NEW YORK – For a guy who says he doesn't want to be known as the 7Up guy, Orlando Jones (search) sure has a way of bringing it up every five minutes.
Good thing too, since I never would have remembered that he appeared in commercials for 7Up if he hadn't mentioned it.
Jones brought up his fame as a soda pitchman on the debut of his new late-night show Monday on FX. The half-hour Orlando Jones Show (search) has taken up residence weeknights at 11.
Jones, 35, is a comedic actor once seen on Mad TV and more recently in the hit film Drumline.
On his new talk show, he's anxious to appear edgy, so he traffics in humor that is at times racist and at other times merely tasteless.
Jones, an African-American, joked about actor Adrien Brody (search), a Caucasian-American, and Brody's recent string of on-screen kisses with Queen Latifah (search) (at the MTV Movie Awards) and Halle Berry (search) (at the Oscars).
Jones joked that a black man kissing a white woman on TV would be black-balled from TV. Then several white women came on stage to ask him for a kiss. Ha ha.
Much more effective was a bit in which a brash, streetwise pimp named C.N. Money (played by Jones) gave advice to the rock group Kiss on how to market themselves to the urban community.
I also liked the animated "Adventures of Chico & Guapo." On Monday's show, the two title characters were so impressed with America's Most Talented Kid that they schemed to develop the talent of a child so young he was still in his mother's womb.
Jones was a comfortably laidback interviewer in his conversation with Brody, his first guest.
The host also demonstrated a keen sense of showmanship in introducing the evening's musical guest, an unknown white southern rapper named Brooks Buford who tore the roof off the place with his performance of an original composition called "Trailer Fabulous."
Jones knew we'd never heard of this guy and yet he boldly promised we'd be impressed. And he was right.
Jones too is supremely talented. He shouldn't have to resort to shock comedy to secure his future as a late-night host.