There’s nothing like a room full of unapologetically joy-filled women of color. On Wednesday night, BFFs Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson—the two dope queens themselves—joined press and fans for an exclusive first look at their HBO four-part special of 2 Dope Queens at the Public Hotel in New York City. The room was transformed to feel like you were in a hip living room in Brooklyn, and guests were encouraged to dress in slumber party attire (though I believe only Cordell Broadus did). Laughter filled the room even prior to the episode starting, and escalated to a point of soundless chortling once they hit play.
After three-and-a-half years hosting the 2 Dope Queens podcast live on WNYC, Williams and Robinson were premiering the first of four hour-long live performances, taped at Brooklyn’s King Theatre with a relaxed set that mimics a New York City rooftop in Spring.
The show is best known for hilariously and intelligently riffing on anything and everything you could think of, from pop culture minutiae to bigger topics like race and sex. This special is no different; in fact, Williams said the duo didn’t have to make any changes to appease HBO. Instead, they were told, “we just want you guys to do what you do you now… but with a bunch of cameras and with an awesome hair, makeup, and gel-nail budget.” Naturally, they said yes. To keep things interesting, each part is themed and features a special guest, with the premiere titled “New York,” which includes Jon Stewart; “Hair,” with Sarah Jessica Parker; “Hot Peen,” with Tituss Burgess; and “Black Nerds” (a.k.a. “Blerds”), with Uzo Aduba.
With the exception of Stewart, who was Jessica Williams’s boss on the Daily Show, they seldom include straight white men, and are intentional about elevating different voices in comedy. And, though they don’t directly hit on politics, Robinson says that just “tell[ing] their truth,” shows the world how layered and multi-faceted women of color can be, especially when often times they’re not displayed as three-dimensional or “interesting, quirky, and nerdy.”
Head to our Instagram highlights for a look at the premiere. 2 Dope Queens debuts tonight on HBO at 11:30 p.m. EST.