After moving to Los Angeles in 2012 to pursue professional dancing, Woody McClain began to branch out and test his comedic skills ultimately creating social media videos that went viral with with videos such as “Permission to Cuss,” and in late 2015 McClain caught the attention of Kevin Hart who asked the young rising star to join his production company, HartBeat Digital. Two years later, McClain’s star status gained a boost following his breakout critically acclaimed performance as Bobby Brown in this year’s New Edition biopic mini series which aired on BET. Kevin Hart and Woody have collaborated on a project for Kevin’s Laugh Out Loud Network called Stories With Kev, in which Woody will be playing Kevin. Stories With Kev premiered exclusively on LaughOutLoud.com and it’s app on September 29th. Woody chatted with us about meeting Kevin, working on the project and more.
What made you create “Permission to Cuss”?
Woody McClain: I remember just sitting there watching Martin at first. It started with me watching Martin and he was doing one of his stand-ups and I was like ‘Yo I think this would be super funny if I could make this real’. But I was like at the time Instagram only let you post 15 second videos and my thing was I was trying to bring a bigger audience. So I was like that’s too much that’s too long, maybe if I take somebody that’s online that does storytelling, maybe I could bring one of their 15 second videos to life. So I did that with Plies. It started doing really good, the rapper Plies I started doing his videos and it just kept going viral. Now I was like I have to do something bigger and better and when I played Kevin Hart ‘Permission to Cuss’ I seen the whole story in my head and I was like this is the story I want to tell I have to do it. And that’s how that all came about.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEvNDetA-eg&w=560&h=315]
How did your meeting with Kevin Hart come about? What was your initial reaction when meeting Kevin Hart?
Woody McClain: Man his guy Wayne reached out to me and said they wanted to meet and we met. This meeting with Kev was like one of the best feelings you can have as a young up and coming person that wants to be in comedy. But just to see Kevin be about the business and so like smart and knows what he wants just motivated me to want to go even harder.
In working with Kevin [Hart] what was one thing you learned about him that you didn’t know before?
Woody McClain: Man Kevin’s about the business. I mean looking online it’s all fun silly Kevin Hart haha, but in person he really knows his stuff.
What was one of the funniest moments on set while filming Stories with Kev?
Woody McClain: One of the funniest moments for me.. well I don’t even know if this is considered funny but I remember the day Kevin was coming in to film the intro of the show and I could just remember everybody panicking running around making sure everything was just right and I’m like ‘Yo you guys have to relax it’s great trust me.’ And just everybody was just panicking and Kevin came in he killed it and like I said it was great no need to panic. And that was just the funniest day ever because I never seen people panic before. That was the first time me seeing the crew and cast out of their element in panic.
If you could give us your favorite Kevin Hart quote what would that be?
Woody McClain: I think it has to be “Live, Love, Laugh” that’s like one of his best quotes for me.
Besides being an leading actor on Stories with Kev, you were also executive producer. What was it like being both executive producer and an actor and having to balance both responsibilities/roles at the same time?
Woody McClain: That’s my first time executive producing something. I have so much more respect for producers and what they have to do because not only was I executive producer but I was also casting. I had to worry about locations, I had to do everything you could think of and come in and act at the same time. It just helped me prepare for the future.
With the project being exclusive to Kevin’s Laugh Out Loud, what do you feel Laugh Out Loud represents for black comedy culture?
Woody McClain: I think it’s just right now with social media it’s so much craziness, seeing some of the stupid stuff people post and I feel like younger kids are looking at that and saying this is what is funny. But Kevin is actually giving us a platform where we show kids the positive ways of life and how you can be funny and respectful. You don’t have to break stuff to be funny, you don’t have to be loud in public to be funny, you can do it a different way if that makes sense.
What’s next for you?
Woody McClain: We have Canal Street that’s a feature film I did coming out in theaters next year. I am now on Unsolved director Anthony Hemingway. That’s all I can think of right now.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbTTSNfez9E&w=560&h=315]