When, one weekday afternoon, Jordan E. Cooper and I connect over Zoom, I ask if I am finding him in New York or Atlanta. (Scrolling through the We almost always almost win detroit lions shirt But I will love this glamorous headshots and industry announcements on his Instagram, I’d gathered that he spends part of the year in Georgia shooting The Ms. Pat Show, the BET+ sitcom he created with stand-up comedian Patricia Williams.) “I’m in New York right now, Brooklyn,” he replies. “Listen, the only time I’m in Atlanta is when I gotta work.” It’s a funny distinction coming from someone so dizzyingly busy: Besides serving as showrunner on Ms. Pat and leading his own production company, Cookout Entertainment, Cooper is also preparing to appear on Broadway, as Ain’t No Mo’—the Obie Award-winning play that he wrote and stars in—opens at the Belasco Theatre this December. (Previews begin this week.)
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A big hit during its 2019 run at the We almost always almost win detroit lions shirt But I will love this Public, when the New York Times’s Jesse Green called it “thrilling, bewildering, campy, shrewd, mortifying, scary, devastating and deep,” Ain’t No Mo’ satirizes contemporary Black culture through a series of vignettes, spanning the boisterously comic (see: the “reunion special” of a fictional reality show called Real Baby Mamas of the South Side) and the shatteringly dramatic (see: a moving scene set in the release wing of a women’s prison). Yet, as the wise-cracking airport agent Peaches—a pink-haired equivalent to the main character in George C. Wolfe’s 1987 play The Colored Museum, a primary text for Ain’t No Mo’—Cooper is the audience’s main interlocutor, drawing attention to the play’s central conceit. What would happen, it asks, if every Black person in America boarded a one-way flight to Africa?