Binge and Repeat: Hulu’s ‘Woke’ examines systemic racism in timely comedy
On the verge of making his big break and having his comic strip syndicated, Black cartoonist Keef is on cloud nine. That is until he’s tackled by a cop and finds himself surrounded by officers aiming their weapons on him while putting up flyers for his speaking event at Golden Con.
From the ground he watches as his white friend shouts at the cops and even tries to get physical with them, while Keef tries to understand how this could be happening to him. After a few minutes, the officers hear over the radio that the mugger they had assumed was Keef had been taken into custody and they leave without another word.
After being racially profiled, Keef becomes “woke” and begins hearing inanimate objects talking to him and joking about life as a Black man.
Hulu’s comedy “Woke” is inspired by the life and work of cartoonist Keith Knight and follows Keef’s personal life as he tries to figure out how to live in the world now that his eyes are open to the injustices of systemic racism. The series feels particularly timely as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to call for an end to systemic racism and police brutality.
After being thrown to the ground, Keef becomes justifiably angry and instead of talking about it with his friends and loved ones, he tries to shake it off, but after being confronted with a series of microaggressions, Keef feels like his work is trite. Just before a speaking engagement Keef has a heated chat with his marker and his cartoon characters that results in Keef having a meltdown on stage.
After the meltdown, Keef finds himself out of work and single as he tries to navigate the world with a new perspective while hearing voices.
“Woke” is a hilarious and brilliant series as the comedy not only delves into racism and systemic racism, but it forces viewers to think about the humor in a different way. One episode revolves around Keef and the officer who tackled him as they try to have a “healing” conversation that has less than ideal results. Another episode follows an escaped zoo animal and Keef watches as the people around him are more concerned about the missing animal than the homeless person who clearly could use some help right in front of them.
Episode length: 25 minutes
TV rating: TV-MA
Similar series: High Fidelity
The series stars several familiar faces including “New Girl” star Lamorne Morris as Keef, “Workaholics” actor Blake Anderson as Keef’s quasi-woke roommate Gunther and comedian T. Murph as Keef’s friend Clovis. The series also includes “iZombie” actress Rose McIver as Keef’s artist pal and “SNL” comedian Sasheer Zamata as Ayana, Keef’s friend who encourages him to be more woke.
Morris provides viewers with a captivating performance as his character argues with markers, bottles and a trash can.
“Woke” is a hilarious and must-watch series with one season on Hulu. The comedy is rated TV-MA. Viewers might also enjoy watching “High Fidelity” on Hulu, which follows a record store owner as she tries to figure out what she did wrong in her previous relationships.