What do you get when you take 5 handsome men with uniquely dynamic personalities and put them together in a talk show format where they discuss important topics of the day – WITH COCKTAILS added to the mix?
You get “The Happy Hour” — a brand new talk show set to launch this spring under the direction of Creator and Producer, Kendrell Bowman. Kendrell is best known for his production work for Off-Broadway Shows such as “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical," “An Evening with Phyllis Hyman," and “A Soulful Christmas”.
“The Happy Hour” is Kendrell's brainchild, and I recently interviewed him to get the scoop on the show and his cast who I learned all hail from various backgrounds in media.
The eclectic panel of friends includes Patrick L. Riley (Former Field Producer, Oprah Winfrey Show), David Hand (Media & Film Graphics), Derrick Vidrine (Activist, Community Organizer), Jay Beauchamps (Former Performer, Businessman), and serving as the Group’s ”Barbra Walters” will be Kendrell Bowman himself leading the discussions. Comparisons to "The View" are inevitable but Kendrell is passionate in pointing out the show’s very groundbreaking differentiator — an exclusively all gay male panel.
Some of you may actually recognize David Hand from numerous fashion layouts and top runway shows. David was scouted by a modeling agency at the age of 50 and he joins "The Happy Hour" cast as one of today's most successful models.
With the exception of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy," there really is no other show with such a line-up. There is a void to be filled and the highly anticipated show aims to fill it, inclusive of a wild card guest appearance on each episode.
In explaining the premise of the show, Kendrell shared with me his vision, which was to present an intellectual platform of gay men that is more rich in substance than it is stereotype. He explains, “I wanted to do something that didn’t present gay men as caricatures, or over-the-top stereotypes, which is so common when we see gay male characters on television.”
I am inclined to agree with Kendrell. For example, Jack from “Will & Grace” brings in the laughs with his exaggerated antics, but in many ways that character has reinforced the stereotype of the “flamboyant homosexual”. That personification exists of course, but like in any community, our LGBTQ citizens are diverse. Kendrell’s mission is to show another facet of gay men, one that is rooted in intellectual conversation and a range of topics for both the gay and straight audience.
The idea for ”The Happy Hour” came about after Kendrell began to notice his afternoon brunches with Atlanta and New York City-based friends would often evolve into to deep and thoughtful conversations. Sure, unlimited mimosa’s and cocktails can have that effect, but there was also real communication happening at these brunches. The circle of friends who were usually present was a diverse group consisting of lawyers, doctors, drag queens, non-binaries and other types, all engaged in civil but spirited debate.
Kendrell quickly realized there was something more to explore here. He explains, ”It felt like a show to me when these brunch conversations occurred and many times when I hosted the brunch in my home, I would have “The View” on the in the background. Then one day it just clicked because the same dynamic that was playing out on my TV was happening identically among my gay friends in my living room — only with wine, cocktails and a fabulous brunch spread.”
I asked for a preview of the topics we can expect from the show, or maybe a hint of who we might see drop by as a special guest. “We’ll cover everything from love, dating apps and discrimination to modern politics and all things in pop culture," Kendrell confirms.
The show has wrapped their first episodes and its set to debut on Facebook and Youtube in April. So stay tuned for “The Happy Hour” — a promising new show where you can always be sure to find the boys AND THE BOOZE! (See what I just did there?)
The Happy Hour is Executive Produced by AnthonyKen, LLC. (Anthony Wayne & Kendrell Bowman) and Producer Ulyssa Salett.