Hulu has canceled Woke, the two-season comedy that starred Lamorne Morris as a cartoonist trying to survive as a Black man in America (while also being frequently addressed by inanimate objects in the environment, which vocalized his various traumas and inner thoughts). The partially animated series, based on the work of cartoonist Keith Knight, debuted on the streaming service back in September 2020; it aired its second (and now final) batch of episodes on April 8, 2022.
In addition to Morris (in his first really big starring role since New Girl went off the air in 2018), Woke starred Blake Anderson, T. Murph, Sasheer Zamata, Rose McIver, and Aimee Garcia—in addition to the cast of ringers brought in to voice its various inanimate objects, including J.B. Smoove, Nicole Byer, Eddie Griffin, Cree Summer, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Jack McBrayer, Cedric The Entertainer, and Keith David (as The Bible, which feels particularly apt).
Woke pulled decidedly mixed reviews in its first season, with critics dinging it for failing to use its doses of absurdity as much more than a distraction from the issues it hoped to address. In her September 2020 review of the series for us, Shannon Miller wrote:
While this all-consuming transition from protective detachment to crushing awareness is new for Keef, it doesn’t really make for a fresh viewing experience for an audience that is currently witnessing a real-life, modern-day civil rights movement right outside of its window. Neither Keef nor those around him offer any intriguing insights, the jokes are too well-worn to inspire any real laughter, and Keef’s journey can often feel more like casual meandering as the season trudges through moments that focus too intently on commonly explored microaggressions. For instance, in the episode “Gig E. Smalls,” Keef discovers that he is the only Black person at a party packed with WASPy art lovers. Within moments, he is subjected to tired pandering as attendees approach him with condescending bits about O.J. Simpson, Wakanda, reparations, and one dusted off Sunken Place reference. It’s 2020. Have we not moved beyond any of this?
The general onrushing glut of streaming content, meanwhile, appears to have left the show’s second season—which saw Morris’ Keef expand his reach as an “art-ivist”—largely unreviewed as it got lost in the mix; not wholly surprising, then, to see the show get the boot this week.