Black Lady Sketch Show poster

A Black Lady Sketch Show

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What it’s about:

An Emmy-nominated sketch comedy show in the vein of Key and Peele, featuring some of the funniest Black women comedians working today. Actually, I shouldn’t qualify that—they’re some of the funniest comedians out there, period.

Names you might know:

Original cast members Robin Thede (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, The Rundown with Robin Thede), Ashley Nicole Black (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), Gabrielle Denis (The Bobby Brown Story), are joined this season by Sky Townsend (Lucifer) and Laci Mosley (The Con). Created and executive produced by Robin Thede and Issa Rae.

Why it’s worth your time:

I’m pretty sure this is the only TV show completely conceived, written, and directed by Black women, and it’s comedy gold. It’s definitely a celebration of Black women and an exploration of their relationships with each other, the men in their lives, and society at large, sometimes taken to an absurd extent. It’s universally relatable, and never mean spirited.

Take for example Robin Thede’s stand-out character Dr. Haddasah Olyayinka Ali Youngman, Pre-PhD, first seen last season at her little sister’s wedding giving a muddled, back-handed, Black Power, Afrocentric toast. In the latest episode, Haddash interviews guest star Gabrielle Union on her YouTube show “Black Table Talk” (the topic is “Women in the Workplace. Why?” which just laid me out, you guys.), and tries to grift her for $58,000 as enrollment in a pyramid scheme. She’s that one relative or acquaintance who expounds on her pet demented topic at every gathering, and won’t stop until you shut her down or leave.

Or, Ashley Nicole Black’s Trinity, a plus-size, over-35-year-old woman who is the CIA’s best agent because no one remembers she was in the room, pays attention to her, or ever recognizes her. From personal experience, I can confirm that’s an advantage all women after a certain age have.

The writing is sharp, funny, and pointed. In the sketch “The Last Sup-her” the women seated at a side table at Jesus’ Last Supper fume that they weren’t invited to sit with the men: “I mean, there’s all this room on the other side!” Or in “Black Lady Courtroom” as the judge, both attorneys, bailiff and jury realize that they’re all Black women. They strike a pose and do a little dance, because who’s going to tell on them? Honestly, I lost a lot of time writing this article because I’ve been laughing so hard.

The takeaway:

A Black Lady Sketch Show is a fun, funny, and smart way to spend 30 minutes. Don’t be mad if you find yourself binging the entire series in one sitting. You deserve it.

Watch it with:

Your girlfriends and a glass of wine. You might want to wait between sketches to drink, unless you have a foolproof way of getting wine stains out of your clothes and furniture.

Worth noting:

There’s obviously a fair amount of improv during filming, so if you have HBO Max, watch the outtakes, too.

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