‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’: Creator Robin Thede Reveals How She Balances Heavy Topics With Humor

Although comedian and writer Robin Thede initially dreamed of joining the cast of Saturday Night Live, she wound up with something better: her own series, A Black Lady Sketch Show. Executive produced by Insecure star Issa Rae, the hilarious show has an all-Black female main cast and makes viewers laugh out loud while touching on heavy topics. Creator Robin Thede explained how she balances the two in the Deadline Contenders Television event.

Robin Thede on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'
Robin Thede | Charles Sykes

What is the premise of ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show?’

Created by comedian and writer Robin Thede, the half-hour HBO comedy consists of narrative sketches performed by an all African-American female cast. The comedians include creator and writer Thede, Ashley Nicole Black (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Quinta Brunson (BuzzFeedVideo), and Gabrielle Dennis (Luke Cage).

There are also well-known guest stars who appear throughout the series including Issa Rae (Insecure) who also serves as an executive producer, Yvonne Orji and Natasha Rothwell (Insecure), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!), Amber Riley (Glee), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) and Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do With It).

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The first season, consisting of six episodes, premiered to “universal acclaim,” leading HBO to renew the hilarious series for a second season.

Robin Thede on ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ Season 2

Shortly before the fifth episode of the new series aired, Amy Gravitt, the executive vice president of HBO programming, announced the network renewed A Black Lady Sketch for another season.

In the announcement, she stated, “it’s been thrilling to see the audience embrace the characters” the comedians have “brought to life.” Additionally, the EVP noted the network “had a blast making this groundbreaking sketch show” alongside Thede, the writers, and producers. She ended her statement by including she “can’t wait to see what next season holds.”

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During the virtual Deadline Contenders Television event, Thede opened up a little about what viewers can expect in the following season. According to the comedian, they are going to elevate the show and bring in “more guest stars.”

She also noted that well-liked characters would return as well as new recurring roles they’ll include in the sketches. Ultimately, Thede promised Season 2 would be “bigger and better” as they have “endless” material to work with.

Robin Thede on balancing heavy topics with comedy

Each episode in A Black Lady Sketch Show features around five to six sketches and touches on weighty issues while still making the audience laugh. When it comes to how Thede balances the two, she explained, “black women existing is controversial,” and wanted to do a sketch show consisting of four black women.

While the comedian noted she “didn’t want to go overly political,” she also acknowledged that they “inherently hit those topics” as it affects the lives of her characters.

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According to Thede, her goal with the narrative sketch show is to “take people on a journey with these characters.” She also realizes that the funniest things are situations people “relate to the most,” no matter how pragmatical, which is the “core” of the show.