As fun as it was to watch comedian Ziwe Fumudoh make celebrities squirm on Instagram Live, I’m looking forward to watching her make them squirm on something bigger than my iPhone 11.
On Friday, Showtime dropped the trailer for Ziwe’s titular new variety show, in which she puts various figures on the spot, asking them outlandish questions that they’ll hopefully be foolish enough to answer, like Ziwe asking the legendary Fran Lebowitz what she hates more, “slow walkers or racism?” Leobowitz has enough prudence to ask if it’s a serious question, but perhaps that caution says it all. Why not just say slow walkers from the jump, huh, Fran? What are you hiding?
The bones of this format stem from Ziwe’s YouTube-turned-Instagram Live program called Baited With Ziwe, in which Ziwe would bait her friends—and, eventually, celebrities—into saying racist shit. Ziwe feigns sincerity and asks people like, say, chaos agent Caroline Calloway, “what was the last racist thing you did today?” and actually receives sincere responses.
At the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, Ziwe’s Instagram Live interviews with white internet personalities embroiled in controversy and ready to atone for their internet sins became Must See IG. For example, Alison Roman being asked to name five Asian people— “Chrissy Teigen? No, just kidding, haha” yikes!—and Ziwe somehow managing to get Rose McGowan to make an odd remark about Rosa Parks.
That Ziwe manages to do this while maintaining the facade and not bursting out laughing is a feat within itself.
There was a kind of bootleg magic about the Instagram Live version of this that just can’t be replicated on a premium cable network. Still, it’ll be fun to see how her program expands upon the Baited format. And with appearances from people like Phoebe Bridgers and Jane Krakowski... yeah, this should be fun. Here’s hoping none of my faves say some dumb shit, though.
Ziwe airs Sunday, May 9 at 11 p.m.