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'black-ish' star Marcus Scribner talks NAACP Image Award nomination

People who watched the pilot of black-ish came for the combined star power of Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne, and Anthony Anderson, but they probably stayed for the charms of Marcus Scribner, one of the breakout stars of the show. Scribner plays Andre Jr., the eldest son of the Johnson family and one of the coolest embodiments of the new generation of black youths. He has a Hobbit hole model and a love for Pilates, and he views Barack Obama as just “the president”—not “the first black president.”

Scribner, who has just been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, is just as funny and charming as his character. And as he told EW Community, Scribner really identifies with the “lovable” Andre Jr.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: Not only is black-ish up for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, but you are also nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. How does it feel to be recognized by the NAACP?

MARCUS SCRIBNER: To be nominated for an NAACP award was overwhelming to me and my family. To have my name connected to the NAACP is an honor I don’t take lightly. The change they have created inspires me to keep creating it in my generation. When I heard I was nominated with these actors of such high caliber was a moment I will never forget.

How would you describe Andre Jr.?

I think that Andre Jr. is a lovable character. He’s a bit of a klutz, as you can see throughout the episodes; Andre Jr. is always running into walls, tripping, spilling coffee on himself. He’s just really a fun character to play because he’s just really extreme when it comes to having a good time. And he’s always sure of himself, which I really think is a great feature to have as a person and as a character on the show.

To me, from what I’ve seen on the show, it seems like you relate a lot to Andre Jr. Would you say that’s true?

Yeah, I would say that’s true [laughs]. Andre Jr. and I have a lot of things in common. I would like to say that Andre Jr. and I have a similar clothing style and I pride myself on that, because Andre Jr.’s pretty fly when it comes to his clothes. We also both like playing video games and we’re just pretty similar [people]. I think that’s what makes Andre Jr. an enjoyable character to play for me, because when I first read the script, I was like, I could totally walk in his shoes because I feel like I am that person in real life.

It seems like people all across America, regardless of background, can identify with black-ish. What do you think makes the show so popular?

I think that the show is popular because the dynamic that the actors—me,Tracee, Anthony, Laurence, Miles [Brown], Marsai [Martin] and Yara [Shahidi]—the dynamic we have between each other is so real. From the first day, it was like we were a real family, so I think it translates very well to the screen. I think that our relationship has developed so much, that it’s a very relatable family. No matter what race you are, you have people in your family who have done stuff like [the Johnson family].

In a story I wrote for EW Community, I listed the reasons why I think folks should watch black-ish, and I mentioned how Andre Jr. reminded me of my brother and how he relates to the world. Have you had people come up to you and say how they relate to your character or how your character reminds them of someone they know?

Yes, I’ve had multiple people tell me that … I think nowadays, the stereotype of the black kid is not how it used to be. Now, you’re free to [be culturally interracial]. I think Andre Jr. perpetuates these things in a very awesome way. He’s also seen as a “cool nerd” on TV, and I think that inspires people to be themselves.

You’re working with some great actors as you’ve already talked about, like Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne, and Anthony Anderson. What’s it like to work with your onscreen family?

It’s an amazing experience. Like I’ve said previously, it [felt] like we’re an actual family from day one. They act like our real parents and they always give me advice. Working with such great, veteran actors has really allowed me to really step up my acting game. Between scenes, we’re just always messing around and playing. Every other take that we have is an outtake, because someone came up with another line. We usually have 45-minute scenes because we just keep going with the improv. … It’s great working with such veteran actors.

Do you have any favorite behind-the-scenes moment?

There are so many, it’s ridiculous. Anthony is the biggest goofball in the world. He always runs around making jokes, especially if the cameras are on him and they’re filming us. He’ll walk around making funny noises. One time, he was even on his phone while he was doing a scene with me and the camera was on me and he would just make funny noises. Sometimes, we’re filming different lines that would just throw the scene off completely, and we’d all fall on the floor laughing. I think the coolest moment was in the pilot when we were shooting the bar mitzvah scene. The part when Anthony flips was an ad-lib, and it was hilarious because Tracee and I were dragging him off to the side. That was one of the funniest moments we’ve ever had on black-ish.

What can you tell us about what might be coming up for Andre Jr. in future episodes?

Andre Jr. develops as a character in future episodes—I don’t want to say too much, but let’s just say that there are a few more slips and falls [laughs].

I know in “The Nod,” Andre has a new coworker friend, Charlie, and he brings his son over. Will we see you and Charlie’s son in any scenes coming up?

Yeah, Eustace may be a returning character, but you never know! I don’t want to say too much because then the writers will get upset with me, but he may be coming back, so stay tuned for that.

You recent told Jimmy Kimmel that you play the clarinet. Do you think we’ll see Andre Jr. playing the clarinet?

That would be awesome! That is a great idea! You should be on the writing team of our show! I’ll have to speak with the writers about that one. Andre Jr. could definitely play the clarinet. He seems like a clarinet type of person. He’s not the coolest kid in school, but he’s definitely not the lamest, so a clarinet would be a perfect instrument for him.

When I was in fifth grade, my school started an orchestra team, and at the time I was shooting a movie. … One of the actors happened to be a clarinetist, and he gave me his instrument. He was like, “This was mine from years ago, here you go.” I was just super-excited. It’s like a vintage clarinet and it still plays very well. I was thankful to him to inspire me to play clarinet, and now it’s my favorite instrument in the orchestra.

Do you have a favorite piece to play on clarinet?

Yes! One of my favorite pieces to play on clarinet is Star Wars. I can get down on some Star Wars pretty hard. That was one of the first full-length songs I learned to play on clarinet, so it holds a special place in my heart. And I also love Star Wars.

If there’s someone out there who hasn’t seen black-ish yet, what do you think you’d tell them to convince them to watch?

I would probably say that black-ish is a show everyone can relate to, whether you’re black, Latino, Asian. The show has all-around great laughs in it, and every scene is a different dynamic between the characters. It’s just a great show to unwind and relax and have a great laugh.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to the fans of the show?

I would like to say that everyone who watches black-ish, thank you for watching and thank you for your continued support. And remember: Stay black-ish.

black-ish airs Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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