It’s Friday and that means a brand-new episode of Grand Crew is just hours away.
We caught up with actor Carl Tart, who stars as Sherm on the comedy series from Phil Augusta Jackson (writer, producer, and director, of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Dan Goor (creator, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) which follows a group of wine-loving friends as they navigate some pretty hilarious relationship situations. In addition to Tart, the cast also includes Echo Kellum (“Noah”), Nicole Byer (“Nicky”), Aaron Jennings (“Anthony”), Justin Cunningham (“Wyatt”) and Grasie Mercedes.
We loved the first season of Grand Crew, but have found that, just like wine, the show just keeps getting better with time. Tart agrees.
“The first season is a little tougher because you have to get to know the characters,” Tart told BOSSIP. “Now that everyone knows the characters better we can lean into the fun a little more.”
A big part of the fun is the physical comedy that Phil Augusta Jackson and the writer’s team have injected into most episodes of the show.
“Physical comedy is just some of the most fun comedy you can do,” Tart admitted. “I’m definitely a physical performer and Phil knows that. Phil is also a physical performer, if you watch us that’s one of our strong suits. I think he included that more in the show where we can really get into the movement of it and it’s not just people yapping at each other.”
Probably one of our Grand Crew favorite moments from the second season of the show happens in the second episode, when Tart’s character Sherm has a night out with boys Anthony (Aaron Jennings), Noah (Echo Kellum) and Wyatt (Justin Cunningham) who have dubbed themselves the “Single Squad,” (Wyatt, who is married to Kristen, played by Maya Lynne Robinson) which they kick off with a choreographed ode to Usher’s “You Don’t Have To Call.”
“At the table read we were like, ‘Oh this is gonna go off,’” Carl recalled. “We were praying — ‘NBC don’t cut this out,’ because after we do the table read they have to go back to the lab. NBC will give notes and they’ll be like, ‘We don’t like this, we don’t get that, we don’t understand this, we don’t get why this is like this…’ So they gotta rebuild a lot of the script… But they left that in and we were so excited to do it from moment one. We were like, ‘This is going to be so much fun!’ We hoped that people were going to enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it out and it seems like people are.”
Another reason Grand Crew has resonated with audiences is that the characters offer very realistic reflections of Black people, who lean into their flaws and have fun doing so.
“The Aaron dancing stuff was really funny to me,” Carl said, recalling an episode from Season 2 when Anthony’s “freaky” dancing became a pivotal plot point. “There are so many I can’t pinpoint one, but just being able to show us in a light where we’re like, ‘We don’t always gotta be the coolest people on TV,’ is great. People get embarrassed. Embarrassing moments happen all the time. People fall. Girls break their heels when they’re dancing in the club. Embarrassing moments happen, so let’s show them so people can feel comfortable.”
“Many Black people on TV are always like ‘We gotta be the coolest people in the room. We’re infallible. We can’t let anything bad happen,” Tart continued. “It’s fun to show that and it’s funny. When people say, ‘Oh that’s corny.’ Corny is fun. That’s not the insult you think it is. We want it to be fun and funny. There are going to be moments where we are going to be vulnerable and those vulnerabilities can come emotionally, they can come physically, they can come in many shapes and forms so I’m glad we get to do that.”
We’ve seen Carl’s character Sherm navigate some pretty funny dating situations but he hasn’t met his special someone so far. We asked Tart whether he’ll be hanging up his Single Squad hat any time soon and find love before the end of the season.
“I can’t tell you that,” Tart told BOSSIP. “I can’t tell you none of that. All I can tell you is Sherm stays on his quest and stays true to himself. Y’all gonna keep having fun with it, I promise.”
We had to close out the interview by asking the L.A. native and devoted Clippers fan about which of the squad’s players, past or present, would make for the best Grand Crew guest appearance.
“Here’s the deal,” Tart told us, before revealing he was unable to pick just one. ” Blake Griffin would be extremely funny because he’s just a funny dude, good actor and good comedy mind but Kawai would be funny because that dude is one of the weirdest people. He’s Kawai. Having him on the show would be really amazing. PG too, PG would be good to have on the show.”
Tune in to new episodes of Grand Crew Friday nights at 8:30 pm on NBC. You can also catch up with the show on Peacock. You can also see Tart in the film, It’s A Party on Tubi and Showtime.