Who Is ‘Shrill’ Co-Star Lolly Adefope?

One of the most underrated shows in the streaming universe is Hulu’s Shrill, starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant. While Bryant’s comedic abilities lead the show, one co-star is already being noticed as a future star.

It’s Lolly Adefope who plays Fran, best friend to Bryant’s Annie. Although Fran was only seen occasionally in the first season, she’s now become a regular character, fulfilling a niche so long ignored.

Adefope says that playing an overweight and gay black woman depicted without any cliches is more than a little refreshing.

Adefope comes from the U.K.

Lolly Adefope wearing green in front of a 'Shrill' promo backdrop
Lolly Adefope | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Adefope’s acting and comedy career started in Britain, where she’s already known as a comedienne on numerous British TV shows. This only goes back five years, as she’s still 29 years old.

Her prior work was entirely on British TV after winning the 2015 BBC Writersroom comedy program. Not until 2018 did she finally take on an American movie.

Adefope appeared in the black comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me a couple of years ago, showcasing some of her comedy skills. Not until Shrill came calling was she able to do any substantial acting for American audiences.

She thought she’d have to play an American in ‘Shrill

Filmed in Portland, Oregon, Shrill has a relational aspect to Portlandia considering they’re both produced by Brownstone Productions. While Shrill is also a comedy, it does have more serious intentions than Portlandia’s complete openness to parodying the Rose City.

Having Adefope alongside Bryant is a big deal; the show takes on a different look at overweight women and avoids tropes typically seen on screen. In recent interviews, Adefope reflects on this and how happy she is to see a character like hers be more normal and not a stereotype.

Some critics have complained she hasn’t been utilized enough, though. Things have changed in the second season where Adefope is involved more in Annie’s life as a best friend. During the audition process, there was still thoughts by Adefope she’d have to use her put-on American accent.

The show ultimately allowed her to use her real British accent, something making her all the funnier when it’s heard.

She’s now a triple threat

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They’re (almost) BACK and better than ever.

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There isn’t a doubt Adefope’s droll comedic delivery on Shrill will eventually take her far. Regardless, her comedic abilities are almost a backseat to her managing to bring meaning to three stigmatized character aspects.

Representing a gay and overweight black woman checks a lot of boxes for TV inclusion, making Adefope one to watch in setting new precedents for future shows.

Some may write off the show as just being a comedy pleaser, but it’s doing some important things in the long run. It’s also looking like it’ll be around a while since it just finished its second season.

Everyone will likely see Adefope on more American screens before long. What that will be is anyone’s guess, but it’s further proof we have the best kind of British invasion going on all over again.