INTERVIEW: Ms. Pat talks Matt Damon, Ugly Grandchildren, and Her New Series on BET+
The Ms Pat Show premieres August 12th on BET+
Miss Pat is a comedian, author, and actress. Her new BET+ Series, The Ms Pat Show, premieres August 12th.
Executive Produced by Lee Daniels and inspired by Norman Lear's work, the comedy is a refreshing addition to the sitcom circuit for its humor and its depth.
The series draws from the life of its namesake, discussing relevant topics in a real way, but never losing sight of levity. The conversations feel natural and buoyant, the topics feel current, and the characters are lovable and relatable — especially Ms Pat herself.
But she's not trying to teach you anything. Ms Pat is just telling it like it is.
When I call her, she is on the road in Missouri. As she anticipates the series premiere, she is also on tour — a process she loves the most for the amount of control she has on stage.
"I'm the boss," she tells me, and with her commanding presence, I don't doubt it.
She talks about getting back on tour, her family, and how she spent lockdown. She spent a lot of time being creative. From writing the show, taking acting classes, and even doing DIY projects at home, Ms Pat is a powerhouse of creative energy.
But beyond all that, she's a real person, trying to reach real people with her comedy. "It's from the heart," she says. And she's all heart, all the time.
POPDUST: What's it like being back on the road?
Ms Pat: Oh, I'm very busy and tired and dragging luggage. But, you know, the good part about it, I go home and I feel like I've married a new man — he's interesting again! [Laughs]
POPDUST: How long have you been on tour?
Ms Pat: I started in April this year, also nonstop between taping the show and and then jumping back on the road. I'm planning to stay busy as much as possible. Because you don't wanna be back in the house. I'll tell you, like, I feel like I've just got out of jail and I'm free. So I take this opportunity before I get called again.
POPDUST: How did you spend the past year?
Ms Pat: I'm a big DIY person, so I redid my whole basement. I painted a twenty six square foot basement, kitchen, redid two bathrooms, as well as a movie theater. I love it. I was just relaxing to me.
POPDUST: And were you writing and working during that time too?
Ms Pat: Yeah, so between that and in the show, I was pretty busy. I think we had a writing room for ten weeks. We did it over Zoom. It was half the people I brought in, people that knew me — because I wanted to put my voice down on paper. My daughter was one of the writers. And then the showrunner brought in a few other people that I wasn't familiar with. And that ended up being a great team of people.
POPDUST: What was it like when you finally got on set?
Ms Pat: I learned that acting is an art. Yeah, it's an art like my comedy. I always thought acting was fake but then I went to acting class for a while. And this is a comedy, but it also turned into a drama a couple of times where I really started to feel like these people were my family. And I never thought I would get to that point in acting.
POPDUST: Your daughter was also on the team. How was that?
Ms Pat: You knew her mother was the boss. [Laughs] She did a great job. She got an opportunity to write a whole episode, which is episode four. It's about pronouns. The show was like 98 percent a mirror to my life. Like, is that real? Yeah. I was introduced to something that I wasn't familiar with, like most people. I had never heard about different pronouns. And so I wanted to show how people react when they're not familiar with stuff because it's so many people out there who are not familiar with the pronoun thing because stuff changes every day. It was a teaching moment for me so we decided to write an episode. I hope it will be a teachable moment for people who watch, too.
POPDUST: Is that an important theme of the show?
Ms Pat: What was important is that is was a real moment.I try to pull from life as much as possible. Not a show about, hey, I want to teach you this. But it was a teaching moment for me. I'm hoping it will be a teaching moment for other people. I don't know which way they will go with it, but it was really, really funny too. It's really funny.
POPDUST: How do you balance, like that real aspect, but also like keep it light and funny?
Ms Pat: We try really hard to make sure to balance the comedy and what's real. So you don't come off like we're picking on anybody, but we're trying to pose topics that people talk about in their household. But they're scared to talk about outside the door. Like the episode about derogatory words. I think it was Matt Damon that just went through a whole thing with that. His daughter was hey, you can't say that. Eddie Murphy did it in his first year, too.
POPDUST: Is it ever a concern how people will take maybe some of those controversial issues?
Ms Pat: You can't say certain words anymore. I say "kiss my ass." I'm glad they haven't taken that one off the mark. [Laughs] Oh, I'm so glad that one is still around. You do have been conscious of what you say, especially when you are in the limelight. But also, in comedy, you grab a hold of the people who like what you do and you don't worry about the outsiders.
POPDUST: How did you choose which parts of your life to pull from?
Ms Pat: My co-writer Jordan Cooper and I, we spent two years together. So over those two and a half years we've been together, we talked and he would just listen to my stories. My stories, they have to happen to me. I don't just go grab stuff out of the air. It's always an experiment for me. I listen to people, and if I see something funny to me then I'll write it. Or if something funny happened to me, then I'll write it. It really comes from the heart. I talk about having two grandsons. One ugly one, one cute. [Laughs] Well that's for real. One really looks like he smokes cigarettes and I'm like, this baby is really ugly.
Tune into The Ms Pat Show on BET+