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2 Dope Queens’ Are Bringing More Diversity to Podcasts

Jessica Williams, left, and Phoebe Robinson, right
Jessica Williams, left, and Phoebe Robinson, right, host the new podcast, '2 Dope Queens' which airs every Tuesday. Matthew Septimus

At the intersection of cocoa butter boulevard and woke way, there’s a new podcast in town taking over the streets of New York.

‘2 Dope Queens,’ a stand-up comedy and storytelling production of WNYC Studios, is hosted by two sincerely dope queens, Jessica Williams of “The Daily Show” and Phoebe Robinson of “Broad City.” The talented, comedic duo is putting their "black girl magic" together to form a show about anything and everything from racist cab drivers to Kanye West’s twitter rants to gay ghosts.

The podcast, which launched its inaugural 12-episode season today, made its debut with a conversation on the beauty of the ‘dad bod.’ They were joined by their friends and comics Aparna Nancherla, Gary Gulman and Michelle Buteau.

"You’re going to see very diverse and distinct voices that people aren’t paying attention to for no other reason than that they’re lazy.”

The guest line-up on each podcast is one of the duo’s favorite parts about working on ‘2 Dope Queens.’ Robinson said their show is intentional about giving a platform to diverse comedic voices who are often shut out from mainstream narratives because there is not much of an effort to recruit comedians of color.

“In comedy entertainment, there’s always like ‘where are the black women?', or where are the ‘funny gay people?', Robinson said. “And it’s like, 'You’re not looking. You’re choosing not to see us and with this podcast, you’re going to see very diverse and distinct voices that people aren’t paying attention to for no other reason than that they’re lazy.”

The two dope queens are not only committed to diverse casting, but also a space where comics of color are the champions in their narratives.

“Often times I feel like as a person of color, you are the one black person in the room; but for our show, people get to be the stars of their own stories,” Williams said. “It’s really cool to give our friends and people of color and different orientations an opportunity to speak for themselves and be the main characters.”

A key source of inspiration for Williams’ stand-up material comes from the day-to-day struggles of navigating the industry as a black woman. She encourages writers to tap into these experiences because these stories are important and need to be heard.

“Embrace the messiness that comes with being who you are, lean into it and just write and not filter yourself,” she said.

Being the “most you,” as Williams put it, does not come without its criticisms.

“I’ve been told sometimes, I’m too black or too female but you just have to be like, 'Whatever dude, I’m just the right amount of me,'” Robinson added.

WNYC is introducing the hilarious podcast at a time when the trend is growing in popularity among listeners. Last month, Edison Research Group released a study showing “sharp gains” in podcast listening both monthly and weekly.

“We love podcasts,” Robinson said. “We felt like our voice and what we do wasn’t in the landscape yet so we just felt like why not put it out there.”

Take a listen to ‘2 Dope Queens’ every Tuesday through June 14 on wnyc.org, iTunes, and all other places where podcasts may be downloaded.

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