If you happened to watch “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, you might have caught the show’s spoof on the recent trend of African-American themed holiday films entitled “White Christmas.” The skit featured Paul Rudd as a Caucasian version of Tyler Perry’s signature Madea character as well as also poking fun at the box office smash “The Best Man Holiday.” Conveniently, HitFix spoke to Perry, who was promoting “A Madea Christmas,” less than 12 hours after the skit aired and asked him what his reaction was.
“It’s funny that you mention that,” Perry says. “I was watching ‘SNL’ last night and right after One Direction [performed and missed it.] I guess I must have fallen asleep.”
The thought of the skit did make Perry wonder if ‘SNL’ crossed the line (let’s remember, Lorne Michaels has been heavily criticized for lack of diversity within the cast), but that was that. And, to our knowledge, he still hasn’t publicly commented on the sketch.
Foremost on Perry’s mind is his latest endeavor, “A Madea Christmas.” This is the ninth time Perry has played the outspoken old woman who won’t stand for any foolishness and considering how popular she is he’ll be playing her for many years to come. Like “Madea’s Witness Protection” before it, “Christmas” has added some familiar and talented faces to the Madea universe: Larry the Cable Guy, Kathy Najmy, Chad Michael Murray, Alicia Witt and the one and only Lisa “Blair” Whelchel (really). Perry says the inclusion of Larry and Najmy lead to more improv than normal and a bunch of great stuff that was left on the cutting room floor.
Perry admits, “Are you kidding me? Some of the things that came out of their months I was like, ‘Did you just say that?’ Some of the outtakes that came out of their mouth couldn’t be in the film because they were NC-17. Larry is off the chain.”
“A Madea Christmas” finds our heroine accompanying her niece Eileen (the venerable Anna Maria Horsford) to the country to visit Eileen’s daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter). It turns out Lacey has been keeping a big secret from her mom and when Buddy and Kim (Larry and Nijmy) show up, Eileen is in for a rude awakening.
Lacey is a schoolteacher in this small rural town and that meant Perry had to direct more child actors than ever before. The 44-year-old has no qualms in admitting his true feelings about them.
“I love kids, but I love when they go home,” Perry says sheepishly. It’s always great to have children in movies, but children in movies can be…interesting. But these kids were really great. I just didn’t want any of the messages to be too much for them.”
Of course, Sumpter created the biggest laugh in the interview after that, but…well, you’ll just have to watch it in the top of this post to see for yourself.
“A Madea Christmas” opens nationwide on Friday.