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Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson talk 2 Dope Queens on HBO and taking a break from the podcast

Time:2018-02-11 04:55Shoes websites Click:

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A conversation with Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, the comedic duo behind the popular WNYC podcast “2 Dope Queens,” can ping across a variety of topics — today’s begins with a shout-out to Target panties (“they get the job done,” Williams says) and ends with talk of Robinson attending a celebration of author Judy Blume’s 80th birthday in New York.

It’s the type of fluid, at times random, back-and-forth that’s typical of a friend catch-up session that has made their podcast — which is sprinkled with guest stand-up comedians and celebrity cameos — a fan favorite.

“The best compliment that we get,” Williams says, “is women coming up to us and being like, ‘Oh my gosh ... I love your podcast. When I listen to it, I feel like I'm hanging out with me and my girlfriends.’ That's kind of the dream.”

Now, they’ve taken the hangout to the small screen.

Their comedy podcast, which launched in 2015, has been translated into four HBO specials. (The second, which features HBO darling Sarah Jessica Parker, airs Friday.)

Ohio native Robinson, 33, and L.A.-bred Williams, 28, met in 2014 while working on a segment for “The Daily Show.” Williams, who was a senior correspondent on the political satire talk show, was doing a segment on black women’s hair in the military and Robinson was a background actor. It wasn’t long before they were creating podcast magic.

The HBO-ified version of “2 Dope Queens” arrives as the pair temporarily step away from the podcast to pursue other projects. Robinson is writing a follow-up to her bestselling book, “You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain” and will also appear in the Netflix film “Ibiza” later this year; while Williams is developing a comedy for Showtime that she’ll star in and will appear in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” sequel due out this fall.

Had you been looking to bring the podcast to television?

Robinson: Well, we've been doing the podcasts for, like, three and a half years. We both felt like we had a really well-oiled machine. I was like, "I think this could live on a place like HBO." And she's like, "I totally agree," and we just rallied the troops and then my manager, Chenoah Estrada, came up with the idea of: It should be four episodes during Black History Month. And I was like, "You sneaky little bitch!"

Williams: We came in with big-budget plans. We were like, “What if we CGI Jon Hamm into it ...”

Robsinon: And they're, like, "We really can't do that." HBO’s [programming exec] Nina Rosenstein, to her credit, said: "The magic of '2 Dope Queens' lives on the podcast." It’s the chemistry between Jessica and I. It’s the fact that we have very diverse stand-ups — women, people of color, queer people. So, HBO was really smart to be, like, "What you guys do in the podcast is perfect. We're just going to elevate it and put that, like, HBO sort of stank on it." Although they don't stink.

Williams: It's like when you hear about, like, pheromones — HBO has a delicious pheromone. Definitely not a stank.

"2 Dope Queens"

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson in a scene from "2 Dope Queens." Mindy Tucker / HBO

Is there a standout moment for you from the specials?

Williams: Talking to Sarah Jessica Parker about black hair.

Robinson: She kissed my shoe. She knelt down and kissed my shoe and it was pretty cool. I was like, "Hey, Carrie Bradshaw, what are you doing down there? And also, why'd you pick Big? It should have been Aidan.”

Williams: I don't know, I've been converted. John Hodgman was on the show and he was talking to us and he was like, "No, they deserve each other. Big and Carrie deserve each other." I meditated on it since he's been on the show, which was maybe five months ago, and I was like, "Yeah." Nah, you know, even when I catch the reruns on E!, I'm like, “Yeah, they deserve each other. This works.”

This is putting you on a bigger platform at a time when you both have so much going on. The podcast will be taking a hiatus for a bit — is it important to venture outside of it in order to keep it fresh?

Williams: Yeah, we both have separate projects in the works, which is really exciting, and what's nice is that “2 Dope Queens,” even as our careers have been on the rise, has always been something that we can come back to when we want to and just, like, have fun.

Robinson: Exactly.We do our thing and then we sort of do the victory lap with “2 Dope Queens” and then, like, go our separate ways and do more solo stuff and just grind it out. Be in the gym, if you will.

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