THE K CHRONICLES Exclusive: Cartoonist Keith Knight Is Making A Comic For Each Episode Of WOKE

Cartoonist Keith Knight has been releasing his comic strip The K Chronicles since the 1990s, and now that the series Woke is on Hulu, the creator has revealed he will be drawing a comic about the show!

We got the incredible opportunity to speak with political cartoonist Keith "Keef" Knight (The K Chronicles). Having been a comic strip creator for decades, it was an honor to catch up with him, and after seeing Hulu's new series Woke (which is based on real situations in his life), we had plenty to ask him about.

Knight made sure that he had as much to do with the series as possible, from casting to writing to pretty much everything else. The show's cast includes Lamorne Morris (New Girl), Sasheer Zamata (SNL), Blake Anderson (Workaholics), and T. Murph, all of who we learned more about during our chat.

When speaking with Keith about the easter eggs and hidden messages in Woke, he pointed out that there are many more than people have noticed. He then revealed that he would be creating a comic about each episode of the series to take a deeper look at those things and more.

To hear our exclusive conversation with Knight, click the podcast player below. We've also included our chat with star Blake Anderson (Workaholics) in the transcript below.

24m 10s Literary Joe: Because there are only eight half-hour episodes, I told them, no lie, I've seen the show four times already. I love it, the message. And every time we watched it, I think I pulled a little bit something more from it.

24m 38s Keef Knight: Well, there are super subtle things that you will notice after multiple views. In the second episode, when he's in the comic book shop, he's staring at the wall of graffiti with the toast and butter up there. As he is against the wall, behind them, it says cartooning classes, but his head blocks out the art in cartooning, so then it says Kooning asses. It's super subtle, but I've only seen one person post it online about that.

25m 44s Keef Knight: It's little subtle things like that that are throughout the series. I'm going to do a strip about each episode that has a little bit of behind the scenes, that's going to make everybody want to look at them again and see them in a whole different way.

26m 3s Literary Joe: Do you know when those are going to be coming out?

26m 6s Keef Knight: I guess when I draw them. It's like, do I do a Comic about the show? Or do I do a comic about this s**t show that it is the election right now? The election, I would regret if I didn't do stuff about figuring out whether you're registered here or how everyone will try to keep you from voting. And the government is trying to keep you from voting, and they're going to do well with a bunch of people. They're going to keep a lot of people from voting. And I tell everybody, get out there, find out if you're registered, figure out where you are registered, and try to do it in person. Load up your cell phone and sit, be prepared to sit around for a few hours. Imagine what it was like if the Star Wars movies were still good, and camping out to see them. But the Mandalorian! It's good.

27m 42s Literary Joe: The inanimate objects that talk are like an adult version of Sesame street in the way that they are teaching the character about what's really happening. And I read that the biggest reason those were involved was that you didn't want to attribute those things to an actual character because it went over the top a little too much. But I'd like to hear that in your words and from your perspective.

28m 12s Keef Knight: Well, here's the reason why we like animated characters. Cause they can say the things that we don't want humans to say, or they can't say. It was vital for us to comment on a lot of this stuff through their perspective, and it's true because a human character is going, "40 ounces are poisoning the black community". That does sound very preachy here.

28m 43s Keef Knight: It's more interesting if the bottle says, "Anheuser Busch made us." We had some lines that didn't make it in there. But, a lot of these mountain liquors are made by these big companies. Here in North Carolina, in the core black neighborhoods, its not just Martin liquor. They have this moonshine in these jars, and they're sitting there, and you think this is homemade moonshine. I looked at it, and I looked at the label underneath it, and it was Anheuser Busch that made this moonshine. It's such a big sham. But that was important for us to do that. And the other thing was this, I said at the beginning, there's nothing more boring in a show about a cartoonist is having the cartoonist just sit at the table drawing. We had to do something more than that.

30m 55s Keef Knight: How can we make this a unique show about a Cartoonist? We will have inanimate objects animate and talk to him, and it was important for us not to have too much of it because we didn't want it to be a buddy show about the guy and his talking marker. The voices were great, but I like that the human story is much more of what drives it. And I like the fact that the animation manifests itself in different and unique ways. So you don't know when it's coming. I would often say like in the Sixth Sense; you don't know where the ghosts are coming next. It was essential to do that with the animation.


15m 18s Literary Joe: What I like about Blake Anderson's character, Gunther, is that he portrayed the flaws of the "white ally" well because it's evident that Gunther cares about Keef; he tells him don't drink pop after midnight, he ran at a bunch of cops for him. But in his mind, he's not doing anything wrong. He is the best he can be because that's all he knows. Even though he lives with Keef, he still doesn't understand. Is that how it was in your real life too? Or where did the inspiration come for that character?

16m 22s Keef Knight: Gunther is an amalgamation of all my 271 white roommates. I think it's the naivete of white people to their own privilege. It's like asking a fish how's the water feel, and the fish is, like what water? It's just like you grow up in it. It is what it is. It is a big jump for people to acknowledge that.

17m 18s Literary Joe: The worst thing about that ignorance, and ignorance in general, is that you think you're doing the right thing. It's all about how we can educate someone in a way that is going to reach them. And that's why I like Woke; even though these aren't new issues, I feel like it's reaching people who think they are new issues because there was never something that was able to tap into their perspective. And I like that this show does that. Exactly how much were you involved with the show? What kind of contributions did you have on the actual series versus being the basis?

18m 3s Keef Knight: I was all up in there. Here is my philosophy. I've met so many creators who have sold their stuff to Hollywood, and then they back away, and then Hollywood takes it and makes a mess out of it. And then the person is like; they really screwed up, I hate it. I don't even want to look at it, blah, blah, blah. I didn't want it to be that. If Hollywood was going to screw it up, I want it to be right in the middle of watching it being screwed up and making those screwy decisions. I'm an executive producer, and I wrote episodes, co-wrote, and worked on a lot. I was in the writer's room. I was on set. I helped with the location's, I did all of the artwork, worked with the animators. Seriously, that's one of the most satisfying things about the show. It is people who know my work, see it and go, Oh my God, like you're all over it! It's all there. I know it's a whole different thing, I know the character is different than me and this and that, but it is enough of it in there, it captures the sensibility. My kids are listening to the How to Train Your Dragon books, and we saw the movies too, and they're on the moon. They are all different. I love how the creator was involved in both. She wrote the books, but she was involved in creating the movies too. She says that they are different, but they capture the same essence. I like howWoke'se sensibility reflects my comics' sensibility, and that couldn't have happened unless I was a big part of it. It's hard to convey.

20m 8s Literary Joe: Blake's character Gunther mentioned that it's like you gave away your Child, and it goes right into the comparison with the syndication thing. They are going to change it, they are going to take it, they are going to do whatever they want, and you can't do anything about it. I like that you were involved with it. Were you involved in the casting? Lamorne did an amazing job of pulling it off. I loved it from start to finish.

20m 52s Keef Knight: I was involved in all aspects of it, and Lamorne saw the script and was like, "that is me. I'm going to do this character." I didn't even know he was available. I knew nothing. And we had our eyes set on somebody else, but they couldn't do it because they were working on their show that they had more control over. So we had a bunch of people come through, and there were a few good people, but he had it down like this, this whole sensibility. We work in the same zone. Everything came together. The way T. Murph came through like the Clovis character was supposed to be a bigger guy, much bigger. And he came through and his personality, his beard - that's Clovis right there. Gunther was the same way as Lamorne. Gunther was the hardest one to cast. People either had the spacey thing down, like the druggy thing down, but they didn't have it. Blake is deceptively a much deeper actor than he comes off as being.

22m 36s Literary Joe: He's a fashion designer! There are so many layers there.

22m 44s Keef Knight: He's extremely talented. When we heard he was interested, that was really cool. We thought we'd never get him, so we keep on looking for that next person. But then we kept on hearing that it sounds like he's interested. And to see how they all came together on the set and Sasheer and Rose, it's amazing. We kept on giving Sasheer more stuff cause she was so good. But, my producer was saying he's worked on shows where they end up with actors, and they don't have the chemistry and they're like, "Oh, well, you know, we've just got to deal with it." But these characters, these actors, are so good. And they inhabited their character so well that you want to hang out with them more. I love hearing from everybody going, why only eight episodes? I want more. I want more now.

*This interview has been edited for clarity. Audio is co-hosted by fellow writer Comic Brooks and cosplay actress Darth Lexii.*

New comedy series, Woke, follows Keef, An African-American Cartoonist finally on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes everything. Keef must now navigate the new voices and ideas that confront and challenge him, all without setting aflame everything he’s already built.

Season 1 of Woke is now streaming on Hulu.

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