By Bill Vaughan
The Christmas weekend marks the end of an era as Issa Rae’s award-winning comedy series “Insecure” delivers its final episode after five insightfully enjoyable seasons.
To mark the occasion, “Insecure: The End,” an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the making of the last season and the cultural impact of the series will debut on HBO Max Dec. 26 in advance of its HBO premiere on Dec. 27 at 10 p.m.
“This show has been part of the revolution,” says Kendrick Sampson, who plays Issa Dee’s recurring love interest Nathan Campbell. “The way [Issa] showcases our beautiful Black full humanity is part of the revolution.”
The documentary features interviews with Rae, Sampson, fellow cast members Jay Ellis, Yvonne Orji, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales, Wade Allain-Marcus and Christina Elmore; along with producer/writer/director Prentice Penny.
The series finale of “Insecure” entitled “Everything Gonna Be, Okay?!” will debut Dec. 26 at 10 p.m. on HBO.
To keep the story going, HBO and Glow Up Games, an all women of color founded game studio, have launched “The Come Up Game,” a free-to-play mobile game on the App Store.
“I’m excited that [it] is finally out for fans to play!” said Rae. “Working with the Glow Up Games team has been a great experience, as they seamlessly integrated the world of ‘Insecure’ from its characters, stories and music into a game that allows everyone to relive their favorite moments of the series.”
Featuring original compositions by noted emcee SΔMMUS and music from Rae’s RAEDIO, “The Come Up Game” continues the world of “Insecure” — but this time, you direct your own story. With content and feature updates scheduled throughout 2022, welcome to season six — starring you.
TASTY QUIP: “Denzel [Washington] perfected ‘leading man.’ He was like, ‘I’m going to f—–g dominate this one thing and master it’ — the specificity of that got him to the point where he is universal and can do anything. Will [Smith] took an enterprise approach, and that’s something I connect with. He says all the time that he doesn’t feel like he’s the most talented, but he works the hardest. It’s work ethic, big vision, marketability.” – MICHAEL B. JORDAN, star of the love story “A Journal for Jordan” (opening Christmas Day), on his two mentors to Cinema Blend
CLIPPETTES: If you missed this year’s Drive-In gala performance of “Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” you are in luck. The beloved update featuring an original score by Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, James Ingram and others is being streamed Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day. Visit thehotchocolatenutcracker.com for tickets to take the magical mystical journey from Candy Cane Land, Egypt, the Indian Rainforest, Bollywood, Jazz Land and the Land of the Kimono Dolls …
Also streaming through Dec. 28 is the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s “Holiday Revelations,” a rebroadcast of The Opening Night Gala with performances of Robert Battle’s “Ella” (performed to live music by Jazzmeia Horn) and the finale of “Love Stories,” plus “’Bird’ Lives!,” an excerpt from Alvin Ailey’s “For ‘Bird’ – With Love” featuring company member Clifton Brown with students from The Ailey School, and Ailey’s beloved “Revelations.” Watch for free at alvinailey.org/performances-tickets/ailey-all-access …
Speaking of Mariah Carey, the singer-songwriter’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” returned to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the third Christmas in a row! …
Rapper Murs holds it down at The Observatory on Dec. 26 …
The Goldfish presents singer-songwriter and musician James Tillman on Dec. 28 with Oakland’s Waterstrider …
The Go Go’s bring their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame credentials to the Microsoft Theater on Dec. 29 as DJ Snake spins at Academy LA …
333 Tour: End of Year Celebration with Tinashe, Audrey Nuna, Dorian Electra, B2B, Rebecca Black and Jayla Darden is happening at The Novo Dec. 30; while a cappella group Straight No Chaser sings at Thousand Oaks’ Fred Kavli Theatre.
TASTY QUIP: “As a child of Bill Cosby, I was a huge fan of all his shows and wanted to be a comedian because of him. I never thought I’d ever wrestle with who we all thought Cosby was and who we now understand him to be. I’m not sure he would want me to do this work, but Cliff Huxtable definitely would.” – W. KAMAU BELL on the announcement of his four-part docu-series “We Need To Talk About Cosby,” premiering at the Sundance Film Festival ahead of its Jan. 30 debut on Showtime
TC ON TV: Dec. 24 – “Encanto” (Disney+): Now playing theaters nationwide, the streamer brings the charming animated movie featuring eight original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda as a Christmas Eve treat. “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix): An all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Tyler Perry, Cate Blanchett, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Chiklis, Ariana Grande and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi shine in this tale of a world in denial during warnings of impending doom. “Minnal Murali” (Netflix): Introducing a new Indian superhero. “Slugfest” (Roku): A 10-part docu-series from the Russo Brothers (“Avengers: End Game”) narrated by Kevin Smith which explores the decades-long relationship and rivalry between Marvel and DC Comics. “Chillin Island” (HBO): Lil Yachty “The Graham Norton Show” (BBCA): Lil Nas X
Dec. 25 – “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” (ABC): Trevor Jackson (“Grown-ish”) and Sherry Cola host alongside Derek and Julianne Hough with performances by Jimmie Allen, Norah Jones, Gwen Stefani, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Pentatonix and more. “NBA Christmas Day” (ABC): Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks; Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns; Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers. “Writing Around The Christmas Tree” (Lifetime): Krystal Joy Brown (“The Equalizer“), Curtis Hamilton (“Insecure” the upcoming “The Kings of Napa”) and Dawnn Lewis (“A Different World”) are featured in this story of writers fighting their block and finding love at a winter retreat.
Dec. 26 – “Represent Our Voice: 2021 A Year In Review” (TV1): In this special hosted by journalist Karen Finney, a panel will break down the year’s pivotal moments including COVID-19, racial justice, politics, and the economy, and how they’ve impacted the African American community.
Dec. 27 – “Death To 2021” (Netflix): “The Year 2021” (ABC): Anchored by “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, the two-hour special features reports on the history-defining events of the year, including breakthroughs in space exploration and vaccines, the race to save the planet from global warming, and how America continues to rebuild and reopen following two years of living in a pandemic, as well as the most talked about times in pop culture, such as milestones in movies and television.
Dec. 28 – “2021 And Done with Snoop Dogg & Kevin Hart” (Peacock): The pairing that delighted during their “Olympic Highlights” show return to give their takes on the year. “Popstar’s Best of 2021” (CW): Based on polls from Popstar Magazine, host Elizabeth Stanton (“World’s Funniest Animals”) will count down the greatest and most memorable moments and trends of 2021.
Dec. 29 – “The Book of Boba Fett” (Disney+): A thrilling Star Wars adventure teased in a surprise end-credit sequence following the season two finale of “The Mandalorian,” finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and mercenary Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate. Series producer, writer and director Robert Rodriguez (“Machete,” “Sin City”) promises big surprises each episode. “The Standups” (Netflix): Comedy’s freshest voices take the stage in L.A. for a third season of half-hour specials packed with sly jokes, hilarious anecdotes and awkward confessions. “Restaurant Hustle 2021: Back In Business” (Food): Executive producer Guy Fieri asks four of America’s favorite chefs — Maneet Chauhan, Antonia Lofaso, Christian Petroni and Marcus Samuelsson — to turn the cameras back on and document the new highs and lows of navigating the re-emerging restaurant industry in 2021.
Dec. 30 – “Ellen” (Syn): Guest host Ciara welcomes Normani and Chef Antonia Lofaso
END QUOTE: “Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope, and singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, come the way of friendship.” – MAYA ANGELOU
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.