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Knock knock America, London’s calling

Knock knock America, London’s calling

Comedian London Hughes returns to crack us up in series 2 of ITV2’s Don’t Hate The Playaz ahead of a move to Los Angeles

London has taken London by storm – Edinburgh too. Her next stop? LA

Don’t Hate The Playaz, Wednesday 25 September, 10pm, ITV2 (CH 115). Also available for 7 days in Catch Up > Channels > ITV Hub

Although London Hughes has been doing comedy for ten years, you’ve probably never heard of her. You might recognise her from her hilarious stints on The Stand Up Sketch Show, Mock The Week or Celebs Go Dating, but she’s never had a TV pilot or a regular role in a sitcom. She is, however, a regular on hip hop comedy quiz show Don’t Hate The Playaz (DHTP). It’s only now that people in the UK are starting to sit up and take notice of her, but as London says, we’re all “too late”!

 

When we speak, it’s a little over a week until her big move to America. “In my head, I was like, “I’ll just have to go to America first, because they’re not gonna appreciate me here”,” she says. “But then what happened? They appreciated me! I didn’t plan on [that], but I’m still going. You’ve had me for ten years!” DHTP might just be her UK swansong.

Jordan Stephens, Maya Jama, Roman Kemp and London Hughes in Don’t Hate The Playaz

She might look super happy here, but we're pretty sure (eh, maybe 70/30?) that London's sad to be leaving us...
 

Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens hosts the show, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in its first run. Comedians, hip hop stars and celebrity guests compete in freestyle battles, test their rap knowledge and more, against a backdrop of beats provided live by DJ Shortee Blitz. London appears on Maya Jama’s team, while rapper Lady Leshurr leads the other. Stars including Katherine Ryan, Ms Banks, Roman Kemp and Stath Lets Flats and What We Do In The Shadows star Natasha Demetriou join them this series.

 

“Am I funny in it?” London asks. She is, we assure her. In a segment where each team puts someone forward to rap to the beat of Kelis’ “Caught Out There” (the one with the lyrics: “I hate you so much right now”), the show’s guests pick something to beef about. London’s choice? The washing up… #relatable.

 

Don’t Hate The Playaz… hate the game… but not the game show – got it?

London is one of the first black British female comics to be nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award (Best Show), along with Sophie Duker (Best Newcomer), who guest stars in this series of DHTP. In her show, London waxes lyrical about her dating and sex life. “[People] can relate to me, because I’m actually in the trenches,” she explains. “If you look at people like Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, Katherine Ryan, even Phoebe Waller-Bridge – they’re successful women that are all in relationships. I’m still single. I’m still living it. I am putting in the work.”

 

She cameoed in Fleabag, playing a sales assistant in a sex shop (“VERY on brand!”) and was previously a CBBC presenter – this gal has got range! She was also the first black woman in about 30 years to solo host a primetime show, Extreme Hair Wars, in Britain. “I don’t want to keep being the first. I’m so happy to be the first, but it’s bloody disgusting that [I am]. In Britain, I’m still seen as niche. A black girl talking about dating and her life – woah! In America, they’re more diverse than us,” she says. “Over there, I will never be the first, because there are women that have already paved the way.” She cites comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish and Insecure co-creator Issa Rae as contemporary examples.

 

By the time you’re reading this, London will be well and truly across the pond. Although she can’t reveal much, she’s working on her own TV show, a scripted sitcom, with Larry Wilmore, co-creator of Insecure. Exciting stuff, considering the fact that in 2018, she was working on a travel show with the legendary Whoopi Goldberg, which sadly failed to get greenlit.

 

London is a big fan of Insecure, starring Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji as best friends Issa Dee and Molly Carter.

“I’ve written a lot of shows that have been rejected, but everything I’ve written I’ve told it from an authentic black experience without negative stereotypes, because I don’t have any negative stereotypes,” she says. “Maybe I’m late, I like chicken, I like to twerk, stuff like that, but there will never be a storyline where there’s a black girl and she’s a single parent and she comes from a council estate and she’s uneducated and her dad’s in prison. That’s just not gonna happen if I’m writing it”.

 

She adds, “I’ve felt like I’ve had to tame down me and I’ve decided not to anymore, and it’s paying off.” London, America is going to love every loud and proud inch of you – and it looks like the joke’s on us.

 

Don’t Hate The Playaz, Wednesday 25 September, 10pm, ITV2 (CH 115). Also available for 7 days in Catch Up > Channels > ITV Hub

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