Created by LA-based standup comedian and writer Alesia Etinoff, the new webseries “Avant-Guardians” is a social-justice-themed dramedy starring Etinoff and Last Comic Standing and Def Comedy Jam’s Zainab Johnson.
Razz (Etinoff) is the Guardian Angel to the 12-year-old future third black President, Charlie, whom she refers to as “Creepy Charlie.” Razz is mandated by God to attend therapy with an ArchAngel, Dr. Hanniel (Johnson). Each episode documents one of these 2-5 minute therapy sessions, exploring societal issues like systematic oppression, mass incarceration, homophobia, and mental health.
“I wanted to comment on the state of society – the racist, sexist, trans/homophobic trauma in everyday life, but from a perspective that was seemingly removed, yet invested,” says Entinoff. “I also found the notion that in our deepest and most embarrassing moments there could be someone watching, laughing, rooting for, and side-eyeing us.”
“Avant-Guardians"' approach to difficult issues is hip and refreshing, like in the way it personifies Racism, who put a book out because he was worried Sexism was getting more attention, or complains about how Rape is still prom king. The webseries even imagines Racism and Sexism’s love child, WBW, or War on Black Women, who is “living his best life right now.”
Etinoff explains that she worked to address the issues that mattered to her community without being “judgmental, preachy” or “aggressive,” and wanted to make those topics “accessible through comedy.”
As Dr. Hanniel says in Episode 4, “It’s society’s job to make room” for people who are different. “Avant-Guardians” opens up that conversation, demonstrating that making difficult discussions approachable doesn’t make them any less powerful.
Check out all seven episodes here.
Top photo via Alesia Etinoff, Avant-Guardians.
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Anna Wesche is a BUST intern, a writer, blogger, and lover of Doritos (Nacho Cheese). Follow her on Instagram at @annamargery to watch her gradual transformation into a cat.