At first glance, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are two girls who just want to have fun on comedy podcast 2 Dope Queens.
But the pod will now air as a quartet of specials on HBO focused on Blerds (a.k.a. Black Nerds), Hot Peen, New York and hair…lots of hair! Directed by Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) and featuring a roster of guest stars including Sarah Jessica Parker, Uzo Aduba, Tituss Burgess and Jon Stewart, the format on 2 Dope Queens is “freewheeling and loose,” according to Nina Rosenstein, HBO’s EVP of programming.
“It’s part intimate conversation, part celebrity interview, and then a highly curated roster of up and coming comedians, often highlighting female and LGBTQ stand ups,” she said at HBO’s portion of the Winter Press Tour in Pasadena on Thursday. “The show is a lot of things, but one thing it always is top to bottom hilarious every single time.”
“We talk about dating. We talk about living in New York. We talk about racism. We talk about these universal topics from our specific points of view,” said Robinson. “I’m not surprised that people of all races love it, people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations.”
”Truth in comedy is important, and truth is universal,” added Williams. “And my favorite thing is when I get white dudes who come up to me and are, like, “I really love 2 Dope Queens.”
But behind the seeming frivolity on 2 Dope Queens is an important step forward in the ongoing issue of the lack of diversity on television.
”On our show we try to have stand-ups and storytellers that are usually women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community,” said Williams. “I think oftentimes people see black women or queer people, and they sort of put a label on them and assume they’re all the same. They end up on a show or in a movie as support or, like, a token character, helping the main character, who is probably a straight, white male. But in this we try to have multiple people of color because we are so different and we are so unique. Our voices are not the same.”
”2 Dope Queens has taught me how to really truly believe in my voice and keep creating content for my voice and trusting that it will find an audience, whether it’s this, whether it’s a book, whether it’s a film, whatever,” said Robinson. “I think across the board, it’s taught me to really own my ‘black lady’ voice.”
The first of the four 2 Dope Girls specials will debut on HBO on Friday, Feb. 2.
[Images courtesy of Mindy Tucker/HBO]