‘A Black Lady Sketch Show:’ S1 Sketches to Remember


The first season of A Black Lady Sketch show has come and gone, and while my Friday nights are now free, I couldn’t help but take a moment to celebrate Robin Thede and her dream coming to fruition. After years of being told no, Thede held on to her vision of creating a sketch show where Black women would lead the way on every front, and that’s just what they did. If you were expecting an SNL part 2, you simply didn’t get that. If you were expecting a series where you’d die of uncontrollable laughter at every turn, you didn’t get that either. Instead, Thede and her team offered a show that captured the ways at which Black women experience various situations in life. From a Monster commercial with a parallel to a gang orientation, to what life looks like when the apocalypse arrives, I’m hoping many Black women felt seen.

Here were some of the more memorable sketches that stuck with me through the season:

Perhaps nothing greater happened for me than the Bad Bitch Support Group. With Angela Bassett at the forefront, I knew magic was upon us. I’ve come to this sketch to enjoy it countless times. When people are on the fence as to whether they should watch this show, I offer this sketch. The commentary on the beauty industry amplifies the humor here. The nuisances like the Fashion Nova clipboard, and larger than life characters, made this something I wish we saw through multiple episodes. Also, it’s pretty easy to swallow. This isn’t a loaded sketch. The message is clear, and there are plenty of moments where one could identify or empathize with the subject matter at hand. Enjoy below:

No character shined brighter than Dr. Hadassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman, Pre-PhD- Hertep. A complete and utter mess. I get a feeling she may appear in season two. While we did get to see her in a couple of episodes, her character lingered in my mind for weeks  While Robin explains this is a play on the term, Hoetep, her effort to create a character who is loud and obnoxiously pro-black but anti-progress came over clear. The familiarity of an extra-woke character like this rang true. So many people in our community know this person. We cross them day-in and out and think, how ridiculous. But, they too deserve a space, and Thede and team made sure to let the Pre-PhD have her platform. Here’s some commentary on the development of the character:

A sketch I’ve grown to appreciate is, Annoying Woman. With Ashley Nicole Black leading the way, this horribly exhausting woman captured all that things people hate about social media trolls. She was so self-absorbed that I wanted to believe these people don’t exist, except, well log onto social media and they’re there, by the dozens. Here she is, flying first class via a buddy-pass, from Miami, Indiana, with zero viewers, intruding on someone else’s moment, making it all about her. No would ever…right? Ha! The sweetest victory here is that everyone is in on the joke except her. And that’s the joke, for me at least, when watching this. We get to see people like her present such a false narrative of themselves, in hopes of approval and acceptance, that it borders on sadness and hilariousness. We all know the person who presents one on the Gram, and lives another way in real life. Check out the full sketch below:

The true standout for me from the first season was Gabrielle Dennis. Perhaps, the one sketch I enjoyed second to the support group was, Cool Handshake Teacher Needs A Win. At some point in my adult life I realized that teachers were human too. Hear me out. I glorified them as a child. I loved school, I thought they were perfect and exempt from all sadness and anger. They had a noble profession and loved every second of teaching. And then, in my 20s, my friends became teachers, and I realized, how horrible the wages were, how exhausting parents were, and in many instances, how ruthless kids were. They’re underpaid, not appreciated, and do their best with what they have. And then you have Mrs. Miller-Hicks, who is actually just Ms. Miller, and the kids remind her in the shadiest way. And this is something the first season got right. Crazy sketches with a brand attached at the end. You think you’re watching a sketch, but you’re merely watching a commercial for a product. And this one happens to be for the education lottery! Pure…gold!

If you haven’t seen the first season, these sketches should give you some insight as to what you can expect. Again, have clear expectations here. I noticed a lot of people saying this series simply wasn’t funny. I do believe the consumers have a right to watch and criticize content which aims to reflect their experience. Everything isn’t for everyone. I found that many people expected it to be a series of one-liners and on-the-nose comedy bits, but when challenged, lacked the ability to see beyond the words. There was intention put into each sketch. There were little surprises in the background. These ladies put their all into a series aimed at displaying the journey of the under-represented Black woman. And for that, I will tune in next season, and sing their praises high! See the cast chat below about the series:

Find A Black Lady Sketch Show on HBONow/Go and get to know your black lady friends.

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