Diallo Riddle Steps Out of the Writer’s Room and in front of the Camera

Diallo Riddle

It’s so confusing to know what title to use when referring to Diallo Riddle. Simultaneously taking on the positions of a writer, producer, and actor, the Emmy- and WGA- nominated Atlanta native has carved out an impressive career in the entertainment industry. Currently, he is most recognized for playing the role of Stevie on the NBC comedy Marlon. However, he is a multitalented entertainment professional who is also known for creating favorable content on television.

Inspired by the real life of comedic-actor Marlon Wayans, Marlon centers around Marlon Wayne (Marlon Wayans) and his family. A recently divorced father of two, Marlon is still navigating life after divorce with his ex-wife Ashley (Essence Atkins). As the former couple explores this new phase in their lives, they are accompanied by Ashley’s friend Yvette (Bresha Webb) and Marlon’s friend Stevie.

On the popular sitcom, Diallo’s character Stevie is Marlon’s best friend, or at least that’s what he thinks. The truth is that he might be his only friend. Stevie is a combination of culture and intelligence, with the qualities of a parasite. In layman’s term, he’s a freeloader who imposes himself on others like Marlon and his family. Not only does he live with Marlon as an uninvited house guest, but he takes it upon himself to wear his clothes and eat all his food.

“I don’t think that we’re very similar at all. Marlon’s convinced that we’re the same. In fact, Stevie is based on a guy named Steve in Marlon’s real life. I’ve met the real Steve and people who’ve met me and Steve are like ‘Y’all so similar.’ And I’m like no we’re not. But it might be one of those things where I don’t think he’s much like me. Maybe I’m more like Steve that I know. In my mind, I’m playing a character. In everybody else’s mind on set, I’m being myself/Stevie.”

Diallo Riddle

The show’s first season was received so well by viewers that last year it was renewed for a
second. The cast and crew have already started filming the new season, but unfortunately, a season premiere date has not been announced.

For the second season, viewers will not see much of a change in Stevie. Meaning that the witty commentary from their favorite squatter will go uninterrupted. However, his relationship status might be up for a change. Last season, the audience was able to get a glimpse of what it would look like if Stevie and Yvette were to pursue a relationship. Unfortunately, it fell apart real quick after Yvette realized that Stevie’s money was more than funny. But, there’s no telling what sparks may fly between the two, given time and opportunity.

Though Diallo is used to holding down a behind-the- scenes position, even when he’s in front of the camera, he’s surprisingly not a writer for the show. At least not in the traditional sense. The best part of being a primary cast member on a live taped, multi-camera sitcom is the opportunity for improvisation. He describes it as being an unofficial writer for the moment.

“Being in front of the camera for me is being in the moment. Being behind the camera is almost everything. You got to plan all of your stuff ahead and all that you’re thinking about. Where you go from that to the future. I would say when I’m writing, I think about everything; past, future, and present. For these characters and the obstacles that are thrown their way. When I’m acting I’m trying to be the funniest me, but I’m also trying to be a naturalistic actor. A lot of that comes from the moment you step out there, just living in the moment.”

Diallo Riddle

Besides Marlon, Diallo has received acting credits for his performances in HBO’s Silicon Valley and NBC’s RISE. His writing credits include Chocolate News, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Maya Rudolph Show, and Maya & Marty.

His start in entertainment goes all the back to his years as a teenage DJ. It started out as a
hobby that became a full-blown career once he moved to Los Angeles. When attending Harvard University, he was able to DJ on the side, performing at bars in Harvard and Central Square. After the move to Los Angeles, Diallo held down residencies at the Dream Hotel Highlight Room, Beauty & Essex, Skybar at LA Mondrian, Soho House NYC, Boulevard 3, The Standard Hotel (both West Hollywood and Downtown LA), and Chateau Marmont. He has also performed at A-list events including the Golden Globes and the People’s Choice Awards.

Diallo’s first job in television was as a writer for Comedy Central’s Chocolate News. Hosted by David Alan Grier, Chocolate News was a satirical news show from the African American perspective. His next writing gig was for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which led him to be nominated for “Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series”.

“I feel like times in Hollywood are changing. A lot of my friends who I met when they were writers are now the most in-demand actors. When I met Donald Glover he was a writer, primarily.”

Diallo Riddle

Back in 2015, Diallo and his writing/producing Bashir Salahuddin teamed up with Lorne Michaels to executive produce the HBO comedy Brothers in Atlanta; which starred both Riddle and Salahuddin. The project allowed them to show off their talents as creators, showrunners, and starring actors. Though HBO later decided to not pursue the project, the pilot was so popular that it became known as a television movie.

Recently, the duo has managed to receive a series order from Comedy Central for their new comedy, South Side. Set in the South side of Chicago, the show focuses on two friends working in a rent-to-own store. Along with an ensemble cast, they explore the socioeconomic and political struggles of working-class people in Chicago.

In addition, Diallo has joined the cast of NBC’s upcoming drama RISE. He plays Andy Kranepool, a slightly quirky high school science teacher. His latest writing project is with Jordan Peele and Tracy Morgan on The Last O.G., TBS’ newest comedy series.

It’s clear that no matter what Diallo is working on, he brings with him a lot of talent that can be utilized to elevate the project. Though he has accomplished a lot, this is still just the beginning for him. We expect to see him create more shows and shine brightly in front of the camera and stage lights.

Martel Sharpe

Martel is a writer in Atlanta, who's cooler than a polar bear's toenail. He loves reading, writing, and brunch. Reach out to Martel through email, martel.kontrolhomme@gmail.com or follow him on Instagram and Twitter @markopolowe.