It’s about time.
Daniel Lawrence Taylor, the British creator/star of time-travel romp “Timewasters,” was inspired by the fact that most period dramas have homogenous casts.
“One of the important things about ‘Timewasters’ is that you very rarely get to see black people in period pieces. And that was very exciting to me — to write myself and other young black actors as well, and to create that and put us all onscreen together,” Taylor told The Post from his home in London.
Premiering Friday (June 11), the half-hour comedy originally aired on ITV2 in the UK and has landed here on IMDb TV (Amazon’s free streamer). Set in London, the series follows four friends in a jazz quartet who discover an elevator that magically brings them from the present day back to the 1920s. There, they find that members of high society embrace them, since jazz is all the rage.
“At the time [that I created the show] I was learning to play the trumpet randomly — and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to make a jazz band?’ And also, at the time there were quite a lot of shows in Britain like ‘The Inbetweeners’ and ‘Drifters’ about a group of friends going around doing crazy stuff,” said Taylor. “So, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if it was an all-black [friend] show…Time travel added a whole new layer to allow me to be a bit satirical and push the boundaries, which I’ve always enjoyed doing in my comedy.”
Taylor, who has also been on “Tracey Ullman’s Show,” said that he put a personal touch into “Timewasters.” The jazz quartet is made up of Nick (Taylor), Jason (Kadiff Kirwan), Lauren (Adelayo Adedayo), and Horace (Samson Kayo).
“All the characters are named after my siblings,” he said. “Obviously everyone finds their own family funny, but I do find mine quite funny. The only one that’s not named after one of my siblings is Horace. And the only reason for that was is for one joke that ended up getting cut. So, my brother Dominic is not happy about that. But I told him that [Horace’s] middle name is Dominic.”
Although this is the first show that Taylor has both created and starred in, balancing duties in front of and behind the camera wasn’t hard, he said — though it did present some challenges.
“I like both elements because they work to different sides of the brain. But it’s always quite tricky to write something and know that you’re going to be performing it later,” he said. “There’s one [scene] where I get completely naked. And I just remember writing it going, ‘Why on earth am I writing this knowing that I’m going to have to get naked?’ And then I think, ‘It’s fine; before we do that I’ll work out and look great!’ And obviously you don’t do those things.
“But the fun side is that you get to create roles for yourself.”