Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson in “The Jeffersons”, died today at the age of 74.
As always, I took on the task of interviewing the recently deceased actor.
Me: So, ummm, thanks for coming in, I guess.
SH: What’s your problem?
Me: I’m not really feeling this interview?
SH: Why not? I’m George Jefferson!
Me: I know. But that’s really all you are.
Me: Is there more to it? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of “The Jeffersons” that I remember, but what else is there?
SH: I think I was the precursor for Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable, for one.
SH: Thass right.
Me: You – a short, angry, hot-tempered man who owns a chain of dry cleaners that he got after a civil lawsuit – you led to Cliff Huxtable, the kind, lovable physician and Claire Huxtable, the lawyer?
SH: Well, yes!
SH: Listen, honky. We both black and we both lived in New York. What else do I need to say?
Me: Okay, let’s just assume that you’re right. That your character, George Jefferson, was responsible for the success of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. So? What else is there to talk about?
SH: That’s not all. I’m also responsible for the success of Will Smith and Tyler Perry.
SH: Yes, really! I ain’t bullshittin’ you – if I hadn’t made those guest appearances on their shows they’d still be obscure nobodies!
Me: Wasn’t your character, much like Archie Bunker, a racist? Didn’t you call the mixed children of your friends “zebras” and throw around “nigger” all the time?
SH: I did, and that’s why I set the tone for all the successful niggas out there today.
Me: Whoa. What?
SH: Jay-Z, Denzel, Kanye, Jamie Foxx, Oprah, Bill Clinton . . .
Me: President Clinton?
SH: I made it cool for white people to act like black people.
Me: I don’t know that you did. I think you might be slightly delusional.
SH: To hell with you, man! I’m George Jefferson, and I ain’t a man to be trifled with!
Me: But you’re like three feet tall!
SH: I pity the foo, and whatchoo talkin about? Do I need to get some dyno-mite?
Me: Now you’re just co-opting all of the catchphrases of black actors from the 70s and 80s.
SH: Elizabeth, I’m coming!
Me: Now that’s just ridiculous. Stealing from Redd Foxx?
SH: Hey hey heeey!
Me: Sigh. I think you’ve proven my point. This interview was a waste, because unfortunately, all you are is George Jefferson.
SH: I’d stay and fight with you, you stupid-ass honky, but I gotta run. They’re callin’ me.
Me: Who? Calling you where?
SH: I’m moovin’ on up!
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