Kwasi Thomas – Snowpiercer and Stand-Up Comedy!

Today, Melissa is joined by the super talented and funny actor, Kwasi Thomas! They chat all about his role on the hit TNT show, Snowpiercer, his twenty plus years as a stand-up comic, and more!

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Kwazi Thomas – Interview

Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spoiler country and I’m Alyssa search it today on the show. I’m joined by an actor from the hit show on TNT. Snowpiercer I’d like to welcome actor and comedian queasy, Thomas. Hello,

Kwasi Thomas: how are you? Very well, thank you. Very happy

Melissa: to be here. Yeah, I’m glad you’re here. How’s everything going in?

Kwasi Thomas: Good, good.

As far as like, you know, COVID world and everything, we’re really we’re really seeming to be on the on the opening upside of things. So let’s starting to look a little more recognizable.

Melissa: The same in California, where we’re starting to open back up as more people have been vaccinated and they lifted the mass mandate and stops everyone’s, you know, pumped to get back out and see people again.

Kwasi Thomas: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ve seen the bottom of someone’s face,

Melissa: you know, I forgot what people look

Kwasi Thomas: like. Okay, great eyebrows.

Melissa: [00:01:00] Yeah. They’re on point,

you know, so you’re in Canada filming Snowpiercer season three drinks. Yeah. Tell us about your character Xerox.

Kwasi Thomas: Zyrtec is a tailie and that’s a tool we call the people that kind of force their way onto a, this perpetual. And of the world, rest of humanity’s living on this train, that circles around the globe.

And, you know, for the most part people like the rich and powerful pay their way onto the train they live up in first class Zurek is a tailie and they are called that because they live at the tail end of the train. They. Forced away on last minute. And it was about four or 500 tailies that kind of cramped into a, what was intended to be the baggage or the luggage area of the train.

So, Zurek is a part of like all the revolutions trying to get up front. And he’s a, he’s a soldier. If anything, one word would put it. He’s a [00:02:00] bit of a soldier. And Daveed Diggs, who is our lead, he’s our lead Taylee. He’s kind of like his. Over the, over the seasons, he’s become like a truth to power, but at the end of the day, you know, I’m, I’m one of his right hand men kind of thing.

So that’s. Yeah. And so we just, we fight our fights together. We we’re there for each other. We’re just trying to work our way to getting some equality on the train, our new world.

Melissa: Yeah. No, it’s, it’s such a cool show. It’s one of my favorite shows actually on television right now. It’s pretty wild. Huh?

It’s crazy. Yeah. There’s this. Characters, so many different people that, you know, play intricate roles in the show. And what’s interesting is, you know, I think seasoned wine, you spent most of your time, probably in the tail. And now, you know, the trains have kind of, well, a lot’s happened to the finale, but at one point the train sort of like finally integrated and everybody.

I got to move around more. What was that like filming, like being in one sort of like designated area for such a long time and now getting to like, kind of interact with people that you didn’t before?

Kwasi Thomas: Well, there’s, well, there’s two answers, right? There’s a, there’s the [00:03:00] quasi answer. And as like you said, most of season one, I I’m in the tail end.

So as an actor and as crazy, it’s just incredible to see. The other sets, right? Because we shoot in the very, very large studio and it’s you know, there’s, there’s different train cars in different parts of the studio. So for the longest while I didn’t see what the front of the train even looked like, just walking on to the show.

Right. I would, you know, I get dressed and I would go to the left where the tailies are, where the tailie sets were. So it’s. Incredible to see the design and how much detail and thought went into every part of the car. Cause you know, the tail end, it’s, it’s pretty simple, you know, it’s just bunks where the luggage was supposed to be and it’s all metal and just scraps.

And basically like if you found yourself under a bridge or something, that’s sort of what it would look like. So as an actor, it’s just really cool to see. How much love they put into the rest of the [00:04:00] train, which makes sense. As far as the storyline goes as Xerox, you know, he’s, you know, he’s a survivalist.

I don’t think, I don’t think the character cares that much about where on the train he is. He’s just trying to survive. You know, so as the seasons have gone by, they’ve gotten closer and closer and closer. Now the train is somewhat a little more wide open as per what, some of our revolutionary efforts.

So. Yeah. Zyrtec is just, you know, happy to not be in the freezing cold tail, but he’s still working his butt off doing other things. Right. So he’s not living the life fantastic up in the first car first the first class car or anything like that, he’s still somewhere in the middle of the train. That’s seems to be his comfort level right now.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. He becomes like more and more active in the storyline as. You know, obviously as the episodes progress and stuff. Do you have a backstory for him that you’ve created or is there going to be more than, okay.

Kwasi Thomas: Well, I mean, we’ve been working on the show three years, so that backstory has changed.

It’s changed a couple of times, [00:05:00] depending on my mood that day, depending on how much more I wish I was doing or less I was doing that day. But he seems to me, he seems to me like he’s had, he’s just had like a really. A tough past, you know, maybe, maybe not so much like a, like a criminal, but maybe like a street hustler.

He’s always come off of me as a street hustler, like with the decision-makings and the things he won’t stand for and his ability to speak truth to power is that be around him, you know? So, and that, that kind of comes from. Just having to be his own boss, whatever version of that was really, it wasn’t really happening.

He seems to have always been his own boss. It is mentioned that he, that he has a family on the train. So, you know, he’s not, he’s not all hustle, no love, you know, I’m sure, I’m sure eventually we’re going to get to the place where we find his family on the train. Cause that’s another like little secret thing we haven’t really discovered yet.

Whereas the wrecks wife and kid, so they make

Melissa: it [00:06:00] on the train

Kwasi Thomas: or. Well, they’re on the train. That’s that’s been said, but we haven’t gotten to that

Melissa: part. I didn’t catch that really interesting. Well,

Kwasi Thomas: that’s it, you know, so I’ve always kind of been holding onto that part. It was like, well, they can’t get rid of me until, until they explain that, you know, so I’m assuming he probably hustled his wife and his kid onto somewhere safer in the train and stayed behind to be a part of the fight.

Melissa: That’s so interesting. Yeah. I somehow did not catch that. That’s really cool. I’m going to, I want to rewatch now

Kwasi Thomas: and episode one, season one episode, one where Leighton is telling me and pike that we have to go into the drawers for a little bit as a, as a bit of a trade for the other lives. I’m like, I don’t want to do that.

I got away from carols and that was, that was three years ago.

Melissa: Oh yeah. Well, those speaking of his drawers, that’s such a scary. Concepts to me. I mean, like just the claustrophobia of it or just, you know, like being unconscious for God knows when.

Kwasi Thomas: Right. And it’s not weird. I don’t even know if it’s a [00:07:00] real state of like status or if you’re frozen, we have no idea what’s going on to the mind of the person in those drawers for however long they are in that, you know?

So. That was a crazy, a crazy concept to be in there for an undetermined amount of time.

Melissa: Yeah. And it’s funny, cause you know, in a lot of different like scifi shows, you see versions of that, you know, where they’re, it’s very scientific or hooked up to things. They’ve got doctors waking them up, but on a Snowpiercer nobody really seems to get.

No, what they’re doing is

Kwasi Thomas: pretty experimental. That whole drawers situation. It’s half prison, just half experimental because who’s going to stop them. Right? Yeah.

Melissa: That’s so scary. And the, the other thing that was really interesting, like kind of like made my mouth dropped open when I was first watching is the when they’re, when they stick the arm out of the train.

Kwasi Thomas: Yeah. That’s, that’s something to see.

Melissa: Oh, my goodness. I mean, that was shocking. I didn’t expect that, you know, especially from a T and T [00:08:00] show is, you know, essentially like something was on it, you see stuff like that on HBO. And I don’t know, I just wasn’t expecting it and just made

Kwasi Thomas: it. And T and Netflix are going hard on that one.

And it’s funny. Cause you know, it’s always been a part of, you know, the. One of the punishments that can happen if you step out of line as a tailie. Right. And so, you know, two, three years or so, we’ve been working on the show now and I’ve only started, I’ve only recently started asking as far as like in the world of the show, as far as the design of the train goes, what were those holes originally meant for?

Right. Like, cause they didn’t anticipate people fighting the way onto the train and having a. Know, punish people in that way. There’s no way they had that in mind. So what were those stick your arm out holes. They’re actually for,

Melissa: that’s such a good point, although Mr. Wolford is kind of crazy, especially now.

Kwasi Thomas: Yeah. Maybe, you know what, maybe at the end of the day, that was their intent because every arm fits through there just perfectly.

Melissa: [00:09:00] I know that’s such a good point. Yeah. Why would you have that to begin with if it’s like, yeah. Yeah.

Kwasi Thomas: Only we could keep a window open back there,

Melissa: sticker hot out there.

Kwasi Thomas: It’s hot in here, guys.

Melissa: So you have a lot of cool, like you were saying that the sides and the wardrobe and everything was really cool. Do they let you keep anything from your character or memento at all?

Kwasi Thomas: Really, if. The funny thing is my first my first set of wardrobe, like a in like before I went into the drawers in in season one.

And I guess I’m kind of giving a little bit away as I’m speaking here, but the. Costume that they had me in every single time I was on my way to sat in my costume. People were like, are you in costume? We’re shooting in five minutes, you have to get ready. It was like, no, this is it. So all that to say, like, they really dressed me up the way I would normally only just really dirty, you know, like I had a dirty hoodie on dirty jeans, [00:10:00] dirty Timberland’s dirty ball cap, you know?

Every time, someone like maybe a new assistant director would be on or something that I walk on a set fully dressed for the scene and I’d be like, you have to go get Ricky. You know? So I haven’t asked to keep anything because I kind of have the clean version of what they’ve given me to wear.

Melissa: If that makes sense.

Kwasi Thomas: That’s it? No, it’s okay. I have a clean green hoodie guys. I’m okay. And like for the longest while I mean, as far as the show goes, it’s probably three, four episodes. I am stuck in that that doctor’s room. After I, after I get out of a certain plan, I don’t want to like spoil too much as I’m talking, even though the show is called spoiler country, but it’s just, it’s not, it’s not in my nature to give anything away, but I’m in, I’m in like this doctor’s robe.

Just kind of like makeshift let’s get out of here. I obviously did not want to keep that, but like it’s only three, four episodes I’m in that. But as [00:11:00] far as shooting goes, I was in that thing for like six months.

Melissa: Exactly.

Kwasi Thomas: It was just a pair of jogging pants that you don’t see. And just me and this doctor’s role because I’m like it’s supposed to be button naked under it. So, no, I did not ask for the doctors or in fact if I had a chance, I burned it to the ground.

Melissa: And the actors probably feel like when they’re, when they work on shows like ER

Kwasi Thomas: scrubs.

Exactly. Right. All they’re in all the time. Like I’m sure it creates a simplicity for the wardrobe department and, and, you know, for writing and whatnot, but at least there were. With them at home, you know, they’re in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt or, you know, if they have a night off, they go out on a date and they’re in, you know, they’re made up and everything, but yeah.

But yeah, no, I, I, if I see that lab coat again, I am ripping it to shreds.

Melissa: Hopefully they won’t put you back in it at some point. You’re like, just

Kwasi Thomas: walk off that I remember you know, [00:12:00] strong boy. Right. And who was kind of like my counterpart for a season. So he and I were both in the same situation, as far as that wardrobe goes and we, one day we just kind of held hands.

We walked up to the writer,

it’s one line of the script, Zyrtec and strong boys, stop and put on. That’s kind of formed an Alliance and went up to do was like, come on, man. These revolutions would have asked out,

Melissa: be some combat boots.

Kwasi Thomas: Let me get a pair. Let me get a pair of shoes.

Melissa: I feel like we really want you to experience stuff.

Kwasi Thomas: Like what makes sense? I’m good. I’m ready to go fight a war. And my booties flapping in the wind, or I take two seconds and put on something warm, and then I go,

Melissa: do they, did they agree? Or did they just say agreed

Kwasi Thomas: within within an episode they got us, they got us back into some normal gear. [00:13:00] Sometimes he’s got to stand up for what you want.

Melissa: We’re going to call a union and. That’s hilarious. No, you’ve, you’ve worked with so many cool characters on this show. I think like your character is fun because you got to kind of move around a little bit more and, and work with different people, especially like, I mean, Steven OD he’s such a great actor.

Like what is that? He seems very intense. Two

Kwasi Thomas: guys. My dude, man, Steven. That’s my duke. Cause first, first and foremost, he’s, he’s, he’s another Canadian boy. Like he, I’m pretty sure he lives out in LA and travels around a lot, obviously for his work, but he’s at the end of the day, he’s the old Canadian boy.

So we, we really, really get it in. I think I’ve connected with him the most. As far as like the entire cast goes, not to say that everyone isn’t absolutely lovely and graceful and you know, we all, we all get together and hang out and stuff like that. But me and Steven man, like we’ve, we really, really hit it off and.

You know, we can have the boys, you know, we kinda, we kinda [00:14:00] know, we know how we do sort of a thing. But I remember before I met him season one, before I met him, I was actually catching up on my walking dead. Right. So I had started it, put it down for a year or two and pick back up. So I hadn’t met his character on walking dead until my second go round.

He petrified me, like his character scared me to death because the, his counterpart and he’s just a very wordy, bad guy. And I always hated a very verbose, bad guy, but Steven would walk on Simon was this character he’d walk on his screen and you would just know everyone else was going to die. No, he wouldn’t have to say a thing.

Right. So I meet this guy, maybe three, four months later, I’m on set with this dude shaking in my boots, obviously, knowing that it was a character that he was playing, but it’s like, you gotta, you gotta have some kind of evil in you [00:15:00] to portray that for real, you know, and he’s just a goof troop. That guy is so funny.

Nah, man. He’s a really, really cool cat and he’s really, really great to work with on set very sharp. Like as soon as the, that red light comes on, he is on, you know, and and it’s, I’ve learned a lot just hanging out with them as friends and, and working with side by side with him on, on set, you know, and over the seasons, we’ve gotten more scenes together as well.

So. The characters have become closer and you see that, you know, Z rec is just as much on, on pike side as he is on Leighton or any other Tayley for that matter. So, but yeah, it’s been a real, real pleasure getting to know Steven. He’s a cool cat

Melissa: man. That’s awesome. Yeah, he does seem to play that kind of a character too.

So good at it. Like Westworld. He was crazy in that one. And a, and the character of pike is, you know, very unstable,

Kwasi Thomas: very unstable, various stable. He refuses to let anyone know what his past is and stuff like that too. [00:16:00] You know? So there’s, there’s that whole, we have no idea how bad it could get with this guy, you know?

Melissa: Yeah. And you are a comedian, so yes. And you’re playing. Obviously snow Paris. There’s like the exact opposite of a comedy show. So do you, I’m playing like more serious dramatic roles, like, is that, is that more challenging than like doing standup or doing a sit-com

Kwasi Thomas: it really it’s not more challenging.

I just have to remember to reign in my instinct. Off the top, right? Because I, like I’ve always said, and this isn’t a brag or anything. It really is how I see it. But up comedy and doing comedic performances, it’s all timing. Right. Anyway, anyone in comedy will tell you it’s 90% timing. Which means if you understand the timing of any dialogue, you know, not to play down acting and not to play down, you know, anyone’s craft or process.

But if you understand timing and the, and understand the script and the timing of the dialogue, all you really have to do [00:17:00] is put yourself in a happy place or put yourself in a sad place or put yourself in an angry place. And you’ll pretty much nailed it. They’ve asked you to do right. Like, like a great example.

This is going to sound a little weird, but like take Robin Williams for example. Right. And in no way, am I comparing myself just kind of giving them an example here, but I’ve never, I’ve never actually been a huge fan of his comedy, but I think he is one of the greatest traumatic actors of my time anyways.

Right. Because he takes that exact same energy and that exact same understanding of timing and puts it into like a one hour photo or he puts it into. Goodwill hunting and it’s just, it’s just miraculous to watch, to watch someone normally that wacky rain it all the way in to a perfect dramatic role.

Right. So I that’s sort of how I see it. It’s not so much a challenge to be a dramatic actor or to act dramatically. It’s just a challenge to not go as big as I normally. Off the top with comedy. Yeah.

Melissa: [00:18:00] Yeah. That’s so interesting too, because you know, it’s, I feel the same way about Jim Carey. I absolutely hate his comedy.

Love him and, you know, all of his, you know, dramatic roles,

Kwasi Thomas: eternal sunshine was phenomenal. Number 23 and on the moon, like it’s the exact same example. I went with Robin Williams. But he’s the top of my head, but yeah, absolutely feel the same way about Jim Carey. Yeah.

Melissa: That’s so interesting though.

Cause I never really thought about it in those terms, you know, I just like, oh, I guess I’m just one of those random people that don’t like, you know, his comedy. Cause it’s so slapstick and I like more of like a verbal comedy, I guess. I don’t know what the right

Kwasi Thomas: technique is. You’re saying it though.

You’re saying it right. And I’m, I, I absolutely agree with you. You know, Jim Carey obviously. Yeah. One of the greatest comedians, again, of our, of our generation, of our time, you know, but it is like personally, it’s a little wagon at that, that, at that. Okay.

Melissa: But, you know, it’s, it’s funny, it’s like that three Stooges type of comedy and science, like, I mean, obviously not if that’s outdated, but I just see [00:19:00] was never a fan.

Kind of stuff. I like more of like the buddy cop, you know, where the rush hour hours, like one of my favorite movies. That’s, you know, to me more funny, but, you know, I mean,

Kwasi Thomas: even, even in that example, take Chris Tucker, you know, this guy, this guy can really knock out a dramatic role. Yeah, exactly.

Melissa: Yeah.

He’s incredible. Now have you done, I mean, I know cause the lockdown and stuff, you probably been doing a lot of like online stuff. Have you done any, anything. In person, like similar to, you know, like Dave Chappelle’s has been doing his thing out in Ohio and stuff. Have you done anything like that?

Kwasi Thomas: Well, since November, cause we had a little bit of a. Oh a window between maybe like September, November of last year. And I, I, I did smaller shows one, because that’s sort of all that was being offered at the time. But also I wouldn’t have done anything too big because it’s like you said, we were in a pandemic last week and now we’re allowed to do shows.

So like, I personally would have always just picked a smaller show anyways. So, but I [00:20:00] obviously not on the Chappelle level, but I, I I’ve done a couple of, I’ve done a couple of like, you know, evenings with, you know, maybe 10 people in the room, kind of a thing. I actually. Avoided online shows like the plague.

I really I did want her to right off the top when they’re like, okay, I guess we’re moving to the internet, you know, and I just didn’t, it didn’t feed the soul the way connecting with people normally does, you know? But over the, over the last year or so, you know, since maybe November of last year to, I would say maybe two, three months ago, the quality and the production quality of online shows have got.

I’d say 15 to 25% better. Okay. Whereas like I can actually see my audience and actually I can hear some people, they figured out how to like, you know, create a world where like I’m sort of the screen in the middle and I could see everyone and hear everyone that I’m talking to. And that got a little better, you know, but it’s still not the same.

I was always ready to just wait until it was okay to go back and do a, do a show alive, you know? Cause that’s what I got in the car, standup [00:21:00] comedy for in the first place, I was always. Connecting with people and making people laugh. And that’s what gives me life, you know, just seeing someone laugh because of something I came up with, you know, so I was always ready to just like, just kick back for a year.

I’ve been doing standup comedy for like 21, 22 years. So it was a much, much appreciated

Melissa: break. You’re like, all right, I’ll just, have you been writing new material? Yeah. Yeah. Relevant. So kind of what we’ve been going through.

Kwasi Thomas: Absolutely. I mean, I, that, I pride myself on doing my best, whatever it is that I do.

Right. I try to have it not be so specific to the moment unless it’s one of those things that’s been happening for as long as we can remember. You know? So like I could, for example, I can write a black lives matter joke, pertinent to what’s went on like this week, but at the same time, the core, the point of what I’m saying, that’s been going on since the Dawn of time and most likely will continue.

I have been writing new material, but not like, oh, in today’s news, [00:22:00] you know, that it won’t work three, four weeks from now and a thing. So I do try to stick to a core of like what we’re dealing with just generally as a people. So that way I could tell this joke today, I could tell it in a year from now and I’ll have to do is like change the specific names that I’m

using.

Melissa: Right. That’s fine. And that way it stays relevant

Kwasi Thomas: and that’s it, you know, and that way I don’t have to write too much. Right.

Melissa: Make it easy on yourself.

Kwasi Thomas: I’m more of a sit around and wait for something hilarious to happen. And just remember it. If my writing process,

Melissa: do you, have you ever done, I don’t even know if this is a thing or not.

Have you ever done anything? Like just off the cuff, you know, like. Oh, yeah,

Kwasi Thomas: absolutely. Like don’t get me wrong. I’ll go onstage every time with an idea of where I want to start and end. Yeah. But the best thing in the world for me is an audience that. That is [00:23:00] receptive to me, communicating with them off the cuff.

Like you said, you know, and I love riffing as long. And I, I don’t try to insult people. I’m not talking about like, making fun of people for no reason, just for, in the name of the joke, you know, but if I say something and someone’s like, oh yeah, I understand that. Then I’ll get a conversation going and maybe get two audience members talking to each other.

And I’ll kind of referee that, you know? But yeah. Yeah. Cause I, I started doing comedy in Montreal. That’s where I grew up. And that’s sort of how they teach you. You know, you, you have to become a good MC before you can start like middling and opening for bigger acts and stuff like that. You have to learn how to.

I don’t want to use the word, manipulate the crowd, but I guess maneuver, maneuver the crowd, you know, and work them and, and kind of learn how to control the vibe and everything. You have to learn that first before you get your 15 minute spot or your 20 minute spot. So that’s sort of my roots, just being able to riff and being able to come up with things off the cuff because.[00:24:00]

No one has any control over the audience. Right. And they’re going to do and say what they’re going to do and say, but you, as the comedian on stage, at that time, you’ve got you’re in charge of that. Yeah. Right. So yeah, the roofing and just off the cuff, that’s, that’s, that’s my thing, you know, very rare that I just stick to my set 100%.

Melissa: Well that, yeah, that makes it interesting. And so you don’t get bored as well. That’s the way.

Kwasi Thomas: And if anyone comes to see me like three, four times in a year, it’s not going to be the

Melissa: same, right? Yeah. No, that’s so true. Yeah. If you have like these diehard followers that are going to want to go to all your shows, they’re going to probably look forward to seeing some new, yeah.

Kwasi Thomas: One of my favorite things to hear is like, you know, I heard that joke before, but it wasn’t the same, you know, like I, I knew where it was going, but all this stuff in the middle was all different. So it was like, it’s same, but new. And I just kind of like to provide that for people. Yeah.

Melissa: That’s great. How do you handle, like, do you get hecklers ever?

Like how do you handle those?

Kwasi Thomas: Of course. I mean, the slogan is [00:25:00] they can try, like, right. I’m not speaking for every comedian. A lot of comedians are just wait for the bouncer to kick them out before they continue their set me straight up. Hey, they. But I do this shit for a living, excuse my friends. I, you know, they, I, I, I do this all of the time.

They just had a couple of drinks and got brave. So, you know, they can, they can try, but I, I got you covered, you know, the D like an earlier version of myself, like a younger Casey would, would do it in an insulting way, especially if they don’t want to back down, you know, you always get your one or your two comments.

But then I’ll like have a really, really sharp Quip. That’ll just shut them up forever. But the problem is it kind of alienates the rest of the audience. Now they don’t know if I’m funny or mean, or so as I’ve grown, as I’ve matured as a comedian, I’ve learned how to do that. In a, in a more inclusive to the rest of the audience way.

So that way no one feels left out and no one [00:26:00] kind of sees this really angry side of quasi, you know? And then I have to be like, all right, now, back to the jokes, I kind of lose them for a little while. So, but yeah, if anyone wants to try and heckle me, they can give it a shot if they want to on or off stage, pretty much

Melissa: say who, who are your favorite?

Comedians, like who inspires the

Kwasi Thomas: Chapelle without a doubt, Chappelle, especially what he’s been doing in the last, like two, three years. He’s He’s given me the how do I put this? He’s given me the confidence as a way, and I’ve always taken my cue from him ever since I started standing comedy. But as of late, he’s given me the confidence to not always have to be funny every single time you say something like, cause I’ve, I’ve always been a bit of a.

A preacher. Like my, like, it’s, it’s weird because my mom, we grew up in church. Right. And my mom would always tell me you’re going to be a preacher. You’re going to be a preacher. You’re going to be a preacher. I was like, [00:27:00] huh. But I mean, what really is the difference between like a minister of a church and a standup comedian, right.

Give or take a topic. Right. But so that being said, I’ve always wanted to make a. You know, and obviously stay funny and, and be entertaining. But the older I get and the more that’s going on in the world, I really just want to speak to how we can be better to one another and stuff like that. And, but I’ve always been like, yeah, but how do I make that funny?

How do I make that funny? But watching Chappelle do a lot of his specials as of late, and of course he’s got the Liberty to do anything he wants, but, but it’s shown me that, you know, if you got an hour it’s okay. To take it down a notch for. 10 15 of those minutes. Yeah. Right. Sprinkle it out. Make the point.

You’re making, let people give people a breath. Let them think about what you’re saying. And then incorporate that moment of like slowing it down into the next round of jokes and [00:28:00] stuff like that. So, yeah. I, I really, really appreciate that. That’s the way he’s been doing things lately and it’s, and again, it’s preaching the way I see it, easy.

It’s talking to the people, you know, so, I would say,

Melissa: oh yeah, no, you know who else does that really? Well, I think is Trevor Noah, without a doubt, he was like a storyteller. You think he goes on these long, you know, when did things, but it. Ends up having a quote-unquote punchline at the end, but it’s also like educating people, I think as well on, you know, where he grew up and and Chelsea handler too, she actually, her last standup.

So it was, it was kind of like surprising because she went off on a couple different things,

Kwasi Thomas: but yeah, but she she’s being rude though. Like Chelsea handler. Awesome. And yeah, I’m mess with her. She’s great. And it’s good to. It’s good to have a strong female comedian that like, you know, that newer female comedians can look up to, you know, and like, because I hate to admit it, but [00:29:00] it’s still a re it’s a boys club, you know, for the most part, but when a Chelsea handler or I shouldn’t have started the sentence without remembering the names the top.

Oh my gosh. Especially when the cycle is more for like my generation and maybe yours or whatever, but like, cause a lot of younger people may not look for her stuff, but she’s great. Right? Like if you love a Chris rock, then you have to love a Wanda Sykes. Yeah. And I think the other, the other comic that we would all know that inspires me is Seinfeld.

I’ve always loved just, just the crisp craft of him. You know, like if there’s structure that I’m looking for, Seinfeld is who I look for. And if there’s a vibe and, and modernization of comedy, then it’s Chappelle that I look to.

Melissa: Group of eight are there because they’re so different in their styles. And I

Kwasi Thomas: gotta be right.

I try to have that balance where anytime I’m looking for inspiration, you know, I’ll look for, I’ll look for the wacky and I’ll look for the absolutely [00:30:00] subdued so I can find my place somewhere in the mid.

Melissa: Yeah. Now do you do you have some shows booked coming up that are going to be

Kwasi Thomas: live? I do. And again, this is like, it’s booked it’s tomorrow, actually.

And I’m still, I’m still in this place where it’s just like in my, you know, who knows, but I do have a show I’m headlining and show at a place called Lana Lulu’s on Powell street in Vancouver tomorrow. And we’ll see how that we’ll see how that goes. I’m really looking forward to it. But at the same time, I’m the type of person that doesn’t believe anything has happened until the day after it’s happened.

Melissa: I don’t

Kwasi Thomas: want to jinx it. Oh, that’s it. You know, sometimes I’ll get an email from my agent saying, Hey, This role, I’d be like, all right. If you say so, I believe it when I clock. Yeah. You’re not going to see my, in my Instagram saying, oh, hashtag book to look at me, I’m going to, and then like two days later, I find out that they went quote, unquote, went in a different direction.

Melissa: Oh my God. Do you have is it hard balancing, like working on [00:31:00] Snowpiercer and then like doing your comedy shows as well? No,

Kwasi Thomas: no. It’s, it’s all priorities, you know, and con comedy comedy is my love and I like, but the thing it’s not going anywhere, you know, I can step away from comedy for a while and come back and just, just get back into it.

You know, I might be rusty or whatever, but I don’t need to balance acting and comedy. And I’ve always said that like being in film and television was always kind of the end game, if there is such a thing, you know? So. Comedy has been a bit of a stepping stone. I’ve learned performance, I’ve learnt live performance from it.

I’ve learned timing from it. So it’s always going to be there. You know, if I have to choose between an acting role and a comedy show, the acting role right now is always going to get as I was going to take priority.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Of course. Now I have to ask you, you did an episode of Lucifer, right?

That’s a great show. And Tom Ellis. Pretty funny,

Kwasi Thomas: hilarious, man. They, he has a lot of work [00:32:00] on that show in the sense of like dialogue, right? Cause it may seem real quick and witty and dah, dah, dah. But when you see what they give him to do on paper, it is outrageous how many. Monologues, and this guy’s just speaks in monologues.

He’s preaching preach. Which is ironic. Cause he’s the devil right there. Yeah. A little bit, but Hey, you know, we worship who we worship. Right.

Melissa: Did you did you enjoy working on that?

Kwasi Thomas: It was great. It was really, really cool. It was, it was a, what was it like a two day shoot? And I got to, I got to meet him in the, cause my scene isn’t with him, it’s with the the, the detectives that kind of help him out or that he helps out or whatever, but I did get to meet him in the makeup trailer and it was one of those situations.

I think I’m bothering you, you know? Cause I, you know, again, after seeing like how many words this guy has to memorize and stuff, I remember I just [00:33:00] walked into the makeup trailer, like, Hey Tom, you know, we don’t know each other from a hole in the wall. It was like, Hey Tom, my name is Casey. What’s going on?

How are you doing? How’s the day going? You know? And you just looks up at you. I’m calm. I was like, oh, okay. I think

we’re done here. I’ll leave. You I’ll leave you alone.

Melissa: He was like, please don’t make me talk anymore.

Kwasi Thomas: Exactly. And at the time I was like, all right, Dick, I see how it is. But afterwards, afterwards, like, It’s kind of saw the whole script and, you know, continued to watch the show. I was like, oh yeah, I really got up in that guy space in that mode.

Melissa: It’s like trying to meditate. And

Kwasi Thomas: so I got that. And if you’re listening, Tom, I’m sorry,

Melissa: newly in the business.

Kwasi Thomas: I didn’t know, man. I didn’t know. I know

Melissa: the rules well, on the show on Snowpiercer it seems like. Everyone’s pretty, the chemistry is so [00:34:00] good with everyone. Are you guys all really tight knit?

Kwasi Thomas: I don’t know if you’re going to believe me. I don’t know how many other people have said this.

Cause I noticed you, you interviewed Aaron and IDOT.

Melissa: Here’s our interviewer now.

Kwasi Thomas: Hey, this is not a bad job to have man, but I mean it, when I say this, it was day one family vibe. Yeah, like everyone is so great from the biggest names to, you know, our day players. There’s just this there’s no, there’s this no assholes allowed vibe on.

Our set. Awesome. And everyone is so cool. You know, we, we break off into little groups here and there and, and, and, and, you know, we’ll go out for drinks and, and, or, you know, we’ll just go to someone’s place and then watch a movie, or, you know, whatever, you know, but, but we we’ve had so many, like group hangs.

It’s just really, really great. And we get to know each other set and and it’s weird. You know, this is a show that, you know, every soul, every show you get on, at some point you get to celebrate the [00:35:00] show, you get to, you know, do a red carpet or you get to do a group interview or something to that effect.

But because of the pandemic, we’ve not really had a lot of. Chances to celebrate the show together. But whenever we’ve had a chance, whenever there’s a chunk of time off, for whatever reason, groups of us are getting together and like just being with each other and celebrating each other, because think about how many of them aren’t from Vancouver.

Right? So. So it’s like the friendship is created amongst themselves because they’re not going out and making new friends, they get, they’re not allowed to, we’re trying to, we’re trying to stay quarantined. We’re trying to stay safe as far as, you know, as far as the shoot goes and exposure to other people.

So there really, really has been yeah, there has been a tight knit vibe in the, in the cast. I, I’m not going to say me and Jennifer cannoli, our homie’s

Melissa: not

Kwasi Thomas: doing brunch, but yeah, we don’t have a secret handshake or anything. Even though I do tell all my friends we do, but but you know, and, and that’s just because she’s just busy, you know, she’s a very.[00:36:00]

Busy person, you kind of know not to bug her too much. Right. But, but that said, though, you know, you’re bumping into her in the studio, you see her in the, in the cast tense, you say her, you say your hellos, she’s engaging. She’s asking you how you’re doing. done. So there’s no, there’s no lack of respect there just because she’s like, you know, the biggest name in your Hollywood right now, you know?

But but no, she, everyone, everyone is just so kind and so gracious and like, Definitely had a, had an imposter syndrome. When I first got started with the show not to say that I wasn’t prepared or that I didn’t quote unquote deserve the part or whatever, but you know, I walk into a room and you got Shaun being of Jennifer Connolly.

Yeah. That’d be digs. You have Alison, right? You have Steven Ogun and you got queasy Thomas

holding on to the table.

Melissa: How did I get

Kwasi Thomas: here? And so it, it, it took, it took a little while for me to like, [00:37:00] just get over. Hey, these are people. These are folks they’re, they’re good for. They just want to generally just want to do their jobs. So if there was any weirdness, it was me creating,

I was creating so much work for myself. I was like,

Melissa: sweating.

Kwasi Thomas: Like

just take it down and not tired, bro.

Melissa: What do you do when you do it? The group table reads. Is that something that you get to sit in on, even if you’re not in, in that

Kwasi Thomas: scene? Well, I, I get invited to the table reads if I’m in the episode. So as of late, I’ve been invited to more and more and more cause over the seasons I’ve been getting a lot more responsibility.

I’m not at every one. I’m not ever at every single table read because of scheduling. Normally they schedule a table read while we’re shooting a scene while we’re shooting an episode or during a shooting day. So if I’m not there that day, they won’t ask me to come in. But so if [00:38:00] it works out that I’m shooting that day and they’re having a table read, I’ll be there.

But my Lord, it is something, it is really, really something to sit at a. As a, who I dare, I say as an equal, right?

Melissa: Yeah, no, absolutely.

Kwasi Thomas: You know, like it’s, it’s something else, man. I I’ve caught myself just taking it all in just like, wow, this is incredible, you

know?

Melissa: Yeah. Have you, have you seen the movie?

Snowpiercer I haven’t seen it.

Kwasi Thomas: Oh, absolutely. I saw it. I mean, I saw it long before I even knew they were doing a show. I thought, and I actually read the graphic novels a little while ago and not all of them, but I’ve maybe two, two of the books. I read long before the movie. So I was sort of really, really been familiar with the, with the material before the show came along.

But the very first thing I said, when I watched the movie. Was this, this needs to be a TV show. Yeah.

Melissa: See, I haven’t seen the movie because I just, I don’t know if I saw the previous and I was like, ah, I don’t know if that’s going to be yeah. [00:39:00] Give

Kwasi Thomas: it a watch. If you get a chance it’s really, really great.

And now that you’re kind of into the show, it’s a great intro to the world, you know? But it most definitely you know, with this entire world in a, like a two, two and a half hour movie, Every couple of minutes, I was like, oh, that was you know, there, there were too many oh, good thing. We invented this moment, you know, for them to just explain what’s happening and why we’re able to breathe and how we’re all still alive and stuff like that.

There’s a few too many of those. I think every like Spotify movie gets one or two. It’s a good thing. We invented the oxygen box. Yeah, exactly. But, but I find the only real issue I had with Snowpiercer the movie was that they probably like. Eight or nine of those good thing we invented, but it’s definitely a good intro to the world that the TV series has Korean.

Okay.

Melissa: Interesting. Now I have to ask you, have you heard of that theory? That’s been going around. I asked [00:40:00] ITTO about it. He hadn’t been no, the Willy Wonka theory. I

Kwasi Thomas: knew it. I knew that’s what you, that’s what you’re going to ask me. As soon as he said theory, I was like, oh my goodness. You’re going to ask about the really well, cause they I did watch the video.

I did watch that YouTube video. It’s like 15 minutes long. And is it. Is it Charlie that becomes Wilford or is it Willy Wonka that becomes Wilford.

Melissa: I think it’s Willy Wonka that becomes off. No, but I got from it anyway. It could be wrong.

Kwasi Thomas: It’s a bit of a stretch. And now I see why some mega nerd might put that all together, right?

Yeah. Internet. I said it nerd. I can see how, I mean, personally, I think it’s a bit of a stretch. Like if you have enough time, you can connect family matters to Snowpiercer. That’s true. But I found it interesting. I found it a very, very much thought out, but [00:41:00] more, more than, Ooh, Ooh. Ah, Ooh. I was like, well, that’s a bit of a stretch.

Okay. That’s a better, you know, like, I don’t know, but Hey, someone took the time to put that together. So. No hope you meet someone special,

Melissa: someone just like you.

Kwasi Thomas: True. There’s love for you out there. So,

Melissa: you know, what’s funny is I thought the same thing I thought, well, this is really far-fetched and yeah. As somebody who got really creative, however, I will say there’s a scene in the last episode of season two. Where he’s trying to throw that like party gala thing Wilford.

And I swear he with the hat that he had on and I was like, okay, this kind of

Kwasi Thomas: work. Yeah. Aesthetically, it kind of works. But yeah, it, again, it’s a, it’s a bit of a stretch,

Melissa: right. I used to just start telling people that.

Yeah,

Kwasi Thomas: I’m just doing interviews, pitching Willy Wonka, [00:42:00] the big reveal. Yeah. But have you seen Charlie in the chocolate factory enough about Z rec in the tray? Yeah, let’s

Melissa: so, you know, before I let you go, speaking of the finale you know, what did you think of the finale as you know, as an actor, as the character of season two?

Yeah,

Kwasi Thomas: I mean, it was. You go on my Instagram and the date, like the day after we the day after the finale aired, you’ll see that I wrote from now on that’s. How you supposed to finale?

Th it was wild. And one of my favorite moments you know, Alison Wright, she plays Ruth. I love her. Yes. I am in love with a woman when her, and when her and DaVita are kind of snuck around a corner and they were about to like attack two guards and the beads doing the countdown all right. On, on three.

And he gets to like one and a half and Alison just got. Ape [00:43:00] like this character, you know, whoever’s listening. If you haven’t seen any of the show, like she’s so prim and proper and just by the book and she’s sharp corners, you know, stiff collars, I think is one of her lines to watch her go. Absolutely bananas in that moment was just one of my favorite things on earth.

But that season two finale is.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah, it was insane. I mean, to the point where I was like yelling at the screen, I’m like, what the hell is happening here? Yeah, I just, I’m so excited to see what happens because you know, the trains were split again and, you know, I couldn’t figure out too with that, that last shot.

I was like, wait, did Ruth. Left behind, you know, it was so weird at first to see

Kwasi Thomas: like, who’s on you go back and I’m going to let you go back and watch it on your own. Cause I ain’t no. Right,

Melissa: right.

Kwasi Thomas: There’s so much happening.[00:44:00]

Melissa: Welcome. Yeah. We’ve been here a long time now. It was just so cool to see like all the different things. Cause there’s so many different things happening to the point where you’re like, your head is spinning at one point and Quite, you know, quite the cliffhanger. We don’t know what happened to Jennifer Connolly’s and all

Kwasi Thomas: kinds of stuff.

I’ll be honest. I still don’t know. And that, like, I do my best not to I do my best just to kind of know what my context is when I go on set and not at a laziness or anything, but a straight up, I want to watch the show when it comes. As, as an audience member. Right? So there’s, there’s very little that actually know about what’s going on in the other worlds.

So I, I honestly, I couldn’t spoil a shift for you if I wanted to, I have no idea what’s going on. It’s easily outside of what, you know, the worlds that I’m a part of.

Melissa: Yeah. Well then I guess I won’t ask you then to hit fast.

Kwasi Thomas: Maybe, maybe I can. Well,

Melissa: how about what can fans expect it guys, as far as like mood and [00:45:00] tone and all that stuff,

Kwasi Thomas: fans can expect a new, new pairings of characters.

Fans can expect. A lot of, a lot of growth and a lot of we seem to be at a, out of close to the peak of like a lot of the arcs, a lot of the character arcs and Atlanta, you don’t remember. We with the borders closing, there were several actors that couldn’t come back for too long or, or at all for season three.

So, Yeah, just expect some of your favorite local actors to be

some really cool. And you know, wouldn’t see it coming pairings and groupings of different characters to kind of keep the story going and not, not as, as a stretch and not as a desperation thing. They are writers really. Made it work like they got, they got hit over the head with some stuff that I don’t think no, no one [00:46:00] saw what they had to deal with coming.

Right. But they really, really made it work. So, you know, keep that in mind, you know, keep that they had like 30, 40% of their resources taken away from them and they still made an incredible season of television from what I, from what I can see so far.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah, I know hats off to the writers and the whole production crew, because visually it’s a stunning show.

It’s very authentic and believable. As far as like, it just looks really well.

Kwasi Thomas: Oh man. Our visual effects guys and our art department and the set designers, these guys. It’s incredible. It’s incredible work. If you walk on one set, like, you know, like, the third class, you know, or where they have like, where they have the mess hall and all of that, it might seem like just a, like a cafeteria.

But if you get in there, you see someone actually thought to flip this upside down and someone thought to put these two together. And it’s, it’s amazing. Like everybody who works on the show is just an absolute artist, you

Melissa: know?[00:47:00]

Where like the bar is and We’re like, it’s sort of like the middle-class

Kwasi Thomas: I guess the third class, the third class bar where we kind of have it out with Bokey at, at one point and everything. Yeah.

Melissa: That’s an incredible site. I mean, it looks almost something like out of a video game,

Kwasi Thomas: kind of. Yeah. Yeah, no, they put so much into it, but I’m just really, really proud of these guys and amazed by what they’re able to pull off, you know?

Yeah,

Melissa: absolutely. Wow. Thanks for being on the show today to talk about

Kwasi Thomas: it. My pleasure. Thank you so much, Melissa, for having.

Melissa: Absolutely. And come back any time, you know,

Kwasi Thomas: when we can take four or five tries

Melissa: busy, man. No, no problem at all. Yeah, we can hopefully chat in the future about once maybe once season three comes

Kwasi Thomas: out, give me a, give me a shot back. We’ll do this

Melissa: sounds good. And for everybody listening, you can you can stream. The first season on HBO max right now. And then when it [00:48:00] returns, it’ll be on a, I’m assuming again, Sunday night on TNT.

Kwasi Thomas: Yeah. And it’s also I do believe the first two seasons are also on Netflix as well.

Melissa: Oh, and Netflix now. Okay. Yeah, thank you. And thanks for all the good info and good luck with your your comedy show as well.

Kwasi Thomas: Yeah. Hopefully I’ll have more to talk about in the, in the standup comedy around when we yell, when we get back together.

Yeah, absolutely.

Melissa: That’d be fun. All right. Well, thank you so much.

Kwasi Thomas: The pleasure was all mine.

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