Locals show us Englewood’s funny side in ‘South Side’


(l-r: Kareme Young , Sultan Salahuddin , Quincy Young. Photo credit: Tim Hiatt)

Chicago brothers,
Bashir and
Sultan Salahuddin,
find humor in
everyday struggles
of working class,
aspirational locals.

Wow, that was funny. Like really funny.

The new Comedy Central series South Side premiered Wednesday night, and in case you didn’t get the gist from the opening line, the show is funny AF.

The network has long received critical acclaim from its premium scripted series, late night programming and animated series, including South Park, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Broad City, Drunk History, The Other Two, Corporate, The New Negroes with Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle, Tosh.0, and The Jim Jefferies Show, among others.

Add South Side to that list.

Brought to life by local Chicagoans in front and behind the camera, the bold and politically incorrect, scripted comedy is set in and around the working class neighborhood of Englewood on the South Side of Chicago.

Englewood is often portrayed as gang-infested, violent and crime-ridden and creators (Atlanta native) Diallo Riddle (Marlon) and Bashir Salahuddin (Glow) don’t ignore it, but they also know that like any place, there’s also a lot of joy, ambition, and silliness to be found there.

South Side follows two friends Simon and Kareme (brother Sultan and Kareme Young) who just graduated community college and are now ready to take over the world! But until they do, they’re stuck at Rent-T-Own, a retail-rental crossroads where the South Side’s vast ensemble of characters come together.

Despite the obstacles of inner-city life, these friends and their co-workers all strive to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Watch the entire first episode below:

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Salahuddin and Riddle appear alongside Chandra Russell, Lil Rel Howery, Nathaniel “Earthquake” Stroman, Jeff Tweedy, LisaRaye McCoy, Kel Mitchell and Ed Lover.

Driven by strong growth from primetime originals and late-night flagship The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Comedy Central in Q12019 recorded its best quarter since 2016 and became primetime’s fastest growing Top-20 network with Adults 18-34.

Comedy Central recorded 1.4 billion total social streams in the quarter, up +12% from the previous quarter and up +10% from the same quarter a year ago.

South Side’s jokes are rapid-fire, topical and often land successfully. Thought-provoking and often irreverent, it takes potshots at the sea of political correctness we, quite frankly, are drowning in.

The series gives us a fresh voice for this community’s everyday struggles and wins. Englewood is just a bullet-flying hell that President Trump has often tried to make it out to be.

It knows what it is doing and does so with brash confidence. As with Shameless, we get a firm and humorous depiction of life on the South Side. This side-splitting series is just what we needed for summer.

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com.