim [00:10:52] Yes. Yes. I am a comedy fan. Like, you know, comedy provides sort of escapism for all of us. You know, it provides that humor that we all seek in our lives. And I didn’t start watching Sunny or Community until after this opportunity came along. But I’m glad I did because both shows are fantastic. And Sunny is absolutely ridiculous. But yeah, I remember reading the pilot script for Mythic Quest, and it was so different from the show that we have now. It was more in the Sunny world, but I just had butterflies reading it. It felt so… I just felt an alignment, and I felt like it was going to do really well. And I’m glad because I’m such a fan of the show. And I think people–the audience that we do have–really enjoy it. So, I think we’re doing a good job.
Ashley Ray [00:11:49] Yeah. I kind of would be interested to see a Mythic Quest that’s a little more like It’s Always Sunny where everyone is just very mean to each other–meaner. I would say “meaner” because people are pretty mean.
Imani Hakim [00:11:59] I know. Everybody’s so mean. Maybe we should do a bottle episode where we’re just really heightened, exaggerated versions of our characters. I like that.
Ashley Ray [00:12:06] I mean, if you can make it happen… If you can make it happen…
Imani Hakim [00:12:10] Ashley, we’re going to have to give you something on the side because I feel like you’re a story producer at this point.
Ashley Ray [00:12:15] Consultant. You know, we’re going to talk more about Mythic Quest because, again, I just love what they’re doing with your character. We’ll get into it. But they’re basically, like, setting your character up as this mini-Rob. And I just love it. But before that–this is TV, I Say–the people want to know, “What are you watching?” What’s on your watch list recently?
Imani Hakim [00:12:34] We just watched the first episode of The Last of Us.
Ashley Ray [00:12:38] Ooh, yeah.
Imani Hakim [00:12:40] Which is really good. Yeah. See, but shows like that, I have to pick and choose because I’m, you know, a little scaredy cat. And so, I can’t watch it too late at night. It has to be before 8:00 p.m.
Ashley Ray [00:12:55] Oh, yeah. So, I love zombie stuff. I love scary stuff. People told me, “This is a lot.” I was like, “I can handle it. Okay, I got this.” It was midnight last night. I’m watching the second episode. And I screamed for a solid two minutes at one part. This monster jumps, and I just started screaming and screaming and going, “This is too much. This is too much.”
Imani Hakim [00:13:15] No. Yeah. And that’s me. And then it affects my sleep. So, I had to be very particular about when I watched shows of that nature. What else am I watching? I haven’t started Wednesday yet, but I want to. I’ve been more into films. Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:13:34] Ooh. I mean, I will say today the Oscar nominations come out, so I will on TV Club today allow a little movie talk.
Imani Hakim [00:13:42] Okay. Well, can I just say what I’m rooting for with the Oscar nominations? Obviously, Everything Everywhere All at Once. I hope they sweep. I hope they take it all home because that film was fantastic. It’s so good, and then everyone involved just deserves to win.
Ashley Ray [00:14:01] Yeah, I want a sweep. I was so happy to see that all the leads got nominated. I was afraid that they would ignore Stephanie Hsu.
Imani Hakim [00:14:09] Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:14:10] They, you know, didn’t give her all the nominations. They were going to Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s also amazing. But to me, that movie–Stephanie’s character is the heart of that movie. It’s her movie. I was like, “She could be nominated for lead almost.”
Imani Hakim [00:14:25] Absolutely.
Ashley Ray [00:14:27] Yeah. I need them all to win. I need a sweep. And then, I don’t know. I guess I was shocked. I saw that the Top Gun movie got nominated, and I thought that was a joke. My friends were like, “No, it did.”
Imani Hakim [00:14:38] They have to surprise us. You know, they have to, like, throw in something that’s unassuming.
Ashley Ray [00:14:44] So when you’re on set working on projects, do you like to watch a lot of TV? Are you a big reality TV person? Or is it like, “I got to focus”?
Imani Hakim [00:14:51] You know, I am a sucker for reality TV. And I don’t know what happened. I feel like this just evolved over the more recent years because I wasn’t a huge reality person. But, you know, my Selling Sunset, Selling Tampa… You know.
Ashley Ray [00:15:08] Yeah, Selling the OC.
Imani Hakim [00:15:09] Selling the OC! That season was crazy.
Ashley Ray [00:15:13] It was really wild.
Imani Hakim [00:15:14] Yeah. And oh, I love… Was it Bling Empire?
Ashley Ray [00:15:19] Oh, I love Bling Empire. And I just started Bling Empire, New York.
Imani Hakim [00:15:23] Okay. How is it? I haven’t started yet.
Ashley Ray [00:15:24] It’s really good. I actually liked it more than the last season of Bling Empire. And the people–I don’t know if it’s because they’re New Yorkers–but they are so much meaner to each other. Like, there’s this one woman who just refuses to remember this girl’s name. And everyone will be like, “Oh, I just wanted to say I’m so sorry about Tiffany.” And she’s like, “Who’s Tiffany?” And they’re like, “You literally just talked to Tiffany 20 minutes ago.” And she’s like, “I’ve never met that woman in my life.”
Imani Hakim [00:15:50] She’s just a Mariah Carey, you know?
Ashley Ray [00:15:52] Yeah. She’s like, “I have no idea.” And they’re like, “She was at your party. She was the one who complained about there being no food. You talked to her for 20 minutes. You posted a whole Instagram post about her.” And then she’ll be like, “Oh, now I remember. Tiffany.”
Imani Hakim [00:16:05] That’s a move, though. I love that. I’m excited to watch it. And then something that’s not so heavy is I love a home decor reality series, you know?
Ashley Ray [00:16:16] Oh, yeah. I’m a big fan of the ones where it’s like, “Oh, this family has eight kids, and the dad lost his job, so we’re coming in and fixing their whole house.”
Imani Hakim [00:16:26] Oh, yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:16:28] I need a sad story with my house.
Imani Hakim [00:16:30] I like it. I like it.
Ashley Ray [00:16:32] So as we know, it is Black History Month. We are, you know, this month celebrating all of the great Black TV history that exists. And for me, Everybody Hates Chris is right up there. It’s one of those shows that… I mean, I have never seen a character so thoroughly loved for a show that people still call him Everybody Hates Chris instead of calling him by his full name.
Imani Hakim [00:16:55] Right. That part. That’s so funny.
Ashley Ray [00:16:58] Yeah. He won a Golden Globe, and they were like, “Everybody Hates Chris won a Golden Globe. That’s our boy.”
Imani Hakim [00:17:01] Yes. Yes.
Ashley Ray [00:17:05] And obviously, you were a stellar part of that show. How did that feel? What was it like, you know, as a kid working on it? Do you look back and think, like, “Oh, I knew this was going to be a hit. We were going to be in syndication. I knew it.”
Imani Hakim [00:17:19] Well, you know, I was so green when I first joined the industry. That was my first gig. So, I had no idea. Of course, I had high hopes and blindly thought, yes, this is going to be a hit because I’m just like, “Everything that I’m going to do is going to be a hit. And that’s just the way that it goes.” You know? It was that confidence. And what happened with our show is I feel that it didn’t actually take off until after the fact–after we weren’t actively on the air anymore. Once we were in syndication, that’s when people sort of started to grab hold of it. And that’s when I think it became more of a classic for the culture. So, it’s really interesting to watch that journey happen for our show because back when I was on Twitter, after the show had already ended, people were like, “We love Everybody Hates Chris!” And then my following went up. And I was like, “What’s going on? We’ve been off the air for, like, five years. Where you been?”
Ashley Ray [00:18:19] “Y’all just got Netflix? Like, what’s going on? You just started watching it?”
Imani Hakim [00:18:22] But I mean, I love that. That just shows the longevity of our show. And it’s a testament to the creators. And I feel like we were kind of ahead of our time–just being very unapologetically Black and, you know, just telling the jokes. I mean, it’s a classic. It’s a good show.
Ashley Ray [00:18:42] Yeah. And I think, you know, like you said, you were appreciated so much later. I think that’s something we see with Black TV shows, Black artists, Black actors in TV shows. It takes so much longer for them to get that recognition. You know, we see Sheryl Lee Ralph finally getting it. You know, and then just Abbott as a whole is just a celebration of, I feel like, so many people who are these just classic actors for Black people. We’re like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah. Oh, this actor. We’ve seen them in this. They were in Sister, Sister years ago.” And then Abbott is the celebration, so obviously I want to know if there’s any plans for you to be on Abbott. You know, I feel like Gregory–he could have a play cousin or something.
Imani Hakim [00:19:24] Honestly, we need to make it happen. Maybe I’ll just slide into Tyler’s DMs and be like, “Hey…” You know, it would be really cool.
Ashley Ray [00:19:32] I mean, that’s how he got on the show. He slid into Quinta’s DMs.
Imani Hakim [00:19:36] Ohh, nice. See, I love to hear those stories. I don’t know of any plan of that happening, but we gonna put it out into the universe. And hopefully it just comes to me.
Ashley Ray [00:19:47] We’re making it happen. TV Club, we have a new assignment. We’re going to make this happen. A little just Everybody Hates Chris reunion on Abbott. Oh, that would be amazing. Do you watch Abbott?
Imani Hakim [00:20:00] I watched the first few episodes, and it’s very good. It’s a great show. It’s really nice because I was a fan of Quinta before all of this and before Abbott. And watching the trajectory of her career and watching her just take her career in her own hands, you know, and creating those opportunities for the rest of us that have been in this industry for so long–to see Abbott get praised–I feel like it’s a win for all of us. And it’s nice to also see a show that we’ve recognized for so long and, you know, with people that look like us. The Office was such a huge hit, but now we have something very similar in tone, but it’s just all Black and brown faces. I love that so much. And I hope they go on for as long as they want because, you know…
Ashley Ray [00:21:02] Nine seasons. Ten seasons. They deserve it. It’s just such a good, good show. Growing up, what were the shows that inspired you? Was there a show that made you go, “I want to do that; I want to be on TV”?
Imani Hakim [00:21:12] For sure. That’s So Raven was one of them.
Ashley Ray [00:21:14] Oh. Yeah. Of course.
Imani Hakim [00:21:17] That’s So Raven–there will never be another That’s So Raven. And you guys can come at me. I don’t know what the Disney shows are getting these days. But That’s So Raven was also just a classic.
Ashley Ray [00:21:32] Yes.
Imani Hakim [00:21:37] Her physical comedy–her comedy abilities in general?
Ashley Ray [00:21:40] That’s exactly what I was going to say. Raven-Symoné is one of the best physical comedians. And people don’t they don’t give her that credit because I guess she did it on Disney. But you watch that show–she’s hilarious.
Imani Hakim [00:21:49] Yes. And I think it stands next to and up there with all the other people. Like, what Martin was doing–Raven was doing the same thing from, you know, just bringing that comedy to playing so many different funny characters within the show. She’s very good. So, she needs to get her flowers. So, I’m getting on to that.
Ashley Ray [00:22:13] Did you see recently she was like, “Everybody’s been pronouncing my name wrong. And it’s actually Raven-Symoné.”? I was like, “You’re lying.”
Imani Hakim [00:22:21] And I was like, “Well, why didn’t you say anything?” But I also am guilty for letting people call me “Amani.” And my name is Imani.
Ashley Ray [00:22:30] I’m going to say it right. We’re going to redo it.
Imani Hakim [00:22:32] Thank you. Well, I don’t you saying my name incorrectly.
Ashley Ray [00:22:36] Maybe I did say it right.
Imani Hakim [00:22:37] Maybe. Maybe naturally you knew.
Ashley Ray [00:22:39] I always just assume I did it however I heard it in an interview.
Imani Hakim [00:22:43] Yes. You know what? That is my… Just side note–I’m working on, you know, correcting people in real time, you know?
Ashley Ray [00:22:51] Yeah. That’s difficult. And I can imagine Raven on the Disney lot. And everybody’s like, “Little Raven-Symoné.” She was just like, “I’m just going to go with it.”
Imani Hakim [00:23:01] Yeah, it became a brand after a while. But it’s the same thing–just sidetrack–with Rihanna. Her name is Rihanna.
Ashley Ray [00:23:08] Yeah, Rihanna. And she just is like, “Whatever.”
Imani Hakim [00:23:11] Yes. Yes. Okay. So anyway, back to the question at hand. I also loved the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Ashley Ray [00:23:19] Yeah.
Imani Hakim [00:23:20] So good. Honestly, I was a huge fan of Boy Meets World as well. I feel that we didn’t really get to see– Me personally–I didn’t really see a lot of shows that I latched on to as a child actor where the lead is a child and then you get to watch them, and you’re just so hooked from beginning to end. And Boy Meets World was one of those shows where I loved it all the way through. It’s one of my favorite shows that I go and rewatch. It’s just so good. It’s very well done.
Ashley Ray [00:23:54] It’s so good. If it’s on, I’m just like, “I’m going to sit down and watch it.” Like, to this day, the episodes all still hit. I get just as emotional watching Shawn, like, almost showing a call as I did when I was 12 years old.
Imani Hakim [00:24:06] Oh wow. That show got deep.
Ashley Ray [00:24:11] They threw Shawn into some scary situations. They just never let him be happy and comfortable.
Imani Hakim [00:24:17] I know. So good.
Ashley Ray [00:24:19] Were there any other shows that you just, you know, really kind of loved growing up or that, you know, shaped your view on what TV should look like? Or were there shows that made you go, “You know, someday I want to make a show like this or be in a show like this”?
Imani Hakim [00:24:33] As I got older, and once I started really tapping into more the creative side of things and not just looking at the acting side–Shonda Rhimes–whatever she was doing was very important. So, I was a huge Scandal fan, How to Get Away with Murder… And I really love what Euphoria’s doing right now. I know that that show is compared to different versions of Degrassi and all this stuff, but I think from an artistic lens of just the way that it’s visually shot, I love that because they’re able to capture the essence of what the characters are feeling.
Ashley Ray [00:25:21] Even if the situations are incredibly intense and out there for teenagers, it’s still that teen feeling of wanting to be accepted or loved or wanted or, you know, thinking you’re not enough for your partners. I love it. I think it’s great performances. I don’t know. I think the Degrassi comparisons–it just makes it shallower than what the show really is trying to do, I guess. It’s not just a teen drama.
Imani Hakim [00:25:47] For sure. I think Euphoria does a really great job at making it a cinematic experience. And yeah, I think they’re just doing a really great job over there with the show. And it deserves all the praise that it gets because, to your point, even though there’s been shows before that feel very similar, I think they are able to kind of pave out their own way and, you know, stand out. So, I’m a fan of that show as well.
Ashley Ray [00:26:17] Yes. Let’s take a quick break and come back with more Imani.
Imani Hakim [00:26:22] Yay.
Ashley Ray [00:26:23] And more Mythic Quest and what’s next for her. And we’re back. So, I’m always curious, obviously, being a child actor, being on screen, seeing behind the scenes, does it kind of ruin the magic of TV for you growing up? Are you like, “Yeah, I’ve been there”?
Imani Hakim [00:26:50] It’s so to talk to people who really have no connection to the industry at all because there’s just this very skewed view of what it is. And I’m like, “Oh, that is not it. I’m sorry. I hate to break it to you. That is not it.” And so, I hate to be that guy where I’m like, “Here’s a reality check. You know, it’s not like you just go out there and you’re able to book a gig and all of a sudden, you’re making tons of money. And all of a sudden, like, you’re famous and rich and all these things.” People look at Everybody Hates Chris, and they view us as, like, being famous. I go back home, and people are like, “You’re famous.” I’m not famous. I’m known to some, but fame is on a different level. But yeah, it’s really interesting just to see the different perspectives of how it’s being perceived.
Ashley Ray [00:27:45] And you and Tyler–I mean, you both, I think, just did a wonderfully excellent transition from child actors to adult actors. That isn’t always so easy or possible in Hollywood, you know? What was that like?
Imani Hakim [00:27:56] Yeah, well, a lot of growing pains, you know? And you’re right, it isn’t necessarily easy. And you just want to make sure you have a good community and tribe and just… It sounds cliché but ground yourself because it’s very easy to get lost in the sauce in multiple ways. And yeah, I’m grateful for my transition. It was definitely a journey and a path of discovery of how… I look so young, like, I’m feeling like a woman, but I look like a baby. And so, like, how do I, you know, implement that into the roles that I want to play? And so, really, I’m learning a lot. You know, you’re learning a lot about your brand and your desire and, like, the roles that you want to play in front of the camera and behind. And I’m sure Tyler could probably attest to this, too. And yeah, it’s just a lot of growing pains.
Ashley Ray [00:29:00] Yeah. And I mean, also, like you said, the show got famous later. You’re honestly a baby in the show. It gets famous later. Now you’re an adult. You know, you’re working on Mythic Quest, which is very different in tone from Everybody Hates Chris. You know, have you kind of seen maybe that confusion of people being like, “You were the little girl, and now you’re on Mythic Quest”?
Imani Hakim [00:29:24] I haven’t seen the confusion, but I know people have connected the dots. What I think is really nice is that, I think, maybe a lot of our audience then even realize that I was on a show before. I think they’re new to who I am. So, I like that because sometimes, you know, when you’ve had fans for a long time, they’re just… “There’s Tonya.” And you know, there have been a few people who’ve DM’d me or I’ve seen online that “I just connected the dots that this is Tonya from Everybody Hates Chris.” But the majority? People don’t know.
Ashley Ray [00:29:58] There was a trending tweet that was like, “Did you all realize that the little girl from Everybody Hates Chris is playing lesbian?” I was like, “Yeah, y’all. For, like, three seasons now. For, like, a while.”
Imani Hakim [00:30:10] Yes. Yeah. But I like when they don’t know who I am beforehand.
Ashley Ray [00:30:16] Working on Mythic Quest–obviously I feel like it’s a very diverse cast. Amazing show. Danny Pudi and Naomi Ekperigin, who is so, so good. Very diverse cast. But I think a lot of the people who follow Rob to this project… I mean, It’s Always Sunny–it’s a very white audience for those shows. So, you know, very different audiences–very different kinds of comedy. What kind of was it like working with Rob… I can never say his last name. I’m going to be real about it. Rob McElhenney.
Imani Hakim [00:30:47] “McElhenney.”
Ashley Ray [00:30:50] “McElhenney.” Yeah. Rob McElhenney, as I said so professionally and correctly the first time.
Imani Hakim [00:30:55] It’s okay. He understands.
Ashley Ray [00:30:58] Because, you know, on It’s Always Sunny, he is just so funny. He seems so dedicated. Everybody always talks about him, like, gaining all the weight to play Fat Mac and then losing all of it. You know, does he bring that kind of intensity to the Mythic Quest set?
Imani Hakim [00:31:10] In his own way, yes. He loves taking it up. And it’s worked for me because I changed my hair a lot. And so, he loved it. He was like, “That’s so cool. That could be a story in itself.” Like you said, he gained weight just to shake up the show and then just to lose it. And so, he thinks it’s really… He loves the dedication of just, like, switching up and surprising people. So, he learned a bit about Black hair in the third season. He was like, “You change your hair every episode?” And I was like, “Yeah, you know, that’s the reality. That’s what I do.”
Ashley Ray [00:31:57] That’s what we do.
Imani Hakim [00:31:59] But yeah, he’s committed. And he’s always open to how we can meet him there as well.
Ashley Ray [00:32:08] And I know he uses a lot of improv on It’s Always Sunny. Is that part of Mythic Quest? Are you, you know, kind of up against him with some improv stuff? You had so many one-on-one scenes this last season?
Imani Hakim [00:32:18] Yes, we did. And yeah, we definitely improv on Mythic Quest as well. They’re just open to what flavor you bring, you know, because there’s certain things that you just can’t write. And so, we’re able to capture those certain nuances that are improvised that just, you know, lend to the character that’s already being formed. But yeah, we have fun improvising.
Ashley Ray [00:32:43] Yeah, there’s a scene–I think it’s maybe episode three–but you two are in a car together, and it’s kind of when he realizes that he really likes you. And he’s like, “You’re just like me. Oh, that’s what I would do. That’s what I would say.” And you two have so much chemistry, you just bounce off of each other. And to me it felt like the new, like, Ron Swanson-April Ludgate relationship. I was like, “I need this mentor pairing.”
Imani Hakim [00:33:05] Thank you. And that was so much fun, too. And, yeah, a lot of that was improvised.
Ashley Ray [00:33:11] Yeah. Did you take improv classes? Did you do comedy or…?
Imani Hakim [00:33:15] No.
Ashley Ray [00:33:17] You’re like, “No, I just was on Everybody Hates Chris. Chris Rock personally taught me how to be funny.”
Imani Hakim [00:33:22] For real, I was so intimidated when the Mythic Quest opportunity came along because I was like, “I haven’t even touched comedy since I was a child.” Everybody Hates Chris was the last time I had done comedy. If you look at my résumé, it’s all been like, “Drama, drama, drama, drama.” And so, I was like, “Oh, God.” And then, you know, everybody on this show–a lot of people–really have been in some comedic troupe and had studied at The Groundlings and something. Like, they have a lot of background. And so, with me, I have taken improv after the fact because, like, I want to be able to have that muscle if I need to. But I did not have that background beforehand, and I will say I’m the least experienced in that world. But I’m learning. I learn so much just by being in a scene with them. And it helps keep me on my toes.
Ashley Ray [00:34:19] Yeah. I’m always telling people it’s one of the best comedy ensembles out right now. Every scene, it’s just like, “Bounce, bounce.” Like, every joke hits. No one is losing energy. And yeah, you have amazing comedians like Naomi. And, you know, I feel like this last season, her role also really grew into a whole new thing. She kind of started as a minor character, and we see more of that just fleshing out. So, for Dana, was it always kind of the plan to focus on her this way or to have her in this relationship? Or did it just kind of grow organically from, you know, your character’s energy?
Imani Hakim [00:34:53] I feel like maybe this was an idea that they were toying with earlier on. But I think what they really leaned into with Dana is there was a scene in Season Two where Poppy’s pulled over by the side of the road. Do you remember the scene? And then I have to come pick her up. And Rachel and I are there. And I improvised screaming back at Poppy when she says, “Where’s my barbecue sauce?” And I’m like, “It’s in a cup holder!” And they were like, “Okay, we love that because no one else… Poppy’s able to dish it, but she’s not really able to take it.” So, they’ve really leaned into Dana not giving a… She doesn’t care. You know, she’s like, “I could be sassy back with you.” And so, they’ve taken that and just, you know, like, really nurtured that side of Dana. And also knowing how dedicated and passionate Dana is and how that aligns with Ian. It’s just been a whole collaboration of how we can better make this character a full-fledged person. And it just happened organically.
Ashley Ray [00:36:06] I love that because again–Dana and Poppy–such a great relationship. Season Three–the way that Poppy, you can tell, resents her.
Imani Hakim [00:36:13] Yes.
Ashley Ray [00:36:14] Over Dana’s ability to just get things, understand Ian, you know, have these ideas, and see exciting things to use with… Sandbox? Playbox?
Imani Hakim [00:36:23] Playpen.
Ashley Ray [00:36:25] Playpen. Yes.
Imani Hakim [00:36:26] Dana is truly the best of both worlds. She has the ability to code and, you know, whip up whatever she needs. It might not be that great all the time, but she has the ability to do so. And then she’s also a visionary, like Ian. So, you know, they’re hating on her. They hate to say it, but she’s good.
Ashley Ray [00:36:50] They hate to say it. They really do. I love all the times Poppy tries to come for her this season, and Dana’s just like, “No. We’re not playing this game.”
Imani Hakim [00:36:58] Yes, I love that Dana had the confidence to be like, “I don’t like you.”
Ashley Ray [00:37:02] Yeah.
Imani Hakim [00:37:03] “You’re my boss, and I don’t like you.” Okay, Dana. Where did you get that confidence from?
Ashley Ray [00:37:08] You’re so funny. I can’t believe this was your first return to comedy since Everybody Hates Chris. You’re just right there with them. I would have thought you did stand-up while you were, like, I don’t know, 12 years old or something.
Imani Hakim [00:37:20] Thank you.
Ashley Ray [00:37:21] Like, you were just leaving the Everybody Hates Chris set and hitting some open mics.
Imani Hakim [00:37:25] Thank you. I will receive that compliment. Thank you.
Ashley Ray [00:37:29] So, obviously, Mythic quest–the finale has already aired. Go watch it on Apple TV. You can go watch the whole season. We haven’t heard anything about a fourth season, have you?
Imani Hakim [00:37:40] I mean, I think we’re coming back. I don’t know when. I’m so excited to come back, but I think we are. That’s what they said. It’s somewhere online.
Ashley Ray [00:37:52] Well, I’m going to call it a TV, I Say exclusive. It’s probably coming back.
Imani Hakim [00:37:55] Yeah, it’s probably coming back. Yes.
Ashley Ray [00:37:58] There you go. You got it. I mean, I can’t see why it wouldn’t. I feel like it’s one of Apple TV’s, like, biggest hits. And, you know, I know Ted Lasso is a comedy, but that’s the show that makes me cry. Mythic Quest is just a pure comedy. It makes you laugh.
Imani Hakim [00:38:12] Yes. It makes you cry sometimes.
Ashley Ray [00:38:15] That’s true.
Imani Hakim [00:38:15] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But yes, I am a huge fan, and we deserve all the seasons.
Ashley Ray [00:38:20] That’s true. It is like they always say. That one flashback episode–that’s like, “Here we go. Let’s get everybody sad.”
Imani Hakim [00:38:25] Yes. Yes. It’s my favorite. Tugs at your heartstrings.
Ashley Ray [00:38:28] Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re just like, “Oh, everybody’s so mean in video games.” And then you’re like, “Oh, great. I’m going to sob about these two old men.”
Imani Hakim [00:38:35] Yes. Why do we do that? It’s chaotic.
Ashley Ray [00:38:39] It’s so, so good. But what else do you have coming up? What are you excited about?
Imani Hakim [00:38:43] Well, I’m excited about Season Four once we know when that’s happening. And I am also a producer/director.
Ashley Ray [00:38:56] Yes!
Imani Hakim [00:38:57] And so I’m in the process of developing a feature film right now. And so, you know, it’s so early, but these things take time. But I’m excited because I’m learning a lot about building a story and building the world. And so just look out for me stepping in and wearing multiple hats in the future.
Ashley Ray [00:39:21] That’s so exciting. I can’t wait to hear more about this movie. We won’t be able to talk about it here on this podcast because it’s TV. But when it’s available, go watch it. Go and see it. Where can the people follow you? I mean, I’m sure after Everybody Hates Chris, everybody started following you on Twitter and stuff. But where should they follow you to keep updated on your projects?
Imani Hakim [00:39:41] All my Brazilian fans are online. I am on Instagram and TikTok.
Ashley Ray [00:39:54] Yes, anyone younger than me is on TikTok. That’s just what people do.
Imani Hakim [00:39:57] I was against it for so long, and then I got sucked in. And I’m like, “I love this app so much.”
Ashley Ray [00:40:03] I’m trying.
Imani Hakim [00:40:04] I know. I don’t post very often, but I can scroll. I can scroll, but I’m on both of those platforms as imanihakim.
Ashley Ray [00:40:14] There you go. Go follow. And, like I said, go watch Everybody– Go watch Everybody Hates Chris. That’s not what I was going to say. But get those residuals. Yes, get the residuals. Go watch it on cable. Go watch it on Pluto TV. There’s actually–I found out over the weekend–a whole channel that just plays Everybody Hates Chris on Pluto TV all day. Like, that’s all it plays–on repeat–every single episode. It’s just, like, the Everybody Hates Chris Channel.
Imani Hakim [00:40:43] Wow. Okay.
Ashley Ray [00:40:44] Download Pluto TV and go enjoy that. But more importantly, go watch Mythic Quest Season Three. Imani Hakim, you are so incredible in it. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you.
Imani Hakim [00:40:56] Thank you. This was wonderful.
Ashley Ray [00:41:03] What a great episode. I want to thank my wonderful guest today, Imani Hakim–my wonderful mom. Go watch Poker Face. She really, really needs you to go watch it. Let me give you some homework before we get out of here. Well, that’s the first on your homework list. Go watch Poker Face. Up next, The Last of Us. Come on, guys. We all love it. It’s truly my favorite. Sunday night, we’re all watching it together. So come on. Next up on the list, Extraordinary on Hulu, which is so good. I watched it all in one night. It’s basically a world where everyone gets powers the second they turn 18. But there are a few people who don’t quite get their powers. And this one girl–she’s 25–hasn’t gotten her powers. She’s trying to figure out why. That’s the whole premise. It is so funny. I can’t think of a comedy that just has come out and I watched it all immediately other than Reboot. R.I.P. It was just canceled. But Extraordinary on Hulu–it is so, so good. We also have Extreme Sisters on TLC. We also have 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, which I will be covering on the TV, I Say Patreon. So, if you need to get your trash TV in, we got all of that. Also, Below Deck, Below Deck Adventure, which has still been boring to me… But I’m still watching it. I’m still watching Below Deck Adventure. I think it’ll get better. I hope so. And then last on your homework list, I need you to go catch up on You. If you haven’t watched it yet–if it’s been a while–go catch up on You, and then you’ll be ready for the fourth season premiere, which features Lukas Gage. He’s one of my favorite people. I am so excited to see Joe in France, so that’s what I’m going to be rewatching so I’m good and I’m ready for the new episodes. So that’s your homework. Again, I want to thank all my guests. And hey, you know, if you want to keep the conversation going, come find me on Twitter, TV, I Say. Send me your thoughts. You know, if you want to send me a voice memo of your TV thoughts–your TV opinions–go ahead and follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Send me a voice memo. Let me know what you’re thinking because you know I love to hear what you think. Go check out the newsletter. Comment. Let me know what you think of the Paul T. Goldman piece or Fleishman Is in Trouble. We got that one up there. So yeah, that’s all I got for you. We’ll be back next week for another episode. TV, I Say with Ashley Ray is an Earwolf production made by me, Ashley Ray-Harris. It’s engineered by Abby Aguilar and produced by Amelia Chappelow. And our original theme song is by RaFia. It means so much to me if you go rate, review, subscribe. Follow TV, I Say. Let us know what you think and tell your friends. Share with your Golden Girls. Tell your Boys. If you love my TV recommendations, let everyone you know. For special TV Club members, join my Patreon. And you can also find my full archive ad-free episodes of TV, I Say over on Stitcher Premium. Use promo code “tvisay,” all one word, for a one-month free trial at stitcher.com/premium.
September 19, 2023
It’s almost time for the ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ and Ashley Ray couldn’t be more excited! TV Lover and host of High and Mighty, Jon Gabrus joins the pod to discuss why older women are sexy, cringey reality show kissing, and his love for ‘Project Runway All Stars.’
September 12, 2023
Guest Anthony Atamanuik
Things that don’t make Ashley Ray panic? Cult documentaries! ‘Don’t Panic’ host Anthony Atamanuik joins the podcast to discuss the story of Teal Swan, who made the best NXIVM doc, and whether or not he’d join a cult.
September 5, 2023
The Roys, the Lyons, The Righteous Gemstones, who’s your favorite TV family dynasty? ‘Even the Rich’ hosts Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams join Ashley to discuss real and fictional family dynasties, the worst actor on Sex & the City, and Hulu’s current obsession with turning everything into a docu-series.