Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Wayne Brady to play a gun-toting supersoldier on Black Lightning

Photo: Allen Berezovsky (Getty Images)

It seems like just yesterday (because it was) that we were last thinking about Chappelle’s Show’s “Is Wayne Brady Gonna Have To Choke A Bitch?” sketch, a.k.a. one of the greatest subversions of one man’s comic persona of all time. (Even if Brady did kind of have to be talked into some of the rougher parts.) Now we’re confronted with the news that the Let’s Make A Deal host is joining the next season of The CW’s Black Lightning, where he’ll be playing a character with the not-especially Wayne Brady-esque codename of “Gravedigger.”

The Gravedigger character dates back to ’70s DC Comics, where he was a starring character in the hard-bitten war comic Men At War. The original version was a Black American soldier who overcame polio, then invaded the Pentagon when his superiors refused to give him anything but menial labor to do. The latter incarnation, meanwhile, was a superspy with the publisher’s enigmatic Checkmate organization, gifted with telepathic powers; neither one of them was noted, as far as we can tell, for their musical improv skills.

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Brady will be playing Tyson Sykes (also the name of the latter version of Gravedigger) when he joins the superhero show. (Which, with the exception of big crossover events, isn’t really part of the network’s Arrowverse of shows.) Per Deadline, he’s being described by producers as “a World War II-era member of the U.S. military who was transformed into a superhuman fighting machine through secret laboratory experiments,” and so, presumably, doesn’t really care what the fuck you’ve got in your pockets right now. We have honestly no idea what sort of persona Brady will adopt for this—part of what makes that Chappelle’s Show sketch so freaky is that he seems incapable of not smiling, at least a little bit—but it’ll be interested to see what he brings to the superhero game.

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