The creator of “A Black Lady Sketch Show” says the HBO series is filling a stubborn void.
Robin Thede, who grew up in Davenport and formerly hosted KLJB’s “Quad City Kids to Kids” program, says there have been great Black male-led sketch shows, but none with women in the forefront.
“People are saying why didn’t we exist? We had ‘Chappelle’s Show,’ we had ‘In Living Color,’ we have these great sketch shows in Black media traditions,” Thede said, “but never where women were at the forefront. And why not?”
Thede’s series is demonstrating what’s been missing, earning rave reviews for its first season and three 2020 Emmy nominations.
One is for guest star Angela Bassett, and the other two are Emmy ground-breakers.
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” is the first led Black-female led series to be nominated as best variety sketch show, and director Dime Davis in the first African American to get a nod in the category.
“We’re breaking ground not just because we’re Black women, but because the show is just damn funny. It just is,” Thede said. “That’s indisputable.”
She became the first Black female head writer on a late-night comedy show when she wrote and performed on “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” from 2015-16. From 2017-18, Thede hosted “The Rundown with Robin Thede” on BET.
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” debuted on HBO in 2019.
Robin’s mother is Phyllis Thede, a state representative who lives in Bettendorf.
She talked about “Quad City Kids to Kids” with Harry Connick Jr. — and even shared a photo — in 2017.