Robin Thede is giving us our whole entire life by serving up beauty, brains, and some much-needed comic relief on her new BET show, The Rundown.
We caught up with the unstoppable writer and comedian to find out some of the secrets behind her unique brand of black girl magic that allows her to cover everything from terror attacks to fraudulent fried chicken.
Here are 7 reasons why we’re all about Robin Thede:
She has some serious credentials.
Thede may seem like the new kid on the block, but she has been blazing trails in the comedy world for years. At The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, she made history as the first black woman to serve as “head writer” on a late night talk show.
Although she has never done stand-up herself, she has written jokes for some of the industry’s biggest names including Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Anthony Anderson among others.
“I would imagine I have written over 100,000 jokes in my lifetime and I can hardly remember them,” she told theGrio.com in an exclusive interview. “I have no joke recall unless someone reminds me.”
She’s a BOSS.
Thede doesn’t just host The Rundown, she’s the weekly show’s creator and the executive producer and put her personal touch on every aspect from the music to the set design.
“It’s insane,” Thede says. “It’s an all day, all night job…I needed [the set] to look like the prettiest thing on TV. We worked for weeks on the set design and drew every aspect of that stage. There are more than 200 pictures of black people who mean something to me lining the walls. So much thought went into every little thing. We go out and produce these gorgeous, pop-up concerts. The sketches are on real locations because we wanted NYC to feel like a character on the show. It’s non-stop. I have no other life.”
She keeps it real.
“There’s a lot of messed up stuff happening to black people and I’m here to point it out,” Thede says. “Our rule is: ‘Don’t explain, just entertain.’ We’re setting the trends, not following them. It’s the most freedom I’ve had in my career. I don’t have to represent anything but my own point of view which is great.”
Vanity Fair said Thede’s show “could easily shoot to the top of late night’s must-watch list.” Her unique voice is a big reason why.
“As long as I’m being honest in my comedy then I feel like I’m doing my job,” Thede insists. “If I’m telling the truth from my own point of view then that’s nothing that anyone can attack me for and if they do then they’re in the wrong. I’m just saying how I feel as a black woman, as a comedian, and as a late night host. If that causes people to attack me (which sometimes they do) it’s just because they disagree.
She throws shade with a purpose.
Thede isn’t known for being malicious with her jokes but she WILL call you out on your foolishness.
“My comedy is not intentionally mean,” Thede admits. “I don’t punch down. Even if I’m attacking someone like R. Kelly it’s because of what he is doing to black women and there’s no one out here to speak for us and I don’t think it’s OK. I don’t think all these girls knew what they were getting into so they deserve it. No. I think that’s bullshit. I think any grown ass man needs to be responsible for his actions no matter how much a woman does or does not want to be around him.”
“As a comedian, it’s your job to have a comedic outlook on things that outrage other people or make them sad or cause them pain because that’s the only way that you heal. My comedy isn’t supposed to hurt anybody except for people who deserve it like people who are ruining people’s lives and stealing money and hurting women and children.”
She ain’t no punk.
“I’m not scared of Trump or his followers. Getting Trump to tweet at me would be the best thing that ever happened. I only tell the truth. I don’t do anything for shock value. I’m on Trump followers’ radar. Check my mentions. They send me death threats all the time even before I had a show. Just being a black woman on television commenting on Trump will get you that but you can’t be afraid of what the repercussions are.”
She helps us stay sane.
“We got through slavery. We can get through Trump. I’m not saying its great but we are so resilient. Black people have gone through so much it’s just incredible. I think everyone needs reminders of that,” she says.
“Trump is bad for sure and Jeff Sessions is garbage and Ben Carson is running HUD and it’s bad for sure but we’re also at a time in our lives where we have more power than ever before. We don’t have the power but we are powerful.”
She’s a champion for change
“Look at The NFL and what Kapernick has done and changed things up,” Thede says. “It doesn’t happen overnight. Nobody sat in at a lunch counter for one day and was like, ‘OK, we’re done.’ It took years and deaths and hoses and dogs. We’re in a movement now that has not so far been as violent but can be just as impactful,” she says.
“I’m really proud of the work black people are doing out in these streets and that allies are doing with them. We just can’t ever give up because the racists aren’t going to give up on us. I know we’re tired but at the end of the day we have always been the change-makers, especially black women who have been at the forefront of all of these movements.”
Check out The Rundown with Robin Thede Thursdays at 11/10 central on BET.