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Where Else You've Seen The Cast Of The Upshaws

After releasing back in May, "The Upshaws" quickly became No. 1 on Netflix for a time, with outlets such as The New York Times pointing out how the series offers a throwback style of humor that people have been missing from Black-centered sitcoms in the 21st century — only with a modern twist. The Upshaws are a working-class family in Indiana, trying to maneuver through the complicated family dynamics of a blended family. While critics haven't been universally excited about the series, Entertainment Weekly liked it, saying that it "juices the multicamera-family-sitcom model with fresh dynamics, depth, and genuine laughs." Fans are currently waiting to see if it'll be renewed for a second season by the streaming giant that has given it a home.

If you've been watching it, you've certainly seen familiar faces, because many of these actors are experienced and have been part of the TV landscape for ages. Here's where you might have seen the members of the cast of "The Upshaws" before.

Mike Epps

Mike Epps plays Bennie Upshaw, the self-centered and anti-heroic head of the family whose prior indiscretion led to his fathering a teenage boy along with the three children he has with wife Regina (Kim Fields). Epps is a stand-up comedian who hosted the Def Comedy Jam on HBO but is perhaps best known for being in a few of the "Friday" movies: Early in his on-screen career, he was tapped to play Day-Day in 2000's "Next Friday," and then "Friday After Next." He should be reprising the role for "Last Friday," although that film is in limbo at the moment (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). 

You may also have seen Epps playing Reggie in 2002's "All About the Benjamins," as well as taking on the role of Ed Norton in 2005's "The Honeymooners," opposite Cedric the Entertainer and Gabrielle Union. In 2008 and 2009, he starred in "Soul Men," "Next Day Air," and "The Hangover" as Black Doug, and in 2011 he was in "Jumping the Broom." His more recent projects include the TV series "Uncle Buck" in 2016 and Starz's "Survivor's Remorse" in 2014-2016 and 2019's "Troop Zero," "Dolemite Is My Name," and "Stumptown." 

In 2016 he played Richard Pryor in the Nina Simone biopic called "Nina," and it looks like he'll be doing it again for a new drama series about the 1980s' L.A. Lakers for HBO (via Deadline). He was supposed to play Pryor in a biopic announced in 2014 as well, but it's unclear if he's still attached to that project, as he wasn't mentioned in a 2020 announcement from The Hollywood Reporter

If you're a video game fan, you may recognize his voice from "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and "Resident Evil: Extinction," in which he played the character L.J.

Kim Fields

You may just remember Kim Fields from her pig-tailed, roller-skating days as Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey on "Facts of Life." She also played that character on "Diff'rent Strokes," and her early career included notable projects such as "Roots: The Next Generations," as well. But if you're more a nineties TV fan than an eighties child, you might recall her most from "Living Single," where she played the dramatic wedding designer Regine Hunter. She has guest-starred on shows like "Kenan and Kel," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and "Cobra Kai," and her credits also lists numerous TV movies (including some holiday films) as well as a small role in "What to Expect When You're Expecting." In 2017, she also worked on the British TV series "Living the Dream."

Basically, the actress has been working in show business since she was 10 years old (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet), and that's because she enjoys what she does. "I love the industry. It's such a creative environment — I call it a playground. And I love to be able to play with different pieces of equipment or to participate in different activities. That's always fun to me and so, not being placed in a box is what keeps me going 45-plus years later," Fields told Black Girl Nerds.

She says that Regina Upshaw, the matriarch of this Netflix family, is not like anyone Fields has played before. "She's very no-nonsense. She's very direct and certainly in love with her family, with all of its imperfections and flaws, because she realizes at one point or the other, she's got a nice, big old handful of imperfections that she's got to navigate as well," Fields said about her character.

Wanda Sykes

You may know Wanda Sykes because, in 2004, the actress, comedian, and writer was named one of Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America (via BET). On "The Upshaws," she plays Regina's older sister Lucretia, who disapproves of Bennie and is a fixture in the family, but Sykes also co-created the show with Regina Y. Hicks.

Sykes started her TV career out as a writer, penning scripts for "The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show," "The Chris Rock Show" and "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" before she ever stepped onto a set. She's since written for the Academy Awards, her own shows, "Last Comic Standing," and more. As for her acting career, she had early 2000s roles in "Pootie Tang," "Monster-in-Law," "Clerks 2," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," and "Evan Almighty," along with a 2003 show called "Wanda at Large." You may have noticed her as herself on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Real Husbands of Hollywood," or playing Daphne Lido in "Black-ish." Her voiceover career has also been quite distinguished, so you might recognize her voice from some "Ice Age" films (she played Granny), "Rio," "UglyDolls" and others. 

Much of "The Upshaws," which she also writes for, was partially written and produced before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and she credits it for getting her through what was a tough time for everyone. "The writers were able to continue to write, and that was a saving grace because I didn't just sit here all day and wonder what the death count is and have I washed my hands enough," she told The Hollywood Reporter.  

Page Kennedy

Page Kennedy plays Duck, Bennie's childhood friend and fellow mechanic. Like the other adults in "The Upshaws," this actor has boasted a long and very distinguished acting career. His guest roles include parts in shows like "NYPD Blue," "The Shield," Six Feet Under," two "CSI" series, and "Bones," among others. You may have caught him in some of his recurring roles for shows like "Desperate Housewives," in which he was the fugitive Caleb Applewhite, "Weeds," where he played U-Turn, "Blue Mountain State," in which he was Radon Randell, or "Backstrom," as Frank Moto. He also played Gerald as a regular in the "Rush Hour" TV series, and appeared in the shark-themed thriller "The Meg," as DJ, the lab worker who can't swim. 

Kennedy, who is also a musician, has said that the talented people on "The Upshaws" were among the things that appealed to him most about being on the show. "The cast is amazing. You have Mike Epps at the helm, you have Wanda Sykes, and you have Kim Fields. Those are all iconic names, and personalities, and actors. So [with] that alone, I wanted to be a part of it. And then being Mike Epps' best friend is a fun and cool experience to have," he said in an interview with Brittany Frederick of TVBrittanyF.com.