As comedian and actress Robin Thede explains in the promo clip above, she is not the first Black woman to host a late-night television show. She’s not even the first to host one on BET—actress Mo’Nique hosted her own eponymous show on the network from 2009 to 2012. But Thede will be the only Black woman to headline such a program when “The Rundown with Robin Thede” premieres on the network tonight (October 12) at 11 p.m. ET.
Thede’s writing credits stretch back to 2007, when she contributed to her first of six successive BET Awards ceremonies. She also worked as head writer for two interview programs: “The Queen Latifah Show” and “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.” The latter position marked the first time a Black woman lead the writers’ room for a late-night television show. She served in the same capacity for Wilmore’s 2016 speech at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
“The Rundown” is Thede’s first solo program, after more than a decade of writing work and supporting television roles. She told The Hollywood Reporter in April that the show will specifically center Black perspectives and incorporate racial justice issues within other topics:
Does that limit it to only race issues? Absolutely not. It’s going to be things that matter to the community, but it’s also a recap of politics and pop culture from the week. It’s things that matter to my audience and to people who care what I think about things that happen during the week. If Bill O’Reilly calls a woman “hot chocolate,” this is definitely going to be a show you want to tune in to hear what we have to say about it.
For those unfamiliar with Thede’s comedic prowess, here are five choice segments to get you ready.
This 2009 video sketch from Thede’s YouTube channel features her confessing her adultery to a distracted and sexist Catholic priest.
This clip from web series “The Message” stars Thede as an over-eager interviewer who tries unsuccessfully to convince Barack Obama to make Jesse Jackson his running mate.
“Rachel Dolezal & Defining Blackness”
In this “Nightly Show” panel segment, Thede joins rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render and comedian Natasha Leggero in lampooning Dolezal’s debunked claims to Blackness.
“Planning a Plantation Wedding”
Thede goes undercover with “Nightly Show” contributor Mike Yard, posing as an engaged couple looking to get married on a former plantation in Kentucky. See how uncomfortable they make the property’s White director.
“A Preview of Upcoming Black Oscar Snubs”
Thede anticipated #OscarsSoWhite’s bold 2016 return by recognizing Will Smith, Michael B. Jordan and other Black Hollywood artists’ bound-to-be-overlooked work. Spoiler alert: None of them received nominations!
“The Rundown with Robin Thede,” which is executive produced by Chris Rock, premieres tonight at 11 p.m. ET on BET.