Actor and comedian Dean Edwards discusses role in ‘Race: The Movie: The Play’

Dean Edwards is making people laugh with new play

Dean Edwards is an actor, comedian and writer. His two-year stint as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” made him renowned for a multitude of remarkable celebrity impressions that include Denzel Washington, Jay-Z, Mo’Nique, Chris Rock, 50 Cent and Eddie Murphy. Recently, Dean showcased his amazing talents in his first comedy special, Netflix’s “Tiffany Haddish Presents: THEY READY.”

Edwards is now the producer and has the lead role in Race: The Movie: The Play, and spoke with rolling out about the play and his role.

What is this play about?

It’s a spoof of the Oscar-bait White savior movies that you’ve seen over the last few decades, from  Green Book to 12 Years a Slave. Thinks about what Scary Movie did for horror movies and the horror movie tropes. We’re doing that with Race: The Movie: The Play. We premiered last year during the New York Theatre Festival in 2022. and it was written by Brett Raybould and Cristian Duran. The script started as a sketch, it turned into a full-length movie script. They submitted it to a couple of screenwriting and playwriting contests and next thing you know, it went from Race: The Movie to Race: The Movie: The Play. We were up during the New York Theatre Festival and wound up winning a bunch of awards.

What are the parallels between being a comedian and an actor?

The parallels are the amount of work that you’re putting into it. As a stand-up comedian, every night I go on stage, I have to act like this is the first time I’m seeing these jokes. I do a lot of impressions, and oftentimes I’m on stage and people yell and say “Do Denzel.” In my mind, I’m like, “I don’t want to do Denzel Washington yet.” I learned how to balance it and find a way to give people what they want but also give yourself your own creativity to flow freely. A

cting for television and film is a lot different than acting in the theater. Acting in theater is immediately in the moment whether or not something works or something doesn’t. We wrote it, and it was hella funny. It was funny on Wednesday but because “SNL” runs live, what might have been six minutes on Wednesday when we did the table read, turns into three and a half or four minutes by the live show at 8 p.m., and then the actual live show that transmits out to the audience might only be three minutes — now you’ve trimmed a lot of what made the sketch magical. The beauty of the live theater space is the lines that are in the show, and what I’m rehearsing today is going to be in the show a month from now when we’re actually on our feet doing the show.

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