Born and raised in Atlanta, Diallo attended Harvard University majoring in history with a minor focus in economics.
While in school, he picked up side gigs as a DJ, performing at college bars in Harvard and Central Square. The summer after his junior year, he took a trip to Los Angeles and decided he wanted to make the move out west after graduation. Since then, Diallo has spent time on both coasts, working in both Los Angeles and New York City.
Named one of Variety’s Top 10 Scribes to Watch, Diallo got his start in television as a writer on Chocolate News for Comedy Central. He went on to write and perform for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2008-2012, arriving three months before the show premiered and as one of only five writers. Some of the stand-out segments he wrote include “Slow Jam the News featuring Barack Obama,” and the first three editions of “A History of Rap with Fallon and Justin Timberlake.”
As an EMMY and WGA nominated writer and actor, producer, showrunner, and moonlighting DJ, Diallo Riddle has proven to be one of the most creative and multi-faceted talents in the entertainment industry today. Diallo can be seen starring on NBC’s smash hit summer comedy series Marlon, which premiered season two on June 14. Loosely inspired by the real life of star Marlon Wayans, this update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but immature) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife. Diallo will return as fan-favorite Stevie, Marlon’s overly intelligent, yet oblivious friend and confidant from college.
While acting in front of the camera keeps Diallo busy (he also recently appeared on NBC’s new drama series Rise) he continues to flourish in his writing career. It was recently announced that IFC picked up Sherman’s Showcase, a scripted musical variety sketch comedy show created by Diallo and his writing/producing partner Bashir Salahuddin (executive produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co). The eight-episode series will premiere in 2019 and has it all: music, comedy, games, and dancing. Diallo and Salahuddin also wrote and produced the series South Side about a rent-to-own business on the south side of Chicago, which was recently given a series order by Comedy Central.
When he isn’t on set acting, writing, or producing, Diallo can be found in the DJ booth. He has held DJ residencies at the Dream Hotel Highlight Room, Beauty & Essex, Skybar 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. On the charity front, he is an active supporter of The Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides services to children and families healing from the effects of family and community violence within Los Angeles’ most challenged neighborhoods.
Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on.
We just wrapped filming on Season 2 of Marlon which was incredibly fun. Love Marlon and my cast mates like family.
Now, my writing partner and I are producing and starring in our Comedy Central show, South Side, in Chicago. It’s an edgy but funny look at what it really means to live and laugh and love in Chicago’s South Side community, using primarily Chicago actors who still live on the South Side. We think it’s important for the world to know that this community is about more than what we may see on the news.
And later this year we will be writing the comedy and music for our upcoming IFC sketch show, called Sherman’s Showcase. The concept of Sherman’s Showcase is that there is a show-within-a-show that has been on the air since the 1970s (like Soul Train or SNL). We bounce from year to year in the history of the show, so the clothes and hair and music reflects the year we are currently in.
At the heart of the madness is Sherman, the host. Think of him as an unhinged Dick Clark. We will have actual musicians and recording artists on the show playing themselves, other artists, and original characters that we the writers create for them. We think of this show as our In Living Color, our Chappelle Show, and we can’t be more excited to bring this completely original concept to the air. And the original songs to your earbuds.
With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?
I sleep. I should work out, but I sleep. There’s nothing more chill than sleep.
When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?
In LA, me and the wife love Nerano in Beverly Hills, and Pace in Laurel Canyon. And Via Veneto by the beach. We fancy!
What types of dishes do you usually order?
I know nothing is more en vogue than to diss all dishes with truffle on them, but I am not over it yet. Walk into Via Veneto and try to order something other than the truffle dishes. I dare you.
Do you cook?
I wish. I’m working on three shows and have three children. I’m out of bandwidth. I wish I cooked.
What types of drinks do you order when out?
I used to be a Mule guy. Lately I stick to the best Cabernets. But if I go harder, I sip Casamigos.
Do you prepare drinks at home?
Yes. I got good at Aperol-based drinks for a while.
Do you own a home bar?
What is it stocked with?
We have the works. And we have lots of parties. We are lots of fun!
What is your favorite drink/cocktail?
Cabernet. Casamigos. And the occasional Macallan 18.