BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA, now in its first season Monday nights on CBS, is a romantic comedy charting the relationship of Midwest compression socks businessman Chuck (Billy Gardell) and Nigerian immigrant nurse Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku). The series was created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Alan J. Higgins and Gina Yashere.
Yashere (pronounced YASH-er-ay, rhymes with SASH-hurray) is an English stand-up comedian of Nigerian descent. Gorodetsky and Higgins caught her act on YouTube and brought her to Lorre’s attention. The trio originally wanted Yashere to consult on BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA, but after a few days of talking together, it was decided that Yashere should be part of the creative team. Additionally, Yashere plays Kemi, Abishola’s best friend.
As a writer, Yashere has also worked on DEF COMEDY JAM, JUST FOR LAUGHS, and 1ST AMENDMENT STANDUP, as well as her own act; as a performer, her credits include KISS KISS BANG BANG, MR. IN-BETWEEN, BROMWELL HIGH, CRASHING, and THE RUBBISH WORLD OF DAVE SPUD.
ASSIGNMENT X: Your fellow BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA producers originally found you on YouTube. When you put yourself on YouTube, was it with the idea of getting into American television?
GINA YASHERE: Oh, no. It was literally about selling tickets. I’m a stand-up comic by trade, and when I put my stuff out on YouTube, it’s about getting my fans to see my stand-up, and come out and see me live. So that’s always just been about promoting what I do. So it was just a matter of me putting my good work out there. You never know where your work is going to take you, and that’s where it brought me.
AX: This is your first time co-creating an American sitcom. Did you have learn anything at all to do sitcom, or was that fairly easy for you?
YASHERE: I’m learning every day. I’ve been writing stand-up comedy for the last twenty years, so I know what’s funny, and I know how to write comedy, but I don’t know how to write sitcoms. And that’s why being in the room with people like Al Higgins and Chuck Lorre, it’s just a fantastic learning experience, because I’m watching and learning every day.
AX: Are there particular characters who popped for you besides Bob and Abishola?
YASHERE: Yeah, Kemi because I play her. I’m the lady on the bus [laughs]. So she is definitely one of my favorite characters. But all of them are going to be great characters, all of them are going to have stories, all of them are going to be three-dimensional, and you can pick who you want to love. It’s fantastic. Pick your favorite.
AX: You’re British. Did you have to learn anything about America for BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA?
YASHERE: Not really. I was born and raised in England. England and America are best friends. And I got all your television, all your TV shows, all your movies. I’ve known everything about America before I ever set foot in America. So no, there wasn’t that much. I mean, there are small, minute details about Westerners, let’s say, but America as a culture? No, not really.
AX: We’re hearing on the news in the U.S. that British attempts to cut down on immigration has resulted in a nursing shortage, among other things.
AX: Since Abishola is a nurse, is that going to be any part of the story here?
YASHERE: It’s always possible, but we try to stay away from political stuff. We’re just telling her story. And whatever she experiences while that story is being told is what she experienced. But we’re not going to go, “Right, we’re going to write an episode about immigration in England.” That is not what we’re about it’s about just telling these people’s stories.
AX: Have you had to research anything dealing with Abishola or Bob’s professions, like nursing or compression socks?
YASHERE: Oh, absolutely. We had a cardiac nurse on set when we were shooting the pilot to make sure we got everything right. Same with the socks. We researched this stuff religiously.
AX: Is there anything inherently funny about compression socks?
YASHERE: You’ll find out. Keep watching the show [laughs].
AX: How is writing the beginnings of romance between Bob and Abishola?
YASHERE: We’re just going with where it goes. We’re writing these people as people. So it’s not like, “Oh, we’re going to make a romance, we’re going to make them fall in love.” It’s going to be a long process. They’re going to start as friends, and even becoming friends is going to take awhile. So that is just one aspect to the story. There’s a lot of other stuff happening in the show.
AX: Do you have any other projects going on we should know about?
YASHERE: This is it. I’m always performing live, because I’m a stand-up comic. So I keep sharp by doing my stand-up stuff, but I’m throwing everything I’ve got into this show.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA?
YASHERE: It’s a beautiful story about people. That’s it. It’s just about people living their lives, loving, hating, working, studying. It’s just a good, heartwarming comedy.
This interview was conducted during CBS’s portion of the Summer 2019 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA co-creator and actress Gina Yashere on new CBS sitcom – Exclusive Interview