Sheryl Lee Ralph—the Emmy-winning actress of the ABC mockumentary sitcom Abbott Elementary—admitted the cold open for episode 2 of the show's second season was inspired by a real-life mixup.
Ralph appeared on Tuesday's episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show alongside her Abbott Elementary costars Lisa Ann Walter and Quinta Brunson who is also the show's creator and writer.
Setting up the discussion, Clarkson informed her audience Brunson is known to incorporate things that happen to her in real life into the show.
When Clarkson asked Brunson's castmates if she applied the same practice to their characters, Ralph admitted:
"I made one mistake!"
In the cold open for the episode titled, "Wrong Delivery," Ralph's character Barbara Howard erroneously referred to White actors she thought were Black, like Brian Austin Green from Beverly Hills, 90210, when she actually meant Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry from the FX comedy-drama series Atlanta.
Barbara's other celebrity mixups seen in the episode included Carrie Underwood for Kerry Washington; Millie Bobby Brown for Bobby Brown; Tommy Lee Jones for James Earl Jones andDestiny's Child's Michelle Williams for Dawson's Creek's Michelle Williams.
You can watch the clip, here.
Ralph—who was also nominated for a Tony for her performance in the Broadway cast of Dreamgirls in 1981—recalled the time she mistook a popular TV producer for a Black man.
"When you hear the name Darren Star, tell me you don't think of a six-foot basketball player."
"Now you know Darren Star sounds like a Black man."
Star is best known for producing major TV series like, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place , Sex and the City, Younger and Emily in Paris.
You can watch the moment from The Kelly Clarkson Show, here.
Quinta Brunson Wrote Viral 'Abbott Elementary' Black Celeb Sketch After IRL Sheryl Lee Ralph Mix-Upsyoutu.be
Ralph went on to include another example where she thought the name of a White celebrity was a Black athlete.
"Now, you know Orlando Bloom," she said of the actor from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Disney's live-action Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
"Tell me you don't think about a nice bruising football player. Black man."
"Okay, so I got it wrong," she admitted, adding, "It was the wrong Orlando."
She then pointed to Brunson, who was seated next to her, saying:
"She ends up writing a whole episode."
Brunson clarified she only incorporated Ralph's errors into the episode's "cold open"–a narrative technique for TV to jump-start an episode ahead of the opening credits.
Abbott Elementary is currently in its second season.
The critically-acclaimed show airs on ABC on Wednesdays and is also streamed on various platforms such as Hulu, HBO Max and fuboTV.
So keep watching.
You never know when you might catch another vignette inspired by real-life embarrassment written into the show.