Picture it. January 8, 2013. A bright red carpet lines the entrance to the Regal Cinema in Downtown Los Angeles’ fabulous LA Live Center. Black Paparazzi shadow the red carpet behind rope and stanchion, awaiting the first glimpses of celebrities for the big premiere night. Within the hour, the first faces arrive. Whispers come down the press line that Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell-Martin have graced the scene. Campbell-Martin is stylishly dressed in a black leather jacket and jeans, decorated with crutches under each arm. Apparently the former “My Wife and Kids” star took a spill on a kayak in Figi. While we wish her all the best in recovery, very few of us can relate to her pain.
Sorry Tish. You’re on your own with that one.
She and hubby Duane Martin were snuggled up as they made their way past the step and repeat. The fun-loving duo are the proud recent owners of the new restaurant in Studio City, CA called Xen Lounge, a sexy beast of a place with a delightful menu mix to please meat lovers, cheese-tasters, wine mixers and brunch doers. As Martin left the scene to take his seat, he gave his betrothed a tap on the behind that made her squeal like a teenager in love. She tells the cameras “Oh, he touched my booty!” And with that, the couple retreated to their seats.
One by one, the stars arrived to pose for a hotshot and express their excitement for the premiere of BET’s newest original programming lineup. It’s the premiere of Kevin Hart’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and the “Second Generation Wayans” show starring Damien Dante Wayans and friends.
It was a festive night, a bit more casual than our usual hauty-tauty Hollywood shindigs. After all, we’re just at the movies, right? Not so much. Soon there were diamond studs, rock star dresses and blinged out blazers. The bulbs flash as Boris Kodjoe arrives to talk about his role in what Kevin Hart has called “The Fakest Reality Show on Television.” While Kodjoe isn’t known for his stand-up capability, his larger than life, second-half of a gorgeous-better-half character is a much appreciated contribution to the wacky storylines and nonstop antics from Kevin Hart and friends. Other cast members of the show include R&B crooner Robin Thicke, Nick Cannon and Comedian JB Smoove. Thicke was thick throughout the first episode of “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” taking on the role of Kevin’s archrival. Really Kevin, that’s your competition?
The mixed casts on the carpet continue to drape down the line as the actors from “Second Generation Wayans” follow suit behind the main character, Damien Dante Wayans. The primary cast includes: Craig Wayans (“Dance Flick”) George O. Gore II (“My Wife and Kids”) and Tatyana Ali (“Love That Girl”). The new school offspring have designed a show around ‘making it’ beyond the huge shadow of their uncles and aunt: Damon, Sean, Marlon and Kim Wayans. They have both held down jobs as writers and producers on “My Wife and Kids” starring Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell-Martin. Keenan Ivory Wayans was on the scene as the head Wayans chaperone to support the young men on their breakout episodes.
I spoke briefly to Kenny Lattimore, fresh off a trip from South Africa, who came down the carpet to support cast friends Boris Kodjoe and Duane Martin. Lattimore will be dropping a new album “soon” featuring collaborations with Kelly Price, Shanice and Lalah Hathaway.
Other celebs in attendance included Guy Torry, Naturi Naughton and Cedric the Entertainer who returned to the set this week to film a second new season of “Soulman” opposite Niecy Nash. The TV Land network recently resigned the program. After an elongated family trip, Cedric was anxious to see the premiere of Real Husbands, of which he will make an appearance in upcoming episodes.
As celebs, media and those lucky enough to grab a ticket to the premiere settled in their seats, BET CEO Debra Lee greeted the audience. It was the intro to a promising look for BET as it builds new original programming for its viewers. As the cast of “Second Generation Wayans” was introduced, the audience clapped and howled as the actors made their way to the front of the theater for introductions. Perhaps the best, and worst moment of the night was the slip of the tongue made by BET President Stephen Hill. As Hill introduced the cast of “Real Husbands of Hollywood”, he mistakenly called Duane Martin, Duane Nelson. After a few “Oh no, he didn’t” remarks from the audience, Martin saved the moment by grabbing the microphone and stating “My name is Duane Campbell.” Cheers all around.
Words of a true husband of Hollywood.
Kevin Hart hits a slam-dunk, hole in one, grand slam and touchdown with the new half-scripted comedy show. Big ups go to Nick Cannon who held it down for the Mariah mansion – oops, I mean who held his own (that was a point for Kevin). Duane Martin was cast perfectly as the friend with big, yet bogus dreams and scams. Boris, as we all picture him to be, is the glue of sensibility that holds it all together. JB Smoove was the backseat comic who kept everyone laughing when Kevin was clearing his throat. But the award for coolest man of the hour goes to: Robin Thicke, who was simply Robin. By being the hot fabulous singer that he is, Robin was all that and more. You’ll see.
Guest appearances in only the first episode of “Real Husbands of Hollywood” include: Ed O’Neil, Melanie Fiona, Russell Simmons and more. Kevin may be short but his list of celebrity friends is long.
“Second Generation Wayans” is a very promising scripted show with guest appearances by Regina Hall, DeRay Davis and Letoya Luckett.
as cousins Damien Dante Wayans and Craig Wayans fight to get from up under their uncles’ shadows, their real-life situations of being broke, jobless and overlooked for roles make this dramedy one to remember. You’ll definitely get a chuckle from the struggle.
And that’s a wrap!
Check out the “Real Husbands of Hollywood” airing Tuesday, January 15th (10:00pm EST/PST) followed by Second Generation Wayans (10:30pm EST/PST) on BET.