By Joanne Saunders
Woke Season 2 presented its first episode at WonderCon this year, and the executive producers – creator Keith Knight, Marshall Todd, and Anthony King – along with actors Lamorne Morris, T. Murph, and Blake Anderson answered questions after the episode screened.
Knight thanked the audience, “Excited to hear people laugh. I was sitting in the back just watching you all watch it. It’s such a gift, so thank you.”
When asked about the difference between the first and second season, Knight noted one of the biggest differences was that “[T]he first season was really about being in Keef’s head. The second season was more about being outside and incorporating other characters and the city of San Francisco. That city is very diverse, so it was very important to bring in Latinos.” Also, because the first season was more in Keef’s head, inanimate objects spoke more because the objects represented the voices in Keef’s head. Now that Keef is speaking out more, the inanimate objects did not appear as frequently.
Season 2 of Woke was written during the pandemic. The panelists credited the new executive producer of the show, Anthony King (HBO’s Silicon Valley; Comedy Central’s Broad City; etc.) with making the writer’s room smoother than the first season even though the writing was done all on Zoom. They joked that it saved Sony and Hulu a lot of money.
There is also sharp commentary on social media, housing, and homelessness. Knight had lived in San Francisco for many years and said the homeless problem has always been a part of the city. Also, addressing social media was important because some things “thrown out there” are true, and some isn’t.
This second season also addresses the ridiculousness of some companies’ attempts to “commodify woke(ness)” and say they are contributing to social justice. The producers noted that a lot of the story lines were based in reality and developed in absurd ways. The incidence in the finale is related to something that actually happened. “Satire is boring if there’s nothing complicated to explore. We wanted to find the gray area,” King said.
Lamorne Morris, who plays Keef Knight, is now a producer of the show. He enjoys sharing his thoughts and ideas, which are talked about on set. “There are a lot of rewrites,” said Morris in referring to days on set.
On a more visual change, T. Murph, who plays Clovis, got into great shape this season, and is seen topless in the first episode. They showed a before and after photo of Murph and the difference is significant. “I was getting ready for the zombies. I didn’t know what was happening,” he said in regards to the pandemic and world-wide shutdown. He used the time to get in shape.
Because being a cartoonist is mostly a solitary endeavor, Knight appreciates the efforts of hundreds of people to put the show together. The contribution of so many has made it a fantastic experience for him.
“This season, we poke fun at a lot of different things and people and a lot of them are very extreme. There are episodes I could not get through a scene without laughing. I’m excited for people to see this because of those moments,” Morris said. “The show resonates with everyone no matter what side of the coin you are.”
All 8 episodes of Woke Season 2 premier on Friday, April 8th on Hulu, a co-production between Sony Picture Television and ABC Signature.
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