Former “New Girl” star Lamorne Morris is back on television in a new semi-animated Hulu comedy series titled “Woke,” which is inspired by the life and work of artist Keith Knight, known for his humorous cartoon handlings of political, social, and racial issues. At the CTAM Virtual Panel Friday, Hulu released a first trailer for the series, giving audiences a look at the hip San Francisco-set series that tackles conventional definitions of Blackness is an absurdly irreverent and comic way.
In “Woke,” Morris plays Keef, a self-identified non-controversial Black cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success, who starts being confronted about racial inequality by animated inanimate objects shortly after he has an encounter with aggressive San Francisco police officers. The incident changes everything, and “keeping it light” Keef becomes woke, hence the title. With a fresh outlook on the world around him, he must now navigate the new voices in his head and ideas that confront and challenge him, all without letting go of everything he’s already built.
“There are headlines and it’s an issue and people can see, ‘Oh this is a heavy topic’, but at the same time we tell the story of this one man’s journey through his PTSD and through this trauma and how it feels for the individual,” said executive producer and showrunner Jay Dyer. The panel centered on how traumatizing police harassment and brutality is for a Black man who has never experienced it before, and who, until then, navigated the world freely and openly as a “not Black enough” Black man whose interests aren’t conventionally “Black.”
“The idea that the alternative culture is white culture, I think that’s just a mirage,” the real Keith Knight said. “The true punk culture, the true rock culture, like American culture, is Black culture. That’s really what it is.”
And while the series is ultimately a comedy, “We want to make you laugh, we want to make you think and we want to make you, you know, do something and speak up,” Knight said.
“Woke” was developed by Marshall Todd and Keith Knight. The co-creators serve as executive producers alongside showrunner Jay Dyer, Maurice “Mo” Marable, Aeysha Carr, Richie Schwartz, John Will, Will Gluck, and Eric Christian Olsen.
The series is a co-production between ABC Studios and Sony Pictures Television Inc. Filmed in its entirety just before the pandemic started, the series will premiere all eight episodes on September 9 on Hulu. Check out the trailer below: