Amanda Seales did not act during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The actor and comedian told CNN that he was serious about the quarantine and didn’t even think about going on tour with his standup show to protect himself and his audience.
At the time, he said, it didn’t feel like comedy.
“I sat there for two years,” he said. “I was always a conscious person, but I became more politicized in the last two years. And about five months ago there was this chemical reaction where it was like politicization and then the comic in me collided, and it was like, I had to get back on stage to be able to talk about that bull. I’m watching.”
The result is his “Black Outside Again” tour, where he brings his passion for comedy and social justice to the stage. Seales said he waited until security measures and advances were made to reduce the chances of contracting Covid and dealing with a “life-threatening situation” before returning to tour.
“I took the opportunity to say, ‘Okay, let’s go back outside and be Black people out,'” Seales said. “Because being a community is our own therapy.”
Best known for her role as Tiffany DuBois on HBO’s “Insecure,” Seales’ debut stand-up comedy special, “I Be Knowin,” premiered in 2019. (HBO and CNN are both part of Warner Bros. Discovery).
The world has changed a lot since then.
“Oh, we’re in hell,” Seales said when asked where he thought we were politically.
“We’re looking at so many politicians who want to be rock stars or Jesus,” he said. “Really, we as citizens must open our eyes and say: ‘What will I do to regain control of the destiny of my life?’ And I don’t think people really understand that.”
In response to what he sees as widespread apathy, he has organized voter registration and community activists from each city to take the stage at his shows.
“That’s something I’m really trying to give people on stage through comedy and humor,” he said. “For example, you have more power than you’re giving yourself credit for because we’ve been tricked into thinking we’re powerless.”
But his show isn’t all politics, he said.
“I’m talking about dates, I’m talking about relationships, I’m talking about my mom, I’m talking about my childhood,” Seales said. “So of course there are other elements going on.”
Seales has several North American tour dates through December.