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Bring back the variety show! ‘Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest’ this Monday night



Is the classic variety show a lost art? Those of us who grew up on “Ed Sullivan” or “The Flip Wilson Show” — or even “In Living Color” or “All That” — likely share fond memories of gathering around the television each week to enjoy an array of comedy sketches and top musical acts of the day. It’s an era Byron Allen remembers well, inspiring him to invite an assortment of his famous friends to join him for “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest,” airing Monday night on theGrio Cable Network.

Byron Allen speaks during “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music Superfest” on Feb. 6, 2023 in Los Angeles.
(Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Byron Allen, Allen Media Group)

Those friends include musicians Boyz II Men, John Legend, Toni Braxton, Gladys Knight, and Earth, Wind & Fire, led by famed musical director Rickey Minor. As for the comedy, Allen’s hilarious lineup includes Kenan Thompson, Cedric The Entertainer, Tiffany Haddish, Howie Mandel, Gabriel Iglesias, Tommy Davidson, Roy Wood, Jr., Dane Cook, Gary Owen, Jon Lovitz, and Jodi Miller.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” Allen told theGrio backstage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater during the special’s taping in February. “And we’re just bringing superstar talent back to primetime TV and creating family television.”

Credit: Scott Poulson-Bryant (Twitter)

Allen is far from alone in wanting to bring the variety show back to primetime. Comedian and SuperFest co-host Howie Mandel needed no convincing of the format’s appeal, having been a longtime judge on “America’s Got Talent.”

“First of all, when Byron calls, without hesitation, I say yes,” he told theGrio, adding, “I love variety. I love music and comedy. And there’s not a lot of it anymore in primetime television. So, you know, I think [Byron’s] bringing back what built television.”

Comedian and co-host Roy Wood Jr. agreed, telling theGrio, “I think what Byron Allen has tapped into is just America’s desire to be entertained by the people that they love. … If you have great live entertainment, people will show up; every single awards show is proof of that. And this is proof that you don’t have to have anything associated with a trophy or a countdown of ‘who’s the best.’”

“[The SuperFest] is just a bunch of dope performers doing the things that you’ve already known them for all in one place, all in one program,” Wood added.

The best part? You and your loved ones can enjoy this one-stop entertainment extravaganza from the comfort of your couch this holiday weekend. “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest” is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. ET Monday on theGrio Cable Network. “The Superfest Post Show,” a behind-the-scenes special featuring conversations with the evening’s performers, immediately follows.

 The variety show will be available for streaming Tuesday on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and other platforms.


TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. TheGrio’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Writing Black‘ with Maiysha Kai.


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