Mo’Nique Discusses her Showtime Special, Netflix Lawsuit, Terms of Reconciliation with Oprah and Tyler Perry in Interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Photo: Mo’Nique in MO’NIQUE & FRIENDS: LIVE FROM ATLANTA. Photo Credit: Susan DeLoach/SHOWTIME.

Oscar-winning actress and comedienne Mo’Nique made headlines last year for suing Netflix, citing gender and racial discrimination. She felt she was offered a low-ball offer for a Netflix special compared to comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle.

Instead, she found a new home for her latest comedy special on Showtime which debuted Friday, February 7 and brought along a few comedic pals, too. Shot at the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, it’s simply called “Mo’Nique & Friends: Live from Atlanta.”

It came together relatively smoothly, she said in an interview Friday. “Showtime had a conversation with my husband to do a ‘Monique and Friends.’ The deal made sense. That’s how it works. It was to the point and provided me real ownership of my image I’ve been building.”

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Mo’Nique, who said she spends 85 percent of her time on the road doing stand-up shows nationwide, decided it was better to make the special a showcase rather than just do a solo show. (A solo stand-up special is forthcoming, she added.)

“It was exciting to introduce some new babies into the game and some legends that have been in the game,” she said. “It felt like I was in a juke joint with some friends, had a drink and just went up on stage.”

Among her friends are:
Prince T-Dub: “He’s charming, a gentleman and funny. He’s sharp. He is like Sammy Davis Jr. from the Rat Pack.”

Just Nesh: “This sister says it for what it is – unapologetically. I love that.”

Tone-X: “We have been traveling on the road for seven years. I have never seen this brother have a bad show.”

Correy Bell: “Sweet Correy B. She sent me an Instagram message. She wrote that I’m her spirit animal, that she can open my show. I told her to come to Chicago and give me five minutes. She tore the house down and now has been traveling on the road with me for a year and a half.”

Mo’Nique likes comics who bring real stories on stage, not just jokes, and that has been her own mantra for 30 years in the business.

“My husband said to me a few years back, ‘Momma, there are really funny people, then there are greats.’ The greats bring you into their lives. They don’t make up nothing. Let’s have a real conversation,” she said.

When the topics wandered off the special itself, her signature combativeness came out.

Me: “What’s the status of your lawsuit against Netflix?”

Mo’Nique: “What I will say is we’re going to see how it plays out.” She adamantly shut down any attempt at any follow-up questions.

Me: “Do you feel there is any reconciliation with Lee Daniels, Oprah or Tyler Perry?” [She has also feuded with Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Harvey.]

Mo’Nique: “Of course. Do you know how powerful it is to say I’m sorry… If those three people ever get courageous enough to say we owe this woman and her husband [Sidney Hicks} an apology. Of course, I still love these people. I don’t hate these people. They’re still brothers and sisters. It would have to be a public apology, not just private.

Me: “Why does it have to be public?”

Mo’Nique: “Because it’s not the same if you tell me I’ve done nothing wrong privately but won’t say it publicly. I have an audiotape of Tyler Perry saying, ‘You’ve done nothing wrong.’ But he hasn’t said it publicly. Oprah privately told me I did nothing wrong. They have to do this publicly so the public can see just how the powerful operate.”

Me: “But aren’t you powerful in your own right?”

Mo’Nique: “My power is different. I’m powerful spiritually for me and my family. I want to be powerful so I’m strong and can be heard for my children’s children. To say powerful so I can push a button and shut you down. I don’t want that power.”

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SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rodney Ho

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