The Mo’Nique Show: Redefining the E in BET

The Mo'Nique Show is a daytime talk-show masquerading as a late-night party. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

While George Lopez is whipping up hysteria over on TBS with his new late-night talk-show party atmosphere, and Wanda Sykes looks to shake things up on Saturday night on FOX with her frank stand-up and panel discussions, it's easy to overlook what Mo'Nique is doing on BET. Part of that is because the mainstream media tends as a rule to overlook BET; but some of it is because the cable network isn't giving the mainstream a reason not to.

Mo'Nique's show opened a month ago with Steve Harvey and 1.5 million viewers. On cable. On BET. If The Daily Show with Jon Stewart got those kinds of numbers on Comedy Central, newspapers and magazines across the country would talk about how influential that is. Oh, wait. Snappity snap snap. Seems as though we've learned that there's another audience out there for late-night television.

What they get, as I mentioned earlier, could just as easily be shown at 3 p.m. or 11 a.m. as it is at 11 p.m. The backdrop signals it's supposed to be at night, and the show opens with Mo'Nique dancing down the stairs along with the band and the audience, and comedian sidekick Rodney Perry with his own chair over to the side. Mo'Nique doesn't open with a traditional late-night monologue, but rather a short moral lesson peppered with some sort of physical interaction that elicits laughter. When it comes down to it, though, whether it's a talk segment, a musical number or even a cooking demonstration with Coolio, the atmosphere isn't so much about late-night hijinx than it is about conversations. Think more like Oprah, with a dash of Ellen. But that duo dominates daytime. And really, having Mo'Nique on in the afternoon isn't what audiences need — a need she fills by bringing more black entertainment (and more often than not, black empowerment) to Black Entertainment Television. That's a smart move by the network. Taping Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Atlanta, the show also manages to have a different sensibility that comes from being far away from New York City and Los Angeles, as well as the headlines of the day. What The Mo'Nique Show is saying is we'll give you what you're looking for. Heck. Here's what Mo'Nique had to say herself:

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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