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At the Mo’Nique BET talk show taping in Atlanta

Mo'Nique is all energy during a taping of her show Sept. 22

Mo'Nique is all energy during a taping of her show Sept. 22

BET has effectively turned Atlanta into its secondary headquarters. The network has taped several reality shows here, its hip-hop awards and now a nightly talk show starring larger-than-life comedienne Mo’Nique.

I attended the 11th taping of the show, which has been shot at Turner Studios the past couple of weeks. They are doing 150 episodes this year at a pace of six a week (and saving them up down the road)

The show I was invited to will the first one to air at 11 p.m. October 5 on BET and has a “Welcome to Atlanta” theme. Guests included her friend and Atlanta-based star Steve Harvey, Atlanta R&B singer Monica (who has a reality show coming up on BET), Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and singer Jeremih (’Birthday Sex,” “I’m a Star”)

Former Dekalb CEO Vernon Jones was spotted in the audience as well.

The set is impressive. It includes a sizable stage for singers with a large screen behind it on the left, another area for a live band to the right and a center arena for interviews. Over each is a massive chandelier. The focal backdrop is a night-time cityscape from a high vantage point. Thus, Mo’Nique dubs her TV home “the penthouse” and the 135-person audience (mostly middle-aged black women) is there to party.

It takes two hours for the producers to tape a one-hour show. There are plenty of breaks, a few re-dos and extra material likely to be trimmed for airing.

The warmup comic Gerard Guillory told the audience that this is not just a show but a late-night shindig, that they are there to celebrate the new “queen of late night talk.” He even has the crowd tape various reactions such as boisterous laughter and minor chuckle to be used later if necessary.

At about 7:40 p.m., Mo’Nique hit the stage in a tight black dress with red lips emobssed on her right butt cheek, dancing her way down a set of stairs. She starts the show giving props to local civil rights legend Xernona Clayton, who did her own local talk show back in the late 1960s.

During her first commercial break, she threw out a few cuss words (her standup act can get down and dirty), then sang about the fact she was cussing. “Cussing is good, cussing is great,I’m cussing around my plate,” she sang, extemporaneously. She then re-shot her opening closeout because she forgot to introduce her four”big girl dancers.” (Yes, she supports the size 14s of the world!)

The set includes chandeliers, huge screens and  big late-night city backdrop

The set includes chandeliers, huge screens and big late-night city backdrop

Her sidekick is comic Rodney Perry, who just moved to Atlanta a few weeks earlier. He tries to introduce Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin but the teleprompter does not have her name on it. He is fed the line and gets a good laugh before doing it in a second take. The mayor gives Mo’Nique a “Phoenix” award and scotts off the stage before the comedienne gets a chance to ask her any questions.

Mo’Nique introduced her first sit-down guest. Steve Harvey, who like Mo’Nique has found a home in Atlanta. She recounted Harvey encouraging her 16 years earlier at Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Corner. He predicted at the time that she’ll be a big star in the business. She never forgot that.

And better yet – he got it right. Then she surprised him with an odd request. Harvey had placed her as the opener for the weekend for $250 that day in 1993. People liked her so much, they moved her to the opener, then the headliner. But she only got paid that $250. This night, she demanded a facetious $1.7 million, $1 for each of his current bestselling book in print.

“She’s my girl,” he said later in a brief interview to me. “This is a big moment.” As for the money, “I owe her nothing!”

Mo'Nique guest Steve Harvey hangs with the Big Girl Dancers after his appearance set to air October 5

Mo'Nique guest Steve Harvey hangs with the Big Girl Dancers after his appearance set to air October 5

Her other sit-down guest Monica, in a new ‘do, promoted her reality show. She also sang a bit during the breaks, much to the delight of the crowd. Jeremih then sang on the big stage while Mo’Nique boogied away.

At the end, to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday,” Mo’Nique feted Xernona Clayton once again.

Monique-set-stage

After the show, she hugged her fans who came up to her, a signature move of hers that goes back years. Overall, it was a good time had by all. It’ll be interesting to see if the goodwill and energy translates on the TV screen next Monday. I’ll be posting my interview with Mo’Nique later in the week or Monday.

Monique-big-stage

If you want tickets, you can call 404-885-4357. The tickets are free and the show will be shot at 12PM and 4PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

81 comments Add your comment

bobby allen

September 29th, 2009
7:42 pm

Enter your comments here
how do you get tickets for the taping of thes e shows……..

janine

September 29th, 2009
8:00 pm

call 404-885-4357…i’m going to a taping tomorrow.

Ashley

September 29th, 2009
8:17 pm

What a waste of money. More thugs in Atlanta, just what we need.

Please

September 29th, 2009
9:03 pm

Ashley get a life! You wish you had a thug!!! Might put your bad attitude in check!!!! Actually, a thug is what you need since don’t nobody want your stank butt!!! How thug is that?!!!

Please

September 29th, 2009
9:04 pm

To Ashley, Just kidding girl! I don’t know you like that! Please stop judging folk that you know nothing about!!!

Amy

September 29th, 2009
9:06 pm

Ashley,

Let us know if you need directions to Hartsfield-Jackson.

[...] Read the rest. [...]

Please

September 29th, 2009
9:36 pm

Mike hide behind the comments! Try saying that to her face. You are the biggest coward!

mamaj

September 29th, 2009
9:58 pm

Mike: Another”N” word here in town wasting space? No race cards being played here in Atlanta!!…yeah right!!

JJ

September 29th, 2009
10:05 pm

Good Luck to you Mo’…just please not so many ‘I’m a big girl’ jokes. Off subject, thanks for your willingness to come out about the abuse you suffered as well as not sensationalizing based on your name. I felt your intentions were sincere and heartfelt (& heartwrenching). Much success in all you do

Oh yeah, keep you’re money close and you’re husband closer, you’re back in the ATL now baby!!

FAN

September 29th, 2009
10:14 pm

Enter your comments here
Mike sweetie, I guess you don’t know where you are. You are in Blacklanta baby. So take your red neck ass back to south Georgia. You are taking up space not us. I think that there is a dirt road with a Red pick up truck waiting for you down south.

A Realist

September 29th, 2009
10:31 pm

Like my parents taught me….”if you don’t have anything nice to say, they don’t say anything at all”.

Why all the haters???? That is one thing that is wrong with this country… some folks think that “freedom of expression and the ability to say what you want” means “the freedom to be ignorant and vicious in your comments/statements”.

A Realist

September 29th, 2009
10:32 pm

Typo correction…”if you don’t have anything nice to say, THEN don’t say anything at all”

grammar girl

September 29th, 2009
10:56 pm

Good lord, could you pick a tense, please? It’s past tense or present tense, not a weird seesawing between the two.

atlBOY

September 30th, 2009
12:04 am

i will have to say i do think mo’nique is funny and i do love miss monica. i think she makes atlanta proud and i wish she would come back with some hits. she’s got a beautiful voice

Hack

September 30th, 2009
1:32 am

Racist Channel…..what a double-standard!

Big Tee

September 30th, 2009
5:37 am

No more racist than FNC or CMT, Mr Hack!

kendall meeks

September 30th, 2009
7:34 am

ATL welcomes you Mo’Nique and congraulations on your new show. Atlanta is becoming the place for all to bare the fact that is is where you wanna be. Iwish you the best

Breeze

September 30th, 2009
8:09 am

@Amy about Asley, lmao, girl that was hilarious.

Breeze

September 30th, 2009
8:10 am

Good for Monique. I hope the show does well.

Vernon Jones

September 30th, 2009
8:23 am

Enter I attended the taping and really enjoyed the show, as well as her special guest. I also notice how many people were given job opportunities. Happy birthday to Mrs. Clayton and co grays on her being a trailblazer for female talk shows

BigBoom NY

September 30th, 2009
8:30 am

Who cares, NY is still the Mecca for it all. Vernon jones, shouldnt you be looking for work?

Erin T.

September 30th, 2009
9:17 am

I signed up for tickets 3 weeks ago for yesterday’s taping, but they didn’t call me until Monday evening when I was in the movies and didn’t hear my phone ring. So I missed out because by the time I called back, they gave my tickets to someone else. Oh well. I’ll still check out the show next week.

CC

September 30th, 2009
9:48 am

Enter your comments here I
I HAVE CALLED THE MONIQUE SHOW AND FOLLOWED THE REQUEST FOR TICKETS,BUT CAN’T SEEM TO GET THE PAGE UP, IS THERE ANY OTHER REQUEST SITE OR WAY TO GET TICKETS?,PLEASE HELP,LOVE MO AND WILLING TO DRIVE 2 HOURS TO SEE THE TAPING!

FAMUAKA

September 30th, 2009
10:18 am

Congrats to Mo’Nique on your show and choosing Atlanta. I love Mo’Nique and I will support her show. For all of the haters, this is making Atlanta blow up even bigger. Everyone loves the Atl and now they just have another reason to love it with Mo’Nique in town.

Tonya

September 30th, 2009
11:00 am

What ever happen the CALIFORNIA!!! The place where all the Stars were
before they came to ATLANTA. What’s up California? Did they go for broke or no work in California? Wow.. I hope these stars contribute instead of receiving notoriety and money… for shows.

Tonya

September 30th, 2009
11:03 am

Make a social difference to Atlanta, stand up for the people… this is where the Social movement really took notice, the star thing has really played out for me.

Jordan

September 30th, 2009
11:40 am

If it were not for the black people here in Atlanta, this country A- – place would not exist. I never hear of any famous whites (atheletes, entertainers or the other) coming here. So to all you dumb rednecks in case you have forgotton Atlanta is a black city.

StopTheHate

September 30th, 2009
11:18 pm

“So to all you dumb rednecks in case you have forgotton Atlanta is a black city”

is that why we’re the closest in modern history to electing a WHITE mayor, jacka$$?

Black Beauty from NY

October 1st, 2009
4:24 pm

I thought this site was about Monique and her talk show…what’s with all the racial crap…grow up folks

MsKing

October 2nd, 2009
1:04 pm

I have requested tickets via e-mail three (3) times, only to have the e-mail request returned as undeliverable. HELP SOMEBODY!!!

MRS. M

October 2nd, 2009
6:46 pm

I was recently in a Tyler Perry taping that was awesome. I would love to be a part of the taping of another African American of whom I am very proud. We love you Monique. God Bless you. Take it as high as it goes and if you must, fly the rest of the way until you reach the stars. I would love to be a part of the audience. How might I go about obtaining tickets for three loyal fans?

MRS. M

October 2nd, 2009
7:17 pm

Thanks Janine

Darla

October 5th, 2009
1:07 pm

I wish Mo’nique the best here in the ATL. I’m looking forward to going to one of her shows.

Sheila

October 6th, 2009
12:23 am

Enter your comments here Mo’Nique today I thought I had a bad day. My contractor shot me a curve. After seeing your show tonight inspired me to keep it moving. I laughed, I cried, I had a good time. All of your quest I love. I will start trying to get tickets so I can see in person. I am excited that you are a part of Atlanta. Keep the realness going. May God continue to triple your blessings.

d wells

October 6th, 2009
9:11 am

Enter your comments here
how do u get tix?

Rodney Ho

October 6th, 2009
10:17 am

d wells: If you want tickets, you can call 404-885-4357. The tickets are free and the show will be shot at 12PM and 4PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

WILEY

October 6th, 2009
10:50 am

I LOVE IT

WE CALL YOU BITCHES HATERS IN THE ATL.

WE LET OUR HATERS BE OUR MOTIVATERS

HATEN ASS WHITED FOOLS

HATE OBAMA
HATE MONIQUE

YOU BITCHES JUST HATE EVERYTHING

shawn

October 6th, 2009
11:44 pm

Hey mo much success on your new show. May Gods Grace and peace be with u and the family.

Ms.Nena Samone

October 7th, 2009
11:07 pm

The show was totally refreshing,entertaining,and relaxing…especially when i was supposed to be working!!!…A friend of mine and her daughter attended the show with Lailah Hathaway as the musical guest and the cast from the house of payne…Lots of energy on and off the set.I really enjoyed myself and Mo’nique looked amazing!!!!

S. Alicia Seecharan

October 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

Dear Mo’Nique,

Haven’t seen your show yet, but loved you on The Parkers. You should have Busy Phillips on your show. And not because she had/has a best friend that reminds me of you either.

All the best.

Daryl-Atlanta

October 11th, 2009
8:32 am

I’m a white male in my 50’s and have always appreciated Mo’nique’s “big” talent. I hope she does well and perhaps as the popularity of the show continues to grow that BET will expand it beyond a 150 episodes a year. I’ve read several blogs and most of the bloggers all come back to three basic observations. One though really jumps out at me and it’s easily addressable, that she’s extremely loud; I mean you have to adjust the TV volume which is unfortunate. She’s so loud most of the time that you cannot understand the words that she’s speaking and with comedy you miss a word or two you don’t get the joke. I think after a few weeks and after some feedback from her producers, directors and the public that she’ll quickly find the right balance as the way she presents herself. Even the finest stage shows take a week or two to get it all together and I’m sure that Mo’nique is no different and that she’ll level out and find her own tone and pace in no time.

W Harkness

October 13th, 2009
12:54 am

Congrats on your new show. I’m a long-time fan & truly want to see you be successful, but the loud screaming is just simply unbearable. Show a little more class and I truly believe it will add a longer life span to your show; just try it. The loud screaming and the cursing are the only criticism, other than that, you could be on top.

Ms. Mac

October 13th, 2009
3:41 pm

I have watched every show this far, and I have really enjoyed. Mo, keep your head up,disregard all the negative comments,and reach for the stars!! Much success (1st African American female Late Nite Host)

Sexy Keep It Moving...KIM

October 20th, 2009
11:38 am

Agreeing with W Harkness in regards to the loud screaming, it is a bit much. With the stand up it was different but night after night the loudness is a bit much. And no I haven’t missed a show and don’t plan on missing one because Mo is my girl. What’s up with the hug yourself that’s a bit quirky but I’ll take that over the screaming. Why is Rodney Perry sitting to the side looking like a stool peigon…. Does he provide some type of financial backing in exchange for being able to be on the show because other than that what is he there for??? All in all Mo’s my girl and I support her in all that she does. Keep up the good work.

black falcon

October 28th, 2009
11:49 pm

I love the monique show may the most high give my sister plenty of seasons. Greetings black falcon the falcon that flies the skysof baltimore.

black falcon

October 28th, 2009
11:53 pm

I love the monique show may the most high give my sister plenty of seasons. Greetings black falcon the falcon that flies the skies baltimore.

black falcon

October 28th, 2009
11:55 pm

I love the monique show may the most high give my sister plenty of seasons. Greetings black falcon the falcon that.fly the skies baltimore.

Duluth, GA

October 30th, 2009
2:14 pm

I love the Mo’Nique show as well. I have noticed though, that we as people cannot please everyone. There will always be haters no matter the situation. Just kill the haters with kindness and positivity. Maybe one day they will grow up!

RuidosoNM

October 30th, 2009
11:45 pm

As Monique would say… I have somethin in my spirit and I need to talk about it. Let me start by saying I am a 39 year old white guy. I have followed Moniques career for many years. I love her. It’s as simple as that. My issue is that she is eventually going to run out of African Americans to have on her show. Will she then invite a Caucasian to be on her show? I understand it is BET (Black Entertainment Television) before all of you start getting on me. My issue is that by not having other races be involved in the show, that she is only perpetuating the race issue. I am white and appreciate good and funny people of an race. Period. I just feel that she is doing herself AND society an injustice by refusing to have people of a different color on her show. If I as a white male had a show of my own and refused to have anyone that was not white, I would be in serious trouble. I mean come on, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson would be screaming their heads off on CNN by the time the first show was over. Monique can do what she likes, but I think it will prove to be a mistake because she is limiting her viewing audience. Just my opinion. Thanks for letting me share what’s in my spirit. Love to all…….