Published on August 15th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford
Through Laurence Fishburne’s “Cinema Gypsy Production” company, Eddie B looks to become the first teacher with his own sitcom.
Few have carved out their own lane like Eddie Brown, better known as Eddie B by his fans and supporters. The former educator took his teaching experiences, put them into 60-second videos and created a legacy. Famous for his, “What Teachers’ Really Want to Say,” videos, Eddie B doesn’t miss a beat when describing certain situations that only a teacher can relate to. What better time to create this type of content given the current uncertainty amongst school’s around the world differing in the re-opening process. No teacher thought is safe or private when Eddie B gets his 60-seconds to shine. Eddie has toured the country, garnered over 175,000 Instagram followers and currently working on a sitcom. Proving laughing to be an essential job, especially for educators around the globe given the current Covid-climate, Eddie’s cementing himself as the voice for educators from all walks of life.
In this 2-part interview, the H-Town funny man, talks about his upcoming sitcom, his ascend to popularity and the voice that created his 60-second skits!
Amidst the craziness, you seem to be staying relatively busy. How are things going?
Eddie B: I’m just blessed to be busy. God just bless me with ideas, and I try to run with them. Seems like the virtual thing has picked up real good. It’s pretty good, man. I’m working on different projects and staying busy and trying to put new content out. I’m back and forth to California. The show is still pending, so I’m just trying to make sure I’m ready for that. Going over my script and taking care of everything that I need to take care of. Everything been good, man. I can’t complain and if I complain I’m trippin.’ I have no complaints. God is extra good. How are you and your family doing?
We’re great, man. It’s all about adjusting and maneuvering and that’s what we are doing. Thanks for asking.
Eddie B: Got you. It’s all a hustle, man. People don’t get it, but it’s all a hustle. We have been doing this since we learned how to work. It’s about working and coming up with new stuff. So, I think people are just learning new things about themselves right now. They just have to be creative and keep working.
You have been utilizing social media to the fullest during these times. How important is it for you to not only explore every avenue to get your work and your message out there, but also be creative in finding ways to distribute your content and your message?
Eddie B: It’s very important to be creative. With my lane, I’ve just been blessed to have a lane to where the people who follow me… they are more interested in the content. Sometimes they don’t care how it comes out in terms of the forum. They just want to hear it, the stuff that they can’t talk about, they just want to hear it being talked about. But in this time to generate revenue, I think a lot of people have to be somewhat creative within the job that you had or what you were doing before the pandemic hit. A lot of things are at a standstill and if you want stuff to move, you have to figure out a different way to do things. And right now, that’s pretty much online.
You mentioned the show that you are working on. You have actually linked up with Laurence Fishburne for this show. Could you elaborate on how that’s progressing?
Eddie B: It’s a sitcom and it’s going to make history because it’s the first teacher sitcom starring a real teacher. I thought that was kind of cool, man. I don’t know nothing about Hollywood. I’m a country boy, ya know. California is nice, but home is home. I like flatland, I like to fish and the woods. I don’t care too much for the hills, but it’s pretty out there. I remember when I first went out there and I saw all of these liaisons, the company’s… I didn’t know that this many networks existed. It’s not just the ones on TV. You got the ones that feed shows to them, you know what I’m saying.
Eddie B: So, I met so many people. I guess they did their homework because they all knew me and wanted to work with me to try and push this show. I’m just sitting there and everybody asking me the same questions, “How did it start? What gave you the idea?” Everybody asking me the same stuff. In two days, I visited like 15-different companies. Ones I never heard of. From the big wigs to the small ones. I’ll never forget, when I met Laurence Fishburne… one of them liaisons, he has a production company called, Cinema Gypsy. I ain’t care. That’s Laurence Fishburne, you know what I’m saying.
Eddie B: I’m trying not to be fanned up. I’m trying not to be, “Oh my God… it’s Laurence!” I’m trying not to be all on it. I get in there and I see him. And his business partner, which is his manager, her name is, Helen Sugland. Ah she’s awesome. I met with them. It was cool. I still had to meet with Sony too. We chopped it up and I will never forget, man. I said, “Before we start the meeting, I’m a big fan all the way from, ‘Hoodlum.’ I love you. I just want to know; can I please get a picture with you.” He said, “Yeah-yeah, I’ll take a picture with you,” and he was walking from behind his desk to come and take a picture and he was like, “Oh wait-wait-wait, are we going to be working together now?” That’s when I realized they really wanted this show. He was just playing, but it made me laugh. He’s a dope dude, man. Real down to earth. We had so many conversations. He’s a regular guy and I appreciate meeting somebody like that first in Hollywood. After we did all of our little rounds, it came to fruition that I was going to be working with them. I chose them after I met him. I did my due diligence by meeting everybody else, and I just felt their love and their sincerity in it. Not just because he’s Laurence Fishburne, but I felt as though, we can definitely work together. They had to get a writer, get the numbers together, get the legal stuff out the way, contracts and all that good stuff. Now it’s coming.
I’m sure you can’t reveal too much but tell us what you can tell us about the show.
Eddie B: It’s going to be a teacher show. It’s going to be based off of my comedy. Based off of basically my life as a teacher. I can’t go into a lot of details, but it’s basically going to open up… a day in the life of a teacher, but I’m a regular guy though. I’m a guy who didn’t want to teach. I was done with teaching. When ya’ll see the pilot, man. You’re going to see that I’m in education, but I’m not teaching. I end up eventually… some things happen, and I just may have to teach. So, it’s going to take you through my whole experience of being forced to teach, and I really don’t want to. Which is kind of like my reality. I never wanted to teach. I thought I was going to the league or I was going to be doing physical therapy. Anything but teach. But hey, 13-years later and I’m teaching. The show is going to be amazing. It’s going to be so funny, man. I know the whole script right now. I’ve had it for a while now. I have a whole pilot and I can’t wait for everybody to get a chance to view it, ABC, man.
Things are different though. Just because I signed with ABC doesn’t mean they are going to shoot the pilot. I didn’t know that. We are waiting to see who is going to pick up and shoot the pilot. It’s cool. It’s a waiting game. I know how to be patient. That’s why I’m just grinding now why we’re waiting on it. We’re just not waiting like that’s the only thing we got in the bag. We’re still working on stuff over here and new projects and helping out people. I got stuff going and trying to boost my brand up and trying to stay communicating with all my supporters and trying to figure out how to get more. I’m just trying to stay busy. I think when the TV show finally comes, you’re going to just catch me already doing a bunch of other things.
I hate to ask now because you said it’s the question you fielded the most while in Hollywood, but I have to ask. What made you put out that first, “I Say What Teacher’s Really Wish They Could Say,” video? How did this thing get started?
Eddie B: That’s exactly how the networks asked it. They wanted to know how I got the idea. I’ve been told, “Oh my God, you’re just a genius. You took your passion and you merged it with your job. And you created a lane for yourself.” You know what, the lady who told me that, I said, “Thank you! But I’m not that smart. If I was that smart, I would’ve done this a long time ago. I’ve been teaching for 13-years. Why am I just now coming up with this?” The difference is, one day… I had retired from teaching after 10-11 years. I was sick of it, man. I was done. I was going to go to LA and try my hand at acting. They say you gotta jump, well I was going to jump. Lord Jesus. I was going to jump and take my son with me. I had it all figured out. I was going to substitute or try to teach or drive Uber at night, and I was going to try to attend castings so that I can be an extra. I had a big ole plan to fail. I was going to take my lil annuities which was like $25,000. I was ballin’. “We can live off of this in LA, baby!”
But the only thing that could have stopped me, stopped me and it was some stuff with my son. I’ve been having my son since he was 4. And I couldn’t immediately take him. It was geographical restraints in the court order. So, that kept me here, it kept me in the city, and I ended up having to teach again. I thought I would never teach again. Never say what you never gon do. I had to teach again because money got low. I be telling teachers, “You know how long your retirement gonna last, 3-months. That’s how long it’s going to last if you don’t have a backup plan.” So, basically, I went into teaching after I retired, man. I took my son, he went to that school too, and I got re-tired of teaching again (laughing). And you know what, that was a point in my life, man to where I thought I was failing in life. Because I finally was going to make this big ole jump and go for it, and I get pushed right back down to where I was. I didn’t understand it because I did have peace with retiring. I’m asking God like, “How baby, you gave me peace to retire. Why you bringing me back? You playing games with me?” So, I went back in. I had exhausted everything. I was doing comedy before the teaching thing popped off. I was doing videos too. I tell teachers all the time, “You wanna know what kind of comedy I was doing before the teaching stuff? Go back to my teacher video and go to the one before that (laughing).” That was me. That was the one ya’ll don’t know. Grinding and doing characters and skits and spoofs. A struggling comedian trying to make it. I’ll never forget it, man. I was out of it. I was done and I had nothing else.
I asked God… no lie, I asked God to bless me with some ideas. Bruh, I’ve never prayed that prayer in my life. You know what I’m saying. That’s a 35 and up prayer right there. You got it all figured out right there. But nah, I knew I didn’t have it all figured out no more. I was like, “God, just bless me with some ideas.” I didn’t even care about money no more. I didn’t even care about going out to LA. I didn’t even care no more, man. Just give me some ideas so I can do something different. The moment I gave God that permission to give me some ideas, a day or two later, I walk up in my classroom in the morning. Frustrated like I usually am because I’m burnt out like teachers get. And I heard a voice say… it was just an inner voice. You know that inner conversation. Something just said, “Hey, you doing all these videos, why don’t you do a video about this? You been tired of this.” That’s exactly what it said to me. And when I first heard it, I was like, “Okay-okay, that sounds good.”
How long did it take you to actually go through with making a video?
Eddie B: That day! That day I hopped on my phone. I’m shooting from my phone, kids in the classroom, I’m giving them, ‘leave me alone and be quiet’ work. I could’ve got wrote up that day if somebody would’ve came in my classroom and saw me on that phone. I shot the video and I’m editing it the whole time. I think I finished editing it about lunch. I put it out and after I put it out, I got discouraged. I was thinking, don’t nobody care about no teacher stuff. My little supporters don’t care about no teachers. I barely had a teacher set in my comedy. I had one teacher joke. It was funny as all outdoors though, but I only had one because I’m thinking people don’t care about that. I got my same 7,000 views. Then, I saw it hopped to 10,000. Boy… I thought that was viral. Bro, I go to sleep I wake up and it’s at 100+ thousand. All I did was went to sleep. Woke up, pulled my laptop out. I was wiping my eyes because I thought it was a glitch on Instagram. I ain’t never had no more than 10,000 views on anything. As the days go past, it hopped to a million in about 3-days. I was 1M. I’m like, “Dang really!”
That’s an entirely different feeling altogether to see that million views.
Eddie B: I’m not used to that. And I’m naïve. I’m like, “Dang, did a celebrity grab my video and share it?” I thought somebody important had grabbed my video and shared it. I was thinking, “You know what, if they like this, I got 12-something years of this here.” And the videos are only 60 seconds, so I never exasperate a topic. It just struck from there, man. You know how they say the rest is history. The videos are so easy to make because it is an outlet for me. I thought I was the only teacher that felt like that. Teachers where I work made me feel like I was an outcast and I’m the only one like this and everybody is by the book. Nah, come to find out, it’s a whole nation of educators that go through the same thing that I went through. God just blew on it, man. So, to answer your question in one simple sentence, it was God. God was the reason why this idea came. I been doing videos, I been teaching, but when God decided to blow on it, that made the difference. I don’t shy away from that conversation. I know everybody don’t believe in God. And I know that for a fact. I’m in these big network meetings with the big network execs and they asking me this. And bro, I will never be a shame of saying who did it for me. Because even though they may not believe in God, you do believe in numbers, and you can’t deny what happened for me. And if I say this is how it happened, you got to ride with that. That’s exactly how it happened though, man. I don’t try to push no religion down nobody throat, but that’s exactly how it happened. That was straight God.
How do you put so much funny into 60-seconds and did you start the 60-seconds for Instagram purposed or because being a teacher, you know attention spans aren’t that long?
Eddie B: I’m not that smart, man (laughing). I did 60-seconds so I can fit it on Instagram. That’s how they turned into 60-seconds. I guarantee you if I could have done more… yeah man. So, I put it on my Instagram and shared it on my Facebook. But come to find out, that was the right amount of time to.
Be sure to check back for part II with comedian Eddie B.