KevOnStage Posts Hilarious Videos On Social Media. He Hopes His Sitcom Can Take Off, Too.

The "Churchy" comedian has gone viral on YouTube and TikTok for his laugh-out-loud videos that are sometimes random but always on time.
Kevin Fredericks as Corey Carr Jr. in "Churchy" on BET+.
Kevin Fredericks as Corey Carr Jr. in "Churchy" on BET+.
KevOnStage Studios and SpringHill Company

The internet has birthed some of the greatest stars of a generation, such as Issa Rae and Quinta Brunson. Now comedian and creator KevOnStage is taking his knack for hilarious viral videos on social media to his own sitcom, “Churchy.”

Earlier this year, KevOnStage, whose real name is Kevin Fredericks, premiered his sitcom “Churchy” on BET+. It is produced by the SpringHill Company and KevOnStage Studios. The series follows Corey Carr Jr., who departs from his father’s church after being bypassed as the new leader and heads to Lubbock, Texas, to be pastor of a new ministry. Carr quickly finds out creating your own ministry in a remote city isn’t as easy as expected. Filled with laughs and shenanigans, this feel-good comedy captures the essence of community, faith and everyday life with heartwarming sincerity, leaving audiences uplifted and eagerly anticipating each episode.

In an interview with HuffPost, the comedian discusses “Churchy,” hard conversations with his sons, how he spoke too soon about a possible opportunity with Issa Rae and taking a leap of faith.

In the pilot episode, Corey’s heart was set on leading the second church his father established, only to be passed up for his dad’s “spiritual son.” Have you ever experienced being passed up for something in a similar manner?

Yeah. One time I had auditioned for a role on Issa Rae’s “Insecure,” and I misread the email, thinking the part was already mine. I realized they had actually wanted me to come in and audition for the role. I was at work at the time with my friends, and we were all young and Black at the job where I found myself talking a lot of trash. Later that evening, I was showing my wife the email, and then I read the bottom of it where I saw I needed to audition. I went to the audition and didn’t get it. I had to take that embarrassment in front of my work friends [laughs]. When I watched the show, I saw why I didn’t get it: The character was Issa’s character’s age on the show, like a dating partner who was supposed to be between 25-26, and I looked every bit of 37 years old. I spoke a bit too soon, so that was one of my Corey Carr moments.

Have you seen Issa Rae afterwards and brought that up to her and laughed about it?

I haven’t brought that up to her, but we see each other in passing at times; we dap each other up, and I tell her she’s the most amazing Black person on earth. One day, we’ll sit on a yacht in Malibu and we’ll wax poetically on the good ole days, and I’ll bring it up. I appreciate her for even reaching out to me.

The Clubhouse moment on “Churchy” was golden; integrating social media into the series is fantastic considering its pivotal role in your success. How did you master social media?

That’s a great question. I think just being active on them is really helpful and also knowing that certain humor and not only certain humor, certain formats, are better for certain platforms, right? TikTok switched video from horizontal to vertical because before that you could do horizontal. Due to TikTok’s success, Instagram’s vertical video is more prominent, Facebook and Instagram have reels, etc., so I’ve switched over to vertical videos predominantly. You also need to understand what trends will pop on certain platforms.

In dedicating the first season of “Churchy” to your late brother, Jason Fredericks, did his life or experiences influence any of the storylines in any significant manner? Were you able to workshop any of your comedy material with him?

Absolutely. His life and my life were mirrored. “Churchy” is loosely based on our home church in El Paso. We worked very closely, hand in hand, with this. He read scripts, he pitched ideas — he’s a producer on the show for that reason. He was one of the first people to tell me I have to hire traditional actors if you want the show to go where you want it to go, with other friends of mine echoing that sentiment. I dedicate this show to him and all of the future seasons because it was something that we worked on together. I know he’s very proud of me and fighting for me on the other side.

There’s a scene in the series where Corey talks to a young adolescent about masturbation. As a parent, understanding there’s talk you may not want to have but need to have is vital. What’s a conversation you’re dreading or have dreaded having with your children?

“Churchy” is more reflective of my time as a youth pastor, so I would say it’s the other way around. A lot of times, teens don’t want to hear from their parents, but they’ll hear from somebody else who is their parents’ age with the same advice. As a youth pastor, that was often my place, giving people good advice for their kids. It’s my responsibility as a man to teach my boys about sex and about consent. I have to inform them about that. What I dread talking to them about is being a Black man in America and how they’re perceived. Those are the conversations that I wish I didn’t have to have. My youngest son, his resting face isn’t a pleasant smiling face, and he’s just very nonchalant. I gotta let him know he can’t walk around with a hoodie and a scowl on because you’re gonna look intimidating, and this is when he was much smaller. He’s now bigger and stronger. I told my oldest son, like, hey man, you are Black first everywhere you go, so if you gotta go to the bathroom at a gas station, make sure to buy something first or try to go to a hotel. Things like that to try to prevent them from being in areas where they might be in danger. When it comes to Trayvon Martin’s unfortunate passing and Tamir Rice’s unfortunate passing — I have to take those stories and prepare my children for how the world sees them. That’s probably the thing I dislike the most about parenting, is the truth about being a Black man in America, and, unfortunate as it is, I would do my boys a disservice if I didn’t prepare them for how the world will see them and treat them.

Which particular theme or storyline in “Churchy” are you most pleased to have included, and can you share any discussions or updates regarding renewal for a second season?

The overarching thing that Season 1 was about, Corey fighting to prove his father wrong. And I think a lot of times that requires charting your own path. If we get a Season 2, what I would love to deal with, and this is what the initial idea for “Churchy” was about, is if your church doesn’t have any new people, the ideas never change. A lot of times people don’t realize the world is passing them by because nobody’s in there challenging them. If you’re not on the internet, if you’re not talking to new people, you’re often not being challenged in your thoughts. I’ve been challenged, and a lot of thoughts have been changed by people younger than me. My cousin taught me stuff, and she’s 10 years younger than I am. So I think that also applies to the church and that’s [what I’d like to explore] if given Season 2.

Going viral is a part of any creative’s job, in hopes to reach the masses and keep their name in the conversation, or pose questions for a wider audience. Do you remember the first time you went viral, what was it for and what was going through your head?

It was the first two videos I did with The Playmakers. We did a skit, “Stuff Black Church Girls Say” and “Stuff Black Parents Say.” This time, you could only post videos on YouTube, and it went crazy on there with people sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. That happened in early 2012, and I was thinking how crazy this moment was, comparing it to hearing your song for the first time on the radio. It felt amazing, but I had to go to work the next day, and where I was working at the time, I made it a point that nobody knew who I was there because I had been fired previously for talking about my dreams of wanting to be a famous comedian. So I wasn’t making that mistake again.

What was it like to take a leap of faith after getting let go from that job? Any tips you can share to people who fear taking that risk? I ask because a former boss of mine had let me go because he felt my heart wasn’t in it as much as he wanted.

One thing I’ve learned is everybody will not be happy for you — whether it’s your employer, a family member or people online. What I believe is your path is your path and what God has for you is for you — what is necessary will happen. Even with my getting fired from my job — at the moment that happened, I felt like this was the worst thing that could happen to me because how am I going to feed my kids or pay my mortgage? In retrospect, it was important for me for it to happen because it pushed me to where I needed to go.

Make sure you know your purpose, stay true to your purpose, and I wouldn’t advise throwing your dream in everyone’s face because sometimes people will trip. The boss who said that to you and let you go could’ve been giving a projection or a misinterpretation of you, because as long as you’re doing your job, it doesn’t matter what you do outside of work.

From stand-up, your own series, to commercials with Spectrum and a late-night talk show called “Friday Night Vibes” with Nina Parker, how does it feel to see all your wishes come true? And how has Nina Parker helped you grow as a host?

It’s been amazing having a lot of wins in a row after having a lot of years without many wins.

It feels fulfilling, and I’m grateful for this moment — there’s a lot of stuff I still want to accomplish. And I hope that I’m given an opportunity to do everything that’s in my dreams. As far as [Nina Parker] goes, I can’t speak highly enough about her. She’s such an amazing co-host but also so giving, as she’s a huge coach for me on TV. It’s my first TV hosting opportunity, and she made me feel so comfortable on set, especially my first day. It felt like when you go to high school and you’re a freshman, she was the cool senior who was like, you can sit with us [laughs].

You’re known for openly discussing trending topics and issues. What’s a pressing topic on your mind that you’d like to address?

I’m all about Black people and our opportunities — I think right now, in our industry at least, we’ve seen a wealth of our shows get canceled. It’s not just our shows, but it seems like that sometimes. So for me, it’s just about making sure that we have representation in spaces, making sure that our ideas are properly credited. It’s always about creating opportunities for people who look like me; obviously in this business, racism is a big deal in Hollywood, but nepotism is equally as difficult, and that’s done often without malice. People just look out for people that are in their community, and a lot of times in these spaces, there’s not a lot of Black people who are making those decisions.

I’m grateful that a lot of my opportunities — the majority of them have been [from] a Black person looking out for me. I’ve been qualified to do the job, but people have been saying my name in rooms that I’m not in, so I feel it’s my duty and responsibility to always continue creating those opportunities for others and saying other people’s names in rooms that they’re not in so that they’ll get opportunities that I’m receiving.

“Churchy” is streaming on BET+

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