2 Dope Queens Innovating Stand up Comedy In the 21st “Audio” Century

2 Dope Queens is a comedy podcast show which launched in March of 2016, and was created by Phoebe Robinson, and Jessica Williams who are young adult best friends living and working in the professional media, journalism, entertainment and comedy world. The show was WNYC’s first show under their freshly launched WNYC Studios podcast division. WNYC studios is the trademark, and a set of call letters shared by a pair of non-profit, noncommercial, public radio stations located in New York City and owned by New York Public Radio, a nonprofit organization that did business as WNYC RADIO until March 2013. WNYC (AM)  and WNYC-FM  are both stations are members of NPR, and carry local and national news/talk programs. Including a new venture Some hours the programming is simulcast, some hours different shows air on each station. WNYC reaches more than one million listeners each week and has the largest public radio audience in the United States. It is the leading podcast studio in the new golden age in audio with high quality storytelling that informs, inspires, and delights millions of curious and highly engaged audiences.

As explained on their first podcast, both met when taping for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and became immediate best friends with great comedic chemistry. As a passion project they tried to do a comedy show together because, simply put they both felt they were “funny,” and just had so much fun that they continued talking and writing material for their podcasts, which they first tested out at stand up gigs and live shows in NYC, and each time the crowd ate it up. You can still tell each episode that they are having so much fun talking and taping, telling these stories of adventure to a live open audience that you can hear laughing in the background creating a personal new outlet of stand up comedy. The podcast has been glorified by important online media outlets, online newspapers, and Tv and podcast review sources as one of the top comedic podcasts out right now.

As a background on both of the girls, Phoebe Robinson is a Brooklyn native who grew up a tv and film buff, but later tested her acting skills by participated in her college’s improv team. Later she found herself working in offices for production companies. She then took a stand up course at Carolines Comedy Club which helped her pursue comedy full time. The second dope queen, Jessica Williams is prominently known for becoming a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, which coined her as the first black woman ever in that role. Iconically, her voice served as the Black voice forming social justice issues through comedy, and sarcastic light humor learned by Jon Stewart, which is exactly what both of the 2 Dope Queens used to turn their pitch comedy skits into multiple podcasts.

Jessica Williams, one half of 2 Dope Queens did a very profound and in depth interview with  MotherJones.com where she talked more about her role in comedy prior to 2 Dope Queens, that sets the stages for some of the most important creative niche audience building that the podcast enables and sponsors, and the important material that they found was lacking enough that it produced such a faithful first season audience. Williams was asked about how she feels about opportunities for women in comedy. She responded by saying, “Really good, to be honest. Some of the best comedies now are led by women who are very involved: Parks and Recreation. Veep‘s incredible. I love Girls. There is more of a demand, especially on the internet and on Tumblr and Twitter, from women who are like, “We want to see more of us on TV!” It was with that statement in mind that she saw Podcasts as the perfect online avenue to bridge the internet gap and demand, and to bring more of a woman’s voice and perspective into comedy, in a way that is separate, less censored, raw and more in depth than radio broadcasting would allow. If more women want to see themselves  portrayed on TV, why not give it to them through another media outlet: podcasts. Both Phoebe and Williams found a way to renew, revamp, and innovate stand up comedy, by bringing that same live, in front of an audience feeling to audio podcast streaming, where you hear others partake in laughing at ridiculous stories faintly in the background. If we can’t beat online comedy show streaming, to the point where nobody wants to pay for tickets to a comedy show when you can stream one online on Netflix, then bring it to audio streaming.

When asked about her previous segments about racial issues in the same interview on MotherJones.com Williams says something profound to creative direction of the niche audience she would soon hold  through the future of her podcasts… *

MotherJones.com asks, “segments on race, racism, and privilege are some of your most popular. Why do you suppose that is?”Williams replies, “Because we don’t necessarily get to talk about that. Honestly, I love that that’s something where my race does come into play. I love being a black woman and being able to say those things. There’s truth in comedy, and that resonates with people of all races. You don’t have to be African American to really enjoy “Frisky Business.” [her previous segment on the Daily Show] But as far as being black, a lot of people in New York have been stopped and frisked, so that hits home for them. A lot of this stuff just pisses me off and makes me so mad that there’s something behind the eyes—the delivery is a bit more biting, and I think people can tell.”

It is through this delivery that 2 Dope Queens are able to talk about in depth social issues with a comedic “black” voice. Together the 2 Dope Queens created a new comedic black voice. These smart and hilariously intelligent black women quickly found a road never taken simply by being funny hysterically goofy versions of themselves, yet commenting and uplifting the non-straight-white-male comedic voice that should exist, but isn’t mainstream because it don’t get as much screen time on traditional mainstream media outlets, (or audio) time on the radio. In their podcasts they talk about everything from Tinder to Bono, to dad bods, commenting on rumors bad media Q& A’s, sex, romance, race, hair journeys, and the awkward occurrence of how massage therapists are likely to fall in love with you. Their frank but frequently silly interviews are usually motivated by the incredible way their charisma bounces off one another, and their inside knowledge of all things and people—guest stars— media and entertainment, commenting on the industry itself in their own comedic way.

Recently the podcasters got granted a four hour comedy special on HBO based on the hit comedy podcast of the same name. It seems to be the trend that if your podcast transforms a niche audience and revitalizes the comedic genre into mass market and revitalizes the comedic like 2 Dope Queens has when it comes to the black, girl experience in America, then podcast comedians are known to their large podcasting platforms into TV deals. As far as successfully covering the market in podcast Comedy 2 Dope Girls has managed to become a gold standard for comedy podcasting in general, and has become the pioneer for revitalizing sketch and stand up comedy in the 21st century, where streaming seems like a better idea then spending money on a sketch comedy show, or for that matter a stand up comedy show either. So what is it about 2 Dope Queens that has people all over, a specified niche audience related to their funny life experience, and huge TV networks like HBO lining up to give them hour long specials?

No topic is off limits which makes for hilarious on the spot comedy, yet also explores important conversations with no boundaries between two best friends. Comedy with social justice, and comedic subscriptions from a higher audience who have more money to spend on the luxury of on the spot stand up comedy through podcasts.

Because the two women worked in the media, journalism, and entertainment industries, they both have an amazing contact book which they. Pout to good use by inviting famous comedian friends for hilarious open ended comedic conversations.

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