Women often say they want a man who will make them laugh. But the average woman wouldn’t want to live with a comedian.
At least that’s what Detroit native Brandon T. Jackson’s live-in girlfriend, Denise Xavier, says on the new Oxygen reality series “Living with Funny.” The half-hour docuseries debuts Tuesday and follows Jackson and Xavier and their circle of professionally comedic friends as they navigate life and love in Los Angeles.
There’s comedian Michael Blackson, who lives with his soul-singing girlfriend, Georgia Reign, and his three sons and a nephew, while Erik Rivera lives with his wife, Katie Rivera. Actor and comedian DeRay Davis cohabitates with two girlfriends in a “three-lationship,” and Adam Hunter is the show’s sole bachelor.
“It’s kind of like a romantic comedy every week,” says Jackson, 32, the famously funny son of Detroit’s own Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, the senior pastor of Great Faith Ministries. Lemuel Plummer, the Detroit native behind “Preachers of L.A.” and “Preachers of Detroit,” also is a “Living with Funny” producer.
“Oxygen has a lot of women viewers, and I have a mom and five sisters,” Jackson says. “So we wanted to show how we really are when we are at home with the women in our lives. But we are also comics with natural wit, so we come up with stuff on the fly and it’s authentic.”
Jackson, a West Bloomfield High School graduate whose movie and television credits include “Roll Bounce,” “Tropic Thunder” “Percy Jackson” “Wild ’N Out” and “Mr. Robinson,” says he prefers more traditional relationships. When it comes to work and romance, he has to consider the needs of Xavier, a dental hygienist whose work schedule is the opposite of his. In the pilot, for instance, Xavier unselfishly takes photos of Jackson with his fans during a rare date night.
“People know the movies and my characters, but they don’t know the person,” Jackson says of the friendly folks who recognize him on the street. “I’m not so Hollywood that I wear sunglasses in church. I like to interact with my fans and have fun. Women love a man who works, but they also want a man to be there for them. But how do you make everybody happy? Imagine if you had four superheroes. Now imagine what their wives would have to say.”
When asked if he and Xavier will get married someday, Jackson, a single father, is optimistic.
“If it’s God’s plan, we’ll get married,” he says. “Denise is beauty and brains. She’s African and Portuguese from Cape Verde, so what more could a man ask for? I jumped into past relationships and they didn’t work. We have to take our time.”
Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based television writer and critic.
‘Living with Funny’