Rickey Smiley is not taking anything for granted these days. With his sitcom, “The Rickey Smiley Show,” scheduled to premiere on TV One next week, the comedian and radio host is making sure to give thanks for the people around him who make his job more fun than work.
“To be able to work with Roz Ryan, that’s like an aunt in real life," he explained. "She plays my aunt on the show. On the fourth day she made some collard greens and macaroni and cheese and put it in my trailer. She came over my house and we sat down and had dinner one night and we spent a lot of time together because I like people that’s older than me.”
It’s fitting that young comedian Lil JJ plays Rickey’s son on the show. “I’ve been knowing [Lil JJ] for about 10 years and him and my son have been knowing each other for 10 years. They were kind of raised together. So now, Lil JJ plays my son, who he knows personally.”
The actress who plays Rickey’s daughter on the show, Ajiona Alexus, happens to be from his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Rickey still lives there with his kids and travels to Atlanta to record his radio show and shoot his sitcom. “Come to find out [Ajiona] and my daughter know each other because they’re in the same high school social circle,” Rickey said.
The show is based on Rickey’s real life as a radio host and single dad. He had his kids with him on set many days during filming and they developed relationships with the cast. “With the youngest actor [Gabriel Burgess], who plays my son, him and my 11-year-old son became good friends.”
Fellow comedian J. Anthony Brown and singer Ray J round out the cast. Rickey and J. Anthony, who plays the radio station manager, go way back to the early days of the star’s career. Ray J takes on the role of Rickey’s protégé and producer. Rickey and Ray J’s father are fraternity brothers.
“The set was just absolutely awesome,” Rickey said. Find out whether the on-set chemistry bubbles into onscreen success on September 18 at 9 p.m. EST.
—Sabrina M. Parker
Will you tune in to watch Rickey’s new show?