Queen of Comedy Mo’Nique will make history tonight when she becomes the first African American woman to host a late-night talk show.
“The Mo’Nique Show” premieres tonight on BET and her first guest will be comedic actor Steve Harvey. Yes, it’s another first for blacks and black women specifically. How did it happen?
“The same way that I got called on to the ‘Apollo’ is the same way that I walked into this talk show,” Mo’Nique said of the pioneering opportunity. Just as she had received a call from show producer Suzanne DePasse about hosting “Showtime at the Apollo,” she got a call from another African American female pioneer for her new show.
“This amazing sister named Loretha Jones, who is now president of programming at BET called me up and said, ‘I am going to be the new president at BET, and I would love to be in business with you. Can you come in and talk and have a meeting?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ When I went in and sat down with her, I immediately knew that she got it,” she said. “I’ve met with every executive that’s ever been at BET, but when we walked out of the room with that sister, we knew that she got it.”
Monique said that it was her husband, who also co-executive produces the show with her, who came up with the idea for a late-night show for her.
“I actually had three other talk show pilots. The first one I had with Disney. It was me, Wendy Williams, and they kept switching up the third lady, so we didn’t know who that was going to be. That didn’t go,” Monique said.
Take a look at our Mo’Nique gallery: