Tag: “Nightly Show”

REVIEW: Why Robin Thede’s “The Rundown” on BET Could Be Late Night’s Next Must-Watch

Comedian and host Robin Thede (photo via vanityfair.com)

by Laura Bradley via vanityfair.com

When Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show got canceled last year, many fans were understandably frustrated. Wilmore’s was one of only two programs in late night to feature a black host—and at the time, it was the only one with a female head writer. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that Wilmore’s head writer herself, Robin Thede, has moved on to host her own late-night show.

The Rundown with Robin Thede premiered Thursday night on BET, and although it’s got a few kinks to work out—as any new show does—its host has already honed a distinct comedic voice and spirit. And that sensibility gives her program must-watch potential, even in its first week. Thede’s series opened with a tone-setting sketch: Thede spotting an extremely attractive man . . . who is, unfortunately, wearing a Trump/Pence T-shirt. She then embarks on an ill-fated quest to win his attention—first by wearing a Make America Great Again hat, and eventually by getting a Confederate flag tattoo on her bicep. Then she spots his wedding ring and scolds him for wasting her time before turning to her tattoo artist and asking, “Can you turn that into a Kaepernick jersey or something?”

The Rundown is true to its name; it’s a beat-by-beat recap of the week’s news, as curated by Thede and her team. Naturally, their curation yields a different mix of stories from those chosen by the various Jimmies on network TV.In her premiere episode, Thede zoomed her way through several topics, including Eminem’s anti-Trump rap, Jemele Hills’s suspension from ESPN, and a fireman who was dismissed from his predominantly black fire station after he brought a watermelon with a pink bow on it as a gift.

“It’s no surprise that Trump came for Jemele,” Thede said as she wrapped up her opening monologue. “Remember how he attacked Ms. Texas when she criticized him for not calling out the white supremacists in Charlottesville? Of course you don’t, because he didn’t. Trump likes his targets like we like our Magic Johnson theaters: black and loud.” Thede’s show is undeniably guided by her outlook as a black woman, which enables and guides her to tackle topics other programs might ignore.

As the comedian recently told Variety, “I’m going to be able to give a perspective that’s definitely not happening simply because I am a black woman, but I don’t want people to watch just because of that. If that’s the reason you tune in, that’s great, but the reason you’ll stay is because of what I’m saying,” she says. “The jokes will be pointed. The jokes will be sharp.”

Take, for example, this moment during her opening monologue, in which Thede introduced a viral video of one man’s confrontation with local police in California: “Does anyone else feel like they’re watching a magic show happen when white people interact with the cops?” Thede asked. “Well, abra kadabra, here’s a trick you haven’t seen before—and don’t worry, he lives!” The twist? The subject of the video actually was not a white man at all; he was later identified as 22-year-old Yaroub Assad. “He’s brown!” Thede said incredulously. “This cop thought he was letting a white guy work through a temper tantrum, but he was actually proving a great point: cops aren’t afraid of brown people—just brown skin.”

The Rundown could easily shoot to the top of late night’s must-watch list. Its success could come down to how the show uses its digital platform, which will likely attract fans who might not think to turn on BET for their late-night viewing. With a weekly podcast already set to launch Friday, though, it seems Thede and her staff know the game they’re playing—though as of Monday morning, it’s surprisingly difficult to find clips of the show anywhere but BET’s own Web site, which could hinder the show’s growth.

Once the network expands The Rundown’s web presence, though, it seems only a matter of time before a clip from it goes viral—which will go a long way toward establishing this show as the must-watch it looks like it’s going to be.

To read full article, go to: Why Robin Thede’s The Rundown Could Be Late Night’s Next Must-Watch | Vanity Fair

Robin Thede Makes History on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” as 1st Female Head Writer of a Late Night Talk Show

Robin Thede is head writer for Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. She's previously been a reporter for E! News, a writer for BET's Real Husbands of Hollywood and head writer for The Queen Latifah Show.
Robin Thede is head writer for Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. (Jaxonphotogroup/Courtesy of Robin Thede)

How do you write jokes for a TV comedy about race and culture when there are riots over how police treat black suspects, and a gunman just shot down nine people in a black church?

If you’re Robin Thede, head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, you think carefully about where you focus the joke.

“The thing about tragedy, is that it causes people to react in a myriad of ways … [and] some of them are very hilarious,” Thede says, laughing. “You don’t make fun of the actual tragedy. You make fun of the ridiculous ways people react to it.”

Her example: The way some news outlets focused on the involvement of the gang Black Guerilla Family when rioting broke out in Baltimore last April.

“You’ve got people on the news saying ‘Black Guerilla Family’ 4,000 times because they get a kick out of saying ‘gorilla’ when connected to black people,” she says.

That frustration turned into a bit on The Nightly Show — a montage of Fox News anchors saying “Black Guerilla Family,” then Wilmore responding with a choice run of curse words.

“We see that and go, ‘Finally, this is the stuff we can talk about,'” Thede says. “This is the stuff that pisses us off when we’re watching at home, and now we have a voice.”

That voice first emerged in January, when Wilmore’s Nightly Show debuted in the timeslot originally held by Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report.

Wilmore made a bit of history then as the only black man hosting a major late night talk show.

And Thede also made history: She’s the first black woman to serve as head writer for such a show. But she’s quick to counter the notion that The Nightly Show is just a parody of Meet the Press centered on jokes about race.

“For us it’s race, it’s class, it’s gender, it’s disability, it’s anybody that’s an underdog,” she says. “Which to us, is anybody in the right situation. If you’re a white person in the wrong neighborhood, you’re an underdog.”

In the show’s offices in Manhattan, Thede turns her blend of outrage and can-you-believe-it humor into actual jokes.  Writers and producers are plopped on couches in her office for a morning meeting about upcoming skits. The wall behind Thede’s desk is dominated by a huge dry-erase board with bits for upcoming shows written out.

There’s excitement in the room, because Morgan Freeman will be stopping by later to record an appearance on the show — one where Wilmore will play an Afro-wigged, platform shoe-wearing host of a ’70s TV show called Soul Daddy.

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