The third time was the proverbial charm for the comedians who just earned a 10-episode sketch comedy series order today from TruTV.
Friends of the People — Kevin Barnett, Jennifer Bartels, Jermaine Fowler, Lil Rel Howery, The Lucas Brothers and Josh Rabinowitz — will debut their series this summer on TruTV, with a combination of in-studio scripted sketch and man-on-the-street segments.
Most of the group first met and performed together in 2012 for the ill-fated In Living Color reboot for FOX. Their efforts then never made it to air. But they enjoyed their time enough to keep pressing on, and formed a separate group called Legion of Goons, which put on live shows in New York City and shot a pilot last year for Comedy Central.
Here’s a selection of bits from “Legion of Goons” that includes Barnett and Fowler’s “Homo Thugs,” Lil Rel’s stand-up on Starz, Bartels’ character work, The Lucas Brothers on Fallon, and Rabinowitz’s stand-up from Carolines, and more. Language is NSFW. Headphones up!
Two years ago, you also could catch Fowler and Rabinowitz on college tours with Comedy Central. In 2014, you also can see several of the fellas on MTV2’s Guy Code, The Lucas Brothers in their own animated FOX ADHD series, Fowler on the upcoming Comedy Underground with Dave Attell for Comedy Central, and Rabinowitz on that same network’s Adam Devine’s House Party.
The Friends of the People pilot includes a previously-untold story from television history, and the adventures of “Tracy Morgan Freeman.” 3 Arts Entertainment and Marobru Productions are producing, with 3 Arts’s Michael Rotenberg and Avi Gilbert and Marobru’s Michele Armour executive producing alongside the series’ and showrunner/director Neil Punsalan (The Pete Holmes Show). The cast members also serve as writers and executive producers, with Josh Rabinowitz and Kevin Barnett as head writers.
From the press release: “Friends of the People is the perfect show to mark truTV’s entrance into the world of sketch comedy,” said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV. “This series features a multi-talented and hilarious cast of performers, writers and producers who share a remarkable chemistry with one another. We are extremely excited that this unique group of comedians will be making its home on truTV. Friends of the People is a terrific addition to the truTV slate and an important step for the network as we refresh and expand the new truTV brand.”
TruTV already broadcasts the successful Impractical Jokers series, as well as Upload with Shaquille O’Neal — which features comedians Rachel Feinstein and Godfrey. The cable channel also is launching The Carbonaro Effect this summer, starring magician/prankster Michael Carbonaro.