Abbott Elementary’s Janelle James Shares A Joke She's Surprised Made It Onto ABC's The Final Straw

Game shows continue to be the staples of network television, helping to bridge the gap between Spring TV and the launch of the Fall season, when summer crowds need content to fill their primetime evenings. While we normally keep track of the 2022 TV schedule to cover every new and returning program, ABC is turning its attentions to a slate of game shows that will showcase talent from their other shows, including Michael Strahan hosting The $100,000 Pyramid and two Jonas brothers, Kevin and Frankie, introducing a new program they have conceived called Claim to Fame. More on those shows as we get closer to them arriving on the network, but for the moment, the spotlight falls on comedian Janelle James and her upcoming game show The Final Straw, making its debut on Sunday, July 10, at 9 pm ET/PT. 

Most audience members likely recognize Janelle James for her breakout role on the ABC program Abbott Elementary, which has very quickly found its audience, and was rewarded with a second season from ABC already, giving the creators an enormous vote of confidence. James plays Ava on the program, the principal of the school in the show’s title who is more concerned with TikTok than she is with her staff or her students. James is very funny, and has carved out her niche as a comedian, so when given the chance to speak with her about her hosting duties, and the jokes she brings to the gig, she told us about one that she swore she thought was going to get cut. But it didn’t. As James explains:

Well, an example of a joke would be, so, this game, the towers are themed. So there’s a wedding theme, there’s a children’s nursery, and there are all objects that go with those themes. And so, for the wedding theme, when the stack falls, I say, ‘That stack went down like a drunk bridesmaid at a wedding!’ That joke means two things. (laughs) Just a little example of a joke for the adults while the family is watching, the kids will be like, ‘Why was that funny?’ But hopefully parents will have a laugh!

The towers that Janelle James references are part of this unscripted program, where four teams face off to “combat tremendous tipping towers,” per ABC. The way that the network describes the show: 

Each life-sized themed tower is chock full of various objects ranging from basketballs to small kitchen appliances as contestants try to successfully pull items from the stack without tipping it over in order to earn prizes. If the tower falls, the team is eliminated and the last team standing will compete against The Mega Stack, an epic battle of physics where the odds are literally stacked against them, in hopes of winning a life-changing grand prize.

And here’s an idea of what they will look like on the program, The Final Straw:

The Final Straw on ABC

(Image credit: ABC/Christopher Willard)

This game show will give Janelle James fans something to tide them over until Abbott Elementary returns. In the down time, the show’s creator Quinta Brunson has been speaking about the show’s influence in the sitcom genre, as well as sharing the reasons why she almost considered quitting television before Abbott Elementary broke it big. As you know, we are big fans of the program here on CinemaBlend, and are equally excited for The Final Straw to make its debut on ABC on July 10.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.