Funky Dineva and Al Reynolds are shaking things up every Friday as part of the TEA-G-I-F lineup on FOX SOUL along with Claudia Jordan. Each week, the two men deliver hilarious yet insightful commentary on the most talked-about moments in pop culture.
The chemistry between the two is undeniable. Both are witty and have well-thought-out observations. But there’s also a good cop/bad cop dynamic that’s hard to miss. Dineva takes a shadier approach adding in a few jokes and digs about their subjects, with Reynolds being more subtle and direct in his remarks. It works well. So much so that it would have viewers believing the two have known each other for years. But Dineva says it’s far from the case.
The whole TEA-G-I-F concept happened by chance and during the pair’s first meeting. “[We were at] Cynthia Bailey’s wedding…Me, Al, and Claudia were guests at Cynthia Bailey’s wedding and we just were all standing in the corner, kickin’ it, just having a good time.” Dineva told Shadow and Act during a recent interview. “Al and I had never met each other before – was my first time meeting Al. Claudia was already working at FOX Soul. She called me and said she had an idea.”
The rest was history. Dineva was already guest commentating on the show, along with Gary from The Rickey Smiley Morning Show. But once Dineva, Reynolds, and Dineva filmed together for the first time, the magic was apparent and TEA-G-I-F was born.
Reynolds says their dynamic works because viewers are getting the real deal. “This is exactly how we are off of television,” he insists. “He [Dineva] is very passionate and he stays where he stays on his issues and I stay where I stay and we both respect each other in our positions. We join each other at times – and as you can see, we’ve also sat on the opposite side at times.”
The men both had individual fan bases prior to their work on the show. Dineva amassed his millions of fans by becoming the first YouTube Vlogger to set a blueprint on how to transition from social media commentary to on-screen host and a celebrity in his own right. He’s open with his followers on the ups and downs of his journey.
“From a career perspective, I know all of the things that I wish somebody would have told me,” he says. “I’ve been doing this now for 11 years. When I started, the word YouTuber did not even exist.”
Reynolds of course is widely associated with his marriage to Star Jones. He worked hard to build his brand outside of the tabloid fodder that comes along with celebrity marriage. In recent years, he’s given his take on politics and entertainment as a guest commentator. But Reynolds says TEA-G-I-F is the platform that allows the audience to see his true self.
“I’ve allowed someone else to define me, I’ve allowed them to create my narrative and this platform has allowed me to change the narrative and give people a sneak peek into who I really am and not who you thought I was,” Reynolds gushes. “This has been one of the most liberating projects in my life – not only professionally, not only mentally, but also emotionally.”
Catch Dineva and Reynolds on TEA-G-I-F every Friday. Watch the full interview below where both men talk more about the benefits of their platform and their individual journey to arriving at their career peaks.