If you, like me, are a massive fan of podcasts and that fandom happily intersects with your love of comedy, then you’re probably already tuned in to the 2 Dope Queens frequency. And if you’re not already, you should be, because the 2 Dope Queens podcast and the women behind it, comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, are slowly dominating the podcast and comedy worlds, respectively, with their work.
Williams and Robinson have been the minds behind the 2 Dope Queens podcast for four seasons now, and they’re gearing up to bring their show to an even wider audience with a four-part limited HBO series. As a podcast, each episode is a recording from a live show where these cool women open up with a little banter back and forth before bringing comedians onstage so they can each do a short set. What’s great about 2 Dope Queens is that Robinson and Williams really wanted the show to focus on bringing non-straight, non-white, non-male (although it happens from time to time!) comedians into the spotlight.
Now, 2 Dope Queens is ready to hit the big time with its HBO debut. According to Deadline, the 2 Dope Queens HBO specials are pulling no punches. Expect Williams and Robinson to get real and unfiltered about topics like “Blerds, Hot Peen, Hair, New York,” as Deadline summarized it, and to bring in stars like Hannibal Burress, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Stewart, Williams’ former Daily Show boss. It sounds like the HBO special of this hit podcast is going to go all-out with no holds barred, and frankly, I am all the way here for it. Just one look at the most recent trailer for the HBO special seems to confirm that Williams and Robinson are doing good work by bringing 2 Dope Queens to the masses.
Ready to read more about the women behind 2 Dope Queens? Good, because if you keep scrolling, you’re bound to end up reading some pretty fun stuff.
1. Williams already has serious comedy chops
If you’re not already a major fan of 2 Dope Queens but still feel like you’ve seen Williams somewhere, then you’ve most likely seen her do her thing on The Daily Show. Beginning her run while Stewart was still on air and ending a short while after comedian Trevor Noah replaced him, Williams rose to prominence with her politically charged, edgy yet necessary takes on the sociopolitical issues of the day.
2. Robinson is a published author
View this post on Instagram
THANK YOU SO MUCH, @ibooks for making #YouCantTouchMyHair one of the best books of October! Means a lot & is extra special because today is the last day to buy my book/e-book/audiobook & have the sale count towards getting mah baby on the NYT best sellers list. So stop what you're doing now, order the damn thaaang and read about how my mom confuses famous white men for each other. But can you blame her? These dudes look alike. Also, lemme know which of the four books in the bottom middle card I should write next based off the ignorant titles I came up with. #FutureOprahsBookClubEntry #YQY
Robinson doesn’t just act, write for TV and produce; she’s a published nonfiction author, too. Her book, You Can’t Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain), was released in October 2016. Composed of personal essays touching on feminism, pop culture and race (all topics near and dear to Robinson), the book did well enough in its sales and promotion that there’s a good chance Robinson could write another one in the near future. At least, that’s what I’m hoping, anyway.
3. Williams really, really loves J.K. Rowling
View this post on Instagram
⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️⚰️💀. Cool. Now that we've established that I'm dead- I met FREAKING J👏🏾K👏🏾R👏🏾O👏🏾W👏🏾L👏🏾I👏🏾N👏🏾G (aka Jo Jo- lol she lets me call her that. So ignorant.) originally like a month ago. Obviously we all know that I've been a Harry Potter nut since I was 10 years old so I was very nervous to meet one of my sheroes for the first time. What would I wear? What do you say at the alter (lmaooo)? What if we like…don't get along? Will I quit reading books forever because we don't get along? So I hung out with Jojo and was relieved that we got on verrrrry well and I was so stoked because meeting your heroes can be a real toss up of either cupcakes or dog doodoo if you know what I mean. This right here was cupcakes. We had like a legit full six hours of drinks and cocktails. Did I lowkey tear up during dinner? Yes. Am I aware that it was a trash bonkers thing to do over dinner while she's biting into her plate of veggies? Yes. But any sort of extreme emotion makes my eyes well up. #standinginmytruth #therealme #lovemeforme. Anyway- I had so much fun talking about life/politics/thesims with her over 25 cocktails that I felt like a realllll dweeblord for FORGETTING to snag a photo. The following day my mom tried to comfort me after I forgot to get a photo by saying "That's okay baby. You guys hung out for you two only and not social media." She was low key very correct but also she's my mother so I was like "🙄🙄😑😑😑." So cut to last night- and (wildly)I'm hanging out with the Khaleesi again and I was on my way out the damn door and was like "……wait I'm sorry can I get a photo? For my Instagram?? (I know such 🚮)" She was like "yes Jess of course!" So we took a few photos and yes she's a major babe and here she is on my IG feed for the both you And me to enjoy. ⚰️ #eatcraylove #jkrowling #harrypotter
A massive Harry Potter fan, Williams has previously described what it was like to actually meet Rowling, but the photographic evidence and subsequent caption (which is a borderline novella) really drive home the fact that Williams meeting Rowling might be one of the coolest things she’s ever done — aside from 2 Dope Queens, that is.
4. Robinson never set out to be a comedian
In a 2016 interview with NPR, Robinson revealed that a career in comedy was never Plan A.
“I was a funny kid growing up, and I did improv in college and went to Pratt Institute, but I did it very informally. It was just me and some of my friends goofing around on campus,” she told NPR. “I never really thought of comedy as a career.”
In fact, Robinson’s career goals didn’t really account for her natural funny side, which needed to be used. “My goal was, when I moved to New York, I was going to write serious films. I’m a huge movie buff and so I was like, I’m going to write my American Beauty. I’m going to write something earth-shattering […] and I’m going to marry Robert DeNiro,” she said. “That was the plan.”
Sure, life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned, but I’d go out on a limb and say that Robinson must be pretty happy with this Plan B.
5. Robinson is good friends with another boundary-pushing modern feminist icon
View this post on Instagram
SURPRISE! I lied! Presale tix for @ilanusglazer and I's YQY Tour is happening today. As in right NOW! Now being 10amEST/10amPST/10amCST, etc. The presale code for all presale tix in all cities is YQY. Lol. Dur. Get them tix before they're all gone. See ya soon! Bye Q Bye! 😘😘👸🏾👸🏻 Poster: @adiiiiiiiiiiil Photographer: @withreservation
Robinson is, of course, making moves on her own merit, but I’ll never say no to her teaming up with best friend — and solid feminist and comedic icon in her own right — Ilana Glazer to create some good comedy. While Robinson often cheers on Glazer on social media, the women have teamed up in the past to do shows together, and yes, Glazer does pop up on 2 Dope Queens from time to time. Love it.
6. Williams is going to be in the next Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film
View this post on Instagram
HELLO EVERYONE I AM SO EXCITED TO TELL YOU THAT I AM GOING TO BE IN FANTASTIC BEASTS. I AM SCREAMING. IF ANYONE WOULD HAVE TOLD 9 YEAR OLD ME THAT I WOULD SOMEDAY PLAY A CHARACTER THAT EXISTS IN THE WIZARDING WORLD I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED IT. I’M SO THRILLED. THANK YOU JO. ❤️💙❤️💙❤️❤️ #eatcraylove #FantasticBeasts #harrypotter
Not only did Williams get to meet one of her personal icons, but in October 2017, she revealed that she would be joining the cast of the Fantastic Beasts sequel in a still-undisclosed role. Even though fans have no idea who she’ll be playing, let’s keep our fingers crossed that she’ll be able to make us laugh while lighting up the big screen.
7. Game of Thrones babe Richard Madden is one of the many stars to appear on the podcast
Not only did Robinson work with Richard Madden on the upcoming comedy Ibiza, but she was also able to get him on the podcast to bombard him with Games of Thrones questions (because what else are you going to do when you have a hot GoT alum on your show?).
8. Like many of us, Robinson is all heart-eyes emoji for both Michael Fassbender and Michael B. Jordan
View this post on Instagram
Boos and baes! For the first time in nearly a year and a half, @msjwilly and I are bringing @2dopequeens back to LA! We're doing two shows at @teragramla on January 30th. We're doing an early show (7pm) and a late show (10:30pm) with a bunch of amazingly hilarious gods and goddesses and some surprise guests. Tix go on sale today at 10amPST, so mark your cals, go to teragramballroom.com, and get your tickets before they sell out. Wear your finest cocoa butter and we'll see you there! #YQY #WorkWives #AppleWatchWives #MichaelBJordanSisterWives 📸: @withreservation
While promoting You Can’t Touch My Hair, Robinson let slip who her celebrity crushes were, and honestly, they’re super relatable: hot actors Michael Fassbender and Michael B. Jordan. It also sounds like Robinson is making it her mission in life to get cozy with the Michaels, and I really like her outlook on it:
“I know he’s in a relationship, but I’m like, listen, Michael, I don’t have an Oscar — that is correct. I am not famous. I don’t have a stylist. But what I do have is a great personality, and I have a Walgreens card, so I mean, we can get discount shaving cream all. the. time. Michael B. Jordan, I’m here for you, too. Michael Fassbender is not the only Michael I’m after. This is an equal opportunity Michael situation.”
9. Williams took part in a purity ceremony when she was 14
One of the highlights from a 2017 NPR interview includes Williams revealing that she took part in a somewhat atypical purity ceremony when she was a teenager. It sounds like it left a serious impression on her.
“We had these crazy white gowns, and I remember our pastor putting rings on our fingers, and we were all women and the whole church was there, pretty much,” she said. “I remember that being the first time where I felt like my body wasn’t my own, and as a woman, my body, no matter what I did with it, it belonged to somebody else and I was responsible for guarding this idea of purity, and if I didn’t, there was something wrong with me.”
10. Williams has always felt like she’s of two vastly different worlds
In that same NPR interview, Williams speaks about how she’s always felt like she had interests and places in both white and black communities. In this way, it’s profoundly shaped her worldview and her comedy.
“I was always told that I acted too white. I was always told that I was going to date a white guy — which, in fairness, was true: I do have a white boyfriend. So they weren’t entirely wrong, but all of those things were really damaging. I grew up hearing, ‘You’re pretty for a black girl,’ ‘You speak well for a black girl,'” Williams said. “I was really bookish. I was reading all of the time. I had big glasses… I read so much Harry Potter, that’s like all I wanted to talk about. I watched stuff like Lizzie McGuire. I watched things that were very mainstream, but white, and I went to a predominately white school.”
And there you have it: a primer on 2 Dope Queens and the amazing women who are making it possible. Are you ready to bask in the full glory of 2 Dope Queens when it hits HBO tonight? Because I sure as heck am.