Prentice Penny Interview: ‘Insecure’ showrunner
“I was super stunned and excited,” declares Prentice Penny, the first-time Emmy-nominated showrunner of HBO’s acclaimed comedy “Insecure.” “Because of the [hype] that the show was generating this season, I would go on to Gold Derby like once a week and see where we were in the rankings… at some point I just stopped because this is not healthy,” he laughs. Watch our exclusive video interview with Penny above.
“Insecure” exploded at the Emmys this year with eight nominations including ascending for the first time to the Best Comedy Series category. It stars Emmy nominee Issa Rae, who co-created the show with Emmy winner Larry Wilmore (“The Bernie Mac Show”) and co-stars first-time Emmy nominee Yvonne Orji, alongside Jay Ellis, Alexander Hodge and Kendrick Sampson.
Season 4 was a breakthrough for the show, as new viewers discovered it while being at home during the ongoing global pandemic. The show also really hit its stride creatively, as it explored love and loss in new ways while still remaining true to the show’s core as a fresh take on the highs and lows of life for a contemporary African-American woman and her friends in Los Angeles.
Among the many story lines featured throughout the season was the main arc in which best friends Issa (Rae) and Molly (Orji) slowly drift apart, leading to a heartbreaking break-up between them. The season culminates in the compelling finale “Lowkey Lost,” written and directed by Penny, in which the women eventually meet up at their favorite restaurant in the hope of forgiving past mistakes and reconnecting.
Penny is proud of that episode and overall he is thrilled with how the show has been received this year. He is also doubly excited about receiving eight nominations from the TV academy. “As a creator of color, you just want your art to matter like everybody else and to see the humanity in our work,” he explains. “To have our show be nominated, at least for me, that is about black people that isn’t about our trauma. You know, at times there’s things about our trauma that people really seem to gravitate to and this show is about our beauty, not our burden, and to have that be seen and that to be rewarded, was to me, really saying something.”