Sherri Shepherd On 'Sherri,' 'The View'
Sherri Shepherd, the sassy co-host of The View, has got her own comedy on Lifetime, a new book Permission Slips and hot movie out, Precious. So is she exhausted by all the work? “It’s overwhelming,” she told Uinterview exclusively. “But it’s not overwhelming, in the sense that I can handle it.”
Early on in her career, Shepherd was a legal secretary by day, doing stand-up comedy at night. She decided to pursue acting as a fulltime career after appearing on TV for the first time on the sitcom Cleghorne. She appeared as a guest star on several episodes of the popular series Everybody Loves Raymond, and became a full-time host on The View in 2007.
In her new book, Shepherd relates her struggles with her roles as an actress, comedian and mother. “Women take on a lot,” she told Uinterview. “I think we have to give ourselves permission to cut ourselves some slack.”
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Catch Sherri on Tuesdays at 10pm on Lifetime.
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It is overwhelming. When people start listing off all the stuff, ‘You’re an author, a co-host, you’re in a movie.’ I go, ‘Oh wow, that’s actually me.’ But when I’m at home with my son and he says, ‘Mommy I went poopy on the floor!’ I don’t feel like all of those things. But it’s not overwhelming, in the sense that I can handle it.
It’s not a secret. Women take on a lot. If our kid falls in the park, we feel guilty. ‘What are people going to think of me when he goes to school?’ We carry those things around in our heads for the next 10 years. If a kid falls in front of a Dad, he says, ‘Is anything broken? If not, get up back on the monkey bars!’ We try to be perfect for everybody and we are cracking up inside. I think we have to give ourselves permission to cut ourselves some slack. We have to give ourselves permission to say no. We have to give ourselves permission to say, ‘I can’t do it.’ I’ve just taken some funny stories from my life and put it in a book. I hope people give themselves permission to read it for an hour and laugh.
They put [the African-American shows] all on the CW, and then they just get canceled. There was a show called Brothers, which just got canceled. There’s CSI with LL Cool J which is still on. There’s my show and Tyler Perry has his show. I think the disparity is ridiculous considering we are supposed to be in this post-racial period with Obama being president. I don’t think of my sitcom as being a black sitcom. It’s got universal themes, but it has black people in it. So I ask for support from my community to keep it on the air. I’ve asked for support from black people, from people of color, because if you turn on the TV—in movies it’s a bit different—you don’t see many sitcoms or dramas with black leads.
I love Tracy. He used to live in my building until his apartment burned down. Thank God I got my wigs and my kid. His piranha tank exploded. I was like, ‘People have piranhas?’ I was trying to get [my son] Jeffrey dressed and it’s Lake Havasu in my apartment. It’s great working with him since I’ve always played the secretary or the best friend. So when Tina [Fey] called me and said, 'We want you to play the part of Tracy’s wife.' I jumped at it. They told me before I got on the plane, ‘Tina’s changed it a little bit, and you are going to rip off your clothes now.’ I was like, ‘What? Do you guys know I’m in Weight Watchers now?’ I had 12 White Castle burgers before because we don’t have White Castle in L.A.!’
If I didn’t have the comedy, I wouldn’t get through a lot of stuff. When it happened, I didn’t think it was funny. When my son was born prematurely, I didn’t think I would be able to laugh again. I had to get on stage because it was cathartic.
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