Flavor Flav is serious about his new sitcom, 'Under One Roof'

Glenn Gamboa
Newsday (MCT)

Watch out, world. Flavor Flav is getting serious.

Sure, he still peppers his conversation with some "Yeahhhh, boyeeee!" and every now and then he busts out one of those wild cackles that have made him one of hip-hop's most recognizable rappers of the past two decades as part of Public Enemy.

But as Flav talks about his first sitcom, "Under One Roof" (premiering Wednesday night at 8 EDT on MyNetworkTV), something is clearly different with him, even from his persona on his hit reality show "Flavor of Love."

"It's a brand-new challenge," Flav says, calling from the set in Vancouver. "And I call it a challenge for myself because I have a serious case of CRS -- Can't Remember Stuff. In order to make it in the sitcom world, you've got to be able to remember stuff and I said, `Flav, you can do it, but prove this to nobody but yourself first, then prove it to the world, second. I'm proving it to myself so far and when you guys get these episodes, that'll be my proof to you, too."

Darryl J. Quarles, executive producer of "Under One Roof," says the concept seemed perfect for Flav and that his performance has pleasantly surprised everyone involved. "He's just a natural," Quarles says. "He's some sort of comedic savant. He's just been smashing it from the beginning. This is a `fish-out-of-water' story, but with Flav it's more like a `whale out of water.""

Flav (real name: William Drayton) says he was drawn to the show because he could relate to his character, Calvester Hill, an ex-convict who goes to live with his wealthy brother and his family when he gets out of prison. The twist is that his brother can't kick him out because Calvester took the rap for stealing a car when they were younger.

"While I'm sitting in jail, he's out doing his thing, going through school, going to an Ivy League college, and he becomes this big corporate black Donald Trump," Flav says. "They have a high-class way of living, and I disrupt the house with my streety ways."

To get into his role, Flav, 49, says he draws on his experiences growing up on Long Island. "I got my street-smart ways from growing up in Freeport and Roosevelt and also from the Bronx," he says. "What I learned in Freeport, a lot of the stuff I learned when I was young, I apply to my life today. I learned how to survive. And just in case, if I couldn't get a job, to this day, I still know how to go out on the street and hustle and make a living. I know how to go to an abandoned house and get the copper pipes out the well and put it in a shopping cart and take it to the place to sell the copper."

Of course, Flav won't have to hawk copper -- or return to delivering Newsday, a job he says he held from 1978 to 1982 -- any time soon. Though the current season of "Flavor of Love" will be his last one for VH1, he is working on another reality show with the channel. "It's starting to be too repetitious," he says, explaining his exit, even though the show is still cable's top-rated show, "and people are starting to think I really can't find love."

His other job in Public Enemy is heating up as well, set to tour Europe this summer and with a high-profile appearance headlining the Pitchfork Music Festival in July to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the hip-hop classic "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back."

But acting really is his focus now. "It's two totally different worlds," Flav says. "I'm the same person, but it's two different things. I try to keep Flav far away from the set. I want to do movies someday. I want to do something more than just me playing myself."





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