Sunday, May 19, 2024

Allen Maldonado’s ‘Last O.G.’ Character is That ‘Ride or Die Friend We All Need’ [EUR EXCLUSIVE]

*When we last caught up with the uber-talented Allen Maldonado (black-ish, You’re the Worst), he was preparing the launch of his app for indie filmmakers called Everybody Digital and sharing the small screen opposite Tracy Morgan on the hit comedy series “The Last O.G.”

For season two, Maldonado is not only flexing his skills in front of the camera, the Cali native stepped into the writers room where he was able to dive deeper into the world of his character Bobby, the hilarious younger cousin of Tray (Morgan), and a fan fav.

“I’m super excited,” he said about season two during our exclusive interview. “It’s been a long awaited second season. I think it’s well needed right now, it’s well needed.”

When asked what three words best describe season two, Allen replied, “Growth, laughter and triumph.”

Get into our Q&A below about what Allen and the writers cooked up this season and check out our exclusive from Tuesday night’s episode.

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BURBANK, CA – APRIL 29: Actors Allen Maldonado and Tracy Morgan attends the after party during the TBS’ FYC Event For “The Last O.G.” And “Search Party” at Steven J. Ross Theatre on the Warner Bros. Lot on April 29, 2018 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

When you received word last year that the series had been picked up for another season, was there anything you were hoping to do more of this go around?

Well yeah, I guess the most exciting part of it all is that I joined the writer’s room for season two. So I had an inside job on making sure a lot of the story points and different ideas that I have for my character could actually be injected in the writer’s room before we even got to shooting the season. So I kind of had a leg up on that. We get a deeper look at who cousin Bobby is. We learn more about him, his personal relationships… We get to peel back the layers a little bit now that we’ve got the gist and the foundation of the show and we’ve established Tracy and his motivation and wanting to be the best father that he can be to his kids. We’ve established the world and now we just really digging inside of it.

Tell us about cousin Bobby and how he fits into Trey’s life.

Oh man, cousin Bobby… he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s the most fun. He’s going to get you in some trouble, but it’s going to be a lot of fun getting in and out of it. He loves Trey and will follow him to the ends of the earth. We all need a friend like that. You’re going to have some mistakes, but overall, you got a companion that will ride or die for you. And that’s what cousin Bobby is to Trey. He’s his ride or die. He will go to the end of the earth to do whatever his cousin needs him to do. And their relationship is genuine. My personal life and personal friendship with Tracy is just the same, I see him as a big brother, a mentor, a father figure — similar to cousin Bobby. What you see on camera is that in actuality, we’re really acting out our real relationship.

How much of your own persona is embedded in cousin Bobby?

A lot of it. I grew up in Harlem in the summers. My father’s Puerto Rican, so I would spend my summers at Spanish Harlem. A lot of the character is based off cousins and the experiences that I’ve seen and learned while visiting Harlem for those summers. And these are character traits that I’ve taken along with me into my adult life. A lot of the experiences and lessons and funny characters that I saw around the way is all injected in cousin Bobby. So the loyalty, like I mentioned, my loyalty to Tracy and everything he is passionate about — just that that ride or die for him in real life, is what you see on camera. So a lot of that is as real to life as anything else.

How would you describe Bobby and Trey’s dynamic this season compared to season one?

I think my character is maturing in this season along with Tracy’s character as he is getting more of an understanding of how to navigate in this new world after being in prison for 15 years. He’s really growing and I think that’s what you see; an evolution of our relationship and with evolution with every friendship there’s ups and down. So you’re definitely going to see those trials and tribulations throughout our relationship.

I think this is what season two embodies, growth in all of the characters. And that’s what you’re going to see and cousin Bobby is definitely a part of that growth. He’s still young and he’s still trying to discover what he really wants to do and who he really wants to become. He was left alone in the world where the two people that he counted on the most were gone. His brother passed away and then Trey was locked up. So being able to have one of those components back in his life ignites a lot of ideas and it gives you confidence to try new things. And I think that’s what you’re going to see with Bobby. He’s taking risks that he wouldn’t have taken if Trey wasn’t there.

BURBANK, CA – APRIL 29: Actors Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish and Allen Maldonado attends the after party during theTBS’ FYC Event For “The Last O.G.” And “Search Party” at Steven J. Ross Theatre on the Warner Bros. Lot on April 29, 2018 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Any specific themes explored this season?

We have several, I don’t want to spoil them as a lot of the stories are kind of linear and I don’t want to expose too much and give away anything. We definitely tackle some topics but we do it in our way. I just love the way our show was built where it has a heart, it has a depth to it where the comedy is rewarded by the dramatic undertones that we carry. I think that’s something that we really, really have a great handle on. Now we can sneak in these topics and it doesn’t feel forced or it doesn’t feel preachy because in the first season we had a lot of serious topics that we tackled. One being the fact that this man has been rehabilitated. The whole story of the first season is second chances.

Any notable guest stars this season?

Yeah, we got some incredible guest stars, Method Man, Rev Run, and that’s always fun, when you have a show that a lot of these people were excited and even requested to be a part of what we’re doing, just through watching the first season. So that kind of lets you know you’re doing the right thing.

Is it important for you to follow the conversation online about what folks think of the show?

Of course. I mean the fans power everything. So we definitely keep a pulse on what the fans want and how they want to see things. We’ve taken a lot of their input from the first season in consideration and we hopefully have done the job of satisfying everybody with all of their needs. It’s a beautiful challenge. In the writers room, you 10 or 12 creative, funny minds and I believe magic happens as you challenge each other. It’s steel sharpens steel. And you come up with the best stories to satisfy not just the fans but the characters’ needs.

Which do you find most therapeutic, writing characters or playing them?

Well, it all depends. For me, creating is my true addiction. So being able to satisfy it in a different ways is always a plus. It’s similar to eating food. Sometimes you want Italian. Sometimes you want soul food. Sometimes you want Spanish food. For me, that’s what it is. Acting serves a certain appetite as well as writing and creating. And my other businesses, I have a music company where I do music as well. We service TV and film placements around the world, called Get it Done Records. We’ve been doing that for eight years. So again, it serves a different appetite of creativity. There’s moments were acting is the most therapeutic and then there’s times when writing serves as the thing that I need the most. So it all depends.

I imagine working with Tracy and Tiffany Haddish, the laughter keeps on going long after the cameras are rolling.

It’s non-stop fun, it’s non-stop energy. We all pick our moments to take the lead as far as when we want to start and initiate jokes and get things going and keep the crew laughing. It’s a family on set. Tracy, he takes on the challenge to try to make everyone laugh as much as possible at all times and we just follow suit.

Tune in to “The Last O.G.” Tuesday at 10:30/9:30C on TBS.

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