Stand-up comedian Phoebe Robinson almost quit the business when she felt like she didn't belong in the male-dominated comedy world. But finding her niche with the podcast "2 Dope Queens" helped her realize that being different isn't a bad thing. Robinson gives her Brief but Spectacular take on being a dope queen.
Phoebe Robinson: I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. I was the only black girl in my grade. And I was just like really dorky. Like, I wasn't cool. Like I didn't go to like high school parties. I would later find out about all these parties where people were making out and I was legit at home watching The West Wing being like, 'I think I'm like Donna.'
Recently I looked back at a clip of me doing standup at Gotham Comedy Club and I had this tiny, tiny baby fro and still as flat chested as I am now, I was like a size 2, now I'm a 10. What up double digits. It's really kinda cool to see myself from like a 24 year old to now a 33 year old doing comedy and actually like having success at it.
Yeah, so "2 Dope Queens," Jessica and I met 4 years ago, we never really set out to have a podcast. We just realized there aren't a lot of people, the Upright Citizens Brigade, that talk like us, that necessarily have the same pop culture references as us. I don't ever recall like someone mentioning like Living Single or Martin or the black Cinderella movie with Brandy and Whitney Houston as like a joke reference.
When the podcast first came out, we would get messages from white guys, not to profile, but it was from white guys and they would always comment on the way that we talk and be like, 'Your show would be so great, but you should stop saying the word 'like,' all these sorts of things where it was just like, do you like hit up Jerry Seinfeld and you're like, 'You sound too much like a rich white guy' like I don't think you do, you know?
I also have another podcast called Sooo Many White Guys because guess what? There's a lot of them. We also have like a token white guy at the end of each season just for diversity, LOL. We had Tom Hanks and he actually recorded the outgoing message on my phone.
Tom Hanks: She's not home right now so you know what to do when the beep goes off. Beep!
Phoebe Robinson: I think people who listened to the podcast we're kind of like, oh this is what stand up is. It's not just what I'm being presented with like a guy in a suit jacket in front of a red curtain like there are people who are gonna make jokes about having trans family members and it's really gonna be smart and intelligent and not just like punching down and people are going to talk about the female experience in a way that's interesting and cool and different and people can identify it with whether or not they're a woman.
Being in a male dominated industry, you can feel like a little excluded. That was making me feel like maybe I'm not funny. I was really seriously considering like, quitting stand up. I was like, I don't know if I'm good enough, I don't know if I can cut it and I just had to really figure out that like, you are good enough. Just because you're not like other people doesn't mean that you're bad. It means that you're different and that's great.
I'm Phoebe Robinson, this is my brief but spectacular take on being a dope queen.