If expressing art was a form of freedom, then Phoebe Robinson is easily the Harriet Tubman of our time. As a multifaceted, New York Times best-selling author and comedian, humor is the strength she employs with all her muscles. Through her expression, she’s freed others to be their best selves and encouraged many Queens to live their best lives, collecting Tiny Reparations along the way.
The last time Robinson took to an Austin stage was the Moontower Comedy Festival in 2017. Her podcast, “2 Dope Queens,” had debuted at number one the first week on air. She’d been a contributor to Broad City, Glamour and MTV’s Girl Code. Since then, her top-ranked podcast has seen a run on HBO, and Robinson just recently signed on to executive produce an interview-style show on Comedy Central. This week, she is headlining her own show at Cap City Comedy Club. She has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and in several movies and commercials.
Though she’s now an old pro on the stage, Robinson says she never knows what to expect. She does, however, know she will be freeing her people from their daily massas with her jokes. And she’s excited to be back in Austin for her first solo national tour, “Sorry, Harriet Tubman.”
The name of her tour comes from a running joke she and her podcast cohost, Jessica Williams, have about which ancestors they let down the most, Phoebe often quips it’s Harriet Tubman she is failing. But that seems ridiculous; Robinson recently toured with Michelle Obama as a moderator on her “Becoming” book tour. Surely, a woman who Robinson describes as setting “the standard of how we should behave in the world and treat ourselves” would be company Tubman herself would be proud to keep.
Robinson says she would like to collaborate with Obama again on her new interview show with Comedy Central. The network ordered 10 30-minute episodes of the series, and Robinson will retain creative control over the series, which she says hits the “sweet spot between educational and charmingly ignorant.” The show will be the first huge project of her new production company, “Tiny Reparations.”
In addition to interviewing Mrs. Obama, Robinson says she’d love to have Rupaul, Lebron James and Serena Williams as guests. She is most excited about the opportunity to help unveil the parts of her guests’ journeys that haven’t been made public yet.
You have to approve of and love yourself and think you’re worthy.
Robinson herself has become a role model to the Black community in her own right. She feels strongly that for Black folks to effect real change in our communities, we have to be comfortable in uncomfortable spaces. Mostly the way to be effective about change is to not talk about it, but be about it.
Whether via social media, onstage, in writing or on her podcast, Robinson has been a dope, woke force. And she encourages others to be their own first “yes.”
“You can’t wait for the industry to see you, your friends or partner to approve of you. You have to approve of and love yourself and think you’re worthy.”