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Arts & Entertainment

How Comedian Laci Mosley Went from Frisco to HBO and iCarly

The Frisco-raised comedian made the world laugh on A Black Lady Sketch Show. Now, she's bringing the jokes as Harper on iCarly.
By Alex Gonzalez |
Courtesy of Ali Paige Goldstein/HBO

Television has a new resident funny girl. Having recently joined the cast of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show and the Paramount Plus revival of iCarly, actress and comedian Laci Mosley is the one to watch.

The Frisco-raised actress’ vibrant personality comes through in her unfiltered commentary on contemporary events. This April, Mosley debuted as a cast member on A Black Lady Sketch Show. Surrounded by other Black women comedians, Mosley describes the show as a platform that has allowed her to be creative and explore various facets of her Black, queer identity without having to explain herself.

“It’s so relaxing to be able to be my full, Black authentic self in every degree and not worry about people understanding me,” says Mosley. “You’re living in a world where you’re no longer othered.”

Working with a predominantly Black cast and crew allowed Mosley to focus on her craft. “It was interesting to just be able to concentrate on the art,” she says. In the past, Mosley worried about the crew being unable to do her hair and makeup correctly, which caused her unwanted stress on sets.

Mosley will next appear as Harper on the Paramount Plus revival of iCarly, which premieres this Thursday. Mosley recalls receiving a call from her agents asking if she would like to test for the role. That day, she hopped on Zoom with show runner Ali Schouten to discuss.

Mosley says Schouten was committed to making Harper “an extension” of Mosley, keeping the character free of traditional Black TV character tropes.

“[Schouten] really cared about the role being a full human being, and not a caricature, not a sassy best friend and not the typical Black sidekick,” Mosley says. “She really wanted Harper to be this radiant queer woman with her own stories and her own life.

“They didn’t know that I was bi when they cast me. It just happened to be like a lucky accident. That’s what they really wanted from the character. But at that time, they were more concerned with the actor who could play the role as well. We all got lucky.”’

Mosley has never felt closer to a character than she has with Harper. Hours after her casting was announced, the actress received several racist messages from fans who were angry about Harper taking the place of Sam, Jennette McCurdy’s character in the original iCarly.

Throughout her career, Mosley has experienced racism but she said she was completely unprepared for the onslaught of vitriol she received after the announcement. In response, she took to her Instagram story, in which she told trolls to “get the fuck out” of her comments. The clip later made its way to her mother.

“My mom’s a Southern mom,” Mosley says. “She was like, ‘why are you cursing all over the internet, child?’”

Mosley was born in Terrell, the hometown of Jamie Foxx–a fact she loves to reiterate. Most of her time was spent in Frisco, where she attended Centennial and Liberty High School. But she loved visiting her grandparents in Kemp, about 45 minutes southeast of Dallas. Each year, she would visit them on the Fourth of July, which is also her birthday, and have a grand celebration with her extended family.

Mosley has always had a penchant for performing. In church, she loved getting up and speaking during congregation, and she was very active in the church choir. According to Mosley, she “Bogarted all of the songs” in church, taking every opportunity for a solo.

“They would tell me that other people had to have a solo and I couldn’t sing ‘Jesus Is Bubbling In My Heart’ every week,” Mosley says. “And that was upsetting to me! They’d be like ‘Well Jonathan wants a solo.’ And I was like ‘Jonathan’s good at handing out programs, honey.’”

Eventually, Laci told her mother, Lori, that she wanted to act, but Lori wanted her to wait until she was older; she didn’t want her to spend her childhood working.

Lori did, however, let Mosley participate in local productions. She took her to get professional headshots and allowed her to take classes at Young Actors Studio and KD Conservatory.

“She told me I could take any acting classes I wanted, as long as my grades were good,” Mosley says. “And she let me participate in any acting scam I found. So honey, if it was on the radio, I was there. If they were in the mall, I was a part of it.”

Although she won’t see her family until her annual “Fourth of Ju-Laci” event, in which they will visit her in Los Angeles for a boat party and barbecue, she says the cast and crew of iCarly has become sort of a second family to her, showing her “an overwhelming amount of love and kindness” after she received hate messages.

As of now, Mosley’s notifications are off. At the time of the interview, she is on set finishing the first season of the new iCarly. She is also in talks of developing an unscripted version of her podcast Scam Goddess for television.

Mostly launched the podcast in 2019, in which she explores “iconique” scams. Some of her favorite scams include the story of Sandy Jenkins, who embezzled over $16 million from Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana. “He was notoriously kind of a bland guy, but when he got this money, this was his time to shine. And everything’s bigger in Texas, baby. So Sandy was buying gold bricks. He was in his PJs on the PJ, and when the feds came knocking, Sandy went out to the lake and dug a hole and tried to bury all of his valuables.”

Mosley admits she’s “usually always rooting for the scammer,” unless they are “bad people.” And while she dubs these scams “iconique, with a q” she says the biggest scam, one in which people willingly partake, is the American government.

“When the pandemic hit, you really saw how daddy government stepped away to get a carton of cigarettes and never came back,” Mosley says.

For Mosley, navigating comedy, a traditionally White and heteronormative space, has come with the kind of reactions one might expect. But she vows to never let any haters break her spirit.

“I think that it’s time for us all to move past this old racism and hatred,” Mosley says. “It’s old, it’s boring, it’s wack. And Black is beautiful. And I love being Black. I will always stand up for anybody who is marginalized, and anybody who is having hate thrown their way, whether it be myself or whether it be other marginalized communities. And that, I do not regret. Even if I was cursing.”

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