There are only two nominees in this year’s Outstanding Variety Sketch Series: NBC’s Saturday Night Live and HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show. But creator/star Robin Thede would prefer to focus on how her comedy was nominated for the third year straight, not how they’re competing against only one other nominee.
Contenders TV: The Nominees — The Hamden Journal’s Complete Coverage
“Everyone’s talking about two nominees, but if anything, they should be congratulating us that we made it to the one other slot,” said Thede, who was joined at The Hamden Journal’s Contenders TV: The Nominees event with her co-executive producer and writer Tracey Ashley and co-EP/director Bridget Stokes. “We know that SNL is going to get in every year, and [it’s great] for us to rise to that slot year after year … because this is the second year that it’s only been two nominees. Our first year there were only three nominees. It’s not like we’ve been slacking off in what we’ve been creating. We understand that it’s weird for people to see that few nominees. We’ll see what the Emmys do in the future with that category. But we feel like it’s a testament to the work that we do on the show and we’re only really in competition with ourselves. So we’re trying to outdo each of our last seasons and bring more funny every season.”
The show finds success in staying away from the headlines and just going for straight-up tomfoolery.
“We can’t do topical because we write our sketches nine months before they air,” Thede said. “We strive to be as current as possible, but it’s all pretty much just what makes us laugh, what feels culturally relevant, what feels epic, what feels relatable. That’s why we’re not in competition with live shows. We get to have more time to create narratives and recurring characters that you see season after season that grow and become even more dimensional. That’s the difference with our show.”
A Black Lady Sketch Show earned five Emmy nominations this year, including one for writing and another for production design.
Check back Monday for the panel video.