Quinta Brunson, a “Child of the Internet,” Revives the Sitcom

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Quinta Brunson made a name for herself as a master of meme comedy and is a self-described “child of the Internet,” yet her ABC mockumentary series “Abbott Elementary” is an unabashed throwback to the sitcoms of her youth. Doreen St. Félix talked with Brunson at the 2022 New Yorker Festival about her influences and the everyday comedy of the workplace. St. Félix believes that Brunson has found “freedom in formula” when it comes to “Abbott,” which documents the lives of the beleaguered staff at a Philadelphia public school. “There is nothing that I could do,” Brunson says, “or [that] anyone can do that is more triumphant than someone going to their shitty job.” Writing in the wake of shows like “Black-ish,” Brunson relishes being able to center her story on Black people without addressing topical issues about race; the school is its own self-enclosed world. Just surviving, she thinks, provides its own form of liberation. So much has happened to Black people,” she says. “Why are we still here? . . . We really could have called it quits a long time ago, and somehow we just keep going. It’s crazy to me.”

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