Image Credit: Courtesy of Fox
Comedian and Outmatched star, Finesse Mitchell along with FOX, just announced a big initiative for the day after the Superbowl – called Super Monday. Mitchell (of SNL fame) has been anointed the “Mayor of Monday” in order to spread the word.
Last year 17 million people took off from work the day after the Super Bowl and FOX is encouraging more people to do so again this year.
Mitchell is a veteran of the game. From 2003 to 2006, he was a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Over the last two decades, Mitchell has also appeared on such television shows as Showtime at the Apollo, BET‘s ComicView, Comedy Central Presents, Disney’s A.N.T. Farm and NBC’s Late Friday.
His one-hour stand-up special, “The Spirit Told Me To Tell You,” premiered in October 2018. Mitchell is a regular panelist on “The Wendy Williams Show” and is currently writing his second book on relationships. His first book, “Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much: A Brother’s Take on Dating and Mating for Sistas” (2007, Simon Spotlight) is an advice book for women, born out of his popular monthly advice column.
We caught up to Mitchell, who is married to the daughter of legendary crooner El Debarge and was just added along with Tisha Campbell as a cast member on Outmatched. He discusses his new role on the FOX show, the festive and memorable return of Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live, playing football at U of Miami with “The Rock” and how he became FOX’s “Mayor of Monday.”
The Shadow League: Talk about your involvement in this and why the heck they are doing it.
Finesse Mitchell: We all know that most people are going to take the day off after the Super Bowl, and 17 million is a big number to call in sick across the country.
So FOX figured since they have the Super Bowl and are premiering for the new season of the Masked Singer after the big game, and also have a couple of new shows coming out that Monday, why not just make it a three day weekend.?
And if you do stay home, FOX got involved to make it more special
They are going to give 5 people 10,000 just by tweeting “I’m taking Feb. 3 off,” using the hashtag #supermonday and then whatever excuse you’re going to tell your boss to get out of work. It’s very random and if FOX picks your excuse, you get 10 Gs.
TSL: How’d you become “Mayor of Monday”?
FM: Charlie Collier who is the President of Fox (and Fox head of creative advertising Scott Edwards) came up with the initiative and character “Mayor of Monday.”
TSL: In December, you were cast as a series regular opposite Jason Biggs (American Pie), Maggie Lawson (Psych) and Tisha Campbell (Martin) in Fox’s new multicam family comedy Outmatched. Talk about landing that plush gig.
I’m a standup comedian I’ve been touring forever, started on BET Comic View, SNL and then it was basically about survival after that. I had success and disappointment, but this was the year, end of 2019. I went in on a random audition and got a callback and went to test and I read with Tish Campbell, who plays my wife.
I was a little nervous but I went in there and knocked it out of the park. Tisha was easy to work with. They let me know a week later that I got the role. Our neighbors, The Bennett Family, has four children and three are certified geniuses and one is a little slow and that’s the one they relate to because they are a little slow. Tisha and I are always just popping by and getting into their business.
TSL: Talk about your college football career at U of Miami? You played with The Rock and some future NFL greats. What was he like back then?
FM: Believe it or not, sports are harder than making it to SNL. That’s a million in one shot no matter what you want to do. Back then everybody was 18 and 19 years old and it was just about whooping somebody’s butt that Saturday.
The late 80s and 90s of Hurricane football…the Golden Era. All we knew were 11 and 12 win seasons and titles. That 2000 team had like 36 players get drafted into the NFL. It was the greatest college team ever assembled.
It’s always such a great time to go back and be around all the legends; Alonzo Highsmith and Michael Irving. The tight ends like Jeremy Shockey. Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp, legends that I played with. They were athletes for real, for real. It’s Ok to grow out of a dream and blossom into a new one but the work ethic has to be the same.
It’s actually kind of hard to see the University of Miami not be that great at football now, but every year we think it will turn around.
TSL: The dream you grew into was comedy and television. Talk about the impact of Eddie Murphy’s SNL Return? As a former cast member, I know you were there. Share the moment with us.
FM: Going back everybody knew that everybody wanted to be on or at that Eddie Murphy SNL show. It was one of the, if not the highest-rated shows in SNL history. Everybody came back to show Eddie love.
I flew out to LA and it was great. As soon as I got there I saw Dave Chapelle, Tracy Morgan, and Chris Rock and some of my cast members Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Fred Armisen. That was my generation, so it was just great to see everybody back in the room again. And Eddie did a great job.
TSL: Describe your three-year experience working as an African-American comedian on SNL.
FM: It’s not easy doing SNL, it’s a live show. It racks your brain and nerves. There are a lot of things to remember and running around and quick outfit changes. The after-party was great. We chopped it up, took pictures and caught up. That’s when I pitched myself for Coming to America 3, cause I missed Coming To America 2.
It’s not easy being Black and being on SNL and trying to get your cultural point across and bring your funny out. At the same time, we have to stop making the excuse that it’s not easy. Just get up there and bust your ass. I think the 40-year-old finesse looking back at the young Finesse… that’s what I would tell anybody in a competitive field. Sometimes the work ethic will pull you through and not the complaining.
TSL: Speaking of work ethic, you’ve been grinding for a long time. Your career’s had its peaks and valleys.
FM: The longevity is rewarding because the person I came in with was Keenan Thompson and he’s the longest-running cast member in the history of SNL. That’s inspiring, so how can I say it’s so tough for me when we come from basically the same city and he made a career out of it.
It’s a weak dream if it’s easy.
Catch Finesse Mitchell on Outmatched airing every Thursday on FOX at 8:30 ET/7:30 CT