Monday, October 05, 2009

Interview: Sherri Shepherd Shares Her View on Sherri

Sherri Shepherd’s infectious sense of humor is clearly evident during her day job as a co-host of the wildly popular talk show “The View.” But, as many fans know, Sherri got her start in comedy, and she is returning to her comedic roots to bring her own sitcom to Lifetime Television. “Sherri” will premiere on Lifetime this Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. After a week of original episodes, the show will move to its regular timeslot, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

“Sherri” is loosely based on the comedian’s own life and follows the story of a working mother and part-time entertainer trying to pick up the pieces of her life when she splits from her husband after she discovers his affair.

The first thing I had to know was how she fits it all in. Sherri explains: “I guess if it were a job that I hated it would be very hard. But this job is a dream come true for me — I’ve always wanted to have a talk show, I’ve always wanted to have my own sitcom and I’ve always wanted to make people laugh — so it’s all coming true. It just energizes me. I keep thinking that if you pinch me, I’ll wake back up as a legal secretary with some lawyer telling me to get him some coffee.”

It’s difficult to get a new show off the ground, so Sherri jumped at the chance to star in her own sitcom when the opportunity presented itself. “The executive producers — Nina Wass and Gene Stein, who also produced my 2002 sitcom, ‘Less Than Perfect’ — called me in for a meeting and told me: ‘You’ve been an ensemble player for years. It’s time to be the star of your own show, and we want to pitch something (to a network) for you.’

“So, I told them all the gory details about my husband and going through a divorce, and I went through my stand-up act for them. They were laughing and crying, and they said: ‘This is what you should do. This is the show! It will really resonate with women everywhere.’”

Lifetime Television network was the perfect place for Sherri to take her show. Sherri tells me: “Lifetime is very supportive of the show. I love working with a bunch of women; it’s so great. This ain’t your grandmother’s network anymore. It’s very hip and very cool. It’s edgy — my show can get really edgy.”

Sherri draws from her real-life experience for material for the show. For example, Sherri reveals: “I was with my husband for 11 years. Now I’m a single woman, a single mother trying to meet guys. Everyone says to go to clubs. So there’s a scene where we’re all dressed up in leather jackets and leather pants, and I had a wig on. That’s how I dressed 11 years ago when I’d go out to a club.

“So we go to the 40/40 Club, which is Jay-Z’s club, and I see all these half-naked girls. So I say to my girlfriends: ‘These girls have no C-section scars; they can dress how they want. How hip can we be? We look like six mad mothers looking for their kids.’”

Is it easy for Sherri to switch between talk-show host and sitcom star? According to Sherri, it takes a little doing. “On ‘The View’ we have to give our opinions; we don’t hide behind lines, since nothing is scripted. I have to be very assertive and aggressive. Then I come over to the ‘Sherri’ set, and I get to hide behind a character. I have to sit for five to 10 minutes before I can get to that zone, but once I’m there, it’s just a lot of fun.”

Don’t miss the fun with Sherri, and be sure to check out “Sherri” on Lifetime beginning Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.