Season 2 of “A Black Lady Sketch Show” ended up being a mix of emotions for series creator and star Robin Thede. COVID safety protocols made production more difficult and one cast member from Season 1 could not come back, but the multi-hyphenate found safety in being able to produce a comedy series in troubled times. “We were feeling so much of the sadness for the year that was going on,” says Thede in an exclusive new webchat for Gold Derby. “It was really bittersweet in that way to have a year that was so hard for so many people but to know that we were making something that was going to end up being such a source of joy.” Watch the video interview above.
Season 1 cast member Quinta Brunson was not able to return due to scheduling, while Laci Mosley and Skye Townsend were brought on board to join Thede, Ashley Nicole Black and Gabrielle Dennis for Season 2. Thede found both Mosley and Townsend to be perfect additions to the show. “Laci’s physical comedy, her elastic face as I like to call it, she can make any expression funny,” praises Thede. “[Skye] is a master of characters and voices and so dynamic, so we were really lucky to get them in this season.” Thankfully, there is still room for Brunson to return for a future season. She stresses that because they only produce six episodes per year, she wants her cast to have the freedom to succeed outside of the show. “I would never stop my sisters from doing other amazing things.”
One of Thede’s favorite characters to play is Dr. Haddassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman, Pre-PhD, who we often see spouting conspiracy theories and doling out unsolicited advice. A major highlight this season features Dr. Haddassah interviewing Gabrielle Union for a show called “Black Table Talk,” which mostly consists of her telling the actress all the things she is doing wrong in her life. “The fun thing about Dr. Haddassah is that everything out of her mouth is a joke,” states Thede. “Most characters don’t get that high joke density but hers is 100 percent joke density.”
The key principle for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” is to blend grounded experiences of Black women living their lives in a “magical reality,” as Thede explains. The show blends many genres, sometimes all within the same sketch, which is part of the fun for Thede. “The point is that we’re gonna play with genre and narrative all the time,” she notes. “It just leaves room open for us to be able to do anything and play in any sandbox, which I think is the magic of the show.”
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