Watching NBC’s Grand Crew is like receiving a hug from your dearest friend, reuniting with your childhood pet or, even better, watching Grand Crew allows you to see yourself in the mainstream media. On its surface, Grand Crew is about friendship and wine, but at its core, it’s a show about Black masculinity, breaking down stereotypes. For a half-hour, it offers an opportunity to explore weighty themes Black men face in America all while balancing it with joy and laughter. From therapy to relationship breakups to father/son issues, it’s a sympathetic lens for showing the anxiety and vulnerability Black men can be afraid to show or explore.
Simply put, it’s one of the best new comedy series in the NBC lineup. Following the lives and loves of a group of Black millennials who converge at Grand Crew, a popular wine bar in Los Angeles. They share laughs, stories, struggles and triumphs over the best and sometimes worst glass of wine. There’s Noah Koles, a hopeless romantic who thinks his life is a rom-com, and Nicky’s brother. Nicky Koles, a realtor and Noah’s sister. Wyatt Fields, a married friend. Anthony Holmes, an accountant, vegan, and Sherm’s roommate. Sherm Jones, a journeyman and Anthony’s roommate, and Fay, new to the crew and recently divorced, works at the crew’s hangout.
In celebration of the show’s upcoming 6th episode ‘Wine & Roast,’ The Koalition spoke to actor Carl Tart to learn more about Sherm, the importance of friendship, the art of a good roast and more.
In ‘Wine & Roast,’ Wyatt’s roasting skills are put to the test when Sherm and Wyatt meet with a group of Sherm’s friends who greet each other with their best roasts. However, completely out of his element, Wyatt is helpless when it’s his turn to respond to a “broke” joke, resulting in him responding with the same joke that was made about him. Seeing Wyatt completely lost, Sherm steps in to help but the damage is done. Wyatt doesn’t know how to recover. With a Spades game planned for tonight, can Sherm help Wyatt come through with the laughs or will Wyatt make a fool of himself?
Carl is no stranger to tapping into his comedic side. A member of the Upright Citizen Brigade, his improv game is unmatched, and he also happens to be an graduate of the comedy group Boom Chicago.
“The fundamentals to making a good roast are definitely pick somebody you know can handle it, number one. [Not] everybody likes to be roasted. [Not] everybody likes to be talked about. Don’t make fun of people’s actual insecurities. Surface level things are okay, but real insecurities people have or may have confided in you about or something that’s going on with their family or children (because children are innocent). That’s where the line is drawn.”
“[If] homie comes in with a bad outfit on, he comes in with some wax shoes on, you can talk about that. Talk about that all day. [Talk about that] bad haircut, [that] weird thing going on with their facial hair. But if it’s something somebody’s really confided in you about, don’t roast them over that.”
While Sherm is the comedic, supportive member of the group, there’s more to him than his comedic timing. In one of their standout episodes, what starts out as a fun attempt to make each other cry, the show explores that Sherm’s inability or unwillingness to cry is a representation of the concepts of masculinity. The show is unafraid to explore its characters, both who they are and whom society expects them to be; strong, unwavering, but in reality, Sherm is emotional and sometimes needs the love and physical support of his friends.
The show also reveals Sherm also likes to dabble in an array of projects from wine making to cab driving. Through the love and support of his friends, Sherm is finding inspiration through them. “The group gives Sherm inspiration. That’s why he’s getting himself together this season, because he’s looking at all of his friends who love him unconditionally but they’re all in different places in their lives than he is. [If he can] stop being so headstrong and stubborn and take note of his friends and the people around him who are doing so well in life [he’ll be good].”
“If I had to give Sherm a backstory, I would say it probably comes from a thirst for knowledge. [He’s] always learning new things but maybe there’s a hint of laziness within him to actually pursue forward and that’s where what we’re seeing this season. He’s kind of figuring that out now and kind of being, ‘Okay, if I have a lot of smarts, I got a lot of brains, let me use some of this to actually propel myself forward as opposed to just floating along.’ I think that’s what he’s been doing for a long time and that’s why I personally relate to the character. I’ve definitely had moments in life [where I would say], ‘If I just use a little bit more of my brain capacity, who knows where I could be.’ I already have this level of talent, why not just work harder at it. Why not stop resting on my laurels and really put in the hard work?’
“He has a lot of other things on his brain right now as far as getting his life set up. I think [Sherm having a family] is a part of it. [Right now, he’s like,] ‘I got to get my stuff together because I do eventually want to be a family man.’ I think that’s where he’s at.”
To learn more about Sherm’s gorwth over the season, check out the full interview in the video above.