The star of BET’s ‘The New Edition Story’ on being Bobby Brown
Woody the Great — band geek, dancer, social media star and now actor — is ready for prime time
Woody the Great — real name Woody McClain — knows how to keep a crowd entertained. Whether it’s a Vine of him and Chris Brown dancing, or McClain recording skits with his co-star Splack, or even re-enacting a rapper’s funniest Instagram videos for Stories with Plies, one thing’s for sure: McClain, 27, has been consistently using social media to make people laugh. His most popular video? It’s probably the one in which he re-enacts Kevin Hart’s stand-up skit detailing the first time Hart cursed. With almost half a million followers on Instagram, and almost a million likes on Facebook, the Charleston, South Carolina, native (he was raised in Jacksonville, Florida) leveraged these communities to create a career.
Acting wasn’t always in the game plan for McClain. Though he enrolled at Florida A&M University in 2008, he didn’t stay long enough to declare a major, instead moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dancing and become a backup dancer for Chris Brown. Now, McClain is not only signed to Kevin Hart’s production company, Hartbeat Digital, but he’s also portraying Bobby Brown in BET’s The New Edition Story, and making a guest appearance on CBS’ new Training Day. As he gets ready for his debuts, McClain talks about Brown, his go-to karaoke songs and basketball.
How did you even come up with the idea of re-enacting Kevin Hart’s skits?
For the Kevin Hart idea, I think I was on the couch watching Martin and one of his stand-ups and I was like, ‘Yo! It would be funny if I did a voiceover skit to Martin,’ but it was just way too long to put on Instagram because that’s when Instagram was 15 seconds. I was like, ‘Maybe I can get someone that’s funny,’ and I came across Plies and then from there someone said you have to do someone bigger. Kevin Hart was like the perfect person.
Is that how you got your start in comedy?
I started with Vine. When I first moved out to L.A., my friend introduced me to making viral videos. I wasn’t really into it, because acting wasn’t something I wanted to do at the time. I was focused on dancing and other stuff. But once I saw his video go viral I was like, ‘Bro, put me on!’ I started making videos from there.
I saw that you spent time with Bobby Brown. What was that like? First of all, did you guys coordinate your outfits?
That was random. He popped up to the studio because it was my birthday. He came and gave me some pointers about my dancing. We talked, and then we went out to eat. It’s crazy we were matching like that. I just noticed that.
What were some of the gems Bobby Brown dropped on you?
I don’t even know if I want to release those! One thing he talked about were his performance techniques. Whenever he hears fans screaming, it feeds his energy. If he’s on the right side of the stage and he hears someone screaming on the left side of the stage, he’s going to run and give that person all his energy and it keeps happening like that. That definitely helped my performance.
If you did a biopic of your life, who would you want to play you?
I would want Tyler Williams, little Bobby Brown [of the miniseries], to play me.
What’s your favorite social media platform?
Tie between Instagram and Facebook.
Top three karaoke songs you’d do right now?
Last concert that you went to?
The last concert that I went to was the New Edition concert, here in L.A. Yeah. Amazing! That was my first concert.
What was that like?
We knew all the songs they were performing, too. We were backstage asking, ‘Should we run out onstage?’ … ‘Nah, don’t do it.’ That was an amazing show.
What’s your favorite team?
My favorite team for basketball is wherever LeBron James goes. So right now, my favorite team is the Cavaliers.
What’s one thing people would be really surprised to know about you?
I produce music. I got a group called BandGeeks with my boy Damon. We went to school together and we produce music together. We were in a marching band together at FAMU.
What instrument did you play?
The tuba. It’s a tuba thang, shorty. I played the tuba for seven years. I want to play the tuba in one of my videos. I think that would be funny.
What’s next for you in 2017?
I really want to be part of a TV series. I definitely want to be part of something on Netflix. Everything they’ve been creating and producing has been amazing. I want to start producing my own projects and really get into writing. I’ve been working with some of my partners, and they’ve been teaching me the fundamentals. I’ll be able to take that to the next level.
What keeps you undefeated in life?
My family. Always! Anytime I have a problem with anything. We actually have a group chat. So we’re sending pictures, motivational texts, especially my mom, she’s really good at sending stuff like that.
BET’s The New Edition Story airs on Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST.