Hulu canceled Wake upthe two-season comedy starring Lamorne Morris as a cartoonist trying to survive as a black man in America (while also being often addressed by inanimate objects in the environment, which vocalized his various traumas and inner thoughts). The partially animated series, based on the work of cartoonist Keith Knight, debuted on the streaming service in September 2020; he aired his second (and now last) batch of episodes on April 8, 2022.
In addition to Morris (in his first major leading role since new girl ceased broadcasting in 2018), Wake up starred Blake Anderson, T. Murph, Sasheer Zamata, Rose McIver and Aimee Garcia, in addition to the cast of soners brought in to voice their various inanimate objects, including JB Smoove, Nicole Byer, Eddie Griffin, Cree Summer, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Jack McBrayer, Cedric The Entertainer and Keith David (like The Bible, which seems particularly appropriate).
Wake up drew decidedly mixed reviews in its first season, with critics accusing it of not using its doses of absurdity much more than a distraction from the problems it hoped to solve. In his September 2020 review of the series for usShannon Miller wrote:
While this all-consuming transition from protective detachment to overwhelming awareness is new for Keef, it isn’t much of a new viewing experience for an audience currently witnessing a real, modern civil rights movement just outside its home. window. Neither Keef nor those around him offer any intriguing insights, the jokes are too worn to inspire real laughter, and Keef’s journey can often feel more like laid-back meanderings as the season goes through moments that focus too intensely on commonly explored microaggressions. For example, in the episode “Gig E. Smalls”, Keef discovers that he is the only black person at a party full of WASPy art lovers. Within moments, he’s under weary enticements as attendees approach him with condescending snippets about OJ Simpson, Wakanda, repairs, and a dusted-up reference to Sunken Place. It’s 2020. Haven’t we passed any of that?
The general glut of streaming content, meanwhile, seems to have left the show’s second season – which saw Morris’ Keef expand his reach as an “art-ivist” –largely unreviewed as it got lost in the mix; not entirely surprising, then, to see the spectacle get the boot this week.