Flavor Flav, hype man extraordinaire and bona fide reality TV star, is surprisingly humble about his acting prowess on MyNetworkTV's "Under One Roof."
"Uh, it's getting there," Flav tells Zap2it.com with a laugh. "I'm looking forward to [an Emmy] soon. I know that this is my first time really acting, so I'm not doing bad."
On the sitcom, which debuts on MyNetworkTV on Wednesday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Flav plays Calvester Hill, a streetwise ex-con who moves in with his wealthy real estate broker brother Winston (Kelly Perine), his wife Ashley (Carrie Genzel) and their two kids Heather (Marie Michael) and Winston, Jr. (Jessie Reid).
"The reason why I went to jail was when me and him was little, we had stole a car," explains the actor, whose energy, even through the phone, is infectious. "He crashed the car. I jumped behind the wheel and took the weight for him. So I'm in jail all of these years. He goes through school and everything and becomes this rich person.
"Then, when I get out of jail, I say, 'Brah, you remember I took the weight for you all them years ago. I got nowhere to go. Can I stay?' He moves me in with him and his family and boy, does the saga continue."
Part of the friction in the household comes from Ashley's disapproval of Calvester and his many friends that traipse in and out of the Hill household. Guest stars, who often play ex-convicts themselves, include "A Different World's" Kadeem Hardison, rapper Twista, "Friday" star Tiny Lister and Fredro Starr from Onyx.
Although Calvester and his sister-in-law butt heads, he takes to being an uncle easily.
"The kids, yeah man, the kids love me, man. I'm Uncle Cal to them," says Flav. "We have a good time. I start teaching my nephew how to become a rapper, teaching them not to be in gangs or stuff like that. So I teach them some street-y ways, start corrupting the house a little bit."
Naturally, Calvester finds that he's dependent on his newfound family to navigate society outside of the clink.
"I learn a lot from them. I learn about proper mannerisms I never really had," he says. "Not only that, but my brother is very smart in the corporate world, so I learned some things from him as well. And at the same time, my street-y ways help him out in the corporate world as well. So one hand washes the other, you know?"
Flav, born William Drayton, is a performer at heart. This classically trained pianist first gained fame as Public Enemy's outrageous hype man. In 2004, he brought his exuberant personality to reality TV with the third season of "The Surreal Life," which in turn spawned "Strange Love," featuring him and Brigitte Nielsen, and the tongue-in-cheek reality dating show "Flavor of Love," which is in its third season.
As a longtime lover of classic sitcoms such as "Diff'rent Strokes," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons" and "Maude," Flavor Flav always wanted to realize his acting dreams through a sitcom of his own.
"I've done reality TV for about four years now," he says. "I was able to reach one of the goals, which was to become a TV star, but now I want to become a bigger TV star in the sitcom world. I feel that I can really grow from this and hopefully go to the movie screen."
The rigorous schedule is proving to be a bigger challenge than he expected though.
"I'm still not used to it because of the way that we're shooting. We have one rehearsal day and two shoot days," he explains. "I'm shooting two episodes a week. This is not really an easy run for me because in most sitcom shows, they practice for four days, and then they shoot for one day. In my case, I'm doing double time, lady. Hey, like a coat in a closet, I'm hanging in there, baby girl."
Always the hype man, Flavor Flav knows what viewers will want when they tune in for "Under One Roof."
"The most surprising thing that people will see is: Flav can act!"
Flavor Flav Acts up for 'Under One Roof'
Rapper-lothario tries scripted comedy for MyNetworkTV
Flavor Flav, 'Under One Roof'
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.