Culture

Phoebe Robinson on ‘2 Dope Queens’ and what’s next

June 22, 2017
Phoebe Robinson speaks onstage during 2 Dope Queens sponsored by WNYC during the 2017 Vulture Festival at Milk Studios on May 20, 2017 in New York City.
Cindy Ord, Getty Images For Vulture Festival
Phoebe Robinson speaks onstage during 2 Dope Queens sponsored by WNYC during the 2017 Vulture Festival at Milk Studios on May 20, 2017 in New York City.
SOURCE: Cindy Ord, Getty Images For Vulture Festival

The last night of the Colossal Clusterfest in San Francisco was what you might call a full circle night for comedian, actress, writer and podcaster Phoebe Robinson. She went from being fired from her gig as a warm-up comic for W. Kamau Bell’s series “Totally Biased” to co-hosting a special edition of her podcast, “2 Dope Queens,” and back to working with the Berkeley-based comedian at the festival’s Larkin Comedy Club.

With her usual co-host, Jessica Williams, in London promoting her Netflix original film “The Incredible Jessica James,” Robinson masterfully held it down with Bell at the pop-up comedy venue inside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Sunday, June 4.

They waxed comedic about their personal and professional lives from cuddle therapy, parenting versus the single life — oh, and that one time Phoebe missed three calls and a voicemail from Oprah Winfrey, who was calling to tell her how much she loved her book, “You Can’t Touch My Hair.”

In real life as well as during her stand-up or hosting gigs, Phoebe is as down to earth, effortlessly witty and hilariously honest. She’s also just as busy as she seems, and now the New York Times best-selling author and host of two podcasts — she also hosts “Sooo Many White Guys” — will be adding even more to her schedule later this year with a new series on Amazon called “Homecoming Queen,” which she stars. She is co-writer and co-executive producer with Amy Aniobi from “Insecure.”

“Her and I have known each other for about five years now and have always wanted to work together. She lives in L.A. and I live in New York, so it’s like a star-crossed kind of friendship,” she said.

Phoebe Robinson speaks onstage during 2 Dope Queens sponsored by WNYC during the 2017 Vulture Festival at Milk Studios on May 20, 2017 in New York City.
Cindy Ord, Getty Images For Vulture Festival
Phoebe Robinson speaks onstage during 2 Dope Queens sponsored by WNYC during the 2017 Vulture Festival at Milk Studios on May 20, 2017 in New York City.

The show is set in Cleveland where Robinson grew up.

“I kind of want Cleveland to be another character because the Midwest always gets shafted in shows like, ‘This is a place you can just laugh at’ and they forget that there are real people living there like my family,” she said. “I just want it to be a sort of love letter to Cleveland and black women, and also to myself.”

With all that’s going on in her life, Robinson has taken special care not to let what’s been going on in the world around her — particularly politics — take too much of a toll on her or her work.

“I’m committed to making sure things are funny first,” she said, admitting that “there’s always been somewhat of a political element to my work.”

“I just want to continue to have it be a place where there’s two black women speaking their mind and being funny. There are just so many other creative, artsy things to explore and talk about than Donald Drumpf,” she added, riffing on the president’s last name a la John Oliver.

Robinson is slated to begin taping the fourth season of “2 Dope Queens” with Williams later this year.

K. Astre is a freelance writer for GreenState. Check out more of The Chronicle’s cannabis coverage at www.greenstate.com .