“Comedy needs to inspect itself a little more”

5 March 2019

“Comedy needs to inspect itself a little more”

Gossip with your bestie and a glass or two of wine are the perfect remedy for any problem. Best-friend talks are an essential part of life and that’s what you get with variety comedy show 2 Dope Queens (2018-current, stream 4-episode Season 1 on Showmax).

Sure, it feels like you’re eavesdropping on a highly confidential and classified conversation between pals at a bar, but that’s exactly the idea that comedian co-hosts Jessica and Phoebe were going for when they came up with the idea in 2016.

“We presented a podcast and topics included gender bias, racial inequality and body shaming in stand-up comedy circles,” says Phoebe. “We wanted to shed light on issues that were affecting us as young black women in New York.”

The podcast was a testing bed and they’ve carried their formula through to their show – there are celebrity guests who’re from diverse racial backgrounds and sexual orientations and they’re invited with the hopes of highlighting marginalised groups.

Comedy needs to inspect itself a little more,” adds Phoebe. “We need different perspectives from all walks of life, sharing their realities that actually reflect how the world really looks,” adds the comedian.

Celeb feast

Their guests are as varied as their topics – in episode 2 they welcome Sarah Jessica Parker (from Sex & The City, and Divorce, both on Showmax) to chat about hair, putting SJP in the hot-seat to find out what she knows about what they call “ethnic hair”.

The look on her face is enough to make you wet yourself laughing as she fumbles over what she can and can’t say without someone being offended, although Jessica saves her when she shouts “Everyone shut your mouth. She’s our friend and this is a safe space.”

In episode 4, they invite Uzo Aduba from dramedy Orange Is The New Black (2013-current) to chat about “blerds” – aka black nerds – which Uzo isn’t. She’s secretly super sporty, which runs in her family.

But whether the hosts and their guests are talking about weaves and wigs or coding software and the digital world, they have a common goal, explains Jessica: “We talk about a lot of black girl experiences that some people might not know about. I don’t think people realise what it’s like for people of colour to audition for film and TV.”

Ending on a high note

The episodes are short and sweet and the 55 minutes will go by in a second (luckily you can just re-watch on Showmax if you feel you’ve missed anything). They also revealed that the current second season, airing later this month on DStv, will be their last because of their increasingly busy schedules.

We’re too busy and way too famous,” says Phoebe with a hearty laugh.

While Phoebe is promoting her new book Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay, Jessica has her schedule filled with productions like 2019 horror movie Corporate Animals, where she’s playing a shady teacher.

I’ll always cherish what we have accomplished, and I can’t wait for our next chapters,” says Jessica.

Their final episode of Season 2, which you’ll have to wait for, is also a biggie – they sit down with their personal hero and former US First Lady Michelle Obama, where they touch on everything from motherhood and relationships to leadership and Michelle’s memoir Becoming.

When the Queen calls, the Queens answer,” says Jessica, revealing that it was Michelle who approached them to be a guest. “It’s going to be hard to top that [interviewing Michelle] for the rest of our careers. We’re glad that the show is coming to end while we’re still on a high.”

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