Mike Epps (158744)

There are many solid reasons to add Starz to your viewing slate. Along with “Power,” there is the family drama-edy “Survivor’s Remorse” from executive producers LeBron James and Tom Werner, which follows the life of Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher), a hardworking young basketball star who is thrust into the limelight after signing a huge contract with a pro team in Atlanta.

In the second season, it’s about the challenges of balancing the needs of family with the rewards and responsibilities generated by that newfound wealth and fame. The Calloway clan is unique, and Uncle Julius (Mike Epps), who offers his opinions, advice and observation without a single filter, makes the series worth watching and re-watching.

Let me frame it another way. The witty, acrid sharp observations made by Uncle Julius, under Epps’ keen eye is why— in large part—this series clicks. On the surface, his performance isn’t just funny, it’s transformative.

No wonder, Mike Epps is a comedic genius. This is my opinion, and I’m backed up by millions who would eagerly defend that statement. Why? Because Epps is more than funny. Epps is deep, baby, deep, like the old-school comedians deep, which means he’s scratching under the neat surface; he’s digging for the truth and he’s delivering it, and we appreciate the effort because we know that real comedy is painful, backbreaking work.

When Epps left his hometown of Indianapolis, he was heading toward becoming a legend, and he’s halfway to hitting that goal. Diversification is key in all successful business, so it helps that he is also a producer, keeping his hands in film and television. Up next is the ABC series “Uncle Buck,” which is an adaptation of the 1989 comedy. In brief, it’s about an unreliable man-child taking care of his brother’s kids. 

“I’m excited about my new show. I don’t know if I can share those details in this room,” said Epps, joking about the new comedy.

On the film front, Epps is about to step-up and step-out, portraying the legendary and controversial Richard Pryor in the biopic under the helm of director Lee Daniels.

“It was a fight to get the role,” Epps stated, despite the fact that Epps was handpicked by Pryor before his death for the role. 

In true Hollywood fashion, the Pryor biopic had been languishing in development for some time, but with the Weinstein Company on board, success is being forecasted.

Daniels was so excited about confirming Epps that he posted a photo of himself, Oprah Winfrey and Epps with the caption, “And we’re off … Get ready y’all for #richardpryor @eppsie @oprah.”

Also joining the cast is Eddie Murphy, playing Pryor’s father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor, Kate Hudson as Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Pryor, and Oprah Winfrey as Pryor’s grandmother, Marie Carter.

When asked about his favorite Pryor line, Epps responded with warp speed. “I am really nervous right now because I ain’t had no cocaine since lunch,” he quoted.

“I can tell you right now nobody can put it down like Mike can,” said “Survivor’s Remorse” co-star Jessie T. Usher. “My trailer is next to Mike, and in the morning I would hear him playing Richard Pryor, just getting into it. You can feel the energy of him embodying [Pryor] through the walls. I’m trying to tell you no one is going to kill it like Mike.”

“Survivor’s Remorse” returned to Starz Aug. 22. Follow @SRemorse_Starz on Twitter. Join the conversation with #SurvivorsRemorse and #STARZ.