Lony’e and Peyton Perrine were tired of seeing negative representations of married life in the media and decided that they wanted to create something to highlight the positives. Out of this came Funny Married Stuff, a short form comedy that is up for Emmy consideration. This sketch comedy has already gained national attention by winning awards at a variety of festivals including Best Sketch Comedy at the Miami Web Fest and Best Web Series at the Philadelphia Independent Film Awards. I had the chance to ask the Perrines some questions about the series and also a bit about tips for a happy marriage.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourselves?
Peyton: “I am a supportive husband, loving father, and I have found my niche in the creative space as a content creator and a writer.”
Lony’e: “I am a mother of two who has been an actress for quite some time now doing commercials, film, and TV, who appreciates the support of her husband (Peyton jokingly said “you better” at this point in the interview) on this journey and I am just excited to share the importance of marriage and parenting at this stage of my life.”
How would you describe your series Funny Married Stuff?
Peyton: “Funny Married Stuff is just that. It is a short form show that you can catch online that’s about all the random funny things that happen in marriage.”
Lony’e: “Yes, very funny situations, situations that are common everyday things, whether it’s lack of privacy, your spouse losing his swag the older he gets, or those common conversations and topics that married couples have. The whole idea behind our show was really to show humor, but show the truth of what marriage is and to have people, at the end of the day, after they laugh, say “oh my gosh I get the point they’re trying to make. Yes, we should communicate better or yes we should maybe think about therapy or really get to the heart of the issue.”
Peyton: “To sum that one up, Funny Married Stuff is about real issues that happen in marriage and how through communication and laughter you can address those issues in marriage.”
(Lony’e ended this sentence with an “um, hm,” as emphasis on the point.)
What inspired you to create this series?
Peyton: “A few years ago there were a bunch of high profile divorces in the news and on TV and we were sitting around with some of our friends, Natalie and Dennis, who are actually in the show. We were just talking about things that happened in our marriages and we were all laughing about them. We said that should be a show and my wife would go to acting class on Thursday nights and she voluntold me to write the series.”
Lony’e: “It came about just because we really wanted to change the narrative a little bit about marriage. We wanted to do something that is one, inspiring to other couples, and two, there are so many negative stereotypes in the industry, and not just in the industry, in marriages, about specifically black people where there is either a baby mom or a baby dad or a deadbeat dad, when in reality when we look at our friends and their marriages, that’s not the reality. After talking with our friends, we said “let’s tell our stories, whether they be examples from our lives or other situations in other people’s lives that we just really wanted to touch on and celebrate marriage and tell people to work it out.” Don’t rush to divorce, just try to figure out a way to work it out and not giving up on the marriage.”
Peyton: “That’s actually a perfect answer to the next question, which was “what do you hope viewers take away from this series?”(The interviewees were provided the questions in advanced and sent back an audio file to be transcribed for the article you are reading now.) I think it’s just that marriage is hard, but marriage is worth it if you put in the time and I think Lony’e you provided some great examples about that.”
How has the show acted as a jumping off point for other projects for the cast and crew?
Peyton: “I would say our cast and crew was already very active and working.”
Lony’e: “Everyone whose part of our cast and crew is pretty much established already in the industry. They may not be household names, but they’ve been working at this craft for a while. So I wouldn’t say a jumping off point, it was a matter of bringing everyone’s skill sets and talents together to create a show about marriage and friendships and relationships. Just to clarify that point.”
Peyton: “We absolutely celebrate the success of the cast and crew members and the great things that they’re doing now with their careers and the great things they’ve been doing. We are definitely proud of them for sure.”
Lony’e: “Oh absolutely, so many great things that are happening with the cast like Lia Martin, she’s one of our writers, she’s a writer on the new show Family Reunion. We also have Nika King who is one of our producers, writers, and actors on the show, she’s also on the new show Euphoria. We have Natalie Taylor, who has an amazing headwrap company called Royal House of Wraps.”
Peyton: “Some of her headwraps have been featured in different shows as well, which is pretty cool.”
Could you discuss some of the festival screenings Funny Married Stuff has been in?
Peyton: “We have definitely been in several festivals recently.”
Lony’e: “The first was the New York City Web Festival where we were nominated for three awards and after that we were in the Pan African Film Festival, which is here in Los Angeles, and we were a selection. After that we were in the Miami Web Fest, where we took home Best Sketch Comedy, and we also were in different award shows. We were nominated for five awards for the Indie Series Awards. We were nominated for several awards in the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and we won Best Web Series there. Recently we just found out that we got selected for two other film festivals, one is LA Shorts International Film Festival, which is July 17th through the 25th, and we actually screen on July 18th at 1 o’clock so we would love for your readers to come and check us out there. We also got into the DC Black Film Festival, which is August 15th through the 17th. We do not have our screening dates for that yet, but if any of your followers are in DC they should check us out in August.”
Peyton: “On top of that, something else that is really cool, is we are waiting to hear back as to whether both the show, Funny Married Stuff, and my lovely wife, Lony’e, have been nominated for an Emmy. We were on the short list or the ballot for a short form Emmy for…”
Lony’e: “Outstanding Series, Short Form Series, and Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Series Comedy or Drama.”
Peyton: “Thank you for cleaning that up.”
Lony’e; “Of course, no worries, Team Perrine! And we have been campaigning since March, voting just ended last week, and we are patiently praying and waiting and trying not to think about it. But we find out on July 16th whether we are an official nominee in those categories.”
How has the shift been for you Lony’e from actress to actress/producer?
Lony’e: “That’s a good one, a lot of times as actors, you go to school, you train, and no one really prepares you for the reality of when you’re really doing this. They are teaching you all about the acting portion, but no one really teaches you the business. You get used to auditioning and booking or not and you think that’s it. Either someone is going to give me my opportunity or nothing. Once I had kids something just changed in me when I said, “I have to create my own opportunities, I know I have something here.” I’m just really grateful I was able to show my talents as part of this amazing project, which highlights something that is really so important to me. Making that shift at first was very scary, but I said, you know what you have to take risks in life, you have to jump and you can’t let fear stop you. You can’t let motherhood stop you, you can’t let being a wife stop you, so I took on the challenge. It’s made me a better actress. Now that I understand how to produce and what it takes, as part of creating a production company, has completely changed my mindset and my outlook on the industry. It was one of the best decisions I could have made and I like wearing my new hats.”
Peyton: “I’ll jump in, just a little bit for myself, I know it wasn’t necessarily the question, but for me I have a sales/marketing/project management background and for me jumping in as a writer and producer, and now even an actor, it’s been really cool because I’ve been able to use some of the skill sets I use every single day at work to help out with the project. My wife and I have this motto, Team Perrine, where it is all about the team, the teamwork, us working together to get goals accomplished and we both have different skills that we bring to the table. We complement each other. Where I fall short, she’s strong and where she needs a little bit of help I jump in. That’s been really cool, working with each other not just to manage a household, but to actually manage a production, has been very eye opening and I feel like bring us a little bit close together, thought I couldn’t be no closer to my baby, but you know.” (During this Lony’e and Peyton were both laughing.)
Not only do you both play a married couple in Funny Married Stuff, you have been successfully married for fifteen years, what are some of your tips for a happy marriage?
Peyton: “I’ll just say from a guy’s perspective I think sometimes you got to swallow your pride a little bit and not always be right, but be true. Making sure that you’re openly and honestly communicating with your wife and making sure it is all part of the team effort. I think one of the other reasons we came up with Funny Married Stuff is because we wanted to be sure we were creating opportunities for Lony’e as well as some of our other friends instead of waiting back for Hollywood to say oh yeah, here’s your opportunity.”
Lony’e: “To jump in on that point, then I’ll get back to the question, we have so many talented friends and creatives. We see each other at auditions, we see each other at church, or at performances. Just talking on the phone about how hard we are trying to get the opportunities in front of or behind the camera. We were like, we just need to bring everyone together and do this. And I’m just so proud of everyone, the skill sets they lent to the project, their vision, really just letting their talent shine. I’m really, really proud of our cast and crew. To go back to what the question was, I would like to piggyback off of what Peyton said, communication. That is huge. I never forget, my father-in-law on our wedding night…”
Peyton: “Shout out to Pops!”
Lony’e: “*laughs* Right after he gave the toast at our reception, one advice that he has given, which has lasted all these years, is that you should never go to bed angry. I can honestly say we have not. If something happens we talk about it, we get it off our chests, we express ourselves and we really pride ourselves on communicating well. Especially now that we have children. Children feel everything. They’ll know when something’s not right in a marriage and we don’t want our children growing up in that kind of household. I would say communication is key and I would just say being open to go for the journey of life. Peyton has been 100% open going on this creative journey and I appreciate that because he gets me as a creative. He said you know what, I’mma just be open, and he now has found something that he enjoys doing because I just believed in him. I just know he is a funny guy and he makes me laugh and I think he can make the world laugh with his writing. That’s why I said, “hey Peyton why don’t you write the episodes for season one while I’m in acting class.” That’s been an amazing journey and to see him now with season two, part of our whole writers room that we had, with him learning and growing from that standpoint has just been an amazing journey. I would just say communication and being open to what the journey brings as a couple together.”
Where can our readers keep up with you both and Happy Married Stuff online?
Peyton: “Our website is www.funnymarriedstuff.com and Lony’e’s website is Lony’e Perrine. That’s also how you can find her on Instagram and Facebook. For me, it’s pizmoney on Instagram, Peyton Perrine on Facebook, and for the project it’s Funny Married Stuff on Instagram and Facebook and its @funmarriedstuff on Twitter.
Lony’e: “Our show is more a Facebook show, that’s where our community is.”