Actor Allen Maldonado talks to TSL about how the show has changed his life over the past year.
The Last O.G. is currently in its second season and has swiftly become a fan favorite. Starring Tracey Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, Cedric the Entertainer and Allen Maldonado, The Last O.G. takes a comical look at an ex-con as he re-enters society and tries to make amends for his past through his culinary skills.
Last year we sat down with Allen Maldonado to discuss his then-new role on the show.
Recently, we spoke to him again to ask what the last year has been like for him both from a television and business perspective as well.
The Shadow League: How has the success of the show affected your personal life up to this point?
Allen Maldonado: It’s definitely elevated, especially in New York, as far as the attention.
Going on the subway is a little different now. Being recognized more and more whenever I do leave the house. I’m a bit of a hermit so I don’t get out much.
But when I do, I’ve definitely seen the reaction and the response from the people. People are really gravitating toward the show.
I think it’s one of those shows that has gradually grown. Instead of coming out like a big punch in the face, we’ve slowly grown over the past year leading up to season 2. And I’m very exciting for that growth to continue.
TSL: Previously, you spoke about personal business endeavors that are also creative in nature. Please, expand on that.
AM: Business has definitely grown on all avenues. We have a company called Get It Done Records and we’ve grown tremendously. We’ve released over 30 songs this year and have gotten countless placements. Along with my short film app, Everybody Digital.
We launched our first annual film festival in Brooklyn last year and we’re looking to have our second film fest in Brooklyn on October 19th.
Everybody Digital is the short film version of Netflix. We have a huge short film catalog that we’ve created from films from around the world. If you’re a short filmmaker, please log onto Everybody Digital to submit your work. Everything is selected, so it’s not like it’s Youtube.
It’s just like Netflix. We curate everything . We produce original short films as well. We currently have one starring Deon Cole from Black-ish and we have another one starring Miles Brown. So, basically, we got everybody from Black-ish to do a short film.
TSL: But why short films?
AM: I wanted to be able to bridge the gap between Hollywood and the academic manner in which people see short films. I want to create an industry for these short filmmakers because a lot of times they’ll put their blood, sweat and tears into a project, it’ll go through its 12 to 15 month festival run.
Then, it’s all over. There has been no way to concentrate these works in a really consistent, cool manner to the masses since short films have been removed from the theaters, there’s no real, concentrated place that you can go and still see them in a concentrated manner.
So we wanted to create a place to show short films rather than it being treated as the bargain basement of any steaming services of streaming app.
A lot of times, no matter what app you’re using, you’ll find the short films at the bottom of the list.
We want to elevate the genre as a whole.
TSL: Currently, your reputation is that of a funny guy, but most of your prior roles have been dramatic. What has it been like working on set with so many funny people?
AM: You definitely have people to play with. Being that they’re comedians and that’s their strong suit and being funny is what comes naturally to them.
It’s like being able to be in the arena with a natural athlete in that space. It makes life easier on set when it comes to doing comedy with a comedian because their first instance is to respond in a comical way.
This is light work because it doesn’t seem like work. It’s just all laughs, us playing and us finding the jewels within each scene. I think that’s fun. After we get done with that, the real magic happens where we can play and build on what the script has laid down in front us.
TSL: Cousin Bobby is a wild dude to say the least. How’re you guys expanding that character this season?
AM: There’s definitely growth this season. I think there’s growth in all of the characters, especially Cousin Bobby as he learns to be a man. Learning how to be on his own and have his own opinions, trying to search for his own greatness.
That’s what I’m exciting for. Season 2, we’ll see more insight on the personal life of Cousin Bobby, how he operates and how his way of thinking came about due to the loss of his brother. Tracey being gone, and him being devoid of mentors, affected his life in a way that you’re going to see, and we tell those stories greatly in season two.
TSL: For many, incarceration and disenfranchisement are no laughing matter.
AM: But it’s really life! On this show, we try to be as close to real life as possible being that the same things that will make you laugh will make you cry. Some of the funniest situations we have in life have happened after going through something traumatic or dealing with a traumatic situation.
The finny thing about life is, sometimes you look back at life and have funny memories from some of the hardest times in your life. Once you overcome them, then you look at them from a different perspective.
On the show, we have a lot of dramatic tones, but the laughs pay off more.
When you have a heart, you can have a real story with real compassion for the character and the situations that they’re going through.
I think it just sets up those opportunities for you to laugh even better than just ‘joke, joke, joke, joke’ and it’s always one note, whereas there are ebbs and flows where we get serious, then we’ll get funny, then we’ll get even more serious, then we’ll get even more funny to keep it balance.
I think, with The Last O.G. we have a very balanced way of approaching serious topics in a comedic form.