Charlamagne Tha God has returned to Comedy Central for the second season of his late night show. After a successful run as This is God’s honest truthCharlamagne’s show will return in a new presentation under the name hell of a week.
In the show’s second season, Charlamagne adds a new executive producer, Josh Lieb, to a crew that included Stephen Colbert, showrunner Rachael Edwards, Aaron McGruder, Karen Kinney, James Dixon, and Norm Aladjem.
The series will have more of a panel, and in the first episode, Charlamagne was joined by Andrew Shulz, Kenan Thompson, Coleman Hughes and Lis Smith. Ahead of the show’s launch, Charlamagne Tha God spoke to The SOURCE about the changes fans will see in the show’s second season.
The SOURCE: We’re embarking on the second season of your late night show, but we have a name change. What triggered the transition from The God’s Honest Truth to Hell of a Week?
Charlemagne, God: Well, you know, the beauty of the business we’re in is that it’s always researching, you know? We found out that The God’s Honest Truth doesn’t exactly read like a talk show. If you didn’t necessarily know who I am and could play with words, you wouldn’t understand. The honest truth of God, you know, that’s my truth. And that’s how I feel about things. But Hell of a Week doesn’t just read like a weekly talk show, it feels like something everyone can relate to. Because last week you probably said, “Boy, it’s been a hell week.” So it’s just something that I think more people can embrace.
Was there a certain connection with this name change for you? You take projects like your baby, and when that was supposed to be your late-night intro, you’ve been struggling in your head, wondering if this is the right move for you, even though it makes more sense in a data-driven process?
Always. That’s just natural. Especially when you think of something, you ask yourself, am I not good? Wasn’t that good enough? So yes, you always do, but you just have to realize that things are bigger than you, and you have to step back from yourself and realize that’s why they hire the people they hire for this research. We had success in the first season, which is why we’re getting a second season, but I want a hit show, like a hit hit show. An undeniable hit show. I want to show that people are watching. I want to show that it’s getting the right message out there. I want to show that people are entertained and educated by the first season, but now we’ve worked out those kinks or two here and there. I think we’re going to hit the ground running with season two and get more attention than season one.
This title change also comes with a new format. Listening to Brilliant Idiots gives me a little understanding of what to expect in this transition, but what will fans see this season?
What I tried in the first season was a lot of heavy lifting, man. I communicated these big, broad issues like critical race theory. I delivered them but it was through the lens of me. I think this new show is about community, which I like to do. If you hear me in the breakfast club, it’s me, Envy, and Angela. And it’s us with the guests. You hear me on Brilliant Idiots, and me and Andrew Shulz. I feel like I’m at my best there when I’m sitting around and hanging out with people who can add value to any conversation we have. Andrew is actually in the first episode. I told him, “You have to shoot.” Everyone knows how critical Andrew was of Comedy Central for two reasons, and two, I want Andrew to be Andrew. I don’t want anyone to feel that we’ve all come too far to feel limited by any one platform. I know that’s one of the reasons a lot of people don’t even enjoy doing these kinds of shows anymore. People would rather have their social media, hit their stage, or podcast so they can express themselves uncompromisingly. I want everyone on the show to feel comfortable enough to let it fly.
Using Andrew as an example, you come into play with someone who may not have the best history with Comedy Central, and that’s your partner. How do you ensure you create the synergy for these shows that are created with potentially two opposing entities?
I don’t think it’s a conversation because I don’t even know if Comedy Central heard what Andrew said [laughs]. I know what Andrew said, but you know what? Much of the criticism was probably justified. It wasn’t just OD slander for no reason. From a comedian’s perspective, it was fair criticism, and comedians grew up watching Comedy Central. We grew up on Comedy Central, certain things like I’ve seen Chappelle’s show. I’ve seen Key and Peele here and there. I love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but there’s a certain thing we’ve come to expect from Comedy Central, and I guess a lot of comedians felt at one point that that thing wasn’t there. I hope to be a part of the people helping to bring this thing back. And I think the thing is just a little old-fashioned comedy, good old-fashioned observations of the world. I’m not a comedian per se, but I’m pretty good at observing the world.
I’m glad you mentioned that, because a lot of comedians need to be able to catch something on the fly, move around, and pull a joke out of nowhere. You mentioned that you need to be ready for filming, but how do you mentally prepare for the show, especially with a new format?
I prepare myself mentally by being more relaxed. I think I pushed myself too hard in the first season. I’m putting too much pressure on myself like I haven’t done this in over 20 years. I put myself under pressure because even though I’ve had talk shows Charlemagne and his friends and unusual common sense, MTV2 did that well. Looking at these platforms, I was really training for a big opportunity like this and literally it was. God has blessed me with these two other opportunities to enable me to have an opportunity like this. Having your name on the show, I didn’t feel that pressure with uncommon common sense. And maybe because I was younger and didn’t have as much responsibility as I have now. It was just fun.
We wore Desus and Mero Unusual common sense. They had a segment on my show called Classic or Trash. I had someone like Zuri Hall who is now with American Ninja Warrior. I had Karlous Miller, Chico Beam and DC Young Fly. I remember Viacom telling me nobody understands DC Young Fly and now they can’t get enough of him. We had Cardi B early on in this show. It felt looser so I didn’t have the pressure. The first season of this show felt like a lot of pressure because that’s how I wanted it to be successful. Still, I’m taking a much more relaxed approach this season because if it’s one thing, God has shown me over and over again that everything will be alright and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
Have you ever considered yourself the Gucci mane who finds comedic talent? You know he will find anyone and the names you just mentioned are big.
[Laughs] This is a Black reference. That’s a reference only black people get from a certain club. You know, I’ve never thought of that, but no. I know what you mean because Gucci, I respect him for that. I respect anyone who does that because, man, I’ve always heard these stories from people who were selfish and didn’t want to share the stage. Didn’t want to share the limelight, didn’t want to share this platform. The people I always thought were super dope were the people who had their stars and poured into everyone. My four inspirations in entertainment are Petey Greene; God bless the dead, an amazing radio personality. Arsenio Hall, Jay Z and Clarence Avant.
Petey was just a servant of the people the way he was. If you’ve ever seen the Talk to Me movie starring Don Cheadle and Taraji P Henson, Don Cheadle plays Petey Greene. He was just a servant of the people. That was his thing. He opened his platform to the community. He opened his platform up to the people so much that when the riots broke out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. broke out because he was the only one who could speak to the congregation at the time. Arsenio Hall, if you ever watch his old late night talk show, man, there ain’t nobody who puts more black creatives on TV. It was there that the cast of Living Single or Wu-Tang was seen as a collective for the first time. They didn’t get those looks on the shows that were on NBC and anyone else at the time.
JAY-Z, I think his track record speaks for itself. Look at all the different people he had poured into. And Clarence Avant is the godfather. You know, country boy from North Carolina. I’m from South Carolina. But this young man went to Hollywood and made it great. If you watch The Black Godfather on Netflix, you’ll see how he’s had a hand in everything from Hollywood to the music industry to politics. I admire people like that. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but if what I do is only for the sake of it it’s not big enough for me.
They bring together all kinds of people, professions and more for this show to find solutions. Why do you think people haven’t focused on finding solutions, just discussing the problems?
Because the problems make for better television, Chris Rock had this joke back then. I think it was a joke about diseases and he meant the money isn’t in the cure, the money is in the treatment. It’s the same with that. It’s like we get to the solutions that take away all the time we could spend talking about problems and the problems create conflict and it creates viral moments. But man, I want to come up with solutions because the reality of the situation is that America doesn’t have a problem that can be solved in 30 minutes on a TV show. That way we will never run out of problems to try to solve. Too many questions are asked on TV instead of people making concrete statements. Everyone is asking if Donald Trump should go to jail for the January 6 riot. I think what do you think he should? If you’ve been watching, you’ve already said you have more than enough to charge him with. If there’s any question that should be asked, it’s what the heck the DOJ is [Department of Justice] do? What is the DOJ waiting for to press charges? That should be the question.
Hell of a Week with Charlamagne Tha God with Charlamagne Tha God airs Thursdays at 11:30 EM/PT on Comedy Central, Outstanding plus, or online at Comedy Central.