Somewhere between his stints on the police procedural and legal drama television series K-Ville and Law & Order, Anthony Anderson found time to take take off his badge and take on the role of a recently laid off 30-something impersonating a four-year-old African adoptee for director Rob Pearlstein’s online series Matumbo Goldberg.
The best part about the way Anderson plays the character is he makes sure Mark (the recently laid off 30-something) doesn’t act the part. Mark is supposed to pretend he’s Matumbo, who’s supposed to be an infant Kenyan orphan, but aside from sporting a pair of jammies and chillin’ in a bed with a bed rail and in a bedroom with Thomas the Tank Engine decals, he acts like your average American man taking advantage of all the comforts better-off family members can provide. The only reason Mark/Matumbo can pull off the charade comes from a chronic case of suspended disbelief suffered by his adoptive parents.
I like it. it think it’s because it’s comforting watching an entertainment property where a man pretending to be someone he’s not is not wearing a dress or otherwise acting totally absurd while he’s doing the pretending. That goes for Mark/Mutumbo and his two best friends, too. A gynecologist from Pacific Palisades and a tax attorney from Encino reluctantly go along with Mutumbo’s ruse, but put next to no effort into acting the part.
Matumbo Goldberg is an Atom original series courtesy of Tom Banister and SXM productions (the individual and company involved in other hit web series like Ikea’s Easy to Assemble and NBC’s Fact Checkers Unit). Banister tells me he saw Pearlstein’s original Matumbo Goldberg short film way back in 2008.
“I saw it and invited Rob to the set of the first season of Easy to Assemble where we hit it off,” Bannister said. “We decided it was too risque for brands to be involved with and that it was a show orientated at younger guys. We thought the atom/Comedy Central/Spike brands would be perfect.”
Bannister and Pearlstein pitched the series to atom. They liked it. It was then just a matter of finding time in Anderson and Pearlstein’s schedules to get Matumbo Goldberg made. The parties involved shot four episodes of the series in December 2010. You can now catch them all as they’re released on atom.com.