The cast of Peacock’s new unconventional comedy series Bust Down is well aware their show will have people talking, and they are ready for whatever reactions will come their way.
Bust Down stars real-life friends Chris Redd (Saturday Night Live), Sam Jay (Pause with Sam Jay), Jak Knight, and Langston Kerman. In the show, they play four casino employees, stuck in dead-end jobs somewhere in middle America, hilariously tackling crazy (controversial) situations that take place in their dead-end lives.
Speaking with Bust Down’s cast, we touched on if they are ready for the reception the show will possibly receive due to the subject matter, their characters, and, of course, one thing they hope viewers walk away with after watching the show. All of them, especially Redd and Jay who are seasoned comedians are looking forward to the chatter the show will surely generate.
Step into the interview below.
Cassius Life: Bust Down goes there and uses comedy to tackle some rather unique subject matter. There are definitely some moments that will have folks talking. Are y’all a little nervous about the reception this show may receive for tackling these subjects?
Sam Jay: Well, now we are. I don’t think we were.
Jak Knight: [I] wasn’t really thinking about it until you came in here all serious with it. What was that?
SJ: Nah, man. I don’t think we’re tackling anything that doesn’t happen. Just probably tackling things that people don’t talk about on TV. And so, I think our hope is that it’s refreshing and people are like, “Oh. Conversations I have and in silly ways that I have them,” and there’s those ways that people can kind of connect to it.
JK: And not for nothing. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Always Sunny, white people talk about these same topics, so this notion that we’re these crazy, wild black people is ridiculous. White people have been doing these same types of jokes for decades.
Chris Redd: I full-on expect that just because we live in a very reactionary time, and no matter how good something is, someone is going to find a reason to not understand or just not try to really get the joke. Or, just be offended by some sh*t. So, that’s going to happen, I’m assuming, but I hope more people see it in the way that we intended than the latter.
Langston Kerman: Yeah. And I think we’re not unaware of the conversations we’re having in this show. It’s not like we were like, “This is perfectly healthy discourse, and nobody will be offended!” That said, we hope that people are laughing a lot more than they’re clutching their pearls, I guess, if that’s what people are doing at home.
CL: Jak, your character is the unique one in the group. Can you quickly describe why he’s the way he is in the show?
JK: Jak is a psychopath, and I think he’s truly tapped into what everybody is doing and only goes off on his own adventures to find his own answers and equations. I’m from Seattle, so there’s a lot of weird, black kids I know, and I just wanted to kind of tap into that a little bit.
CL: Sam, we loved your character on this show. What do you love most about doing this show?
SJ: I love getting to work with my friends, and watch my friends shine, and watch my friends elevate and just get better at stuff. Even as we were going through taping, it was like watching people really settle into their characters and take over scenes. Sometimes, it’s weird, I’m like a fan, even though I’m supposed to be acting, I’ll be watching like, “Look at Jak! He’s dope!” You know what I mean? “This is great!” So, yeah, for me, it was just being able to do something like that with my friends, and there were moments that just felt real.
Like when Jak is defending me for cheating and it not being my baby, and he makes that point, and I’m like, “Yeah!” It’s like, that’s a real Sam/Jak moment where I say … Like, that happens in life. I say something very wild and Jak’s like, “No, no, no. Sam is correct.” And I’m like, “Yeah! Tell them!”
Nah, man. I don’t think we’re tackling anything that doesn’t happen. Just probably tackling things that people don’t talk about on TV. And so, I think our hope is that it’s refreshing and people are like, “Oh. Conversations I have and in silly ways that I have them,” and there’s those ways that people can kind of connect to it.
CL: Chris, you seem a little more comfortable in this role. Is Bust Down a show you’ve always wanted to do?
CR: Yeah. A show with my friends is definitely all I’ve wanted to do. And I’ve worked on a lot of shows, gratefully, and it’s all been great experiences for the most part, but nothing beats people who know you the best, and you guys creating together, and really being able to see your friends in that light. From creating it to making it, we’ve all worked on different stuff, but we got to do it together, and I’m glad that came across, that I’m comfortable in it. Because it was. I was, like, the most excited to play this out of anything I’ve ever done, and I’m real proud of me and everybody else in this thing.
I full-on expect that just because we live in a very reactionary time, and no matter how good something is, someone is going to find a reason to not understand or just not try to really get the joke. Or, just be offended by some sh*t. So, that’s going to happen, I’m assuming, but I hope more people see it in the way that we intended than the latter.
CL: Langston, your character gets picked on a lot.
LK: Yes. That’s absolutely correct.
CL: Primarily for being a little light-skinned, and being a tad bit uppity. Is this something you actually experience in life? Is that a problem you experience in your life?
LK: No, it’s not. Not at all. I feel like I’ve only been embraced in every space that I walk in with these three, and no. We wrote these characters very much as a way of making fun of each other. It is in spotting the weaknesses, or the things that we can’t stand in each other, and then amplifying them as loud as possible. And so, I am the nag in this group, unfortunately. I don’t mean to be, and I wish I wasn’t, but that is the role that has been assigned to me. And we just made it as loud as we possibly could, and the same is true for everybody’s character.
CL: What’s one thing you hope viewers take away after watching Bust Down?
SJ: A hurt stomach [from laughing].
JK: Yeah. Just laughing and finding new ways to laugh. I think we introduce a whole bunch of different styles of jokes in this show, and so, I’ll be really excited for people to find new ways to laugh on the show.
CR: Man, I hope they take away the fact that there’s a new show that’s funny, man. And we just need to laugh a little bit more, and every hard conversation doesn’t need to be … I don’t know. I’m going even deeper than I really intend. I just want people to think it’s funny, and want more. And come back for more. And quote stuff. I want memes, dog. I want memes. I want gifs. I want gifts and gifs. I want gifs and I want presents.
LK: I think the same. I love gifs and memes and presents. I especially want people to feel like the things that they’re laughing at can be enjoyed without turning it into some sort of heavy lesson. Like, I don’t think that this has to be a show where we walk away and have these impossible conversations. It can truly just be a thing that we enjoyed, and laughed at, and move on and go laugh at some other stuff, instead of wanting to create think-pieces and in-depth articles about the complicated nuances of this thing. It’s like, nah. Come on, dog. We’re doing silly stuff. Just let it be silly.
Bust Down premieres exclusively on Peacock on March 10.
Photo: NBC Peacock / Bust Down