Robin Thede Shares How Issa Rae Opened the Door for Her at HBO

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Robin Thede’s new sketch comedy series on HBO, A Black Lady Sketch Show, came to be after Thede received a call from Insecure‘s Issa Rae.

In 2018, Thede was hosting her own show The Rundown With Robin Thede on BET. After the first season, BET decided not to renew show, and the cancellation prompted Rae to reach out to Thede about collaborating.

“The [cancellation] news came out. Five minutes later, Issa Rae called me and said, ‘Let’s go. Let’s do something together,'” Thede told Wendy Williams.

“[Issa] said, ‘I have this production deal at HBO. You already know the executives over there. […] Let’s go together.'” continued Thede. “We went to a dinner. I pitched the show. […] When we got in that HBO meeting, it was like undeniable. And they bought it straight to series. Six episodes. No pilot. They didn’t read a script. They said just take the money and make a show.”

And the Black Girl Magic has continued to pop from that moment.

Thede and Rae both serve as executive producers on the show, and the show’s main cast and writers’ room is comprised of all Black women.

“The show is specifically cast, but universally funny,” Thede told CBSN. “You’re going to get specific things that for sure came out of the writers’ room, or that the cast added on when they were performing, but then you’re also going to get universally funny jokes.”

The fast tracked show stars Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis and Quinta Brunson. It has an all star lineup of guest stars including Rae, Angela Bassett, Tia Mowry, Patti LaBelle, Amber Riley, Loretta Divine, Marsai Martin, Larry Wilmore, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Kelly Rowland.

The sketch show is easily primed to be one of the best series of the summer.

A Black Lady Sketch Show premieres on HBO Friday, August 2 at 11pm.

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Bryant Lydell

Bryant Lydell is creative, personable and quick-witted Howard and USC alum. He's the founder of The Top Tea, a songwriter, screenwriter and member of the casting team for Netflix's NAACP Image Award-winning hip-hop competition series Rhythm + Flow.

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