Season 2 of A Black Lady Sketch Show hits ShowmaxWatch full episodes now
The hit sketch show has just garnered five Emmy nominations, and brings all the laughs in its second season.
After a way-too-long, pandemic-enforced break, the one-of-a-kind HBO sketch comedy A Black Lady Sketch Show is back with a six-episode second season of fearless hilarity on Showmax. Packed with laughs, the show continues to break new ground as an award-winning comedy series written, produced and performed almost entirely by a core cast of America’s top Black women comedians.
This week, A Black Lady Sketch Show picked up five 2021 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. Both executive producer Issa Rae (Insecure) and Black Reel nominee Yvette Nicole Brown (Dear White People) have been nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, with A Black Lady Sketch Show also up for Writing and Editing awards.
Season 2 has also earned six 2021 Black Reel Awards nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actress (creator Robin Thede) and Supporting Actress nominations for both Emmy-winning writer Ashley Nicole Black (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) and Black Reel nominee Gabrielle Dennis (Luke Cage).
In May 2021, HBO announced that A Black Lady Sketch Show has been renewed for a third season. “Making A Black Lady Sketch Show is a dream come true,” says Thede. “I see this show as a budding comedy institution, where Black women can play fully realised, non-stereotypical characters, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to create that space for today’s premiere comedians.”
This season, that includes Laci Mosley (Florida Girls) joining the cast and guest stars like Nigeria-born BAFTA nominee Wunmi Mosaku (Loki, Lovecraft Country); Black Reel winners Gabrielle Union (L.A.’s Finest) and Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris, The Walking Dead and Dear White People);
People’s Choice nominee Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Jackson Avery); Teen Choice nominee Amber Riley (Glee); and Image Award winner Lance Gross (House of Payne), among others.
Both seasons have a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with AV Club saying, “The show’s strengths are on display in its second season: crack timing, excellent cast chemistry, surprises both whimsical and profound, and a knack for esoteric jokes (who knew the Eucharist could be so funny? Thede, Black, and Townsend, that’s who).” Season 2, they say, “retains the cohesion, rapid-fire energy, and mix of culturally specific and universal humor that made the first season uproarious and a joy to watch.”
Season 2 is generating even more buzz than the first season, which made Best of 2019 lists from AV Club to Los Angeles Times, Salon and Vulture, and picked up three 2020 Emmy nominations – Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series (for Dime Davis, the first Black woman ever nominated for directing in this category), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (for Angela Bassett), and Outstanding Variety Sketch Series (the first Black women-led sketch show nominated in the category). It also won a 2020 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows.
Filming on the new season was delayed by the pandemic, but that also means it’s current, as Robin wakes up to a whole new locked-down apocalypse scenario, this time with Black, Dennis, Mosley and new cast member Skye Townsend.
The show was just five days from the start of production when COVID shut everything down, but they were also one of the first to get up and running again, with rehearsals starting in September last year.
Thede is mindful of what a gift that was. “Ultimately, pushing through and delivering season two saved our lives in a lot of ways,” Thede told FastCompany. “Not to be dramatic, but we didn’t have to sit at home and think about the end of the world every day. We got reminded of it when we’re on set, getting our nose swabs every day. But it was able to provide us that outlet for which these women are such true artists. Even at the height of COVID, to be able to put on a crazy wig and play a funny character and not think about the world for a few minutes was so nice.”
“It’s a testament to true Black girl magic,” Dennis said, “Sometimes pressure makes diamonds.”
And Season 2 has gems aplenty. Some of our favourite characters are back this season. Black returns as Trinity in a new Invisible Spy sketch; Dennis revives her progressive gangster character, Elisa; and Thede reprises her role as “hertep”, “world-renowned philosophiser”, Dr. Hadassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman, pre-PhD.
Thede told ET Online her mission for Season 2 was “More funny. More jokes. More characters. Just giving people more of what they want.”
“A Black Lady Sketch Show has been 20 years in the making,” she tweeted. “It’s like the seventh sketch show I’ve acted on or written on, but it’s the first one that I’ve created. So I’ve kind of taken all the things that I’ve loved from sketch over the years, from live performance and from TV, and created this oasis, this Mecca for Black women comedians to come and play three-dimensional characters, and not just be the best friend or the sidekick. I get joy from seeing that every day, seeing my cast play hundreds of different characters and do it in such a broad range of ways with just unlimited talent.”
“I initially came into the season wanting for myself and for everybody to play more different characters,” Black told FastCompany. “But then when the season was delayed and when we actually got to shoot it and knowing that people had been sitting at home waiting, I wanted to just go so hard. I want people to be crying laughing. I want for a half-hour that you forget that this year happened.”
Which sounds good to us.