Unapologetically Black, Unequivocally Funny (A Review of “A Black Lady Sketch Show)

by T. Mack

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Black women have a unique voice in the world of comedy. When I write this, please don’t read subtext. This certainly isn’t to say that others don’t have unique voices as well or that the voices of black women in comedy are somehow more valuable than others. Mine is just a simple statement of truth. Black women do indeed have a unique voice within the world of comedy. With A Black Lady Sketch Show, some of today’s most talented black comediennes come together to create a hilarious experience that’s quite unlike anything we’ve ever had before.

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L to R: Gabrielle Dennis, Quinta Brunson, Robin Thede, and Ashley Nicole Black, the stars of “A Black Lady Sketch Show”

Part sketch comedy show, part sitcom, and all riotously funny, A Black Lady Sketch Show stars Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis, Quinta Brunson, and Ashley Nicole Black. Each episode also features incredible guest star cameos from some of today’s most respected and revered superstars, such as Angela Bassett, Patty LaBelle, Laverne Cox, Loretta Devine, Caldwell Tidicue, Gina Torres, and more!

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It’s not just the talent on the screen that makes the show so amazing, though. The talent behind the show is also incredibly noteworthy. The series is executive produced by Robin Thede (The Rundown with Robin Thede) and Issa Rae (Insecure). Lauren Ashley Smith serves as head writer with the cast, Brittani Nichols, Rae Sanni, Holly Walker, Amber Ruffin, and Akilah Green all serving as part of her writing team. The series is directed by Dime Davis.

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You may have heard of some of these names. It’s possible you haven’t heard of a single one. But here’s why they all matter in this specific context. Each and every one of these women is black. Which makes A Black Lady Sketch Show historic! It is the very first sketch comedy series to be written by, starring, and directed by black women.

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So the show is exciting for the community. It’s important for representation. And it’s an enormous step in the right direction of seeing more diversity represented in front of and behind the camera in mainstream media. But is it funny???

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HELL YEAH, IT IS! Each episode of this series is an entire half hour of smart and witty satirical commentary wrapped in gut-wrenching laughter. The jokes are funny because they are grounded in real life but wrapped in surrealism. Nearly every  sketch manages to strike just the right balance. They are clever and don’t play down to the audience, but instead assumes viewers’ intelligence and speaks to it in a way that plays to nostalgia, social commentary, a shared cultural history, and at times, even an underlying pain of shared injustice or trauma.

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Obviously, I’m the exact target demographic for this series. So every sketch seems to hit home with me. The experience will likely not be the exact same for someone who doesn’t look like the women on the screen. However, I do believe that this show is still for everyone. It is a show written, directed, and acted by black women. But it’s a show for everybody. It’s a show about the human experience. It’s a show to make people laugh. And it accomplishes that goal.

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While everyone might not laugh at the same time about the same things at the same volume, I do believe this show is smart and funny enough to make nearly everyone laugh. Because it’s very, very funny.

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If you haven’t already, you should check it out. It has my highest recommendation. RATING: 5 SHIELDS!!!

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The entire first season is available now on HBO or wherever you pirate stream your favorite content.

Have you seen A Black Lady Sketch Show? What did you think? Where you a fan of any of the cast before you watched the series? If you haven’t seen it yet, are you planning to check it out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Remember… Be kind to yourselves, sisters and brothers. Keep it geeky and stay amazing. ~T. Mack

 

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