Prentice Penny Reveals How He Connected w/ Issa Rae, Landed ‘Insecure’
HBO’s hit breakout show Insecure is officially back for season two! Sunday night (July 23rd), the Issa Rae led comedy officially returned taking over social media and forcing us to take sides (#LawrenceHive vs #IssaHive vs #ZaddyHive). And as expected, it returned with a bang. While we’re certainly a fan of the finished product (i.e. what viewers watch every Sunday night for the next few weeks), we’re equally interested in the magic that takes place behind the scenes. In a recent interview with Prentice Penny (the series’ show runner and executive producer), we get a glimpse of how he got his start in TV and film; how he connected with Issa Rae, what exactly ‘show runner’ means and why he believes people of color never get to be flawed on TV. Peep the excerpts below.
How he got in this industry:
I went to film school at USC, like most writers trying to hustle trying to get my first job I was a teacher, worked at a nonprofit, worked at a group home with foster kids, but I got my first job on ‘Girlfriends’.
If he always knew he wanted to work in this arena:
Yeah, I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I grew up an only child so you got to use your imagination a lot. This is the time it was only four television stations and your grandparents would watch the news and I had no control over the TV. I had to make my own fun so I would just do stories and it became this.
How he connected with Issa Rae:
I knew of Issa and my mom had told me about Issa because we’re from the same neighborhood. I read the script and thought somebody is going to mess this up. I thought this is too special, too unique, too right now so I wrote her a letter about why I thought I would be a good show runner for her. She read it and was like, ‘Let’s meet’. So we met at her book signing and we talked fifteen minutes and we just clicked.
What ‘show runner’ means:
My job was to find a pilot director. My day to day, once we got picked up, it’s hiring writers, meeting with directors, Issa and I figuring out whats the story going to be about, supervise the casting, the music, and editing color.
What he meant in a recent interview when he said “people of color never get to be flawed on TV”:
I mean we have to be extraordinary all the time. We’re the morality of a mainstream world, we have to be on this uber side of right. We never get to be basic and flawed we have to dance great and do this great we can’t just be like simple.
Watch the interview below.